• Dec 29, 2008
The engine is the crown jewel of any automobile and can make or break a car in the eyes of an automotive enthusiast. No matter how sweet a car's handling or how neutral its balance, a limp-wristed engine can completely kill the machine's ability to put a smile on your face. Conversely, nothing screams buzzkill quite like a glorious engine cooped up in a dowdy package. Such is the case with the ten vehicles that made their way on our Top Ten Cars That Don't Deserve Their Engines list. Unfortunately, the powerplants under the hoods of these ten cars are forever destined to mediocrity. Some may consider these cars sleepers due to their often unassuming wrappers, but we maintain these engines would rather live a life free of their humble trappings; free to ingest the atmosphere with reckless abandon and exhale their burnt offerings to the gods of a good time.



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      • 6 Years Ago
      ohhh that 1989 SHO photo in Titanium was identical to that Q ship we owned. What a sad rust bucket it became - rust holes throughout - but that Yamaha mill never leaked a drop of oil in 200,000 miles. And 30 MPG. The faster you went the more stable (and wind noisy) it became.

      Now drop that motor stripped of its Ford parts (revs) and crunchy tranny in a 65 Shelby GT350 chassis and oww whee!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I dont think the Typhoon/Syclone should be on this list, not that they are bad cars by any means, I want one, just that the motors in them were not that great. Sure they made a lot of hp and tq, but the 4.3l was not a racing motor, it was a truck motor. Strap a turbo onto any motor and you are sailing into uncharted territory. Add into that mix all wheel drive and you have a lot of force on the crank, but you have a lot of force on the pistons, so the weak point? The rods, these things were known for bending/breaking them, which was COSTLY to fix.
      This car was just kinda a bad conception in the first place.
      Still love'm tho haha
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed!
        Kinda like the Tacoma X-Runner
        minus the awd and the turbo mind you
        hmmm i wonder where Toyota got the idea......
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good article, but it should have been titled: Top 10 Engines That Don't Deserve Their Cars
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wouldnt the original Pontiac GTO also qualify under these standards since it dropped the Bonnevilles engine in the entry level Tempest/LeMans
      • 6 Years Ago
      86-87 Buick Grand National. I had an 86 GN for a while. Great engine for its time. DIS, turbo. Relatively high reving. That engine is better than the Sy/Ty 4.3 liter engine. The Sy/Ty had a lot of short comings. As a weird package it was cool. I know I still have a Syclone and a Typhoon.

      The Lamborghini LM002 is one of my favorites. Just for the fact that its so wrong. Way before the Hummer, the LM002 was way cool.

      http://www.gtrusablog.com
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about the Ram SRT-10?? Hella engine for a vehicle that lacks every credential of something meant for motoring and sports driving.

      A vehicle with the aerodynamics of a barn, the architecture of a piece of work equipment, and the weight of Rosie O'Donnell...to put it short..a "truck."

      Powerful engines are necessary for speed. If you want speed, why put the powerful engine in a vehicle that will limit the speed? It's like ordering a cheeseburger but requesting chicken instead of beef. I mean, you can eat it..but your not eating a cheeseburger. So while it may taste good, you still can't say "This is a great tasting cheeseburger...I rate it with all of the other great cheeseburgers." When you start doing that, where will it end? At some point you will find yourself calling a crab cake a cheeseburger, as will everyone else. That sounds ridiculous..almost as much so as calling a Prius a sports-car...kinda like how ridiculous it is to call something that is intended to haul block, lumber, sod, ect. a sports-car..or even consider it necessary to allow it to carry attributes of a sports-car.

      Putting a snowplow, winch, and roof mounted running-lights on a Gallardo LP560-4 wont make it a plow truck..it will make it pretty silly, like the Ram SRT-10.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Silverado SS? F-150 Lightning? Sport trucks: kinda silly, but you can't bash one without bashing the other. The SRT-10's engine is also fairly functional, since the actual SRT body was wind tunnel-tested. Christ, you can even find this out on Wikipedia:

        "In February 2004, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 set both the Guinness World Record and Sports Car Club of America's record for the world's fastest production truck with an average speed of 154.587 mph (248.784 km/h)."
      • 6 Years Ago
      that sho engine would have been a nice addition to the ford probe back in the 90s. A rwd probe with this high revving engine, too bad the probe was fwd.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I owned a 1988 taurus and it was so much better in terms of build quality to my wifes 1988 toyota. It went though salt bad weather never been garaged.

      The orginal transmission lasted over 250k but then somone hit the car.

      I did have the transmission fluid changed every 30k because the guy at the dealler said they were week.

      In my opinion it was a tough car. It hit so many potholes in DC and never came apart.

      It was a tank.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This list is Garbage. Half of the cars don't deserve to be on the list, Im glad to see your Google Search works well.

        I own a 2005 Neon SRT-4 ACR, and FWIW there was absolutly nothing on the market at the time that even compared to the car. Not just the power, but handling thanks to my five way adjustable tokico Illumina's. The braking is decent for the power it has and the overall weight. Steering is impressive and the car almost begs to be driven harder. Oh they also threw on a set of 16x7" BBS RX wheels with BFGoodrich G-force KDW's just to make sure the car was firmly planted on the road. I've added a lengthy list of Mopar Perfomance upgrades to my car over the years and it just adds to the complete package. I've got friends with MS3's, Cobalt SS/SC's, Stealth TT/AWD and nothing comes close to my car as an all around package.

        The Taurus SHO was the start of the midsize Q-Ship. It started the trend of high power midsize sedans. It offered customers who needed a bigger car for room, all the fun of a sports car including a manual gearbox.

        The Omni GLH Turbo/Omni GLHS/Charger GLHS is another car not worth of this "list", lets not forget this car went on sale to the public in 1978. The GLH Turbo didn't make its apperence until 1985 a full 7 years after the car came out. The formula is exactly the same as the Rabbit GTI except the car has a lot more power. These cars were extremly nimble and had enough power to leave the competition sitting. The GLHS kickets the Shelby GT-350's ass in 1986 and they dominated SCCA for years. Certified to 135 MPH is impressive for 1986 standards, nothing else from the competition came close to these cars!

        The Spirit R/T was Ma Mopars answer to the Taurus SHO. It did everything the SHO did but with the added fun of Boost! The brakes were great, power was insane for a grocery getter and it had none of the looks that grab the cops attention. The small rear spoiler and the decals on the drivers door were the only clue to what this car was packing. in 1991 the Spirit R/T was advertising a 0-60 of 5.8 seconds from a four cylinder foor door family Sedan. Nothing short of Impressive if you ask me!

        This list is full of Fail!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I take issue with the SRT4 being on the list. Sure, it wasn't refined, it wasn't plush, and it wasn't fancy or exotic. However it was fast as hell in both straight line performance and around the twisties, and would kick the collective competition's asses right up until it was discontinued. It was a purpose built car, and it fulfilled the purpose very well. If you want plush get s used, slower in every way RSX.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love my Neon SRT-4 for what it is. The engine stock was quite nice. I've modified mine to make it a little bit too much for what's necessary, but it's still a fun, quick little car that I didn't buy to have a plush interior.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Kimura,
        No offense, but the only people who liked how the srt neon looked, are the kids who own/owned them.
        I have no issues with the rawness of a car. I'm not the type of guy that needs a plush interior and cushy ride quality.
        What i do need is style.
        The styling on a corvette is subjective, the styling on a mustang, again subjective, along with a huge list of other cars.
        The styling on a neon, is however not subjective. It's a neon no matter how you dress it up. Regardless what you do to it, it's still a girls car.
        A car once marketed with "beep beep hi".

        I love a car that runs quick, but it's got to have something going for it visually.
        It's likely i ever land up in a 4cyl turbo car, but if i did, likely a wrx or lancer evo.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think some you guys miss the point of the article.
        "Top 10 Cars That Don't Deserve Their Engines"
        The srt neon and caliber engines were good and powerful, but the vehicles they were dropped in, are horrible.
        No matter how fast an srt4 neon is, it's still an ugly chick car.

        Including the syclone and tyhoon in this list is insanity.
        They look good and were quick, i don't really see the problem with that.
        Carlos
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only two things the Neon SRT4 didn't have going for it were exterior and interior styling. It redefined the sport compact car in 2003 when it came out, anything that was available at the time was absolutely destroyed by it. Only until recently did Chevy and Mazda surpass the SRT4. So to say it didn't deserve it's engine is a load. Not only did it out accelerate any competition, it also out handled then, and in ACR form nothing at that price range new couldn't touch it.

        If you want a fast interior go buy an RSX or a GTI while I blow by you like you're standing still.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree. I still want to take one out and flog it around.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I quote myself commenting on the photo:

        Autoblog's own review of the Caliber SRT-4 (click: http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/29/in-the-autoblog-garage-2008-dodge-caliber-srt-4/) calls it "worth taking a look at" with knocks for the obligatory crappy Chrysler interior and external styling that works for guys with 'roid rage and little else. Meanwhile, it is a "decent corner carver" that has "strong acceleration out of" those corners and "brakes that offer great velocity retardation". Also, the SRT team explained (http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/29/autoblog-qanda-erich-heuschele-from-srt-answers-why-the-caliber-s/) why they kept it FWD (hint: FWD=lighter car).

        So is it a decent corner carver worth taking a look at, or is it not worth its engine? Some integrity, Autoblog, I pray you. The Neon was even better than the Caliber...it was LIGHTER with good gas mileage.

        In other words, take the SRT-4 off. Surely you can find a better one...like the 3.0L Duratec V6 in the 1996 Ford Taurus wagons. The same engine that powers the modern Jaguar XF. I know the Yamaha-powered SHO is on there, but who cares?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The GMCs don't deserve to be on this list. Those were amazing when they came out.

      Neither does the impala SS. Its problem is its FWD - everything else is fine. Why, oh why GM did you scrap the big RWD chevy? The cop car market alone makes it worth it.

      Its shocking how many screw ups GM has made and yet Wagoner still has his job. If that's not bad enough the American people picked Obama.

      Common sense, reason, sanity - all gone. Replaced by stupidity, American Idol, and the culture of "me."

      This country is on its last legs. On deck: the North American Union, the amero, one world government. Freedom, civil liberty - GONE.

      But at least we have Clay from American Idol and iPods, and starbucks and... you people are nuts. Glad I don't have kids.
        • 6 Years Ago
        In 91 the Syclone was practically the king of the road. Its 0-60 in 4.6s was enough to beat a Ferarri in 1991. Its also the same 0-60 time the new Camaro SS with a 6 speed automatic will put down. That is why it doesn't deserve to be on this list.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Old post I made on Autoblog on the Spirit R/T doing 13's in the quarter mile.


      From the 2.2 turbo page on Allpar.com:

      +++++++++++++++++++

      Turbo III - Quite rare, and was used only on the Spirit R/T and Daytona R/T from 1991 to 1992 (except in Mexico). Generating 224 hp from 2.2 liters, this engine was a thrill to drive, but finding parts is difficult. The heads were designed by Lotus, and frequent timing belt replacement is a problem unless replacement instructions are followed to the letter. The Turbo III was a DOHC engine with distributorless ignition and four valves per cylinder. If you buy one of these, try to have another car to drive in case of emergencies.

      One Chrysler engineer wrote: "Incredible engine, not many left around here, but lots still in Mexico. Heads cracked in the 1991 version because some dummy decided to use cast iron plugs in the water jacket holes instead of aluminum. Ya send these kids to college, and they still don't know that metals don't all expand at the same rate and something's gotta give.....but then again, Lotus designed the head, and my favorite oxymoron is 'British Engineering' (you ever worked on a British Leyland product?)."

      Michael Royce, of Lotus Engineering, wrote that development of the Turbo III (designated the A-522) started with a contract signed on March 1, 1985, by Bob Sinclair (Chrysler VP of Engineering) and Mike Kimberley (Managing Director of Lotus Cars Ltd). Royce was the program manager on all three of Chrysler’s programs with Lotus Engineering (the other two are described later.) He noted that the problem with timing belts was that:

      The timing belt tension had to be set so high to overcome "tow roping" of the timing belt, i.e. the timing belt going into negative tension. Tow roping is a belt killer. We found that this problem was caused by the extremely low valvetrain friction from using roller rockers combined with the DOHC set up. As soon as an exhaust valve rocker goes over the nose of the camshaft, there is no friction to slow it down and it tries to close the valve even faster, causing the exhaust cam sprocket to rotate clockwise faster and decrease the tension in the belt span between the sprockets. With a bucket tappet, which is used on most DOHC 4 cylinders, there is friction. On the 8 valve SOHC engine, there is an intake lobe on the same camshaft coming up to help out! So we had to crank up the initial belt tension to solve the problem.

      An automatic belt tensioner would probably have helped. However, belt life is probably improved if people watch their belt tension and keep it within spec.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Did you guys notice 9/10 of them are all American cars?"

      You could tell by the title, otherwise it would have said "10 ho hum cars redeemed by their engines".
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