Hooniverse Asks: Who or What in the Automotive Industry has Had the Worst Damn Luck ?

Today is Friday the Thirteenth, which is not just a series of ’80s slasher flicks but a day when the superstitious among us generally stay in bed with the covers pulled up far enough to prevent unfortunate actions befall them, but not so far as to suffer a self-inflicted ‘Dutch Oven’
The one thing about luck is that everybody has it. Of course sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it comes with a big ‘ol heaping plate of bad. That’s what we’re looking for today—sort of as a taunt to the spirits. The bad luck we are seeking revolves around the auto industry and the cars and players therein. Who or what do you think was the auto age’s most egregious recipient of bad luck? Oh, and look out for that black cat!
Image: aceglassva

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    1. HuntRhymesWith Avatar

      Just realized those turbine wheels are oriented the wrong way if they wanted to evacuate brake heat.
      Looks like all 4 wheels are identical, so at least the driver’s side ones are correct.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        I’m a sucker for all kinds of turbine inspired wheels. But the orientation issue is very consistent across the industry…might be worth an incredibly narrow Encyclopedia Hoonatica run?
        It certainly angers my inner engineer seeing these wheels, yet I guess it makes it easier to rotate tires. That said, I’ve seen too many tires mounted by supposed professionals against their rotation or with their inside out, that thinking too much about directional wheel concepts will necessarily result in contempt for humanity.

        1. JayP Avatar

          Directional wheels are a game with me… GenII Probes are always wanked. 300Zs too.
          I told a 911 owner his wheels were backwards – looked at me like I was nuts.

  1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    Every manufacturer who bought their airbags from this company.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Luckily, the media is reporting it correctly and putting the blame on the supplier not the auto manufacturer. That shifts the blame suitably away from the manufacturer and protects their reputation. However, this is only being done because its a problem across quite a few manufacturers. When its a bad part from a supplier to only one manufacturer (i.e. high pressure fuel pumps for BMW’s N54 engine) the manufacturer takes the blunt of the blame and the loss of goodwill.

      1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        Yeah it’s hard to blame the manufacturer when they sold to everyone. Although I’m sure there will be people complaining about quality control or something.
        Also the fact that this all came down to the fact that they didn’t add a drying agent to the bags just seems odd considering all the damage it has done.

  2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Isn’t Jeep considered the cursed monkey paw of the automotive industry? Or perhaps the Hope diamond would be a better analogy, since it is really more like a shiny beckoning bauble than a gross severed primate appendage. The value of the brand attracts successive suitors, even as tragedy befalls each that came before.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      They’ve been “married” several times, and this latest one isn’t good for them.

    2. neight428 Avatar

      They’re more like the nice girl that keeps hooking up with losers, one of which knocked her up and the offspring were the Compass/Patriot.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        And now the phony “Jeep” Renegade.

    3. CherokeeOwner Avatar

      Yeah, this is what I was going to reply.
      On the plus-side, given it’s history, there is a good chance Jeep will survive FCA should FCA go under.
      (Personally, I highly doubt FCA will require a bailout again, given that they do have more fuel efficient cars than they did during the Daimler/Cerebus era, such as the Renegade and the 500, and the new Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid should count for something in terms of CAFE regs.
      But I also doubt gas is going to stay around $2.00/gallon for the next year, let alone decade, given that quite a few of my neighbor’s who work in O&G here in Colorado have been warning my family to batten down the hatches. It’s more likely FCA will struggle, always perennially number 3/4/5 in the market, paying off its debt for the next few years, and will get bit when gas prices shoot up. Or, in fantasy land, Sergio gets canned and replaced by someone who gives a shit about small cars.)

    4. mad_science Avatar

      Bantam built the best government 1/4 ton recon vehicle prototype in terms of overall design, but the Feds liked the Willys (pronounced “Willis”, btw) engine and gave the majority of the manufacturing volume to Ford.
      Willys was faltering as an auto manufacturer in the post-war era and they purchased/merged with Willys Overland in ’53.
      Kaiser continued along making mostly Jeep vehicles until they were starving enough to be purchased by AMC in ’70 in hopes of bringing life to AMC through Jeep.
      While AMC probably left the biggest mark on Jeep products in general (AMC straight 6 and 360 will forever be joined with Jeep in memory), they were gobbled up by Chrysler in ’87.
      Chrysler kept limping along in 3rd place (of the big 3) until the “merger of equals” with Daimler-Benz in ’98.
      Chrysler got unloaded to the 3-headed guard dog of Hades in ’07, who subsequently sent the company through bankruptcy and offloading to Fiat (largely on the value of the Jeep brand).
      Depending on how you count it, Jeep has cursed 4-5 owners.

    5. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Still waiting for the whole thing to stop being FCA and become FJA before someone scoops out Jeep and lets Fiat go bust.

  3. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    Every car company who was “investigated” by 60 minutes.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Or NBC.
      I enjoyed watching NBC new squirm.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        “We realized that [being morons]…was a bad idea from start to finish.”
        “That’s our new policy.”
        What is? Pretty incredible letdown from a supposedly respected media outlet.

      2. neight428 Avatar

        Every hit piece against anyone by anyone should be taken with due skepticism, this is exhibit A.

  4. JayP Avatar

    Any person with ANY knowledge how cars work will have their face in their hands before the 1 minute mark.
    This hit Audi when it was about to break out. Aero designs, quattro, a good driving car. 74k US sales to 12k US sales in just a few years. (Audi hit 200k sales… so I guess they’re back on track in the US)

    An interesting read…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Fraud on the part of SeeBS.

      1. JayP Avatar

        Well, they didn’t do the test but just reported what the findings were.
        NBC lied about the hole in the tank, the wrong fuel cap and the use of explosives.

    2. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

      We can thank this bullshit for the utterly moronic, “step-on-brake-to-shift-from-park” annoyance from Hell.
      I fucking HATE IT!!!!!

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    John Delorean. For a guy whose career path was marked by success after success, it certainly ended up in a huge ball of front page failure. Most people don’t even realize he beat the charges.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      He beat the charges because the government basically entrapped him. That doesn’t make him innocent, it just means his lawyers were able to cast doubt on the government because of the entrapment issue.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        I only said he beat the charges. Setting aside actual guilt or innocence, though, you have to admit it’s pretty unlucky to have the government spend countless millions of dollars to set you up and prosecute you, and you to spend untold dollars and hours preparing a defense, precisely at the time your struggling business needs capital and attention.

  6. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Readers of this site.The industry is at an all-time pinnacle in the HP wars but a dark nadir in terms of the following:
    – affordable N/A engines that sing (S2000, Integra R, Alfa V6, etc)
    – manual wagons (Audi gives us a plasticshit-covered A4 fake off-road wagon instead so we can sit up like a big boy in the rolly-poly pram wars)
    – hard-top Miata alternatives (FR-Z comes with frickin *what* under the hood????)
    – used cars that can be worked on at home. Good luck fixing that Focus RS in your garage in seven years)
    – Mazda’s excellent product is resoundingly ignored by the public, making their death in the next few years more and more likely
    – Honda’s otherwise-good Accord now says “moo” with its awful CVT, like the hateful Altima drivetrain
    – Used 911s will never drop into real-people prices anymore, and why the hell didn’t we buy all the air-cooleds when we had the chance?
    – Who T F asked for autonomous cars?

    1. texpat Avatar

      I’m cursing the fact that I didn’t grab an air-cooled 911 when I could.
      OTOH, I did drive have a 205GTI, Landrover serries III, miata for 7 years, SRT-4 for 8, GTI for 8 months … currently in a WRX STI, and looking for a Fiat Spider 850… 😉

  7. Citric Avatar

    Thomas Midgley Jr. was a chemist who discovered that tetraethyllead could be an effective anti-knocking agent, so he put it in gas, which seemed like a good idea we all realized that putting lead in the atmosphere is bad. Then he developed CFCs for refrigeration, which seemed like a good idea, until it was discovered that they caused damage to the atmosphere. Then he got ill and developed a system of ropes and pulleys to allow him to move around, which seemed like a good idea until he was strangled by it and died.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Just watched this week… another plate-of-shrimp for me.

    2. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      That one line is so dead on.
      J. R. McNeill, an environmental historian, opines that Midgley “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history.”[27]

      1. Citric Avatar

        Given what killed him, I like this line: Bill Bryson remarks that Midgley possessed “an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny.”

  8. engineerd Avatar

    Leslie Ann Pluhar. Not only was she unlucky in driving a Yugo, she got blown off a bridge.

  9. BJ Avatar

    Edsel division of FoMoCo. It was a division that was needed. The entry level white color almost Lincoln driving fan of the company but the timing was terrible. A recession was just starting. The transition to smaller cars and the idea of a unibody construction was on the horizon. Then deciding to have the car built on Ford and Mercury lines while having major technical advances in place with the tel-touch and self-adjusting brakes along with a complicated power steering system meant a lot of them were not really finished when delivered. Then over hype for a “new” division but when revealed it was just a different front end that looked like a vagina.
    Poor Edsel..
    /fanboy showing today

    1. Krautwursten Avatar

      If anything was ever not needed, it was even more parts bin hierarchy slot divisions than the American market has already had at the time. What is it with Americans and badges?

  10. desmo Avatar

    MG. They had nothing but bad luck. Every single owner of the MG brand ruined it. The last one beeing no less than BMW. In the meantime MG made really fine cars.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      I tried to make a time line “becoming BLMC” – that’s easy for MG:
      Sir Norris = Lord Nuffield moved MG into the Nuffield Organisation, which was joined with Austin into BMC, which was joined with Jaguar into BMH, which was joined with LMC into BLMC.
      I don’t even consider to make something similar for the time after BLMC….

      View post on imgur.com

    2. Lokki Avatar

      Sadly, MG’s last owner was/is not BMW. In a fate arguably worse than death the honored MG marque and logo live on in a sort of Chinese-Zombie stolen-valor existence.
      The last-gasp 1990’s MG TF sports car carries on to this day accompanied by, as of last year, that most unMorris-Garage-like of vehicles, a CUV.
      Although this is all true, perhaps allowing your report of an honorable death at the hands of BMW to go uncorrected would have been kinder.

      1. JayP Avatar

        Only because the MG brand is so strong worldwide.
        Look at Rover… not as strong, in pieces.
        A lot of people hang on to the light there may be a new MG… even if it’s garbage.

        1. Vairship Avatar

          Of course, people LOVE Modern Gentlemen, but not Roewes.

      2. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        There was a later MG sports car than that but with a shorter life. http://hooniverse.info/2016/05/13/mystery-car-286/

    3. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      IF MG had bad luck, what about Rover? Crippled by the BMC/Leyland merger and bad management through Leyland, BAE and BMW, it’s a wonder that Range Rover Land Rover have survived to today

  11. Inliner Avatar

    These coming out just before the worst of the first fuel crisis hit.
    Photo from Allpar.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      My parents bought this in 1973 http://carphotos4.cardomain.com/images/0015/85/85/15985858_large.jpg then tried to sell it (because they were moving to another country) in 1974…