Just because a car is cool and good doesn’t mean that anyone is going to buy it. Sometimes great cars are just downright unsuccessful. Today, we’re going to look at a whole bunch of truly great cars that were ultimately unsuccessful. We’re going to look at why they’re great, why they failed and if failure is always a bad thing, I’m EyenaN and this is The 👀-List. This is GREAT cars were MASSIVE
If you were somehow unaware, the LFA was Lexus’s 2012 Halo Supercar. It’s a bit of a modern day legend. It’s a front engine rear wheel drive V10 spaceship, pushes out 553 HRSPRS and it sounds like this (car engines growl) So, why didn’t anyone buy it if it’s so good? Well, boils down to two pretty important reasons. Time and money and time is money so really, it’s just one reason, if you think about it. The LFA was originally supposed to launch in 2006 with frequent restarts and redesigns delayed production for several years and because of those delays and redesigns, the LFA was set at $375,000, for a Toyota and Lexus didn’t even make any money on it at that price.
By the time it finally hit the market, it was already outdated by cars like the Audi V10 R8 and the Nissan R35 GTR which were both significantly cheaper with similar if not better performance. This all meant that a bunch of LFAs sat and dealership showrooms for years ultimately the style and a bunch of the technology from the car trickled down into other Lexus vehicles I mean, look at the LC 500. So the LFA was a financial failure but, ultimately it wasn’t a total loss. We did an old version of bumper to bumper on one of these, I’m going to put the link in the description below check it out after this video and click it.
You’ve seen the SS badge on a lot of Chevy’s performance cars throughout the years. Things like the Camaro, the trailblazer, the Impala they even made an SS model of the HHR or I like to call the SS HHR, but Chevy also made a standalone SS model and guess what? It was bone chilling ripper, it was essentially a re-badged Holden Commodore. It had four doors, rear wheel drive, a 415 horsepower V8 and a six speed manual transmission. I mean, that sounds like a pretty nice bag peanut simmer, right? So why the flop? Why the flop? Why the flop? Well, it really wasn’t marketed very well and by that, I mean that it wasn’t marketed at all.
Chevy released the SS at a small event in an airplane hanger right next to the Daytona 500, Chevy was heavily leaning on the win on Sunday sell on money idea, but there was a problem because that doesn’t really work anymore because NASCAR’s aren’t based on consumer cars anymore and beyond that, Chevy really didn’t advertise the car at all. There’s no Superbowl ad, there was no social media campaigns nothing then, there was the name. SS is normally a trim level for Chevy cars. So, while the intent was to conjure up thoughts of high performance and speed, the car was just a little confusing. So based on the name and the general lack of effort to promote it, new customers really didn’t even know that it was a thing. The SS was only for sale for a couple years and Chevy didn’t make a ton of them so, if you can get your hands on one, good for you ’cause I think they sick.
Ford Contour SVT
This is bit of a weird one, but we liked the weird ones around here. Ever talked to Jeremiah? Ford had a mid sized economy Sedan called The Contour that sold from 1995 to 2000 but, in 1998, Ford decided to inject a little bit of a spicy sauce into it, gave us The Contour SVT. SVT of course was Ford’s high performance trim level and it stands for Special Vehicles Team, it sounds like a bunch of Navy seals with jets. They gave it a 2.5 liter V6 suspension upgrades like MacPherson struts, and better control arms and coils and a very nineties body kit to really show off the contours, many contours. The car had two main nicknames among enthusiasts, the first it was the American M3 it’s a very cool nickname off to a very good start.
The other nickname for this car was the Hot Potato because no body wanted to work on it. Because the larger than normal engine in the smaller than most engine bay, the contour SVT is notoriously difficult to work on. The contour SVT was also more expensive than any other American Subcompact Sedan and almost 23 grand in 1999. You know how many Limp Bizkit CDs you can buy for that much money? A freaking nice binder full, a binder with a zipper, you can buy the binder too. FORD only sold 11,500 which isn’t great, but that’s not why the car was killed. SUV sales are on the rise and Ford wanted to use The Contour factory to make their new small SUV, The Escape. So, the contour got the ax and now it lives in the hell.
SAAB 9-7x Aero
The 9-7X AERO was a Swedish American muscle SUV with a 390 HRSPRS too, all wheel drive and some stiff suspension, it was a luxury version of GM’s Trailblazer SS, which is already sick. So, what else do you need huh? To understand this car, we got to back it up and talk about why it even exists in case you didn’t know, GM, used to own SAAB and in 2006, there was a massive recall of general motors SUV’s and the result was a recall of over 250,000 cars. It’s a bad look. So to make people happy again, GM decided to make a couple of performance cars and one of those was The Trailblazer SS and another one was the SAAB 9-7X Aero basically the same car, different badge.
But unfortunately, the damage from the recall was done. And the 9-7X, despite being a very nice bag of peanuts, couldn’t pull the kind of sales numbers that they needed and that it deserved and SAAB closed its doors two years later. Y’all knew this one was coming so did I, because (laughs) I helped make this list. This one really frustrates me, because The Focus RS is one of the coolest cars to come out in my lifetime. It was an all wheel drive, turbo hatchback that had a six spoiler, came in dope colors, I just want to sit in those Ricardo’s and do a James Conner. So why didn’t this thing sell like a hot bag of peanuts on the cold city streets? The Focus RS was a performance car with a lot of hype and Ford dealerships took that, a little too seriously.
Most dealers wouldn’t even let people test drive the car, who in their right mind, would buy a car, without driving it? And on top of that dealerships added massive markups to the RS and gave little to no consideration for younger buyers. (car revs loudly) Who do you think is going to buy a bright blue turbo charged hatchback with a spoiler and a drift button? So, most of the people who actually knew what the car was couldn’t afford it and they weren’t allowed to drive it. And the people that could afford it, didn’t want it because it’s a stiff loud, very bright kind of race car also, it had had guests issues and so Ford killed it and now, it’s in hell.
I know what you’re saying, “EyenaN, this car is almost 100 years old.” But it’s a super important car, and also one of the biggest flops on this entire list of flops. The Airflow is in development at Chrysler for over six years, before it was finally shown to the world, they even brought it to the Wright brothers, to make the first ever automotive wind tunnel when developing this car, those are the planes Guys, airplanes, have you ever heard of it? This thing has unheard of technology for the time, curved front windshield, overdrive in seat suspension, mini body construction, a reserve gas tank, all these things were all either extremely rare or world’s first in 1934 and they came standard on the airflow.
But you know what else was going on in 1934? The Great Depression. Chrysler said that they wanted this car to offer a little glimmer of hope to the people but the only people that could afford it, were super rich. And you know who didn’t like rich people, during The Great Depression? Everybody. So unsurprisingly, this thing was a massive flop on the bright side, the airflow introduced the non-military world at aerodynamic design, which influences pretty much every modern car today.
Baja was Subaru’s attempt at a 21st century version of their much loved and super rugged little B.R.A.T. Well, the B.R.A.T had rugged dependability and simplicity, The Baja, incorporated a little bit of a modern touch. Now the Baja was based on the Outback, which is already a very good car, and Subaru wanted more utilitarian version of the Outback and wanted a larger market share in the US so they did, what any American would do, turn it into a truck, turn it into a truck, turn it into a truck.
The concept called the STX which stood for Subaru Truck Experimental because you know it’s not experimental if you use an E. But, the problem with doing two things at once is that neither of them get fully done very well, it’s like taking a bath, while cooking a steak. I mean, the idea seems like a good one, you make an Outback with more rugged cargo space cool, Subaru even made the Baja with a supercharger and later with an optional turbo again, super cool.
But the people who wanted to pick up laughed at the $25,000 price, they said, ha ha, ha ha, ha ha, that’s more than twice the price of a Ford Ranger, which is a real truck and on the flip side the people that wanted a cooler Outback realized that they were basically looking at a less practical version of the Outback that they wanted in the first place. So, despite being a super capable all wheel drived turbo charged supercharged Japanese rally truck you, the car struggled with its identity and now it’s in hell.
The Studebaker Avanti was weird looking little funny with glass coop produced right here in the US of America. It’s kind of like the Corvette, this is got squint your brains, look at it a different way. The Avanti launched in 1963 and was at the time the fastest production car, in the world with a top speed of 178 miles per hour, thanks to its 240 horsepower V8. We made a video about the fastest car of every year, I’ll pop the link in the description below this one’s on it.
Just before Studebaker was going to launch this car to the public and well after, they had been accepting deposits for it there were some discoveries regarding quality control, so they pushed back production for a little while and these delays were a bit too much for the majority of the people that wanted the Avanti and most of the deposits ended up being canceled.
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Studebaker was expecting to sell around 20,000 cars, but after the delays only 1200 (coughs) were sold in the first year and only 4,600 total. But, in the year 2000, a company called Avanti Motors Corporation, no relation (laughs) de budded a kit car version combining vintage styling with 2000 styling and this is the result. You have reached the end of the road.
The 5th Gen of the Viper is well documented as one of the best American sports cars ever! Especially the Viper ACR. The 5th Gen Viper came out in 2013 and instead of calling it the Dodge Viper like they had for years, they decided, to call it the SRT Viper. The only problem is, there were already several options that gave similar power and driving experience for way less uncle Dinero’s talking about, the Corvette and even Dodge’s own challenger, this is mind blowing, okay? Sales were so bad, the FCA cut production numbers in the first year and even stopped producing them all together for two months.
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Then, they rebranded it back to the Dodge Viper to try and regain some brand recognition which, didn’t work. And then, they dropped the price of the car by $15,000 but still, nobody bought it. In 2017, the Viper got the mongoose and now, just like all the in this list, the Viper is in hell.