Walking down memory lane, you will discover a long tradition of well-engineered and reliable European automobiles, some that are currently high coveted classic cars. But you will also find cars that weren’t as good as people thought. Some flopped in the market, others were weirdly styled, and others were just plain not good enough to deserve the attention they got. So, what are these classic European cars that aren’t as cool as people think? Let’s find out.
9 DAF Daffodil
The DAF Daffodil was the first production car with a Continuous Variable Transmission in the innovative DAF Variomatic. The CVT is a technology adopted by almost all automakers, so one might assume that the pioneering car must have been perfect, but it wasn’t. All the Daffodil had was the CVT, and that was its end.
Dutch automaker DAF made the compact family car between 1961 and 1967 for export, but it failed to impress outside due to its size and poor performance. It was the slowest car ever tested by Consumer Reports. All credits for the CVT, but the Daffodil wasn’t a cool car.
8 Triumph Stag
Triumph built the Stag to upgrade their Spitfire and TR series offerings. It was a 2+2 convertible styled by the Italian Giovanni Michelotti and had plenty of muscle with a 3-litre V8 engine famous for its underwhelming cooling system. The Stag had an uphill task of competing with the dominant Benz 280 SL.
The Stag had quite a rocky start, although it is a beloved classic today. 2,871 units were shipped to America between 1971 and 1973. They caused so much trouble and headaches for customers that Triumph ceased their exportation, barely four years before production ended. While people loved driving them, they were plagued with flaws due to subpar assembly.
7 DeLorean DMC-12
The famous star of the Back To The Future movies was more capable of traveling across space and time than cruising on the road. The Hollywood stardom across three films earned the DMC 12 clout and fame similar to icons like the Ferrari F40, Porsche 911, or Lamborghini Countach. But unlike these legends and actual great cars, the DMC was largely disappointing.
The DeLorean was poorly built, slow, unreliable, and outdated. Despite looking like a supercar and having ‘time traveling’ prowess, it could only reach 110 mph.
6 Maserati Bi-Turbo
This Maserati is yet another car on our list that featured a new technology but failed to impress. The hint is in the name, since the Maserati Biturbo was the first production car with a twin-turbo engine. The car was laden with unreliability issues despite its exotic heritage, from electrical failures to overheating and blowing turbos.
Turbo lag was a significant issue, and the carburetor models required constant adjustment. Also, the Biturbo was notorious for catching fire thanks to a defective catalytic converter. Also, the thin galvanized sheet body was prone to serious corrosion issues. And the interior was of poor quality.
5 Lamborghini Jalpa
This car was the worst of them as far as entry-level Lamborghini’s go. Produced between 1981 and 1988, the Lamborghini Jalpa was incidentally the last Lambo to sport a V8 powerplant until the Italians brought it back recently in the Urus. Lambo offered the car for those who couldn’t afford the more expensive and iconic Countach. Safe to say, there was no sharing of the spotlight, since no one was rushing to grab the usable and affordable alternative Lambo.
Only 410 units of the Lamborghini were sold, and you would struggle to see one on the road today. The car had decent power, enough to hit a 150mph top speed. Owners would spend nights praying it didn’t break down because it was a horror to repair.
4 Lancia Beta
The Lancia Beta was an interesting car that was quite versatile. It was Lancia’s first car under Fiat ownership, and it came in a pretty nice fastback 4-door design Berlina with options for the Beta Coupe, Beta Spider, and Beta HPE. Lancia was aspiring for premium-level car-making, but Fiat came in with different plans to cut production costs and make economically viable cars for the struggling Lancia Brand.
Going cheap was the source of issues, as they were famously forced to buy back cars from UK buyers due to the corrosion-ridden body. Fiat’s plan of saving Lancia ended up throwing their reputation in the mud. Despite being a practical and drivable car, the Lancia Beta lost its cool factor for being the car that brought down Lancia.
3 Jaguar XJ220
The Jaguar XJ220 was the world’s fastest car when it was unleashed in 1992 with a 217mph top speed. But the XJ220 ended up becoming a 220mph disappointment due to Jaguar’s lying antics. 1,500 buyers paid $66,000 deposits for the AWD V12 race-bred supercar Jaguar had promised, only for them to unapologetically deliver a RWD V6.
The XJ220 could have been so much cooler had Jaguar doubled down on their pledge. Apparently, Jaguar didn’t have the capacity to build the supercar but thought the checks from the eager buyers were too fat to turn down.
2 Aston Martin Virage
Aston Martin envisioned the Virage idea in the mid-80s when the automotive market boomed. They, however, took too long to get it to market in the 90s, when depression meant few people could afford the hefty $265,000 price tag in today’s equivalent dollar. Also, buyers deserved a solidly built car for that price tag, but the Virage was shoddily built.
The Virage only offered an average driving experience and lacked the stylish looks of a classic Aston Martin.
1 Panther 6
What’s better than a four-wheeled car? Definitely not six, as we saw with the outrageous Panther 6. In the 1970s, it was christened the car of the future, but as far as bad ideas go, this is top of the list. The car depended on a massive mid-mounted 8.2-liter Cadillac Eldorado V8 to hit the 200mph mark.
The claimed figures, which were never substantiated, made the Panther 6 an outright supercar, but we are thankful it never went into full production. It never got ready for production, with only two models ever completed.
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