Monday, September 10, 2007

The worst car ever!

I see that a Time Magazine writer has compiled a list of the 50 Worst Cars of All Time. I am surprised that the Chrysler Simca didn't make the list.

When I was about to graduate from high school, I came home from school to learn that my father had bought me a present. "I bought you a car," he said. I raced to the back yard of the house to see a 20 year old Chrysler Simca 1000, a rusty blue-coloured box of a car. (I am pretty sure it was a mid-60s model, which would have made it around 20 years old.) It looked completely unhip...but it was a car.

Here's a comment from the auto expert from the above link on this car:

Not a performance car, it made do with 12-inch wheels, drum brakes, worm and roller steering, transverse leaf front suspension and swing axles at the rear. Early Simca 1000s were not known for directional stability, although this was cured as we shall later see.

(While looking for information on the car on the internet this morning, I learned that the French had seen this car as chic and hip when my *dad* was a teenager. Check out this set of ads and publicity shots. Here is a different set of magazine ads about the car.)

"I bought it from an auto wrecker yard for $50," my dad said. Yes, my late dad was sometimes as dumb as a bag of hammers, but he had no excuse as he was a professional auto mechanic for many years.

We went for a drive, my father driving down the deserted street. At 40 MPH, the car started to vibrate, backfire and belch smoke. Looking around the car, I noticed that the floor was rusty in the front passenger side, where my feet rested on black plastic mat. I pulled up the mat to find that there was a vacant space about 24 inches square. I watched through the hole as the road sped by under where my feet would have been. "Hmm. Guess I'll have to fix that," my dad said.

"Well, if the brakes ever fail, we can stop the car just like the Flintstones stop theirs," I replied.

Well, it was a car, so I started studying my drivers education booklet. Then, a couple of weeks later, I noticed that the car was gone.

"I took it back to the wrecker and he gave me back my $50!" my dad said. He had been working on the car that afternoon, and had taken it for a quick spin to test his work.

"I was driving down the street," he added, "and the engine fell out of the car."