Great Cars That Were Killed Before They Could Succeed

None of these cars achieved their goals, but they're still worth celebrating.

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Getty ImagesRaphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho

Some cars deserve to fail, but others failed for reasons beyond automaker control. Each one of these cars is great, but some failed for economic reasons, where others failed for being misunderstood by customers. Here are some cars that should've had a better chance, according to you.

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Are you out on the hunt, stealthily waiting to attack your prey? Not in this car you aren't, but it's still an awesome name.
Plymouth
Plymouth Prowler

While the Prowler had as much Hot Wheels-like styling as anyone could ask for, it lacked heavily in the drivetrain department. Instead of speccing it with a V8 and a manual (as Chrysler should have from the beginning), it got stuck with an automatic V6 powertrain.

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Saab
Saab 9-4X

The 9-4X, Saab's mid-size crossover, could've been the brand's savior. America's lust for high-riding cars was beginning to show, but the 9-4X came just a little bit to late for it to be effective in stopping Saab's eventual demise. Now, a 9-4X is a rarer car than a LaFerrari. Think about that.

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Pontiac Fiero

The Fiero was America's first mass-produced mid-engine car, and on paper, it looked promising. But engine fire problems and a questionable chassis setup meant it could never live up to its competitors reliability and performance.

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Gumpert
Gumpert Apollo

The Gumpert Apollo had real performance, even breaking the Nurburgring lap record back when it was new. But a weird name and questionable styling meant people weren't interested, and eventually, it was discontinued for good. The company, now called Apollo, is back with a brand new supercar called the IE.

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<p>John DeLorean's magnificent vision for the future of the car <a href="http://quizcards.info/car-culture/profiles/videos/a29922/the-delorean-story-like-youve-never-heard-before/" target="_blank">fell flat on its face for a number of reasons</a> including rushed development, political crisis in Northern Ireland, where it was built, and an entrapment plot hatched by the U.S. government. The DMC-12 deserved better than its short production run.</p>
John Lamm
DeLorean DMC-12

John DeLorean's magnificent vision for the future of the car fell flat on its face for a number of reasons including rushed development, political crisis in Northern Ireland, where it was built, and an entrapment plot hatched by the U.S. government. The DMC-12 deserved better than its short production run.

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<p>Preston Tucker's first and only car saw many innovations that took years for other manufactures to adopt. Unfortunately, <a href="http://quizcards.info/car-culture/a29351/what-tesla-needs-to-learn-from-tucker/" target="_blank">production was stopped</a> after only 51 cars were made due to an SEC investigation–likely egged on by Detroit carmakers threatened by upstart Tucker's promise.</p>
Getty ImagesNational Motor Museum/Heritage Images
Tucker 48

Preston Tucker's first and only car saw many innovations that took years for other manufactures to adopt. Unfortunately, production was stopped after only 51 cars were made due to an SEC investigation–likely egged on by Detroit carmakers threatened by upstart Tucker's promise.

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Pontiac started showing promise right before its death, and no car in its lineup was more promising than the G8. It was a rear-wheel drive sedan built by Holden in Australia, and available with a V8 and a six-speed manual. Basically, it was the car enthusiasts wanted Pontiac to make, but GM's bailout by the U.S. government forced Pontiac to a premature grave. Its legacy lives on in the Chevrolet SS.
Pontiac
Pontiac G8

Pontiac started showing promise right before its death, and no car in its lineup was more promising than the G8. It was a rear-wheel drive sedan built by Holden in Australia, and available with a V8 and a six-speed manual. Basically, it was the car enthusiasts wanted Pontiac to make, but GM's bailout by the U.S. government forced Pontiac to a premature grave. Its legacy lived on in the Chevrolet SS up until 2016, when that car was also killed off.

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<p>We're very happy to see <a href="http://quizcards.info/new-cars/road-tests/a28547/volvo-xc90-review/" target="_blank">Volvo's amazing renaissance</a>, but we can't help but wonder what would happen to fellow Swedish carmaker Saab if it had the same chance. The last 9-5 was a wonderful alternative to its German rivals, but it only survived for two years before Saab closed shop for good.</p>
Saab
Saab 9-5

We're very happy to see Volvo's amazing renaissance, but we can't help but wonder what would happen to fellow Swedish carmaker Saab if it had the same chance. The last 9-5 was a wonderful alternative to its German rivals, but it only survived for two years before Saab closed shop for good.

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<p>Even though Porsche purists hated the entry-level, Volkswagen-derived 914, it was a huge sales success for the company. The <a href="http://quizcards.info/car-culture/videos/a7914/petrolicious-porsche-914-6/" target="_blank">flat-six powered 914/6</a>, however, was not. It cost nearly as much as the cheapest 911, so guess which car customers opted for. It's only recently that people realized how great the 914/6 is, and values have since skyrocketed.</p>
Porsche
Porsche 914/6

Even though Porsche purists hated the entry-level, Volkswagen-derived 914, it was a huge sales success for the company. The flat-six powered 914/6, however, was not. It cost nearly as much as the cheapest 911, so guess which car customers opted for. It's only recently that people realized how great the 914/6 is, and values have since skyrocketed.

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<p>The AMC AMX was one of the most interesting cars of the muscle car era, but it never really caught on in the way others did. It was a legitimate two-seater that was much cheaper than the Corvette, but under 20,000 were sold in its three year production run. Among muscle cars, this is the true conesieurs choice.</p>
Getty ImagesNational Motor Museum/Heritage Images
AMC AMX

The AMC AMX was one of the most interesting cars of the muscle car era, but it never really caught on in the way others did. It was a legitimate two-seater that was much cheaper than the Corvette, but under 20,000 were sold in its three year production run. Among muscle cars, this is the true conesieurs choice.

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<p>Here we have another victim of the 2008 recession and GM's big bailout. The Saturn Sky and its brother, the Pontiac Solstice, were legitimately interesting alternatives to a Miata. In turbocharged GXP form, it was a serious performance car, but well, you know how this story ends. The good news is that if you can find a Solstice GXP Coupe with a manual gearbox, you've found a future collector car. Buy that puppy now.</p>
Saturn
Saturn Sky Redline

Here we have another victim of the 2008 recession and GM's big bailout. The Saturn Sky and its brother, the Pontiac Solstice, were legitimately interesting alternatives to a Miata. In turbocharged GXP form, it was a serious performance car, but well, you know how this story ends. The good news is that if you can find a Solstice GXP Coupe with a manual gearbox, you've found a future collector car. Buy that puppy now.

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<p>The death of the Bugatti EB110 is one of the greatest automotive mysteries of the last century. Romano Artoli, the man who created it, <a href="http://quizcards.info/car-culture/classic-cars/videos/a29405/bugatti-eb110-romano-artioli-history/" target="_blank">claims it was industry sabotage</a>, but no one knows for certain. In any case, it's a shame because the EB110 is a fascinating machine.</p>
Getty ImagesRaphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho
Bugatti EB110

The death of the Bugatti EB110 is one of the greatest automotive mysteries of the last century. Romano Artoli, the man who created it, claims it was industry sabotage, but no one knows for certain. In any case, it's a shame because the EB110 is a fascinating machine.

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You probably see a Pontiac on this list and assume it was a victim of GM's big bailout, but this one wasn't. Pontiac revived the GTO name when it began importing the excellent, rear-drive Holden Monaro coupe from Australia, but it was a sales flop. People complained that it didn't look cool enough to wear the GTO name, but all I see is a big, V8-powered burnout machine.
Pontiac
Pontiac GTO

You probably see a Pontiac on this list and assume it was a victim of GM's big bailout, but this one wasn't. Pontiac revived the GTO name when it began importing the excellent, rear-drive Holden Monaro coupe from Australia, but it was a sales flop. People complained that it didn't look cool enough to wear the GTO name, but all I see is a big, V8-powered burnout machine.

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The first-generation Honda Insight was a very interesting take on the economy car, but it was perhaps too interesting for the general public. It had a streamlined body, a super-efficent three-cylinder engine, and it was light. Unfortunately, the Prius proved to be more popular, so when Honda revived the Insight in 2010, it was little more than a Prius clone.
Honda
Honda Insight

The first-generation Honda Insight was a very interesting take on the economy car, but it was perhaps too interesting for the general public. It had a streamlined body, a super-efficent three-cylinder engine, and it was light. Unfortunately, the Prius proved to be more popular, so when Honda revived the Insight in 2010, it was little more than a Prius clone.

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