Well, it is only a given for the history of muscle cars to be a fun and exciting walk down memory lane! With both enthusiasts and manufacturers asking for better entries, we are always excited to see what the future has in store for this category of cars. However, not all of them were made equal. There is nothing unusual about certain models not being quite up to par. There are times when a car is bad as a whole, but there are times when only specific generations are bad. Are you ready to take a look at some of the most terrible muscle cars ever made?
1975 Buick Gran Sport
Buick wanted to make a muscle car that resembled the GSX, and this was the result. Sadly, it was simply too heavy for our liking thanks to its massive size. It was not at all aerodynamic, which was why it was slow even though the engine could put out 175 hp. The vehicle was almost two tons on the scale, which was far too much even for trucks and sedans of the time. This was why it went obsolete as soon as the sales started to go down.
Meant to be the performance station wagon of the brand, the Magnum was never all that amazing. It had a 5.9-L V8 Hemi engine and a rear-wheel drive, but the fact of the matter was that it was an ugly and heavy car. Drivers could not enjoy what it had to offer since its size slowed it down despite having a great engine. On top of that, why would anyone want to ride a performance station wagon in the first place?
1976-77 Dodge Charger Daytona
The Dodge Charger Daytona was specifically created with NASCAR in mind. It was designed to go even faster than the rest of the Chargers in the lineup. This was the reason its design is more aerodynamic and pointier. In the late ‘60s, it would have been a truly impressive car. In the decade after that, Dodge rebranded a Chrysler Cordoba without changing anything about it. The public just found it slow and ugly.
1970s Era Oldsmobile Cutlass
This model was originally made by Oldsmobile as its entry into the world of muscle cars. Since the company was struggling financially, it made a lot of last-minute changes in an attempt to make as much profit as possible. Sadly, what was meant to be a promising model became nothing more than a Chevy Malibu with a different name and badge. Even its engine was identical to the one used by the Malibu! Sadly, the V8 engine that the Oldsmobile initially sported was nowhere to be found.
1993 Pontiac Firebird
In 1993, this car proved to be a major letdown. At the time, a lot of car companies had been into name branding engineering. This meant that they used the same car but rename it for a stronger effect. If you look at the Pontiac Firebird and take it out for a drive, you will notice that it is basically a Chevy Camaro with red paint and a different badge! The automaker might have changed its body style, but it ultimately had the same performance that you can expect from a Camaro.
1994 Ford Mustang
This is not the only Ford Mustang generation that flopped. In fact, Ford had gone through a number of those before they were able to turn the tide. The 1994 model was among those that failed thanks to the small changes that the company made. On the outside, the body did not get a lot of updates. It looked just like the regular Mustang that everyone had gotten used to. Below the hood, however, it carried a worse engine. It was only a V6 engine that had less than 150 hp.
1993 Chevy Camaro
Most of the biggest changes in the body of the Chevy Camaro was introduced in the 1993 model. The aggressive stance of the car was replaced by a softer and more rounded frame. Sadly, its power was quite lackluster and only had a V6 engine that could only offer 160 hp. It was a good thing that it still used the old F-body platform! In the end, it was able to go through better changes because of this fact.
1995 Chevy Monte Carlo
The Chevy Monte Carlo was only one of the disappointing muscle cars of the ‘90s. The automaker brought back this car 7 years after it went on hiatus. However, the new generation only got worse after its revival. The Monte Carlo did not come equipped with a V8 engine option nor did it carry a lot of updates to the body. This was why it was seen as bland and unimpressive. Not only that, but it would mostly stay unchanged for the rest of the decade. Things only looked up for it when the 2000s rolled in.
1971 Ford Pinto
Time Magazine has declared this as one of the worst muscle cars ever. Let us just say that it was not the most impressive car in the market. First of all, it only came with 75 hp. Even in the ‘70s, this was already way too slow for an average car, much less a muscle car. On top of that, the gas tank could rupture easily. This could be very dangerous, especially if the driver ever got into a rear-end collision.
1982 Ford Thunderbird
The Ford Thunderbird has always been one of the most luxurious models in the Ford lineup. It has even become known as a classic muscle car. Sadly, the one from 1980 to 1982 was actually one of the worst iterations of it. This has all to do with the changes made to its performance and muscle. Even though it was a big car with a V8 engine, it only offered the driver 120 hp. We are glad that the automaker made a lot of better changes to the generation of Thunderbird that came after that!
1974 Pontiac GTO
When it comes to muscle cars, the Pontiac GTO IS considered a pioneer. Many folks respect it and think highly of it for the way it has changed the industry. Despite this, the 1974 model proved to be a huge disappointment. Fair enough, it did have a good engine and better speed than its contemporaries on the road in the ‘70s. Sadly, its downfall was brought about by the decision of the automaker to make it slower and to add in unappealing changes to the body.
1982 Pontiac Trans Am
If you look at the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, you will probably agree with reviewers who have said that it looks aggressive. It came with a futuristic look and even appeared in Knight Rider! While it boasted a lot of potential, the vehicle fell short when it came to performance. After all, the standard engine could only produce 90 hp. If you shelled out more for an engine upgrade, it would not go up any more than 165.
1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra
The King Cobra must be one of the worst things you will ever find in the history of the Ford Mustang. It was basically a Pinto with a Ford badge. Even though the snake decal and new paint made it look neat, it just was not very good or special. Its engine was quite disappointing as it failed to offer a lot of power. Ford only made a limited number of this model. The following year, it gave the model more changes.
1976-80 Plymouth Volare Road Runner
At first, the Plymouth earned a reputation as a road hog that was very impressive on the road. Not only did it look good, but it also sported a 426 Hemi engine and 160 hp as well! The Volare Road Runner, sadly, did not live up to expectations. It did not have any of the features that made the original so great. The performance was also less impressive. As if those things were not enough, the company did a major recall since many units rusted underneath. This could only be taken as a lack of attention to detail!
1978 AMC Gremlin GT
There was no way the AMC Gremlin GT would be crowned the most attractive car of the ‘70s. The muscle car was not just ugly, but it was also slow! It was basically a carbon copy of previous models during the same period of time. It did not have a lot going for it to stand out from the crowd. During the initial release year, it only had 120 hp even with the V8 engine. After it saw a decline in sales, the Gremlin was discontinued. The automaker also made the AMC Spirit the main model instead.
1980-85 Chevrolet Citation X-11
Among the issues that the Citation had, it had plenty of recalls. Many people also viewed it to be unsafe. The Chevy Citation was made to be a small FWD muscle car that only came in either the three-speed or the four-speed overdrive automatic transmission. When it comes to the changes, the automaker gave this model new stabilizer bars and a steering rack. These things did not stop it from becoming a flop.
1980-81 Delorean Dmc-12
Apart from being super popular thanks to its appearance in the Back to the Future movies, this car was mostly a fail. The car designer wanted to make a futuristic vehicle that would not look like the other cars available at the time. This was how the Delorean was created. Even though it is under the muscle car category, it only boasted 130 hp and would take more than ten seconds to go from 0 to 60. Fans of the franchise loved it, but it did not sell well. In fact, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1984.
1980-81 Mercury Capri Turbo RS
Originally in the Ford Europe lineup, the Mercury Capri was later brought across the pond. After that, it was sold together with the other Ford muscle cars. It was on the market for more than thirty years and had been renamed a couple of times. One of the worst things about it was that it was an unreliable car that broke down often. The price went down thanks to its bad rep, which helped sales go up in Europe.
1980 Chevrolet Corvette California 305
As the 1980 Corvette California was being developed, the high federal emission requirements got in its way. The regulations called for it to have a smaller engine, which meant that Chevy could no longer push through with its plans to give it a bigger engine. The V8 engine might have been new, but it could only put out 180 hp. It was a good thing that it found a new way to increase the power the year after that.
1971-1975 Ford Maverick Grabber
The Ford Maverick Grabber was based on an earlier entry to its muscle car lineup: the 1960 Ford Falcon. It was made as an affordable consumer model and was built cheaply in the name of mass production. Even though there were good intentions behind it, the car was just too bland and unremarkable. It was basically a regurgitation of an old car with the introduction of new stripes and a new paint job.
1968-70 Pontiac Tempest
This was the second iteration of the Pontiac Tempest. The model was meant to attract new consumers with the upgraded body style. The public already liked the first generation, but Pontiac ruined this new version with its attempts to improve things. Bad reviews and low sales resulted in its short stint on the market. It was only for sale for two years before it was discontinued. The Le Mans replaced it after that.
1978 Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile 442 was based on a classic design for muscle cars. It was named after the makeup of the car, which included the four-barrel carburetor, the two twin exhaust pipes, and the speed transmission. What made the 1978 version so bad was that it did not have a lot of options for the buyers. It was only sold with a 5.0-L engine and an “aeroback” body style. Even worse, the car could only produce 145 hp!
Ford Mustang II Ghia
This was the second iteration of the Ford Mustang. After the company saw success with the first version, it wanted to follow it up with this. Sadly, they did not reach the same amount of success. This was based on the Pinto platform, although it was much heavier and slower than the one that came before it. The style did not match the predecessor either. In fact, it was actually worse with its boxy and square look.
1975 Chevrolet Corvette
The ’70s had not been a good decade for the Chevy Corvette. Around this time, it did not see a lot of changes when it came to the interior and body. Sadly, it was outfitted with a slower and smaller engine. It only had 15 more hp than what it was using 20 years before that. While it was a truly gorgeous car, it was not enough to make up for the decline in power. It did not hold up, which is why it is on the list.
1982 Chevrolet Camaro
The car in the photo is an example that even though you have put a lot of thought into the design of a car, it will not always be great. The 1982 Chevy Camaro had a couple of issues. One of these would be the engine. While it was equipped with a 5.0-L engine, it still failed to go past 200 hp. The car would take 20 seconds to go from 0 to 60. This was already considered slow even for the time.
1983-1987 Dodge Charger
Let us just say that the ‘80s had not been a great time for the Dodge Charger. At the time, Dodge had been counting on the popularity of the hatchback. This was why the Charger was offered in this form, but it did not suit the audience. What made it even worse was that the hatchback version came with a 4-cylinder engine and poor performance. Even when Carroll Shelby added a turbocharged engine, it did not improve the situation all that much.
Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2
Even though the Pontiac Grand Prix got its name from a race, the 2+2 model was not really race-worthy. Together with the Monte Carlo, it could hardly stand on its own two feet on the track. After all, it only had 150 hp! It did not have a lot to offer when it comes to books either. Its body was not all that unique. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that it looked boring compared to other models at the time.
1980 Dodge Aspen R/T
The 1980 Dodge Aspen must be among the worst cars ever made by the automaker. There were back to back recalls for it, and the body had a terrible rusting issue. Its engine was comparable to the one found in the Chevy Camaro. Buyers had the choice of getting it in an R/T and Super Coupe trim level. The company tried to make up for its errors, but it was already too late for that. In the end, this was a fail.
2004-2005 Chevrolet Impala SS
First introduced in 1961, the Chevrolet Impala SS was deemed one of the most awesome cars on the planet. The 2004-2005 version, unfortunately, was among the worst in its history thanks to its lack of innovation and creativity. The automaker did not really make significant changes nor improvements to both the looks and the engine. If you plan to buy one of these, you might want to know that it used the appearance of the Lumina and an engine that was no better than the one in the previous version.
Buick Regal Sport Coupe
If you look at the late ‘70s muscle car scene, you will see that the Buick Regal Sport Coupe was boring and bland compared to other cars in the market. The standard model had a V6 engine, which was not very fast or powerful. The public liked it for its affordability, but it simply did not live up to the standards set by fellow muscle cars. Buick was planning to revamp it for this year, but it did not push through.
AMC Hornet AMX
The AMC Hornet was a cheap car designed to be friendly to the wallets of drivers who still wanted a muscle car. The model was not all that impressive. It was plain and bore too many similarities with what else the market had to offer. The AMX option was meant to give the car more power, but the Hornet could only ever produce 120 hp. It might have been the ‘70s, but this was no excuse for its slowness.
1974 Chevrolet Nova SS
The Chevrolet Nova SS was an affordable muscle car that was a hit back in the ‘70s. The SS was used to say that the car had a performance package and ran faster than its trim levels. Chevy, however, chose to get rid of the performance package and only used the SS badge for an appearance package. This meant that the automaker did not have anything special or new to offer. In essence, the consumers had nothing to look forward to apart from the badging and black grille.
1978-1983 Dodge Challenger
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Dodge brought the Challenger back for a short span of time. Sadly, the car company made a number of mistakes over the years. In 1974, it was a strong car on the track, but it still got discontinued. When Dodge made up its mind to revive it in 1978, it was rebadged as a Mitsubishi and given less power. Dodge only remedied these mistakes when it was updated in the late 2000s.
1977-1979 Mercury Cougar XR7
Marketed as an affordable high-end muscle car, the Mercury Cougar boasted a boxy appearance from the outside. On the inside, however, this car looked nearly identical to the Ford Mustang! In the late ‘70s, the Mercury Cougar had to deal with a huge change. It was given a pretty big weight gain, which just slowed it down. After this new development, the Cougar could no longer retain its reputation as a muscle car. Too bad.
1979 Ford Mustang
Before it became the car that it is today, the Ford Mustang got its start as a slower boxy car. It did not look a lot like it does now. At the time, it did not have much in the way of muscle or crib appeal. The Ford Mustang could only produce 140 hp even though it came with a 5.0-L V8 engine. Over the years, the automaker added a bigger engine and transformed its appearance into something more appealing.
2006-10 Dodge Charger SE
The introduction of this car marked the dawn of a new era for muscle cars. Dodge redesigned the style and the body of the Charger altogether. The public had mixed feelings about it. As an entry model, the SE was one of the least popular designs out there. After all, it had faster and better-looking trim levels. Dodge did not ignore the dissatisfaction of the general public. In fact, this must be the reason the 2011 generation had a better standard engine!
Is there a less popular model on the list than the Chevrolet Monza? It is hard to say. Anyway, it was a performance compact car built on the Chevy Vega platform. The car was sold from the mid-‘70s until the ‘80s, but it was never well-liked by the public nor was it mass-marketed. Even though it was a performance car, this was easily among the slowest cars that Chevy ever made. A couple of years after it was introduced, the automaker dropped the V8 engine option. It got discontinued not long after that.
1996-1998 Ford Mustang
Where did the 1996-1998 Ford Mustang go wrong? It looks like the answer to that would be its styling. Ford tried to stay retro, but it should have tried to go for something fresher instead. Futuristic cars had been in fashion during the late ‘90s, and Ford wanted to try something else for that time period. It was a good thing that he eventually overhauled its appearance and made a lot of huge improvements to both its performance and body style.
2010 Ford Mustang
This was a part of the 5th generation of muscle cars. The 2010 Ford Mustang used a body style that was among the most popular in the category. Even though Ford worked on updating its exterior, the automaker also changed the engine of the car. Sadly, it did not make the cut. Ford just rendered it stagnant by deciding not to replace both the 4.0-L V6 engine and the 4.6-L V8 engine.
1976 Chevrolet Camaro
To this day, the Chevy Camaro still holds the title of a best-selling muscle car. However, the mid-‘70s model was not one of the best versions in its history. At the time, the model lost a lot of performance because Chevy replaced its powerful engine for a more fuel-efficient 5.0-L one. Apart from the performance, the company also changed the body. The new bumper did not do much but to ruin its aerodynamic abilities.