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Are these the worst cars ever made?

Triumph TR7What are the worst cars ever made? Motoring journalist Rob Griffin picks his 'top' six.

There have been many wonderfully designed cars that have combined stunning lines with first-rate engineering.

But alongside them sit some of the ugliest, gutless, most flawed machines ever to roll off the production line.

Here are six of the worst.

Triumph TR7

In theory this car, pictured above, should have been a winner but it just missed the spot, according to Giles Chapman, author of The Worst Cars Ever Sold.

"It's quite a dramatic looking vehicle, but suffered from production moving factories every couple of years which mean the quality was terrible."

Also, it didn't come as a convertible for the first five years due to unfounded fears that the US would ban soft tops on safety grounds.

This made it unappealing to those wanting a thrilling, wind-in-your-hair ride.

Austin Allegro

Austin AllegroWhen you consider the Austin Allegro was dubbed "Al-aggro"in recognition of its design problems, you get the idea why this weird looking machine is seen as one of Britain's worst cars.

Made by British Leyland in the 1970s and 1980s, it initially came with quirky features such as a rectangular steering wheel with rounded sides.

However, the quality was poor and its styling looked dated when compared to the new hatchback designs favoured by Volkswagen for its Golf.

VW Passat 2.0 TDI 2005-2011

VW PassatAh, the dear old Volkswagen Passat.

This large family car has been through various design reincarnations since first being unveiled back in the early 1970s.

Since that time only the name has remained the same.

The 2005-2011 version, however, is certainly not favoured by car website

It brands the motor: "Not special to look at, not special to drive, and with a number of inexcusable design defects such as the engine oil pump drive and the electric parking brakes that create expensive problems"

Morris Ital

Morris ItalThis was a face-lifted Morris Marina.

Its name came from Giorgetto Giugiaro's ItalDesign studio which had been employed by British Leyland to manage the re-engineering.

But despite its advertising emphasising the connection, the Italian styling house wasn't responsible for the design.

Says Chapman: "It was rubbish when it first came out and the fact it was still on sale 13 years later with a bit of a lie attached was emblematic of what happened to the British car industry.

"By 1984 you had cars like the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier which made it look like something out of the ark."

Reliant Robin

The three-wheeled Reliant Robin first appeared in the 1970s and could be driven on a motorbike licence – which meant they could be taxed cheaply too.

Reliant RobinBut one of the problems was that they had to weigh under a certain limit so had to adopt a no-frills approach.

Comfort and performance, therefore, were not top of the list of priorities.

It was often dubbed the "Plastic Pig" because of its shape and fibreglass body shell.

Del Boy Trotter famously drove a three-wheeler in hit TV series Only Fools and Horses, although his was actually a Reliant Regal Supervan III rather than a Robin.

In recent years, remaining cars have found fame on the race track.


59 Lada 1200Nothing evokes memories of the Cold War more than the Lada.

Hugely popular across Russia and other Eastern European countries, they were also feted in the West for being extraordinarily cheap, unpretentious and easy to work on.

The fact you could get a four door, 1300cc Lada (with a big boot) cheaper than a Mini was particularly endearing but they weren't exactly luxurious.

"The steering was heavy but this was a legacy of communist era cars," says Chapman.

"They didn't have to compete because there weren't many other cars on the market."

What do you think?

Are these the worst cars ever made?

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Picture credits
Triumph TR7, Austin Allegro,  Morris Ital, Reliant Robin, Lada: Giles Chapman collection
VW Passat:


Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin

Rob Griffin is a freelance journalist who regularly appears in national publications, including The Independent and Daily Express. He covers motoring, business, and personal finance issues.

Read more from Rob