1. Audi 5000
Before it was making sleek, futuristic sex-mobiles to satisfy the mid-life crises of the world’s richest assholes, Audi was a struggling car company making deals with the devil. In 1982, Satan asked Audi to provide some mechanical husks for his latest spawn of demons. Audi agreed. And thus the Audi 5000 was born. Of course, this humble sedan seemed like the classic 80s’ cruiser; it had wheels no thicker than a Hot Wheels car’s, that timeless two-tone look synonymous with macular-degenerating grandmothers, and, if you looked under the hood, you’d see the number of the beast written in baby’s blood. This nightmare of an econo-class was known to randomly accelerate backwards or forwards when the driver switched from park to first gear. Drivers of this death-machine didn’t know when they started up their car whether they were going to shoot out into a busy intersection or straight back into the car behind them. Audi, trying to save face, issued a statement that this problem was probably caused by drivers hitting the wrong pedal, but, upon insistence from the Vatican and a strongly worded letter from Van Helsing, Audi recalled a quarter of a million 5000’s in 1987. But hey, it wasn’t all bad. At least the 5000 was eco-friendly: it was the first hybrid to run off gasoline and dying screams.
2. Tatra T87
The Tatra T87. Just saying that name makes me proud to be an American. While it may have been manufactured in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II, each Tatra was imbued with the soul of an American eagle upon assembly. Due to this fact—and also a critical error in design that caused the Tatra’s back wheels to lift off the ground when it turned—so many German officers were killed or injured driving the Tatra that Hitler issued a special decree forbidding his soldiers from using it.
3. Ford Bronco II
If you’ve ever dreamt of driving a dreidel, the Ford Bronco II is the car for you. Due to a crucial flaw in its suspension, it was known to have a lethally high tendency to just roll over. In fact, “a 1992 study found that 97% of Bronco II crash deaths resulted from [such] rollovers.” In restrospect, Ford should never have hired the game designers of Star Fox to build a car. Because as it turned out, if someone shouted “do a barrel roll,” chances were, you actually would.
4. Briggs and Stratton Flyer
Essentially a motorized table, the Briggs and Stratton Flyer lacked doors, a windshield, and a regard for human life. This ‘car,’ manufactured from 1919 to 1925, was marketed as a cheap alternative to standard automobiles, which was essentially the same as marketing a thimble as a cheap alternative to condoms. Propelled by a two-horsepower trolling motor, the Flyer’s frame consisted of just a few two-by-fours joined to its axels by some tacks and a whole lot of hope. Sitting in the glorified high chair that was the Flyer’s driver’s seat, one had only a splinter-rich wooden steering wheel between him and a face-first collision. But that wasn’t all. The brilliant minds at Briggs and Stratton wanted to make it as hard on the customer to stop this thing as it was on them realizing that it was their only idea. They did this by tacking on a fifth wheel to the back of the already structurally unstable chassis, consolidating the car’s motor onto this fifth wheel, and thereby forcing the user to have to lift the entire back wheel off the ground to slow down. Say fuck you to two wheel drive. And also your life.
– CS ’16