The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 December 2002

Worst. Wheels. Ever.

Mark, the self-proclaimed Heavy Metal Redneck, takes issue with that Forbes.com poll to determine the Crappiest American Cars:

I'm horrified to find the "Chevrolet Caprice" and "Dud" on the same page. Holy cow, people. Put the crack down, and back away slowly. The Caprice was one of the most comfortable, most durable, and most widely used by the police from 1977 until the end of their production in 1996. Any clapped out and rusting Caprice stands a very good chance of scattering YOUR brand new shiny car all over the highway. Some of them also stand a good chance of outrunning YOUR brand new shiny 4 banger. Which is why they were used for police cars.

Anything that can't outrun my four-banger (zero to sixty in 11.2 on a good day) is in need of repair, is being driven by a narcoleptic, or is a Segway.

AMC was a company that didn't make it. Why didn't they make it? Because they didn't make cars that blended in. See a Pacer, anywhere, and you will remember seeing it. Remember the last time you saw a Camry? Huh?

The problem is, I can remember the last time I saw a Camry. In fact, just about every damn time I pull into a parking lot, I see a Camry.

The sheep buy cars that are power everything and loaded with features...and never stop to think what to do if the car doesn't work like it's supposed to. They buy front wheel drive cars, because they think they're better on the snow. That is, until it snows, and then they and their FWD jap jobs are stuck, while the driver of the 1976 Caprice 2 door (400 V8, 300 horsepower, lots of legroom, had many women in the back seat can't do that with a Galant) is having no trouble at all.

Uh, Mark, does your mom know you've had women in the back seat? (And why the hell didn't I ever do this?)

Actually, my FWD "jap job" (made in Flat Rock, Michigan) does pretty well in the snow; I haven't had a serious slide in the slush in years.

All too soon, the Crown Victoria will be phased out... then the Mustang will become a front wheel drive Acura wannabe. The De-Balling of America will be complete. No wonder Saddam Hussien is still alive.

If you're not doing anything this weekend, why don't you run him over with a Caprice? You'd be doing us all a favor, and Chevrolet could use the publicity. I won't even make any jokes about Iraq-and-pinion steering.

Posted at 12:45 PM to Driver's Seat


When my wife and I lived in Alaska we both drove FWD cars. The only time I had a serious traction problem was before we figured out that studded tires might be worth the investment.

Meanwhile, whenever there was a good snow, you couldn't drive a mile without seeing some 4WD SUV or truck in the ditch, often on its side, sometimes upside down.

Which may be why the people I bought my erstwhile Bronco from, up there, didn't drive it in winter...

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at 4:39 PM on 13 December 2002

I had, for a while, a nasty '84 Mercury Cougar with the notorious 3.8 V6 that went through head gaskets faster than Spinal Tap went through drummers, and shod with studs during the four months or so they're allowed here, it was pretty much unstoppable.

And it didn't seem to matter how hard I hit the brakes, either.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:58 PM on 13 December 2002