Time Magazine: Hummer, Model T Some of ‘Worst Cars of All Time’

When you are asked what is the “worst car of all time,” what first runs through your head? The Le Car, the Corvair, maybe the Edsel? Cars that had horrible sales records, bad safety or engineering records or were just all around failures? Aren’t these the sort of cars that first runs through your head? Doesn’t worst equal failure or unsafe?

Well apparently a common, sensible thought like that doesn’t run through the heads of the folks at Time Magazine when arranging the list of the “50 Worst Cars of All Time.” Time has its own special criteria to determine what a “worst” car is and it isn’t just sales or safety records like one would expect.

Oh, Time did have the Edsel, the Corvair, and the AMC Pacer on its list. Certainly failed vehicles, for sure. Time even had an amusing vehicle invention from 1899 where a fake horses head was attached to the front of an auto so as not to scare the other horses on the road. Fail, big time.

But there was one aspect that Time included in its criteria for determining what was a “worst car” that wouldn’t occur to a sensible person. Oddly, it seems that modern, leftist politics was one of Time’s rules of thumb. That’s right, Time decided that its own leftist politics was a proper reason to proclaim that a car belongs in the “worst” category.

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For Time, Dan Neil — purported “Pulitzer-prize winning auto critic of the L.A. Times” — started off lambasting the famous Model T, the car that transformed America and gave its citizens the freedom of movement, enough so as to help create the most powerful and mobile economy in the world. And why was Time against the famous Model T? Because it transformed the nation from a lazy rural backwater into the world’s powerhouse and Time thinks that was gauche! Here’s what Time said that the Model T’s “problem” was:

It put America on wheels, supercharged the nation’s economy and transformed the landscape in ways unimagined when the first Tin Lizzy rolled out of the factory. Well, that’s just the problem, isn’t it?

Wow, a car guy that hates the fact that America came to love cars? Talk about a self-loathing liberal!

Naturally, this prosaic lefty goes after the SUV as evidence of America’s evils when he reviews the 1995 Ford Explorer. Now the Explorer is far from a failed car, but this guy adds it to the list because… well, merely because he hates Americans, I guess.

In its very success, the Ford Explorer is responsible for setting this country on the spiral of vehicular obesity that we are still contending with today

Only a liberal can see a car that “in its very success” was a “worst car of all time”!

Similary Neil attacked the 2000 Ford Excursion because, well, just because he doesn’t like SUVs, apparently. Not because it failed, was unsafe, or had bad engineering, but just because he doesn’t like SUVs.

Speaking of the big cars, here is Neils off-topic attack on the 2003 Hummer H2:

One struggles to think of a worse vehicle at a worse time. Introduced shortly after 9/11 – an event whose causes were tangled in America’s unquenchable thirst for oil – the Hummer H2 sent all the wrong signals. It was/is arrogantly huge, overtly militaristic, openly scornful of the common good. As a vehicle choice, the H2 was a spiteful reactionary riposte to notions that, you know, maybe we all shouldn’t be driving tanks that get 10 miles per gallon. Not surprisingly, the green-niks struck back. A Hummer dealership was torched in Southern California. The H2 was also a PR catastrophe for GM, who happened to be repossessing and crushing the few EV1 electric cars at the time. It all contributed to GM’s emerging image as the Dick Cheney of car companies.

Seriously? The Hummer is a “worst car” just because eco-terrorists (like Al Gore?) attacked some dealerships?

Another odd entry was the hate slammed down on the 1986 Lamborghini LM002. Oh, it isn’t a failure because it didn’t sell well or had bad engineering. It is bad because Arabs bought it. Sheese, racist much Time Magazine?

Certainly most of the reviews, many of them amusingly written, of these “worst cars” does focus on the proper criteria of bad engineering, bad sales and bad safety records but for the cars listed here, Dan Neil simply lets his left-wing politics speak to determine the “worst” status. And that is hardly fair to the cars or Time’s readers.

On the other hand, many of these reviews celebrates the idea of speed and power, just the sort of thing a good eco nut would despise. So, perhaps he isn’t a sold out lefty, maybe he’s just writing what he thinks Time’s left-wing audience wants to hear? If that’s the case then maybe he isn’t a lefty ideologue? Maybe he’s just a hypocrite?

I guess that will be up to the reader to decide.

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