This article was originally posted on RM Auto Buzz, to view the original article click here.
All photos are property of RM Auto Buzz.
After the superstar success of Porsche's Cayenne SUV, the German sports car brand turned its attention toward another segment: the four-door sedan. Actually a hatchback, the resulting Panamera tried to nail down the DNA that makes the 911 coupe such an icon, but applied to a larger body with a front-engined layout. While the Panamera just may be the most exciting four-door ever, its misshapen styling and particularly its ugly rear haunch makes it also one of the least attractive.
The Granada was Ford's attempt to compete with the rising popularity of luxury sedans from Germany with a flashy sedan of its own. With styling cues from a V-shaped front grille to a weird upswept kink at the rear, the Granada pulled a bit from Mercedes-Benz but did not quite get things right. The second-generation model was a bit better, showing Ford seemed to learn its lesson that American car buyers want American-looking cars. The original Granada still is a legend for its homely styling.
The second-generation Ford Fairlane that debuted for 1957 may be single-handedly responsible for killing off the huge tailfins that characterized most American cars of the 1950s. Ford took this detail to the extreme with fins about 9 feet long that extended all the way to the Fairlane's doorline. The rest of the car was not much better, its front end able to pass for the rear end of most vehicles. Even the upscale Skyliner convertible shown here was not a pretty sight.
Back to the modern era, where Nissan released its Cube to the U.S. market after the success of the similarly boxy Scion xB. The Cube is proof in pudding why most car designs are not asymmetrical. Its wraparound rear window extends for a pillar less effect on one side, but not the other. Overall, the bulbous and overwrought design did not catch on with buyers as Nissan saw sales slow to a trickle until the Cube's 2014 demise.
The specific Tiburon compact sport coupe that wins our ugly award is the post-refresh first-generation model, when Hyundai further ruined what was already an ugly car by changing its front clip from ho-hum to oh yuck. No better were the Tiburon's dual side-body character lines that joined to make a car that looked like it was traveling in two directions at once. The modern Genesis Coupe and Veloster are much more attractive.
By the turn of the millennium, once-dominant station wagons were seen as your grandma's car and the antithesis of cool. Chevrolet thus marketed its Malibu-based wagon as a "five-door extended sedan," a gimmick made possible by the Maxx's stupid faux trunk that jutted out from the rear hatch. Throw in blocky fender flares that did not quite look right and a lame cartoon show name and no one was sad when Chevy killed the model with the Malibu's redesign.
The Gremlin was designed by now-defunct American Motors as an answer to the hugely popular Volkswagen Beetle as a low-powered runabout that still had space for a family. Where the VW has become an icon, about the only people still in love with the Gremlin who like its oddball name, goblin-like mascot and irony value. Its lopped-off rear deck, tiny interior and impossibly long hood for such a small car made it look more like a shoe than an automobile. For some reason, die-hard Gremlin fan clubs exist to this day.
The Continental Mark VI lasted for just 2 model years. The car's mishmash of seemingly random "retro" styling elements included non-functional fender air extractors, barely functional "porthole" windows, fins, a trunk-mounted spare and worst of all, that weird vinyl top that rises far above the sedan's roofline in a very awkward center section. With the 1960s-era Continental one of the most beautiful cars of all time, what the heck happened? This is a case of Lincoln trying too hard to be itself.
The ugly-as-sin Aztek came into being in an era at General Motors where individual executives often pushed products to market to shape buyer preferences, rather than shaping their products to existing wants and needs. While the odd Pontiac was in some ways ahead of its time, its "Honda CRX swallowed a hippopotamus" styling has made it the butt of many a joke. The Aztek got a new lease on life when it famously served as the ride of choice for Breaking Bad high school teacher, cancer patient and meth cook Walter White.
Uglier than the Aztek? Yes, indeed. The D-2 Divan three-wheeler that sat four passengers across one long bench saw just 1 model year of production before the fledgling automaker's founder was sued by employees he failed to pay and eventually convicted of theft and fraud. The car itself resembles those 25-cent plastic rides for kids in front of grocery stores, and that is being generous. Some may see "ahead of its time." We see "a rolling toaster."