The beauty of some cars has inspired men to write songs, fiercely defend them or generally sell their souls for their rides. Other cars don't have it so lucky; they're of the ugly, fugly and pug-fugly nature.
To narrow over a century of shame, these ugly cars are production vehicles sold in the U.S. at one time or another. To be fair, we won't pick on more than one ugly model from a given automaker -- even though we had a hard time holding back. Some are actually reliable and/or fun to drive, but since we're concerned here with looks as the primary basis, every last one of them is a sinfully ugly car.
10 - Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
"To hell in a handbasket" is an expression we're sure you've heard. Well, here's the handbasket. The original four-door PT Cruiser may be well into its 11th hour of retro appeal, but at least it isn't outright ugly like this ragtop. Whereas chopping off a roof usually makes a car more appealing, MOPAR managed to kill whatever appeal the donor had when they answered the question that nobody asked in 2005. It may aid stiffness and safety, but the basket-like handle behind the doors lends considerably to the mess, and solidifies the PT Cruiser Convertible's entry on our countdown of ugly cars.
9 - Datsun B210
It's hard to believe that this ugly car came from the same company that wowed us with the 240Z. The reliable, fuel-efficient Datsun B210 was the little car that could -- and did from 1973 through 1978, despite its butt-ugly facade. Not that the decade's Detroit iron was all that pretty either, but this poor hatchback rendition of an Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT took it to another level. The companion two- and four-door models didn't look much better either. You were actually happy when they rusted, since that meant there was less of the car to appall the senses. The fact that this ugly car solidified Datsun's popularity in the U.S. underscores just how well this car ran, despite its hideous looks.
8 - AMC Eagle
Harping on an AMCs looks is like roughing up a geek on the playground. It's mean-spirited, easy to do and it further guarantees your place in hell. That's not really a concern, since a jab at an automotive underdog is clearly among our misdemeanors. While other bullies tend to corner the Pacer or Gremlin under these circumstances, our No. 8 sights are set on the Eagle that ran from 1980 to '88. Never mind that it set the stage for future all-wheel drive cars, this was a cowboy stew of a car that spoiled much too quickly. Nothing about it was fresh from day one, it was just a mash-up of already-aged components under a choice of severely, unlovely body styles.
7 - Fiat Strada
Some of the greatest icons of trends and styles are Italians. Yet the Fiat Strada is enough to make you "forgetta 'bout it." From 1978 to '82, this Bertone design visually assaulted U.S. roads at a modest pace. As one of the first cars to be largely built by robots (complete with an ad campaign that emphasized this), you can understand why human eyes were kept from repetitive close-range views. Underneath this ugly car's body was a running gear that was lifted from the Fiat 128. It was by no means revolutionary or rapid, but at least it held together OK -- by Italian standards. Yet the near-worldwide repulsion of the Stradas looks (known as the Ritmo outside the U.S., Canada and UK) underscored the irony of Fiats relation to Ferrari.
6 - Subaru Baja
As Britney Spears can attest, comebacks are tricky. With the passing of time between glory years and the present, sentimentality has a way of clouding judgment and masking desperation as desire. At No. 6, memories of the funky Subaru BRAT from 1978 to '93 should have remained just that, a memory, instead of becoming the abomination known as the Baja. From 2003 to '06, Subaru saw fit to fight for the thin slice of ugly pie already shared between the Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Looking like two-thirds of an Outback wagon after an industrial accident, it didn't help that most Bajas came encased with silver plastic bulging from the lower half of the vehicle.
5 - Chevrolet Lumina APV
What is it with GM and minivans? After the Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari failed to pry drivers from their Dodge Caravans and Plymouth Voyagers, the General took two steps back and went to Plan B -- make that Plan U, for ugly. Chevy began the '90s with its Lumina APV, or All Purpose Vehicle. If those purposes included aesthetically spoiling the landscape, mission accomplished. Feature-rich, but slow and ugly, the debacle lasted a full six years before Chevy got the hint. Called "Dustbusters" by some, these minivans always reminded us of shrunken, de-winged space shuttles -- especially when painted white. Detroit, we have a problem: There's an ugly car on the runway.
4 - Suzuki X-90
Ever have one of those days when you can't seem to do anything right? That's the general idea of this thing. For about two years' worth of bad days, from 1996 to '98, Suzuki tried, in vain, to sell the X-90. As an SUV, about the only thing the X-90 had going for it was a short wheelbase. It lacked any serious off-road potential, and it was an unstable, rough ride on pavement. The is-it-coming-or-going profile dilemma wasn't decisively answered by the 95-horsepower, four-cylinder engine either. A magazine advertisement at the time intended to play up its ugliness as attitude; the header screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?" A decade later, we still don't have an answer.
3 - Dodge Rampage
Back at No. 6, we took a shot at the Subaru Baja pickup wanna-be. The only thing No. 6 can tip its hat to is the fact that it isn't the trucklet at No. 3: the Dodge Rampage. As if the wanna-be VW Rabbit clones, Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon, weren't bad enough, someone got the idea to follow the path trod by the likes of the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero. The Rampage lived a very short life, from 1982 to '84 (and just '83 for the Plymouth Scamp), but ugliness, slowness, flimsiness, and front-wheel drive (considered useless in a pickup) sealed its fate as an ugly car forever.
2 - Citroën 2CV
Don't get us wrong, we recognize the historical significance of the Citroën 2CV. We also happen to love it; it's some of the most fun you'll ever have at near-stationary speeds. But sacre bleu, it's an ugly car. Looks were far down the list of objectives in developing the Deux Chevaux. Putting postwar France on rugged, cheap, reliable wheels was the goal. With French production spanning four decades, from 1948 to 1988, that goal was surely met. It'll always be remarkably ugly, but it's also going to be an eternal automotive icon.
1 - Pontiac Aztek
If looks could kill? If? Thanks to the Pontiac Aztek, there's no uncertainty. Like the runner-up Citroën 2CV, there was a lot to like if you could get beyond the homeliness. Unlike the 2CV, few cared. Even though it fit the bill as a crossover SUV before we fully knew what they were, the style execution went horribly, horribly wrong. You almost want to feel sorry for it, because the Aztek could be ordered with some really cool gear, like an inflatable mattress and tent attachment. It scored well in nearly every category of J.D. Powers and Associates' owner surveys except for ... You know. Will the currently scorned Aztek find a little love, the way AMC Pacers have established a cult following? Time will tell. But for now, it's our ultimate ugly car.
Double-baggers On Four Wheels
The ugly cars on our countdown have vastly different legacies. Some retreated in shame after just a couple of years of ridicule, while others indifferently became automotive legends. These 10 all have a common thread and that's the utter lack of beauty they each possess.