At the beginning of the automobile industry, car manufacturers churned out vehicle after vehicle without giving too much thought to style or aesthetics. It wasn’t until styling became a selling point that the world was presented with some of the ugliest cars ever created. You might not think a car can be ugly, but you would be wrong. From the bulbous headlights of the Pontiac Aztek to the bulbous tank-like shape of the Subaru Baja, there are plenty of cars that would beg to differ.
Anyway, history has not treated kindly these sinfully ugly machines. They’ve been saved from the scrap heap of time by retro-car enthusiasts who can’t look away (or sometimes they were never built at all). Either way, here are some exceptionally ugly cars with which you can go on a grand tour of automotive ugliness. These are my top picks for the ugliest cars manufactured since 1900.
1932 Stout Scarab
The Stout Scarab is considered as the first jitney. It is also the first vehicle to use aluminum on its unibody structure. When it was introduced, it had innovative features that would change the automotive world forever. The Scarab may be the most unusual of the early forgotten cars. Despite its innovations, this is why it ultimately failed: It looks like a dung beetle.
Built by Edsel Ford’s son, Henry II, the Scarab was revealed to the public in 1951 at the New York Motorama, where it cut quite a figure. Time magazine described it as “an egg with wheels.” The Scarab seemed like something out of science fiction—perhaps a prop in a Flash Gordon serial. And it stirred up plenty of conversation—most of it less-than-positive.
1946 Crosley CC
The Crosley was introduced at a time when fuel rationing was being enforced. Despite the cheap materials that went into its construction, it proved to be very durable. As solid as a rock, many are still roadworthy today. The CC was the first car to use the toilet seat cover, other companies quickly followed. It’s so ugly it can be compared to other design disasters.
The Crosley soon became the butt of jokes, when in 1947 Tom Dowling of The New Yorker said it “might be mistaken for a motorized organ”. No doubt when its owner had to run the engine without the added boost of the car’s heater, that would lead to some cold mornings. It is hard to believe this car existed, but it has disappeared from history as quickly as it appeared.
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