15 Of The Worst Chevy Cars Of All Time

Israel's Autocar Carmel photographed in 1985. Boxy and stripped of any looks. Photo is public domain from Wikipedia.

Israel’s Autocar Carmel photographed in 1985. Boxy and stripped of any looks. Photo is public domain from Wikipedia.

Recently, while trolling the net looking for some interesting concepts for articles, we ran across a pretty well written article from Edmunds.com that listed their selection for the 100 worst cars of all time.

We certainly could understand all of the cars that were chosen to be on the list but it seemed as if several others were missing. As a matter of fact, the list seemed a little heavily loaded with American built automobiles. Noticeably  absent were cars from Russia, like the Lada Nadezhda, or anything from the Netherlands. Not one Middle Eastern auto manufacturer either. Isreal’s Autocars Carmel was a visually atrocious looking car. Certainly, it belonged in the worst 100.

Aside from being skewed to let European car makers off the hook, and let’s face it, Peugeot deserves to be shot for some of their creations. Aside from those omissions, the list looks pretty complete.

We tend to take a stronger look at the GM, and more specifically, Chevrolet branded cars. Edmunds list contained 15 of Chevy’s all time biggest blunders, and we have to agree with Edmunds staff on most of these 15.

GM’s EV1. Photo from wikipedia.

#92 of 100: 1997 GM EV1. Edmunds says of the early energy conscience auto, “Set electric cars back at least a decade.” While it might be true, it’s short time on the market and disappearance of the design completely still have conspiracy theorists talking. 

#86 of 100: Chevrolet Lumina APV. These weirdly designed mini-vans were hard on the eyes. Edmunds was kind when they said the APV had “an aardvark nose and dashboard top big enough to host a track meet. The Chevy along with its Pontiac or Oldsmobile equivalent were so stupid-looking they were nicknamed the dustbuster vans.”

#76 of 100: 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier. One of Chevy’s first front wheel drive compact cars, the Cavalier was infamous for it’s wimpy engine. There are still a few of these to be had if you want one. The only buyers were little old ladies that needed transportation to church. As for anyone else that bought one, ‘it was sloppily constructed and apparently dissolvable in ordinary rainwater,” says Edmunds.

This next one is a little hard to read. Spoiler alert… if you are a Corvette fan, please skip down a few lines.


#70 of 100: 1953 Chevrolet Corvette. We’re not going to touch this one but here is what Edmunds said: “A fiberglass body atop an archaic chassis powered by a lame 155-hp six. And the transmission was a two-speed automatic. The first Corvette was crap.”

#62 of 100: 1960 Chevrolet Corvair. The car that was Ralph Nader’s whipping boy. If not for the Corvair, nobody would even know who Ralph Nader was. Let’s be honest here, Nader did nothing before or since. The car was highlighted in large part to Nader’s book “Unsafe at Any Speed. Edmunds points out that the second Gen Corvairs were great cars.

#61 of 100: 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe. Introduced in 1982, the third Gen F-body fell flat on its face with the Sport Coupe. While the Z-28 also got poor reviews for low power ratings, the Sport Coupe – outfitted with 2.5l 151cid LQ9 four-cylinder “Iron Duke” engine – was even more lethargic. 

#60 of 100: 2003 Chevrolet SSR. The muscle truck that wasn’t. Big motor, sexy design, even a convertible hardtop… it was the truck that could have been great but wasn’t. Citing a 301-day supply of SSRs, General Motors in December of 2004 announced five weeks of layoffs at Lansing Craft Centre, the factory that made the SSR. On November 21, 2005, GM announced that it would close the Craft Centre in mid-2006, spelling the end for the SSR. The final SSR was built on March 17, 2006.

1975 Chevy Monza 2+2

1975 Chevy Monza 2+2 Photo from Wikipedia.

#59 of 100: 1975 Chevrolet Monza. Variation on the Vega that could be ordered with a 262cid small-block V8 rated at 110 hp. Not only anemic, but it was difficult to work on. The engine needed to be tilted with a hoist to change its rearmost spark plugs. Just a bad design.

#53 of 100: Chevrolet Chevette. Based off of the GM T-body chassis, the Chevette was simply another boxy compact car that was out-of-date before it was designed. Edmunds said this of the little car: “Instead of trying to build a world-class small car of its own, Chevy opts for a cheesy, primitive Opel design that’s a decade out of date.”

#52 of 100: 1980 Chevrolet Citation. The Citation was Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year for 1980”. This was a decision later criticized by the staff of Car and Driver in 2009, citing that the poor build quality and mechanical reliability were not deserving of such an award in hindsight. Edmunds sums it up by saying, “Chevrolet’s first front-drive machine proves to be legendarily unreliable and one of the most recalled cars of all time.”

#39 of 100: 1978 Chevrolet C/K Diesel. Oldsmobile’s diesel engine had gained a reputation for unreliability and anemic performance that damaged the North American passenger Diesel market for the next 20 years. It found its way into Chevy half-ton pickups in 1978. There was nothing about these engines that a petrol conversion wouldn’t fix.

#38 of 100: 1923 Chevrolet Series M. An early air cooled engine experiment by Chevrolet. According to Edmunds, “About 500 were built and virtually all were recalled and scuttled.”

1975 Chevrolet Corvette. Photo from Wikipedia.

#31 of 100: 1975 Chevrolet Corvette. The 165 horsepower Vette. Even the optional L82 version only produced 205hp. Nuff’ said.

1971 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback Coupe. Photo from Wikipedia.

#27 of 100: 2007 Malibu Maxx SS. “Kind of a station wagon, but with less utility and style. The worst car ever built to wear Chevy’s “SS” name,” said Edmunds.

#11 of 100: 1917 Chevrolet Series D. Chevrolet’s first V8 lasted two years producing less horsepower than the Chevrolet 4 cylinder engine. This disaster ended Chevy V8 design and production for the next 37 years.

#5 of 100: 1971 Chevy Vega. The highest rated worst Chevy on the list. We’ll give the glory of the final description to the original article by Edmunds: An engine that couldn’t hold oil, in a car built with contempt for its buyers. It’s the car that invited Americans to buy Toyotas and Hondas. However, it did make a good Pro Stock racer. 

We’d like to hear your list of worst Chevrolet cars of all time. No fair saying a model car just because it’s the one you currently own and you are not happy with it. Let’s open it up to all GM cars and see where our readers place the Pontiac Aztek.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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