Welcome to Craigslist Crapshoot, our weekly search for the most bizarre, awesome, and/or terrible vehicles that the online classifieds has to offer.
Last week we sent you looking for high-mpg versions of what were generally low-mpg cars and trucks. We’ll see the chosen aspirants in just a minute, but first this week’s search parameters.
Life is full of bad decisions. You can frequently tell which ones they are by the prefacing statement “here, hold my beer.” I’ll be glad to hold your beer as you search the Internet classifieds for the best in automotive bad decisions you can find. Semi-cheap Ferrari that just needs its busted timing belt replaced – and the seller already has the belt?! Who’s in? Yes, they may be cheap, and at some level desirable, but for various reasons they should be avoided like the plague, those are what we want to see today.
As always, we want your finds to go down in infamy and not in the site’s spam filter. Since we’ve changed commenting systems, you may need to update your commenter account. Make sure you have a Disqus account – they’re free and easy to get – and then comment away.
For the past four decades or so gas prices have gone up. That’s to be expected. However, their rise hasn’t been a linear path, it has instead been a yoyoing as consumer prices jump and ebb on their inexorable climb. Over the years that has caused auto makers to pull their hair out in the attempt to meet the market’s demands with right-sized fuel economy cars and trucks.
What has resulted is a battlefield strewn with vehicles intended to offer a quick fix to the gas mileage problem. These were cars and trucks that were too overweight or large for the puny ponies that were offered as “mileage leaders.” And boy, did you dig up the casualties. I’d like to call out the 1981 base model Ford Mustang found by PotbellyJoe. This brings back memories for me as I once had one similarly equipped and it was unequivocally the WORST CAR I HAVE EVER OWNED. And that’s saying a lot because I have had a ton of old British cars over the years.
The ’81 Mustang with its 88-horse, normally aspirated, 2.3-litre four was a terrible car in almost every way. Yeah, it got better gas milage than the 289-powered ’66 Mustang it replaced in my driveway, but it was also incapable of freeway speeds over 70 miles per hour lest the whole thing rattle itself to death. The engine wasn’t particularly pleasant at lower speeds either. I had that car for a year and a half before trading it in on a Triumph Spitfire.
Still, that’s not the most jaw-droppingly bad attempt by an auto maker to squeeze a few more miles out of a gallon of gas. That honor would go to the Cadillac 8-6-4 engine, which featured cylinder deactivation so effective that the engines would eventually deactivate ALL the cylinders rendering the car static and using no gas whatsoever. The engines were so fraught with failure that they were the object of a class action suit against GM.
So awful and problematic were they that it’s hard to believe that one still exists today. That’s why this ’81 8-6-4 Fleetwood, found by mdharrell is so perplexing, and hence our chosen mileage maker. Congrats to mdharrell, and thank you all for participating. Now here, let me hold that beer.