Hooniverse Asks- What're the Worst Examples of Venerated Names Applied to Unworthy Cars?

Le Mans
George is not a very sexy name. And yet, George Clooney is a sexy man, just ask the ladies. It’s all about how you comport yourself and a self-sure attitude can overcome even the lamest of names – which just so happens to be Myron. Sorry Myron.
On the other side of the coin, even the coolest of names can be spoiled when applied to what might be considered to be an unworthy custodian. That’s been the case with a lot of venerated car nameplates over the years, a situation that I blame on the Government. You see, brands want to hold onto iconic names and the Government, specifically the U.S. Copyright office requires that a name be used or its exclusivity will be lost.
That’s why we have had cars like the German-designed, Korean-built, and Pontiac-sold Le Mans above. Holy crap that was a terrible car and the venerable Le Mans name lost some of its shine because of it. That’s just one example of a crap car besmirching a great name, let’s see some more.
Image: Carslib.ru

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  1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Ford_Five_Hundred_–_11-26-2011.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    I don't even really hate the car. It was a comfortable pig that did it's job of A-to-B-ing Blue-Hairs to IHOP for Sunday Morning "See Grandma's still not dead" breakfast. In fact it was one of the safest cars Ford has ever built, and the higher hip point in the seat makes it very easy for ingress/egress. It was a blandly styled appliance of a machine that was good at daily tasks.
    But it was no 500.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      It's also known as the Flop Hundred, and it's basically a Volvo under the sheet metal.

      1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
        PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

        Yeah, P2 platform with the 3.0L and a CVT.

      2. Sjalabais Avatar

        I am deeply troubled by the…eh…lack of causation between sentence part 1 and sentence part 2.
        The only American sedan I have ever tried extensively is the Ford Fusion I had as a rental in Canada ages ago. It was really quite unremarkable, but a quiet and comfortable car.
        <img src="http://s28.postimg.org/fcbrqfktp/p1120438.jpg&quot; width="600">
        <img src="http://s28.postimg.org/fdlpjumnh/p1120439.jpg&quot; width="600">

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      My BIL is in the process of restoring his grandfather's 1967 Galaxie 500 with the 390.
      Except the 390/C6 is being left on the engine stand. In its place will sit one of them newfangled Boss 302 mod motors bolted to a 4R75. I suppose it's more of a restomod than a restoration.
      So uh… where's your Fordgod now?

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      Potentially, but on what? Surely it isn't misused on all vehicles to which it is applied?

      1. Jofes01 Avatar

        I'm thinking Ford Ka and Fiesta. They aren't bad cars, but their not Ghias.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Particularly the Fiesta's had a tendency to rust quickly. In my mind, even the Ghia-badge is surrounded by bubbles.
          <img src="http://www.dvca.co.uk/dorset-classic-car-auctions/xl_vehicle-5261038a9849f.jpg&quot; width="600">

      2. hubba Avatar

        Eh, Ghia (and the other Italian houses) delivered couture, not practical, durable consumer products.
        By the time Wacky Al de Tomaso got his hands on the brand (pre Ford), it was one step up from George Barris.

  2. previadiaries Avatar

    Olds "442"
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/91OldsmobileCutlassCalais.JPG&quot; alt="442" height="50%" width="50%" />
    Charming in its own way, but certainly not this
    <img src="http://fastestlaps.com/photos/oldsmobile_442_cutlass_w30_option.jpg&quot; alt="442orig" height="50%" width="50%" />

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I think the Quad4 442 was less offensive than the mid-70s Colonnade stripe package.
      <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Olds-1976-442-.jpg"&gt;

  3. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I've got two. One you'll agree with and one you won't.
    The Chevy Nova started and became a small, reliable, economy car. But a Corolla?
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/1964_Chevy_II_Nova_400_%22SS%22_front.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Chevy Nova
    <img src="http://www.ltdmasta.com/PICT4666.JPG&quot; width="600">
    Ford Mustang was meant to be a small lightweight pony car, not an overweight, overpowered GT boat.
    <img src="http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forums/attachments/classic-talk/80490d1254925545-advice-1964-5-mustang-289-m3.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2013/12/05/34f06a17-84f3-11e3-bc97-14feb5ca9861/thumbnail/770×433/a1602c903c7e9cb2a3074c85e08fa896/004Ford_Mustang_2015_35832726_fastback.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. previadiaries Avatar

      I dunno, worse cars have worn the Mustang badge
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/MustangII_Mii.jpg&quot; style="width: 50%; height: 50%"/>​

    2. BuickButt Avatar

      I would argue that the Mustang when it came out and the new one are small and lightweight *relative* to other cars on the market. ie- the cars fore and aft of us in our daily commutes, like the dozen or so BMW SUV-cross-sedan-coupe-sedans that I see everyday.
      I do commend you for going out on a limb, though.

  4. Devin Avatar

    The Pontiac Tempest, one of the most interesting GM cars of the '60s, base of the GTO. And then, quarter-assed rebadge of a Corsica.
    <img src="https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3107/4071221310_75bfa03c3b.jpg"&gt;

    1. danleym Avatar

      Thumbs up for introducing me to the term "quarter-assed."

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    1968 Corvette started out the C3 run as a fire breathing performance car with available 435 horsepower. By the disco days, it had gained several hundred pounds, while maxing out at 165 horsepower (some of that was due to the switch in measurement, but it was still a turd).

  6. Eric Rood Avatar
    Eric Rood

    It's pretty audacious to start your product line in the U.S. with a car called the "Legend," even if that was its JDM name.
    <img src="http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/ACURALegend-1252_3.jpg&quot; width="400">

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Dodge_Dynasty.jpg&quot; width=500>
      Dodge Dynasty commiserates.

      1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

        I love that it only lasted one generation.

    2. austinminiman Avatar

      Then again, nothing actually followed the Prelude.

  7. BuickButt Avatar

    I fell like its kind of a low blow to be picking out so many cars from the 70s/80s.
    My recommendations are:
    Ford Fiesta. Nothing about it to me says party. Or Spanish.
    Kaiser Manhattan. They were not tall, did not smell like a port-a-shitter, and not many called them home.
    Isuzu Ascender.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I think you are missing the point — these are supposed to be venerated car nameplates, not just cars that didn't fit the descriptive nature of the name. In other words, bad cars named after earlier cars that were famously beloved.

      1. BuickButt Avatar

        Oh shoot, well at least you can see those speed reading skills paying off… Hopefully I can redeem this hideous mistake in the classic captions comments.

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          i forgive you for your username alone
          if i were in charge of banning people, you could get away with saying a lot of nasty things just by being named "BuickButt"

          1. BuickButt Avatar

            Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I don't plan on saying anything too nasty, unless folks find my affinity for Buicks unsavory!

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      More like Ford Siesta, amirite?
      Because it's so boring it'll put you to sleep, eh?
      Hello…? Is this thing on?

      1. BuickButt Avatar

        You are a winner, partner.

  8. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Tuesday answer: '71-'72 BSA Gold Star 500SS.
    <img src="http://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/bsa-1971/images/BSA-1971-fr06.jpg&quot; width="680">
    BSA faithful were just a weensy bit offended that the name of the hallowed Gold Star (which had been retired eight years earlier) got slapped on what was basically a Victor trail bike with a bore job and a bigger front drum.
    It smacked of desperately prostituting the memory of lost glories.

  9. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    TRIVIA: This was going to be a Falcon early on. Fortunately, the marketing people wanted to keep it part of the Escort line to pump up its sales numbers ("Escort is the #1 seller in its class!") and nobody at Ford was thrilled about reducing the Falcon to an Escort sub-brand.
    <img src="http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/ford/escort/2002/oem/2002_ford_escort_coupe_zx2_fq_oem_1_500.jpg"&gt;

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      On the plus side of that, the ZX2 was perfectly fine (for a cheap, CHEAP) 2-door coupe with a happy motor. Had it been given a pre-existing nameplate it would have been universally derided instead of being universally ignored. I liked mine. It was fun without being expensive and the 40 mpg was great. The cardboard seats were not.

      1. Devin Avatar

        It did have weird design choices, like no interior trunk release, which is annoying if you manage to lock your keys in the trunk. I managed to split my pants in half when I retrieved them through folding seats.
        Is this the second car both of us have owned?

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          I don't remember the no trunk latch, but I used the keyless entry for basically all of that. Mine ultimately went 210,000 before it was in an accident while my sister owned it. Original clutch at that mileage. Very cheap to own.
          I've owned a number of cars, so it wouldn't shock me. The Vibe and ZX2 are my suggestions to people starting out life. They're ridiculously cheap to buy and own.

          1. Devin Avatar

            It would really only come up if you managed to drop your keys while putting your groceries in the trunk. Like what I did.
            But yeah, Vibetrix and ZX2 would be the ones. If you had a third generation Civic it's be craaaazy.

          2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            Nope, just a Protege5 for small cars.
            I never liked Honda Civics. In NJ they carried two stigmas, either a clueless girl/woman or an idiot boy who thinks it can run with performance cars. I always preferred the Mazda counterpart.

          3. Devin Avatar

            Mine had the distinct advantage of being $20.

          4. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            How? Were the valves pre-smashed for you?

          5. Devin Avatar

            Long story that I don't even know all the details of, but the previous owner needed to sell it fast and I had a twenty. Did have to get a clutch fairly soon after I bought it though, but after that it went for five years.

          6. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            Awesome. I nearly bought an 87 Civic Hatch for a winter beater when I owned my Lightning, could have had it for ~$300 and then snow tires would bump it up to $500. Would have sold it come the spring for similar money, but I found a different car instead.

          7. salguod Avatar

            Bought my oldest a '98 Escort SE 4 door (and a 5 speed to boot). I had a '93 5 door LX that was bullet proof and I knew that the rounded and swoopy Escorts were the same car underneath.
            I looked at a 2001 ZX2 for my middle daughter, but it was crazy rusty. Ended up with a 2003 Protege LX.
            The ZX2 is a great first car, but the 4 doors tend to be a little cheaper.

      2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        I think the fact that Ford designed these around the Zetec engine, which wasn't even an option in other NA Escorts, betrays the fact that it wasn't really an Escort at all, except in name.

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          Yeah, the DOHC made a difference over the standard Escort SOHC. It became the motor for the ZX3 and ZTS Focuses in 2001, but for the time being it was a happy little motor for the ZX2.

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            And the 1.9 CVH was the opposite. It haz an eternal sad.

          2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            That was the village idiot of boat anchor motors.

          3. hubba Avatar

            The 1986 upgrade of the CVH was pretty decent for its time. By the end of the Escort era, it was the dunce of the class, like the rest of the car. The Universal Japanese Sedan took a couple of big steps from the mid 80s to 2000. Even the Corolla, as dull as it was, was a real no foolin' pleasant car by the end of that period. The Escort was the same old penalty box for broke people who wanted a new car.

      3. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

        I have really grown to like the ZX2. i was like everyone else, and ignored it for most of it's life. But then one of my best friends had like 3 of them in a row for daily beaters, and I came to realize that they are actually a great little car, especially the SR he had last. The Zetec is actually quite a peppy little engine with a great character, the MT75 manual is actually very nice to shift, and the whole car reminds me of the light and simple character that made 90's Hondas so good. They're super basic, but that means it's also light, simple, and SUPER cheap.

  10. Ken Avatar

    Mini – even though the furst gen 'new Mini' was much bigger than its namesake, it was at keast relatively small, as opposed to the most recent, bloated and ugly generation of the 21st century Mini and all of its derivatives (especially the Countryman).

  11. XRSevin Avatar

    Lincoln Capri
    <img src="http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/1955-lincoln-capri.jpg&quot; width="600">
    German/English Capri
    <img src="http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–HzZidBMb–/18s0k385hpno1jpg.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Mustang Capri
    <img src="https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7243/7106535051_7de5d9effc_z.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Australian Mazda Capri
    <img src="http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/1991-Mercury-Capri-XR2.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Not so much unworthy as confusing. You could have purchased all of these from the same dealer.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      What could possibly be confusing?
      [youtube 4Qnz8UZoJq0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qnz8UZoJq0 youtube]
      BTW, I remember seeing this commerical on TV.
      I'm old.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        No, I remember that ad, too, and I'm not….

  12. Lokki Avatar

    The 1984 Dodge Daytona with 4 cylinders, FWD and 142 HP was a pretty darn poor imitation of the original Dodge Daytona with 475 RWD HP.

    1. Devin Avatar

      Or the Ram Daytona, for people who want a pickup that is less useful than a normal pickup.
      <img src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/200511/2005-dodge-ram-daytona_800x0w.jpg&quot; width="500">

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Great for people who regularly need to transport very big envelopes though!

  13. sunbeammadd Avatar

    Don't get me wrong – I would love a Hillman Avenger Tiger. But it's very much at odds with the Tiger's open topped V8/V12 heritage.
    <img src="http://www.simoncars.co.uk/hillman/slides//Hillman%20Avenger%20Tiger%20MkI%20front.jpg&quot; width=500>

  14. 1977chevytruck Avatar

    The lowest possible fruit
    <img src="http://autoinjected.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/farah-fawcett-jill-munroe-charlie-angels-mustang-cobra-ii.jpg&quot; width="600">
    The car, not Farrah Fawcet/Jill Monroe. The Charlie's Angels name also unworthilyly (is that a word?).

  15. marmer01 Avatar

    Since bikes have already been put into play…
    <img src="http://www.phatridescc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Indian1.jpg"width="600"&gt;

    1. Rover_1 Avatar

      I dunno.
      Looks like it could have been made in India.

  16. Rover_1 Avatar

    Vanden Plas. Inexplcably, some people like the later small Austin ones.
    1928 Bentley 6½ litre, open touring coachwork by Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/22/1928_Bentley_6%C2%BD_Litre_Tourer_KD2111%2C_VandenPlas.jpg/1024px-1928_Bentley_6%C2%BD_Litre_Tourer_KD2111%2C_VandenPlas.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    1932 Minerva 40CV with coachwork by Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/1932_Minerva_AL_40_CV_open_drive_landaulette_by_Vanden_Plas_r3q.JPG"width="600"&gt;
    1933 Alvis Speed Twenty with body by Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/1933_Alvis_Speed_20_SA_IMG_2773_-_Flickr_-_nemor2.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    1966 Princess Vanden Plas Limousine
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Princess_Limousine_Mk_IV_1966_Billericay.JPG/1024px-Princess_Limousine_Mk_IV_1966_Billericay.JPG"width="600"&gt;
    1979 Daimler DS420 Vanden Plas<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ed/Daimler_Limousine_DS420_8320338879.jpg/1024px-Daimler_Limousine_DS420_8320338879.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    2000 Daimler Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/14/Jaguar-XJ-Mark-2.jpg/1024px-Jaguar-XJ-Mark-2.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    1985 Austin Metro Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Austin_Metro_Auto_VP_1985.jpg/1024px-Austin_Metro_Auto_VP_1985.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    1986 Austin Maestro Vanden Plas
    <img src="http://www.fromthecaptainschair.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Reviews-Austin-Maestro-16-VandenPlas.jpg"width="600"&gt;

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Depends on the person, for some people that Maestro somehow just speaks to them 😉
      [youtube F5zs6TU32pY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5zs6TU32pY youtube]

  17. Hologram displays Avatar

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