World’s Worst Car Designs

Cars are usually a thing of beauty. They have the sleek curves and futuristic designs that can stop anyone in their tracks. However, it does sometime goes wrong and some truly ghastly cars do hit the road. When this happens, both buyers and even the manufacturer turns their back at the showroom. Whether it’s from an outrageous design or just a combination of errors, it’s not easy to forget such monstrosities. However, which models are the ones that truly hit the headlines for the wrong reason.

5. Fiat Multipla

Fiat Multipla

Fiat are known for making cars that many people think look cute or adorable. Unfortunately, the Multipla is kind of the opposite of this. The large minivan is based on a predecessor that had some success back in the 1950s but unfortunately it didn’t capture the same feeling. The biggest flaw is up front with a small rim underneath the windscreen ruining the front. The back isn’t much better where it’s just a giant rectangle with the same sickening bump bulging under the rear screen. This monstrosity was made for over a decade before the Italians woke up and stopped production of the model in 2010.

4. Aston Martin Lagonda (2nd series)

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin produces some of the most beautiful cars in the world. They represent luxury and elegance. Well 99% of the time. Back in the 1970’s, the British manufacturer made the Lagonda which was a major blip on the radar. Despite featuring many ground-breaking mechanical aspects such as computer electronics, the design department went on holiday and wrecked the car. It has a hideously long nose which would give Pinocchio a run for his money. On top of that, the pop up headlights looked clunky and out of place on the Lagonda. Still, it’s an Aston Martin and we’d still buy one even if it was in a back alley!

3. Pontiac Aztek

Pontiac Aztek

What was it that destroyed Pontiac? The recession? Probably. Environmental friendliness? Maybe. The Aztek? Definitely. It’s hard for one car to be hated by all yet the Aztek managed to somehow do this. The dislike was instant from the moment it was unveiled and it’s not hard to see why. There are all sorts of hideous designs on the car with out of place grills and strange lines and curves. Combined with a garish colour scheme such as fluorescent orange, nobody could miss the Pontiac Aztek when it was nearby. However, its production only lasted for 4 years which saved Pontiac from years of abuse. But it’s too little, too late for the classic American manufacturer whose last years will be forever remembered for this abomination rather than their timeless classics. What a waste…

2. DeLorean DMC 12

DeLorean DMC 12

It’s one of the best known cars in the world but the DeLorean is far from legendary. It might have been able to travel back in time but that is the only good thing about the DMC-12. Hardly looking like the usual Hollywood star, the DMC obviously hung out with Frankenstein as it look likes all the square panels were just molded together from the scrapyard. As big as it was wide, the DeLorean really was an eyesore not to be missed. It didn’t sing well either with its 2.8 V6 engine always struggling to power such a wide and heavy car to it’s maximum. It really was a waste of great potential and DeLorean will always want to go back to the future and fix their wrong-doings.

1. BMW Isseta

BMW Isseta

It’s hardly a household name but the Isseta optimized everything that was wrong with the bubble car. Looking like it was crushed in all directions; the Isseta hardly takes any true shape – not even a circular dome to live up to its reputation. It only got worse as major manufacturers got involved. BMW invested heavily into Isseta which made even scarier cars such as the BMW Isseta 600 that looked like it was dragged off the torture rack. It was hardly practical either with 2 people getting squashed inside making the car and its owner a laughing stock. Unsurprisingly, the model has now grown a cult following and now replica kits can let people re-live one of the strangest cars ever made.

Post courtesy of www.PPCGB.com.
Source for all photos: Wikimedia

  

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Drink of the Week: The Vesper

The VesperThis was the recipe I’d always planned to do right around now. By “now,” I originally meant before the release of the first James Bond movie in several years and/or right around the 50th anniversary of the 007 film series. Even so, I managed to miss the fact that the opening weekend of “Skyfall” was last weekend and not this weekend, so we’re a bit late.

This despite the fact that I and my Bullz-Eye compatriots have spent — and are spending — a fair amount of time actually writing up the Bond films for this very blog. (Check out the Bondian fan hub here.) Fortunately, the movie is turning out to be the most successful film in the uber-franchise in a long while — how long probably depends on whether you bother to adjust for inflation — so it’s going to be around awhile. That means the Bond celebration will also continue.

The Vesper, I should say, is a tricky and ironic drink among late period cocktail classics. Since it debuted in the very first James Bond novel,1953′s Casino Royale, and was created for 007 author Ian Fleming by his friend, Ivar Bryce, a fellow real-life spy, the supercool authenticity factor is off the charts. The scene in the 2006 film version where Bond finally orders the drink some 53 years after it was first invented was a special treat for diehard spy fans and cocktail lovers, and I’m both.

The downside here is that there are issues relating to the ever formulating changes in booze brands that has made the idea of the Vesper a bit more enthralling than the actual drink usually is. We’ll get to those, and a bit more history, after the very, very strong recipe below.

First, however, a word to wise boozer. If you drink a whole Vesper, you really should be done for the night. Mere mortals should not drink like functioning dipsomaniac superspies. You may want to consider cutting the portions here in half or pouring this drink into two glasses for you and a friend.

The Vesper

3 ounces gin (90 proof or above)
1 ounce vodka (100 proof or close, probably)
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 lemon twist (garnish)

Combine your ingredients in cocktail shaker with a sufficiency of ice. Though heretical cocktail snobs will tell you to stir, this is an Ian Fleming cocktail and Mr. Fleming would certainly have you shake the drink. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or, if you really want to be classical, do as Bond asked the barman in the novel and serve it in a deep champagne goblet. Add your lemon twist, sip and surrender your car keys to the nearest trustworthy soul. Watch out for double agents.

****

In the scene in the novel (included in the wiki I linked to above), CIA agent Felix Leiter expresses some skepticism about the as-yet unnamed Vesper, which Bond later names for the first of his two true loves, Vesper Lynd. It is a very big drink and not for pikers. It also a drink that, as cocktail historian David Wondrich and many others have admitted, hasn’t aged terribly well for a number of reasons.

First of all, all the ingredients have changed. Bond specifically requests Gordon’s Gin. Though it’s no longer considered on the high-end of the gin scale, I actually quite like today’s value-priced Gordon’s, but the flavor of today’s version can’t be the same as was back in ’53. Gordon’s is now only 80 proof. Back then, it was a higher proof and most, Wondrich included, now suggest using Tanqueray. This time around, I used the similarly high proof Beefeater, which seemed a bit more classical.

As for vodka, Wondrich and others seem to assume it would have been 100 proof. At $26.00 a bottle, I’m simply too cheap to buy 100 Stolichnaya, so I went with the $16.00 100 proof Smirnoff. I’ve never really been sold on Stoli and I doubt Bond or Mr. Fleming would have drunk a communist vodka.

Moving down the list of ingredients, I love Lillet Blanc. In fact, maybe my favorite thing about the Vesper is that it introduced me to this intriguing aperitif wine and occasional cocktail ingredient; it tastes like dry vermouth and sweet vermouth made love and birthed an independent-minded female child. However, it also apparently isn’t what it once was. Mr. Bond’s original recipe calls for the now long-gone Kina Lillet, which we are told had a bit more quinine than the present day Lillet Blanc.

That leads us to the use of the bitters, which are an attempt — some would argue a rather lame attempt — to compensate for the low level of quinine. Folks with more time and money than I have been known to actually purchase quinine powder. Since I’m not fighting a case of malaria right now, I chose not to.

So, what do I think of the Vesper? I’ve made this drink probably 10 times over the years and ordered it a few times in bars and, with a couple of exceptions, I’ve been disappointed in the taste while always enjoying the effect. A regular martini, either of the gin or vodka variety, will usually go down more pleasantly. Even so, if you want to drink the one drink that James Bond created on the spot, well, you’ve got no other choice. You’ll drink it and, by the time you’ve finished all that booze, you’ll like it.

In any case, it’s only human to want to try the drink James Bond made up.

  

The Ultimate Car Show at Pebble Beach

I knew I was in for a treat when I traveled to Pebble Beach this past weekend with Infiniti. Any trip to the beautiful Bay Area that included a visit to the iconic Pebble Beach golf course would be memorable. But visiting during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance provided a completely unique experience. The Concours ranks as the most prestigious classic car show in the world. I was stunned by the number of beautiful cars that were on display. It’s a car enthusiast’s dream event, but anyone who appreciates great cars would have an unforgettable experience.

Infiniti took the opportunity around this event to introduce two impressive concept vehicles, including the JX Concept crossover which made its debut at an elegant evening event and the Etherea concept which was introduced for the first time in North America. The Etherea was introduced on Saturday morning on the 18th green at Pebble Beach, which would be the location for the Concours on Sunday (see photo below).

The Concours is the signature event for car enthusiasts, so all weekend we saw a virtual parade of amazing vehicles. Everywhere you turned you could spot old and new Ferraris, Bugattis, Rolls Royces, Aston Martins, Lambos and more, along with classic American cars as well. In the days leading up to Sunday, tons of vehicles we on display. One of my favorites was this 1968 Dodge Charger R/T:

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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