Building the worst car of all time — it’s not something any manufacturer has knowingly set out to do. An opportunity then, and one that the DriveTribe community can certainly help me with.
The idea is simple; I’ll combine components from many of the world’s most flawed motor cars for a Frankenstein-like monstrosity with almost no redeemable qualities. The resulting mythical motor promises to be slow, awful on fuel, desperately unreliable and lethal in an accident. It’ll also handle like a pig. .
Engine: Mazda Renesis Rotary
Now, as much as most petrolheads have got plenty of time for a rotary engine and will swoon over the bezerk idle of a tuned Mazda RX7 or the delightful soundtrack of Mazda’s 787b racer —not every rotary lump was born equal.
The Renesis rotary that found its way into the production Mazda RX8 went without the optional turbocharging its predecessor did. That knocked its torque figure to a limp 159 lb.-ft. (216 Nm). Despite this the free-revving Renesis did not go without the other — less desirable characteristics that wankel engines are famed for including an insatiable thirst for petrol and oil. Its filthy rich running also gave it a taste for expensive catalytic converters and ensured the owner’s annual tax bill was very painful indeed.
Knowing how to correctly look after a rotary engine is essential and something that plenty of owners didn’t pay any attention to, making for disastrous reliability records and frankly embarrassing second hand values, and that’s why it’s perfect for my bloody awful car.
Chassis: Triumph Herald
To find the ideal flawed chassis for this application I had to dig back quite a few years, to a time when Triumph was using ‘swing axle’ rear suspension. This cost-effective design had a tendency to gain extreme amounts of positive camber during aggressive cornering — But that was only half of the story .
Swing link equipped cars also have an unusually high roll centre that caused the rear suspension to push upwards in the same scenario, jacking the rear end of the car up dramatically and reducing rear end grip. The design was subsequently modified about a decade after its introduction in order to kill this trait — so we’d be sure to get an early chassis.
Steering components: Vauxhall Corsa C
Even early arcade games gave you more feedback than that provided by the steering fitted in Vauxhall’s Corsa C. The excessive assistance of the electronic steering setup meant manoeuvring with one finger was very much possible. It felt as if 100psi was in each of the car’s front tyres, meaning the fine line between grip and understeer was particularly difficult to detect. As luck would have it this steering hardware will bolt straight into my diabolical creation.
Alloy wheels: Ronal Teddy Bear
This one is best explained with a picture.
Gearbox: Smart Roadster
Everyone wanted to love the Smart Roadster. This cute and peppy little number had all the right ingredients: a low kerb weight, two seats and a removable roof plus a thrumming turbocharged engine feeding its rear wheels. Sadly Smart also decided to fit it with a flappy paddle gearbox that would dither and irritate anyone who wanted to actually enjoy the car, and that’s why it’s ideal for my crappy car.
Bodywork: Ssangyong Rodius
The SsangYong Rodius is something of a rarity in the UK — and it’s really not difficult to see why. There’s something truly disgusting about pretty much every angle or aspect of this car, which is why I want its curvaceous and ill-proportioned body shell for my own driving abomination.
Steel: Ford Ka Mk1
There’s a lot to like about Ford’s first Ka, its design has grown old gracefully despite an extremely long production run. The Ka was also a hoot to drive and was always an affordable alternative to more boring superminis. The Ka’s Achilles heel came in the form of the steel these cars were made from. Inadequate rust protection meant that owners had cars that were bubbling and going crusty at an embarrassingly young age. Worse still, the Ka’s vulnerability to tin worm meant many owners were soon facing structural problems caused by the same corrosion. As a direct result, most of today’s Ford Ka’s are either bodged together with sheet metal and filler or have long since been crushed. Thankfully I’ve secured some trusty new old stock Ka metal for the worst car in the world.
Brakes: Citroen Saxo/Peugeot 106
The Citroen Saxo and its sister car the Peugeot 106 never could be considered heavy cars and really didn’t require much in the way of braking power but that didn’t stop PSA from fitting alarmingly poor brakes to both models. As such, emergency braking was a true sphincter tightening experience. Another highlight was the miniscule pedal box that meant that anyone with larger than average feet tended to press more than two pedals at once.
Crash safety technologies: Fiat Seicento
Despite looking like a hefty and safe 4x4 this car has been chosen to offer its occupants precisely zero chance in the event of an accident. One way of almost guaranteeing this is to take on a crash structure inspired by that of Fiat’s Seicento city car. The Seicento did spectacularly badly in both front and side impact tests carried out by Euro NCAP and displayed the structural integrity of a wet paper bag. Its lack of airbags and abundance of ineffective crumple zones are just what I’m looking for.
So there we have it, an absurd monstrosity that combines the worst of several eras. It’ll never be nice to drive, it’ll always be vile to look at and it’d kill you in an instant. I challenge you to outdo my disastermobile by using the comment box below!