TOP 10 terrible classic car copies

Don't eat breakfast yet.

2y ago
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When ABC Classic FM announces that it’s now time for a modern classical piece, generally I can predict what’s imminent. It will be a piece that classically, involves a Stradivarius violin, but contemporarily, “challenges accepted musical boundaries.” Generally rhythm, melody, and harmony, which are the boundaries between music and noise.

So you end up with something that has all the sounds of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, yet clearly isn’t, because Vivaldi’s Four Seasons sounds lovely and it is an aural dog.

And it’s often the same story with modern classic cars. There’s been the odd good one – most Morgans, for example – just like there’s been a Palladio in modern classical music. But mostly, they’ve tried to mimic the magnificence and beauty of classic cars – and there is no earthly magnificence and beauty like it, mind – and they’ve ended up looking hideous. Because they threw out proportions and any sense of loyalty to a style. I mean, you can do a 1930s looking car today. It’s possible. But not with a 1990s car body.

And here’s the evidence.

1) 1990 MITSUOKA LE-SEYDE

For crimes against culture, the Le-Seyde is vying with the Muslims who blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas. It’s a blend of the stunning 1930s Mercedes-Benz roadster styling with the utterly incongruous body of an S13 Nissan Silvia, or similar.

Apparently, all 500 were sold in four days. Hopefully to people who burnt them.

2) 1978- ZIMMER GOLDEN SPIRIT

(PC: Medium)

(PC: Medium)

The Zimmer Golden Spirit was very similar to the Le-Seyde, only it came first, in the 1970s when there was a sudden interest in neo-classical cars. Probably because everyone followed the US politicians in deciding that the car had had its heyday.

It's typically based on the Ford Mustang.

3) 1979 CLENET SERIES II

(PC: Clenet)

(PC: Clenet)

Another of the 1970s neo-classics, the Clenet actually looks almost stunning, from the side. But any other angle reveals the hideous shelf sticking out the front, and the grille that looks like it hasn’t all come out yet.

4) 1997 PLYMOUTH PROWLER

(PC: Plymouth)

(PC: Plymouth)

Basing a retro car on a hot-rod is a bad idea anyway, because hot-roddery is basically motoring graffiti. And this is evident from the fact that 99.99% of hot-rod fans actually have graffiti on themselves, allowing for a .01% who have a skin condition precluding tattoos.

But sometimes a Ford Woody shod with silvery wheels in low-profiles doesn’t look too bad. It might almost be possible to tastefully hot-rod. But the Prowler is an utter failure, because it tries to do two things. It tries to be a modern classic, and a modern classic that’s been hot-rodded.

It’s like doing a modern classical piece, but with a bit of another genre thrown in.

(PC: Tennen-Gas - Wikimedia Commons)

(PC: Tennen-Gas - Wikimedia Commons)

5) 1993- MITSUOKA VIEWT

The Jaguar Mark II is probably the best-looking saloon ever. Leastways, not once have I ever looked at it, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it had Nissan Micra proportions.”

Some people think it’s funny. Like belching, it’s not. It’s disgusting.

6) 1996 MITSUOKA GALUE I

(PC: Mitsuoka)

(PC: Mitsuoka)

Yet another very elegant car Mitsuoka made a mockery of was the Bentley S2 Continental. If you’ve never seen the real thing, you’ll think the Galue actually looks quite nice. So here’s the real thing.

(PC: COACHBUILD.com)

(PC: COACHBUILD.com)

The Galue I, on the other hand, is based on the Nissan Crew.

7) 2004- MITSUOKA NOUERA

(PC: Mitsuoka)

(PC: Mitsuoka)

It is quite possibly the ugliest man-made thing. And tragically, a perfectly good and innocent Honda Accord dies for every one made.

8) 2001 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER

If you’ve ever wondered what it is that makes the PT Cruiser ugly, and it can be a good discipline to break it down into its factors, I can give you the answer. It's exactly this thing. It’s trying to echo a classic car, but only echo.

You could even get it in Woodie spec, with a fake rear spare and whitewalls, which terrifyingly, I actually almost like. Goodness, I’ve tried to kill those thoughts.

9) 2004- BUFORI LAJOYA

(PC: Bufori)

(PC: Bufori)

In theory, Bufori is a brilliant thing. It has all the elements of a good story - three brothers, craftsmen all, with a dream to hand-build exquisite cars in traditional ways.

But the LaJoya is just wrong. Like the body has been placed on top of a winged base.

That, and the rims are irrelevant.

10) 2001- MORGAN AERO 8

(PC: Netcarshow.com)

(PC: Netcarshow.com)

Now I realize this might excite controversy, and the fact is, it already does in the debating halls of my head. Some days I get up and think it’s possibly the prettiest thing to drive upon the earth. Other days it’s a cross-eyed tarsier.

It’s a conundrum which has split families, close friends, and the motoring world since the Aero came out in 2001. I'd like to put it to bed. Is it ugly or is it beautiful?

BONUS 11TH) 1979 CADILLAC SEVILLE GRANDEUR OPERA COUPE

(PC: Pinterest)

(PC: Pinterest)

I know they were trying to make it look magnificent. Doing side spares, however, is like turning up to a wedding in a topper and handlebar moustache. It’s grand, in another time, but now it’s actually a bit embarrassing.

So, proposing we could only destroy one of these cars from the face of the earth, with fire and coaxium, which one ought it to be?

And just to reset your head to factory settings, here's a genuine 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster. There's no beauty like an original.

(PC: HD Wallpapers)

(PC: HD Wallpapers)

TAGS: #classic-cars

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Comments (82)

  • I’m thoroughly enjoying your articles. Whatever your formula is, I think it fits perfectly in DRIVETRIBE.

      2 years ago
  • Only five Mitsuoka's ??

      2 years ago
  • I never thought it would be this hard to choose one from a list of ugly fakes. Well done. The Zimmer Golden Spirit is my pick simply because it is a Mustang dressed up as some classic. It is almost as bad as the Ferrari replica's based on the Pontiac Fiero. About the Morgan though. Yes, it looks classic but that's what Morgan has always been doing so you can't fault them for that I think. I'll admit it is a bit cross eyed but it isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. The Aero 8 GTN is much worse, as established by Clarkson and May on Top Gear:

      2 years ago
    • Look, I really like the earlier Morgans, and this morning, I've decided the Aero is gorgeous too. We can agree.

        2 years ago
  • Oh that Plymouth was so bad. 😂

      2 years ago
  • Is the Zimmer a continuously produced car? I only question it as you have it down as 1978 yet that body is unquestionably an 05-09 Mustang.

      2 years ago
    • Same exact thought I had as soon as I saw the picture.

        2 years ago
    • Yes, they still do them to customer order... always based on the current Mustang. Horrible

        2 years ago
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