Sports cars are the real pinnacle of the automotive world. These are the vehicles we all wish to have at some point in our lives. The experience of driving an exceptional sports car is simply unforgettable. However, not all sports cars are created equal. In fact, many of them are pretty terrible.
Some sports cars suffer from reliability issues, while others leave the factories with tremendously underpowered motors. A small chunk of sports cars may even spontaneously catch on fire! Whatever the reason may be, it’s best to stay away from these awful sports cars.
The infamous DeLorean is perhaps the biggest let-down in the history of automobiles. This eccentric vehicle became an icon of pop culture, primarily thanks to its role in Back To The Future. Sadly, the real-life DMC-12 is nowhere near as cool as the blockbuster time machine we all love.
The DeLorean was incredibly underpowered. Its V6 motor can only push out 130 horsepower! Sadly, the jaw-dropping exterior design wasn’t enough to boost sales. This sports car was eventually discontinued less than 2 years after its release. DeLorean never made another vehicle, the automaker shut its doors in 1982.
The Sky was GM’s final attempt to boost the Saturn marque to success. The vehicle that had been developed to save Saturn ended up being one of the primary reasons why the GM subsidiary was shut down.
This compact sports car failed to meet any of the clients’ expectations. The base model only made around 180 horsepower. Even in its most powerful variant, the turbocharged Sky could not surpass 300 horses. The exterior design was far from appealing, while the interior was bland and cheaply made. GM only sold around 30,000 units before shutting down the production line in 2010. Saturn shut its doors just a few months later.
Chevrolet Corvette C1 (1953)
You may be surprised to hear that one of America’s most iconic automobiles of all time, the Chevrolet Corvette, was an absolute disaster at first. GM unveiled a prototype of the Corvette in January 1953. The expectations were through the roof, and Chevrolet rushed to get the model out on the market that same year. As one can expect, that did not end very well.
The 1953 Corvette was clearly rushed through the production line. The car suffered from an array of issues, such as leaks of all sorts or the possibility for the doors to open while the car was driven. The car had to be significantly improved to boost sales and remain on the market.
Ford Thunderbird (2002)
Ford’s Thunderbird first went on sale back in the 1950s as a competitor to the Chevy Corvette. The vehicle had been around all the way until the 1990s. Then, in 2002, Ford reintroduced the nameplate yet again. The eleventh generation Thunderbird was on the market for three years.
The seemingly luxurious Thunderbird was an absolute disaster. Ford only offered one V8 engine option beneath the hood and the performance was underwhelming, to say the least. The styling was clearly trying to imitate the original Thunderbird, yet the vehicle looked terrible. Ford sold fewer than 70,000 units before discontinuing the model in 2005.
The Mondial is perhaps the worst vehicle to ever come out of the Maranello-based automaker. In fact, the Mondial is one of the main reasons why Ferrari became infamous for creating unreliable automobiles. The Mondial wasn’t considered good back in the 1980s, and it certainly hasn’t aged well.
Ferrari may be one of the last brands you’d expect to develop an underpowered supercar that lacked any kind of quality or reliability. It is no surprise that the Mondial is one of the cheapest Ferraris money could buy.
Chevrolet Camaro (Third-gen)
The Camaro is rightfully one of the most beloved American cars of all time. It has been around since the 1960s and is still produced to this day. In the early 1980s, GM introduced the third generation of the Camaro. It was nowhere near as great as any of its predecessors.
While the V8-powered Z28 variant of the car was far from a bad vehicle, the base model V6 Camaro was truly awful. Its tiny 2.8L motor only produces 107 horsepower! A sprint to 60 miles per hour takes over 13 seconds in what is arguably the worst Camaro ever built.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Orochi is extravagant. Its design may not appeal to everyone in the world, though it is unarguably unique. This crazy Japanese supercar debuted in the mid-2000s. Funnily enough, this complete eyesore was developed to compete with Ferraris.
Apart from the questionable design, the Orochi is not particularly innovative in terms of performance. In fact, it shares most components with the Honda NSX, as well as an array of parts sourced from Lexus. While that may positively impact the car’s reliability, the Orochi is terribly underpowered. Its Toyota-made V6 engine only produces 231 horsepower!
The 350Z debuted back in 2002 as the direct successor of the 300ZX. Unfortunately, this sleek-looking coupe is notorious for reliability issues. Though it may be able to sprint to 60 miles per hour in less than 6 seconds, the 350Z is a vehicle that’s shoddily put together and far behind its competitors.
Despite its flaws, the 350Z has remained one of the favorites among the car community. Its affordable price tag paired with relatively cheap aftermarket parts make this sports car one of the top picks for young petrolheads.
Ford Mustang (Fourth-gen)
Much like the previously mentioned Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang has unarguably become an icon of American automobiles. There have been some truly spectacular Mustangs developed throughout the pony car’s nearly six-decade-long production run. Sadly, the fourth generation is not one of them. In fact, it could very well be the worst Mustang of all time.
Unlike the predecessor of the fourth-gen, this vehicle wasn’t overlooked for no reason. The third-gen Foxbody Mustang turned out to be a great car, hence it has returned to the spotlight a few years ago. The fourth-gen, however, deserves to be forgotten. The design inside and out is not helping its reputation, either.
The 914 has gone down in history as one of the worst vehicles ever made by the German automaker. This budget-friendly mid-engine sports car was developed by Porsche and Volkswagen to serve as the entry-level Porsche. It went on sale in 1969 and was discontinued just 7 years later.
Despite its quirky exterior design and a Targa roof, the 914 failed to sell. The sports car was awfully underpowered, its boxer engine barely made 100 horsepower! While the 914 was agile at tight turns, its terrible acceleration was far from appealing.
Today, the Midget is regarded as a classic British roadster. The small sports car has gathered quite a fanbase. However, having an enormous cult following certainly does not mean that the Midget was any good. After all, vehicles such as the Trabant or the Yugo all have plenty of enthusiasts worldwide, and they share one thing in common with the MG Midget- they’re truly horrendous cars.
Don’t let the Midget’s styling fool you, this roadster is anything but quick. In fact, a sprint to 60 miles per hour takes it over 15 seconds!
Many die-hard Ferrari fans don’t consider this sleek-looking sports car to be a real prancing horse. Back in the late 60s, powerplants developed for Formula 2 race cars had to be based on the engines of roadgoing cars. Since Ferrari did not have the resources to create at least 500 examples per year, the Italian automaker called Fiat for help. The Dino was the result.
Just like any other proper Ferrari, the spectacular body of the Dino was designed by Pininfarina. Its mid-mounted powerplant, however, was built by Fiat. It was also Ferrari’s first production vehicle built on an assembly line. Ferrari wasn’t too proud of their creation, the Dino was marketed as a subsidiary of the Italian marque.
Lamborghini was desperate to enrich its client base and boost sales in the early 1970s. Hence, the Italian automaker decided that entering the budget-friendly supercar market would be a good idea. The first and last Lamborghini supercar on a budget was the Urraco, which debuted in 1973.
While the Urraco is a gorgeous vehicle, it was not quite there in terms of quality or performance. Its V8 motor only made 180 horsepower. As if that wasn’t enough, the Urraco was always overshadowed by the flashy Countach. Lamborghini discontinued the model 6 years after its debut, having only sold around 800 examples.
Nissan 370Z Nismo
Nissan retired the previously mentioned 350Z after 2007 and replaced it with the all-new 370Z. 14 years ago, the souped-up 370Z Nismo was a solid choice in its price range. Not to mention that the car was lightyears ahead of its predecessor.
Fast forward to 2021 and you will still find the 370Z Nismo in Nissan dealerships. In fact, it hasn’t changed that much since its initial release, except for a minor facelift in 2015. Today, the 370Z Nismo is far too overpriced for what the vehicle has got to offer. It’s high time Nissan introduced a much-needed successor to their flagship sports car.
Chevrolet Cobalt SS (Naturally-Aspirated)
The Cobalt SS was meant to be a great, affordable sports car. Afterall, GM’s announcement to create a souped-up performance-oriented version of the Cobalt did sound exciting to a lot of buyers. Sadly, the Cobalt SS did not quite live up to the expectations.
The first-gen Cobalt SS hit the market for the 2005 model year. The Cobalt SS appeared as if the production was rushed, as the car lacked any kind of quality. It was nowhere near as good as its competitors. However, the GM introduced supercharged and turbocharged versions of the sports car. These were a huge leap ahead of the awful naturally aspirated Cobalt SS.
Porsche attempted to develop yet another affordable entry-level sports car as a direct successor of the horrible 914. Hence, in 1976, the German manufacturer released the Porsche 924. Sadly, the 924 proved to be a train wreck, much like its predecessor.
This time, Porsche decided to offer more engine options for their entry-level sports car. While the base model 924 only made 125 horsepower and was awfully slow, the 924 Carrera GTS packed a much more powerful 245-horsepower 2.0L. Sadly, this German sports car turned out to be one of the most unreliable Porsches ever.
Ford Mustang II
The second generation of America’s favorite pony car is perhaps the worst version of the Mustang. It was introduced for the 1974 model year, shortly after the oil crisis that dramatically increased fuel prices in the US. While a more fuel-efficient Mustang did make sense from a logical point of view, it is nowhere near as legendary as its predecessor.
The base model came fitted with a weak flat-four that only peaked at around 90 horsepower. In its most powerful variant, the V8-powered Mustang II was rated at 140 horses and a 10.5-second sprint to 60mph. Despite the terrible performance figures, Ford sold over 1.1 million examples of this generation of the Mustang.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Like many other cars on this list, the Lagonda is an absolutely spectacular vehicle to look at. Aston Martin released this exotic four-door sedan back for the 1976 model year. Sadly, the Lagonda did not offer much apart from the exceptional exterior design.
Aston Martin released the four-door sedan to boost sales, and it surely worked out at first. Sadly, buyers quickly realized that the Lagonda was prone to a bunch of mechanical issues, mostly related to the car’s electronics.
Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
The souped-up version of the Mercedes-Benz CLA hit the market for the 2013 model year. Instead of improving the cheap-made CLA-class, the German automaker decided to dress it up and dramatically raise the price tag.
The CLA 45 AMG leaves a lot to be desired. It does not have the quality one may expect from Mercedes-Benz. In fact, its cheap finish makes the CLA one of the worst picks in its price range. Buyers may be tempted by the AMG branding as well as decent performance figures, yet it’s best to stay away from this car.
The Crossfire may look like a fun car at first. After all, it is hard to go wrong with a V6-powered 2-seater drop-top. Unless, of course, the vehicle is built on an outdated platform from another manufacturer.
In reality, the Crossfire is nothing more than a cheap-made version of an old Mercedes-Benz SLK, dressed up to look more modern. It truly was one of the worst vehicles developed during the union of Daimler and Chrysler. The Crossfire’s 3.2L V6 motor was sourced from Mercedes, just like over three-quarters of the entire car. When Mercedes-Benz developed the platform for the all-new SLK, the first-gen one was simply handed over to Chrysler.
There is a great chance that you’ve never heard of this quirky sports car. The vehicle was developed by Vector Motors, a California-based automaker, back in the late 1980s. The car saw a short production run limited to just 22 units in total.
The W8 made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In 1991, tennis star Andre Agassi asked Vector Motors for a refund after the car caught on fire because of an overly hot exhaust system. That same year, Car and Driver was unable to test the vehicle as all three units provided to the magazine broke down. Unsurprisingly, The W8 has gone down in history as an absolute failure.
Back in 2013, a Dubai-based automaker made international news with the release of the crazy Devel Sixteen hypercar. The vehicle was reportedly powered by a quad-turbocharged V16 motor that would generate up to 5000 horsepower. The car was teased to become the quickest vehicle on the planet, capable of reaching over 350 miles per hour. The Devel Sixteen was supposed to debut within the next few years.
Fast-forward to 2021 and nothing has really changed. The automaker stopped publishing frequent updates regarding the status of the production. Back in 2017, rumors that the hypercar isn’t real at all began to circulate around the Internet. The world has forgotten about this creation ever since.
The Charger debuted back in ’66 and quickly became one of the most legendary American muscle cars. The first 3 generations of the Charger are truly astonishing, complete with powerful V8 motors under the hood as well as jaw-dropping design inside and out. Then, the fourth-gen came out in 1975 and ruined it all.
The fourth generation of the Charger looked nothing like its predecessors. Overall, the fourth generation was an enormous downgrade for one of America’s favorite muscle cars. While the early Chargers became highly sought-after by collectors across the world, the fourth-gen quickly became forgotten.
The Miata has become one of the go-to sports cars on the budget, and it’s clear to see why. The original MX5 looks great and it is an absolute blast to drive. It isn’t particularly practical, but that’s okay for a sporty roadster. Sadly, it isn’t anywhere as fast as you may expect.
Though the Miata handles ideally around tight corners, the cute roadster is awfully underpowered. The car’s 113-horsepower motor takes nearly 10 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. Issues with excessive rust are common on the first-gen Miata, too.
Chevrolet Corvette (1984)
1984 was easily one of the worst years in the history of the Chevrolet Corvette. Anyone who is in the market for an early-model fourth-gen Corvette should stay away from the cars built in 1984, as they were nowhere near as good as the newer models. The fourth-generation as a whole, however, is a fantastic sports car that’s incredibly underrated.
GM fitted the all-new C4 Corvette with a painfully underpowered cross-fire injection V8 motor, which was also notorious for reliability issues. The powerplant was removed only a year later, in favor of a much more modern 5.7L V8 TPI, short for tuned port injection. The C4 Corvette built between 1985 and 1990 made between 235-250 horses, as opposed to the 84’s 205hp.
At first, the Fiero seemed like a promising sports car. Many of its features were never seen in the industry before, such as speakers integrated into the seats’ headrests. The vehicle debuted for the 1984 model year and was called off just five years later.
The reputation of the Fiero dropped right after its release. The car became notorious for reliability issues and underwhelming performance, though there was a much bigger problem. The Fiero was deemed unsafe following a wave of blasts and explosions. One out of every 508 1984 Fieros was either exploding or spontaneously catching on fire!
Dodge Challenger (1978)
The legendary Challenger is yet another American muscle car that was painfully downgraded. While the first generation of the muscle car has gone down in history, the same cannot be said about its successor. In fact, the second-gen Challenger wasn’t really a Dodge at all.
For some odd reason, Chrysler decided to stick the iconic Challenger nameplate onto a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Coupe. As if that wasn’t enough, the second-gen Challenger only received two different powerplants, both of which were flat-four motors. Talk about a downgrade.
Aston Martin Vantage Le Mans
Back in 1999, Aston Martin released the Vantage Le Mans. As its name may suggest, the car paid homage to celebrate the automaker’s 40th anniversary of the legendary Le Mans victory in 1959. The vehicle saw a short production run strictly limited to just 40 units.
The Vantage Le Mans was released when Aston Martin was owned by Ford. At the time of its release, the vehicle was the most powerful production car on the planet! Its V8 powerplant was rated at a whopping 600 horsepower. Sadly, the car wasn’t particularly fast. Its heavy body negatively impacted the handling. Apart from the high horsepower, the Vantage Le Mans did not really offer much.
Chrysler wanted to leave the 20th century in the most stylish way possible. Therefore, back in 1997, the automaker released the all-new Prowler sports car. The car looked absolutely phenomenal. Sadly, it did not offer much else than a unique design.
This two-door roadster came fitted with a 3.5L V6 powerplant, which felt rather underpowered. It was not particularly agile either. To make matters even worse, Chrysler decided not to offer it with a manual transmission. The vehicle that was apparently developed to be a blast to drive lacked a stick-shift!
For some odd reason, Chevrolet seemed to ignore the absolute tragic turn of events for the Chrysler Prowler. Instead of learning from the mistake of the fellow automaker, GM decided to have a go at creating an equally awful sports car. To make matters worse, the Chevrolet SSR was actually a pickup truck.
While many buyers found the exterior styling of the SSR to be appealing, its performance was tremendously underwhelming. The truck was heavy and anything but agile. It was powerful, at least. Its 6.0L V8 was rated at nearly 400 horsepower.
The Testarossa has become one of the most iconic vehicles of the 1980s, and arguably one of the most legendary Ferraris of all time. Its design is instantly recognizable, and so is the rear-mounted flat-12 motor. As much as we all love this supercar, it wasn’t all that great when it first came out.
With a 5.2-second sprint to 60 miles per hour, the Testarossa certainly can’t compete with the supercars of today. Interestingly, it wasn’t particularly fast among its competition back in the 80s either. Add in the notorious reliability issues, and you end up with one of the worst Ferraris ever. It is an absolute masterpiece in terms of design, though.
Chevrolet Corvette (1980)
1980 was far from a good year for Corvette buyers in California. Strict state regulations introduced for that year meant that the sports car could only come equipped with the 305-cubic inch V8 beneath the hood. However, the problems did not end there.
The only transmission that Chevrolet could mate with the powerplant to meet all of the regulations was an automatic one, the four-speed manual was not offered anymore. GM had to equip the Corvette sold in California with a different exhaust system that would pass the emissions regulations. In effect, the 1980 Corvette sold in California only made 180 horsepower.
Aston Martin Virage
There’s a great chance you’ve never heard of this quirky Aston Martin from the 1990s. It was sold during a rather problematic period of transition for the British automaker. In fact, it was the only vehicle manufactured by Aston Martin between 1989 and 1992. It also happens to be the direct successor of the previously mentioned V8 Vantage.
Sadly, the Virage was far too heavy to handle well. Aston Martin tried to make up for it by fitting a massive V8 under the hood. Buyers quickly discovered frequent reliability issues, and the Virage quickly became forgotten.
The Merak was one of the first vehicles to appear in the newly-created budget supercar segment. It debuted back in 1972, the same year as the previously mentioned Lamborghini Urraco. Just like the Urraco, the Maserati Merak wasn’t exactly amazing.
Back in the 1970s, Citroen was the owner of Maserati. That’s why the Merak came fitted with a funky hydraulic braking system, among other quirky features. While the vehicle truly looked incredible, its engine only produced 190 horsepower. In 1975, the Italian automaker unveiled a more powerful SS trim of the Merak, however, that could not save the Merak either. The vehicle was eventually discontinued in 1983.
The Biturbo was the direct successor of the previously mentioned Maserati Merak, which is widely considered to be one of the worst Maseratis of the 20th century. While the Biturbo is not as infamous as the Merak, the two cars share a very similar reputation.
The Biturbo was, much like the Merak, developed to be sold at an affordable price tag. Sadly, this can be seen through the vehicle, as the Biturbo is notorious for reliability issues of all kinds. Owners could expect to see all kinds of leaks practically every time the vehicle was driven.
The Jalpa was not exactly a terrible car. However, even the reason this vehicle made it onto the market was all wrong. The car debuted in 1981 as a toned-down, budget-friendly alternative to the iconic Lamborghini Countach.
Lamborghini essentially removed every feature that made the Countach insanely cool and extravagant, including its V12 powerplant or vertical doors, and turned it into a whole new vehicle. It is no surprise that the Italian automaker only sold 410 units during the car’s 7-year long production run. It was also the last Lamborghini to use a V8 engine, all the way until the new Lamborghini Urus SUV.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
The Veloster Turbo was Hyundai’s answer to the ever-growing demand for hot hatches. The souped-up version of the Veloster launched for the 2013 model year.
Despite the initial enthusiasm, the Veloster Turbo turned out to be quite a bland vehicle. Its turbocharged 1.6L motor only pushes out 200 horsepower. A sprint to 60 miles per hour takes it nearly 7 seconds, which is not impressive by today’s standards. The styling, although more aggressive than the base model, is not quite there yet either.
Nissan Sentra Nismo
Nissan’s motorsport division, or Nismo for short, is responsible for creating some of the most adrenaline-packed cars sold by the Japanese automaker. The Nissan GTR R35 Nismo, for example, is one of the quickest vehicles in its price range. Sadly, the same cannot be said about the Sentra Nismo.
At first sight, you would expect the Sentra Nismo to be a crazy souped-up version of the Sentra sedan. A rival of the BMW M3, perhaps. This could not be further from the truth. This sedan only makes 188 horsepower coming from its 1.6L flat-four. The Sentra Nismo may be the biggest Nismo let-down of all time.
Unlike every other vehicle on this list, the M1 was far from a bad car. Instead, this sleek supercar suffered from an array of issues that inevitably affected the sales figures and forced BMW to discontinue the model. Despite being a fantastic supercar, the M1 failed in terms of sales and was quickly forgotten.
The problems began before the M1 was even released. The supercar was commissioned to be built by Lamborghini, though the German automaker was forced to cancel the contract at the last second. What’s more, the M1 was made to race in the Procar motorsport series which had been discontinued right before the debut of the M1. BMW was forced to shut down the assembly line, having only built 430 units of the car.
Though the XJ220 is nothing short of brilliant, it suffered from a whole array of different issues that eventually left the owners unhappy. The problems began a while ahead of the XJ220’s 1992 debut.
In the early 1990s, Jaguar teased the public with a prototype of the upcoming XJ220 supercar. The vehicle was supposed to come powered by an enormous V12 powerplant mated with an all-wheel-drive drivetrain. Not only did the production version come with half the cylinders, the XJ220 also lost the all-wheel-drive drivetrain. As if that wasn’t enough, the supercar ended up costing more than the initial price advertised by Jaguar! Unsurprisingly, the buyers were not too happy about these last-minute changes.