What’s In Your Garage?

Ruchira Paul in Accidental Blogger:

Lotus_eliteIf a car measures up to my mundane criteria, I don’t much care about make or model … and I reserve the sole veto power after a test drive.) So when I came across this Time magazine compilation, I browsed through it with some interest only because it is the “worst cars of all time” list.  That made it a more engrossing read than the fawning, over the top showroom jargon of sensuality, grace, power, elegance and status enhancing qualities associated with the “best” automobiles. The “worst” list is perhaps also more interesting and its colorful language more convincing because nobody is trying to sell us anything. In fact its whole point is to alert us to automotive follies, past and present, foreign and domestic. Here for example is the withering put down of the Renault Dauphine, the worst car of 1956.

The most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line, the Renault Dauphine was originally to be named the Corvette, tres ironie. It was, in fact, a rickety, paper-thin scandal of a car that, if you stood beside it, you could actually hear rusting. Its most salient feature was its slowness, a rate of acceleration you could measure with a calendar. It took the drivers at Road and Track 32 seconds to reach 60 mph, which would put the Dauphine at a severe disadvantage in any drag race involving farm equipment. The fact that the ultra-cheap, super-sketchy Dauphine sold over 2 million copies around the world is an index of how desperately people wanted cars. Any cars.

More here.