Thursday Five: The five ugliest cars ever
Beauty is a very subjective thing, particularly when it comes to cars. What one person finds stunning attractive can well make another person physically ill and many heated arguments have been started over car looks.
That is why we are going to wind you up with our picks for the five ugliest cars ever to have turned a wheel. Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder, but the beholder would have to have something seriously wrong with their eyes to think these cars are beautiful...
Ford Scorpio MkII
Ford UK came over all American when it came to the design of the second generation Scorpio, and then almost instantly regretted it. You think the Ford Taurus we got here in the mid-to-late 1990s was ugly? Then get a load of the second generation Scorpio that was unleashed on Europe around the same time. The French took to calling it a "grenouile triste" which meant “sad frog” in English and Ford refused to release the name of the designer, possibly at the designers request, but probably because the chimp responsible had already been sent back to the animal testing lab. The 90s weren’t a golden era for Ford design...
Vanden Plas 1500
Throw a Daimler-inspired chrome front end on what was a particularly dowdy design in the first place (the Austin Allegro) and what do you get? Possibly the ugliest creation ever to spew forth from the BMC stable. And given some of the abominations they foisted upon the long-suffering British public, that's saying something. To make matters worse, the sad-eyed 1500 basically signified the final, undignified descent of the Vanden Plas name from renowned coach builders to mere trim-level badge.
The Suzuki X-90 was just all kinds of wrong rolled into one visually offensive little package. Short and stumpy, the X-90 looked not entirely unlike a garden gnome crouching on a roller-skate and was that most spectacularly useless of things - a two-seater SUV, which could make it cute to some eyes, but more useless than a Kardashian to everyone else. Sales were, as you would imagine, spectacularly poor as well, starting off dismal and only dropping from there - 7,205 were imported into the USA in 1996, with half selling the first year, 2,087 in 1997 and just 477 in 1998...
Now, don’t take this the wrong way, because we actually love the original Fiat Multipla - we love the design, we love the concept and we especially love the fact the Fiat had the balls to release it, despite the fact that it was uglier than a truckload of armpits. It looked like the creation of some backyard automotive Dr. Frankenstein who had taken the top half of one car and balanced it precariously on the bottom half of another, entirely different car. And it is actually very, very cool just for that very reason. But that doesn’t stop it from being ugly. Brilliantly ugly, that is.
Looking like some previously undiscovered bottom-feeder dredged up in a fishing net from the unknown depths of the ocean, the unfortunate SP250 was originally supposed to be called the Dart, but Chrysler owned the name and wouldn’t allow Daimler to use it. Possibly because the only other names they could come up with for it weren’t in any way complimentary, Daimler just used its project number instead. Which shows how much they cared. The bulbous SP250 could do 120mph (193km/h - impressive in 1959), but suffered from so much chassis flex that the doors would often pop open while you were doing it. Not only scarily ugly, it was also just plain scary.