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Feature Friday: The Ugliest Cars of the 1970s, Part 3 of 6

Posted by Jess Stoeckeler on

1973 Leyland P76

‘The P76 was a big car produced by Leyland Australia, and our guess is that the design mandate was to eliminate any lingering desire to re-form the Empire. The wedge shape allows the trunk to accommodate a 44-gallon drum, preferably one full of something incendiary. Besides being ugly, the P76 was built with all the care and quality for which Leyland was known—in other words, none—and after two years and just 18,000 sales, the P76 was history.

1973 Reliant Robin

Three-wheel cars don't have to be ugly, though most of them are. The problem with the Reliant Robin is not just that it's ugly, but that it's so desperate. Even its predecessor, the ironically named Reliant Regal, managed some barely-detectable smidgeon of visual dignity, but the Robin looks like exactly the car you would buy when you can't afford to buy something that is exactly a car. Austere, goggle-eyed, and seemingly satisfied to wallow shamelessly in its sub-car status, the Robin seems to be begging for the smallest scrap of our affection, which we feel completely justified in withholding.

1974 Bricklin SV-1

Malcolm Bricklin is the man who foisted the Subaru 360 and the Yugo on American buyers. His one attempt at making a car of his own was the plastic-fantastic Safety Vehicle 1, and it was terrible in so many ways, including visually. There are the gigundo bumpers front and rear, the gun-slit windows, and those oh-so-1970s turbine-vane wheels that belong on a Chevy Van. Assembly quality was abysmal: Body panels warped (often before they were attached to the chassis), the hidden headlights liked to stay hidden, the cars leaked like they were made of cheesecloth and the 90-lb gullwing doors would bend or break under the force of their hydraulic actuators—if they opened at all, that is; a buggy electrical system often trapped owners inside the cars. Ugly to look at and ugly to own, that was the Bricklin SV-1.’

- Automobilemag, 4/10/2020 & Photos from Automobilemag


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