If a car is generally perceived as a certain way, good or bad, few of us will really go out of our way to confirm whether that perception is really true. Perception is often supported by a groupthink mentality that can only be reversed through real world experience.
Even established motoring journalists are guilty of adding fuel to this fire, agreeing with the general public perception of something and thereby making it a fact. Some cars have gotten a very real appreciation because they were considered good, but in reality some of these “cool” cars are not necessarily “good” cars, and they really should be actively avoided by all enthusiasts.
10 Datsun 280ZX
This marvel was the official replacement for the groundbreaking 240Z and 260Z, it should have been a step forward, but unfortunately it was a big step back.
140hp would never be enough to make this car fun, it was just too heavy and while it can look nice with the right mods you’d be better off spending your hard earned cash on the newer but equally affordable Nissan 300ZX (above ).
9 MGB GT
MG acquired a reputation in the late 1960s and early 1970s for making some of the most exciting small-displacement sports cars in the world.
Unfortunately, by the time the MGB GT rolled off the production line, they desperately clung to their name for sale. Made in the late 1970s and early 1980s, these cars came with undersized, outdated OHV pushrod front engines and their handling is worse than a regular family hatchback from the same era.
8 Mitsubishi Eclipse
If you played a racing game from the early 2000s, you might have been convinced that these cars had some serious potential. Unfortunately, if you ever got one in the base version, you’d only be disappointed.
The first real reality check is that manual transmissions are rare. Thanks to their newly discovered popularity and appearances in a particular movie franchise, they won’t come cheap either.
7 Porsche 924
In the 1980s, Porsche was determined to reinvent itself and came up with a range of front and rear engined cars. Performance was mediocre and handling was predictable. It was the antithesis of what a Porsche should be.
Of course, it didn’t really feel like a Porsche to drive, and it certainly didn’t look like a Porsche, especially on the inside where the cost savings became particularly apparent.
6 Mazda RX-8
If you’re willing to take on a project car, few modern sports cars offer better value for money. Unfortunately, there’s a good reason for that skewed pricing.
When it was developed, no less secretly, this was the most advanced Wankel and was supposed to solve all previous Wankel-related problems. Everyone wanted it to be good. Unfortunately, the higher compression exacerbated the problems with their apex seals and any car that looks affordable will probably need an engine overhaul before you can drive it.
5 Chevrolet Camaro
After quite a radical redesign in the early ’80s, GM created the ultimate poser mobile in the form of the Iron Duke Camaro.
As much as it looks like a sports car, that Iron Duke inline-4 could only muster 92 hard-earned horsepower. Even in the 80s, most public buses could show these cars a clean pair of heels.
4 Mazda MX-5
When the Miata first came out in the early ’90s, it was something of a revelation. It offered the design and performance of a small European sports car coupled with Japanese reliability.
Unfortunately, not much has changed in the last 30 years except the design. Today, the power-to-weight ratio is lagging behind the direct competition and comparable sports compacts and hot hatches simply offer better value (often more entertainment as well).
3 DeLorean DMC-12
The story of the DMC-12 certainly needs more than one entry in this list to be fully explored and for some the price of admission is well deserved, but if you only look at it as a sports car then they are just too expensive.
Cost cutting was the real enemy of the DMC-12, an otherwise nice car was ruined by poor engine choice; the PVR V6 worked well in some applications, this is not one of them. It destroyed both performance and handling in one fell swoop, making it a glorious stainless steel flop.
2 Ferrari Mondial
It looks like a Ferrari, but other than that it doesn’t have much to offer. At just 200 horsepower, it took 9 seconds to get to 60 mph.
To put that into perspective, some diesel pickups are faster these days and 200 horsepower was never enough for what is still a pretty heavy platform for a sports car.
1 Honda Civic
Taste is always subjective, and there is no doubt that some of the tweaks that have been made to these econoboxes make them look pretty good.
Unfortunately, even if they’re modified to make more power, that removes their one major function; their economy. If you don’t add power, well then you have a rice machine…