Can You Name These American Automaker Flops and Failures from a Photo?


By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons/Vegavairbob via Wiki Commons/ilikewaffles11 via Wiki Commons/Aidan Wojtas via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

As with all things in life, there are successes and failures.

In the world of motoring, the same certainly rings true.  Vehicles such as the Volkswagen Beetle or the Ford Model T were phenomenal. For instance, in the case of the Beetle, it was first produced in the late 1930s, with the last rolling off the production line in Mexico in 2003. Over 20 million had been manufactured in a period of close to 70 years. 

Successful? You betcha! 

The Model T from Ford was similar. Even at the dawn of motoring, people realized a winner when they saw one, and that translated to sales.

But for every motoring success, such as the Beetle or the Model T, there are failures. Many cars, released with the best intentions of motor companies around the world, have flopped spectacularly! And it's often for a multitude of reasons. Poorly made, underpowered or unsafe, whatever the reason, once the word gets out, the motoring public tends to steer well clear.

And it's no different for this range of American models that you will find in our quiz today. Four options are what you have for each question. Will you be able to identify the auto FLOP?

Good luck!

This vehicle became an icon thanks to it featuring in the movie franchise, "Back to the Future." Overall, it was terrible, however. Do you know its name?

The dream of John DeLorean, the DMC-12 had its 5 minutes of fame thanks to the "Back to the Future" movies. It remained a terrible car with sluggish performance and was only produced for a year before the company went bankrupt.


Named after a mythical creature, this vehicle looked as if it was chopped in half. What was it called?

Voted by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Worst Cars of All Time, the Gremlin was ugly. Essentially a shortened AMC Hornet, the Gremlin used vacuum-operated wipers, didn't have dick brakes or use radial tires. It wasn't very well received.


This retro-styled vehicle was released in 1997. It was marketed by both Plymouth and then Chrysler. It didn't sell well. Name it, please.

With its retro looks the Prowler from Plymouth was marketed as something different on the vehicle scene. Its performance didn't match its looks, however, with the Prowler only having a V6 engine with an automatic transmission. Let's just say the Prowler's story is not one of lasting success.


Interesting name but that didn't help sales. People were just getting used to automobiles, and this was already very different to what they had seen on the roads. Can you name it?

A car in 1910 with EIGHT wheels. People were barely used to cars with four wheels. Not even one was sold.


Successful sales in Europe never means automatic success in the United States as this model showed in the 1950s. What is it?

Although a success in Europe, the Dauphine from Renault tanked when released in the United States in the 1950s. Primarily, this was because of its performance. Let's say it was a little sluggish. It has made numerous worst cars of all time lists, including that of Time Magazine.


American sports cars are normally excellent buys. Not this one. Do you know what it is?

This American sports car only sold 17 units. It didn't help that one almost killed tennis star Andre Agassi when it caught alight soon after he purchased it.


Way back in 1913, this must have looked a little odd! What was it called?

Is it a car? Is it a motorbike? Back in 1913, no one who saw James Scripps-Booth's invention was sure and certainly didn't want to own one. Only one was ever built.


Sharing a platform with the Mercedes SLK, this American vehicle proved to be a massive flop over its lifetime. What was it called?

Built on the same platform as the Mercedes SLK roadster, the Crossfire was marketed from 2003 to 2009. In that time, only 52,000 were sold. FLOP!


This car, purposely designed with aerodynamics in mind was a flop in the 1930s. What was it called?

Ahead of its time, the Chrysler Airflow incorporated aerodynamics in its design in the 1930s. Sadly, the public didn't care and it sold poorly, lasting just three years in production.


This all-electric car was the first such offering from one of America's big three automakers. What is its name?

The first electric car offered by General Motors, the EV1 was produced as a model between 1996 and 1999. Only 1,100 sold, with General Motors eventually recalling them all and destroying them.


You would not expect this popular marque from one of America's Big Three car brands to produce a flop. But it did. What is its name?

Believe it or not, because of laws in California governing emission requirements, the Corvette 304 was only fitted with a small block V8 motor pushing out a paltry 180 brake horsepower. Certainly not enough for a Corvette! The 305 made the Time Magazine list of 50 Worst Cars of All Time.


This budget car from one of America's Big Three automobile makers was a real fire hazard in the '70s and '80s. What was it called?

Although the budget-friendly Ford Pinto sold well, it had a terrible secret. Thanks to the placement of its fuel tank behind the rear axle, the Pinto was a real fire hazard in a rear impact collision. Forde only fixed the problem from 1976 onward and paid some out of court settlements instead of recall. When this was found out, they were forced to recall the Pintos anyway and fix the problem.


One man's dream quickly became a nightmare. Although this car had potential, only 51 were ever built. What was it?

The dream of Preston Tucker, the Torpedo only saw 51 units built. Why? Well, Tucker was indicted for fraud, although many say he was set up. The truth is out there...


Mini-cars are a hit or miss affair. This was a massive miss. Name the mini-car.

This company had been trying to make the perfect mini car for years. Their third attempt in the '50s still wasn't much better than their earlier attempts and eventually, safety regulations enforced by the US government put an end to the King Midget III models.


Certainly the right name here, this car was liable to go up in smoke. What was its name?

Well, the Pontiac Fiero certainly lived up to its name. Over 200 fires were reported by owners. And the reason, well the Fiero would just go up in flames when it engine reached low oil levels, which happened often. Fiero... go figure!


An upmarket version of Ford's F-150, this vehicle was a stablemate that failed horribly. What was its name?

If Lincoln had thought this through properly... I mean, who wants a pickup with a carpeted truck bed? An attempt at an up-market pickup, the Blackwood was a failure in the early 2000s. Only 3,300 ever sold.


This was the first SUV offered by this American brand. Sadly, it was a massive flop, although it remained on sale for 5 years. What is this vehicle's name?

Not even a complimentary tent and inflatable mattress could save the Pontiac Aztek. The first SUV offered by Pontiac was not much of a success and only around 100,000 sold during the five years the Aztek was marketed from 2001 to 2005. Oh, and it was a horrible drive.


With a unique injection system, this vehicle was certainly different. And it stood out in the crowd, mainly thanks to the systems failure, bringing sales for this flop to a grinding halt. What car have we described?

Introduced in 1962, the Jetfire from Oldsmobile used a sport water injection system. For this to work, owners had to top up their Turbo Rocket Fuel, essentially a mixture of water and alcohol. They forget and although it wasn't meant to, it affected the performance of the turbocharger and made the engine die. The Jetfire didn't last long.


Now you would never expect this model to be a failure, but in the early 1980s, it certainly was thanks to its poor performance. Name the vehicle.

Another Chevy, another entry on Time Magazine list of 50 Worst Cars of All Time. And again, performance related. The Camaro came from a muscle car background so for the 1982 redesign to be powered by a 4-cylinder 90 brake horsepower engine was a travesty.


After some early success, a new version of this vehicle was not well received by the public and it helped to push this auto manufacturer deeper into financial trouble. Which car from this list is the culprit here?

Oldsmobile was already in financial difficulty by the time the Aurora hit the market. Although it initially did very well, a later redesign was not well received and the Aurora tanked.


This car was so poor, its problems even reached the Senate of the United States government. What make and model was it?

A disaster for Chevrolet, the Corvair had serious handling issues. Problems with this model even reached the Senate, with Ralph Nader calling it "the leading candidate for the unsafest-car title." Naturally, that doomed the Corvair to extinction but other Chevy models dropped sales as well.


They marketed this as a car? Yes, they really did. Looks like more of a go-cart. What is it called?

The Briggs and Stratton Flyer was essentially a wooden bench that moved. It had no protection for the driver from the elements and no shock absorbers. By 1920, however, cars had already evolved to a point of relative comfort, the Flyer just wasn't what the public was looking for.


A massive flop due to a lack of money, this car doesn't look too shabby. Not enough sales meant the project quickly ended. What is the name of this car?

The Bricklin SV-1 was the brainchild of Malcolm Bricklin. Simply put, there was never enough money to see the project off the ground properly, and although a few cars were made, they did not generate enough revenue for the project to continue.


100,000 models of this vehicle were recalled in 2007 after 13 deaths were recorded from a faulty ignition switch. Name the vehicle.

Recalling 100,000 cars is a serious matter and something that Chevrolet had to do in 2007 for their Cobalt model. The reason? They did not meet federal safety standards. This was all down to a faulty ignition switch which would spontaneously just turn the car off, along with many of its safety systems. This problem led to numerous injuries and unfortunately, 13 deaths.


Named after a famous car maker's son, this car was a huge flop. What is its name?

Named after Henry Ford's son, the Edsel was a massive flop and only sold between 1958 and 1960. It's not that the car was bad, it was just really overpriced. And that always turns people away!


With the Ford Model T dominating the market, another famous American manufacturer introduced this vehicle to compete with it. Unfortunately, it caught fire... often. What was the make and model?

Built as competition for the Ford Model T, this vehicle was very prone to not only engine failure but fires as well. How did Chevy deal with the problem? Well, they recalled 757 cars and destroyed them!


A flop when it was released in the '70s and '80s, this car garnered a little fame by appearing in the slacker comedy 'Wayne's World.' What is it?

Although it received some fame for appearing in the cult slacker comedy "Wayne's World" at the time of its release, the AMC Pacer was not well received. Since then it has become an entry on Forbes' Worst Cars of All Time list, among others.


This smaller vehicle, produced by a company that didn't make smaller vehicles, was a massive failure despite remaining on showroom floors for six years. What is the vehicle called?

A small Cadillac? Well, that was doomed to failure, was it not? Introduced in 1982, this fuel-friendly model only lasted six years as it was not very well received.


One of the America's most famous auto-makers had a problem with their automatic gearboxes between 1966 and 1980. This was on many models including one set out below.

What was the problem exactly? Well, the gearbox a had tendency to slip from park into reverse. This didn't only affect the F150 but all vehicles using Ford automatic transmissions. It led to 77 reported deaths.


A competitor for the Ford Pinto, this vehicle started out as an excellent seller. It was poorly made and unreliable, which the public soon picked up on. What was its name?

The Vega won Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1971 but soon owners found out that had some problems with reliability, safety, poor engine quality and was liable to rust. It was even dubbed a "sloppily crafted, unreliable and unsafe automobile" by the Center for Auto Safety.


It wasn't a number of flaws that were the problem with this model of an American icon, it was that it was severely underpowered. And that was frowned upon. Name it.

Introduced during the fuel crisis of the '70s, the Mustang II is frowned upon for one thing - its powerplant options. No longer a gas-guzzling V8 muscle car, the Mustang II now had either four- or six-cylinder engines. Mustang aficionados were not impressed.


The "Dustbuster," essentially this vehicle failed because it was ugly. Name the model from one of America's Big Three.

The Lumina was meant to be a stylish APV. Unfortunately, it was ugly and quickly received the nickname of the Dustbuster thanks to its similar shape to the cleaning device. Many also complained about the terrible driving position with the Lumina often making appearances on the Ugliest Cars of All Time lists.


What could go wrong when an respected American company combined with an Italian brand to produce a vehicle? Everything, apparently. Name the car.

Essentially a Chrysler's K-Car with a Maserati badge and a few additions, this partnership was never going to work. Only 7,000 were shifted in three years between 1989 and 1991.


Overall, this vehicle from one of America's largest producers was a poor car in every respect. Poorly made and with terrible performance, sales reflected how bad it really was. Can you name it?

The Chevrolet Chevette regularly makes lists of the worst cars ever produced. It was poorly made and performance-wise, there was nothing to write home about. It sold poorly.


Not so much the vehicle at fault here but the tires causing it to roll over when tire pressures were too low. What vehicle from a famous American car maker are we talking about?

The Ford Explorer recall wasn't so much about the vehicle but more about the tires it came with. After Firestone and Ford first blamed each other, Firestone acknowledge that the Explorer could roll over if the tires got too hot while suffering from low pressures. Ford then recalled 13 million tires soon after.


A Motor Trend car of the year after release, just five years later it was discontinued? Which vehicle is it?

Another Chevrolet, another problem it seems. 1980's Motor Trend Car of the Year was discontinued just five years later. Why? The Citation was poorly built and suffered with terrible rear brakes. Soon, buyers just steered well clear of the model.


Based on a British model, this vehicle was a massive flop in the four years it was sold in the United States in late '80s, early '90s. Name it.

Released in the United States between 1987 and 1991 by the Austin Rover Group, the Stirling 800 was based on the Rover 800 but proved to be so unreliable and poorly made that it was a massive flop. Rover never returned to America again after 1991.


The first vehicle from this famous American maker to have a V8 engine, this model was a massive failure, mainly thanks to its poor power plant. Can you name it?

Introduced in 1917, the D Series was the first Chevrolet to have a V-8 engine. Sadly, it was horribly underpowered (only 36 brake horsepower), so much so that other four-cylinder engines were more powerful. By 1918 the D Series had disappeared and Chev only returned to V8 motors 37 years later.


What exactly were the manufacturers thinking with this vehicle? It didn't really know what it wanted to be and failed horribly as a result. Can you name it?

A pickup truck convertible. How did that work out for you Chevy? Well, the SSR was only a model option between 2003 and 2006. It did not sell well and is considered a flop.


Marketed as a luxury vehicle in a model range that didn't have or need a luxury vehicle. Name this model which failed spectacularly.

The Lincoln Blackwood was marketed as a luxury pickup. It was a Ford F-150 zooted up a little. No one bought it as they didn't need a carpeted utility area or any other of the strange ideas Lincoln added to the vehicle.


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