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Feature Friday: The Ugliest Cars of the 1970s, Part 5 of 6

Posted by Jess Stoeckeler on

1975 AMC Pacer

‘Ah, the Pacer—the first wide small car! AMC's concept did make for some cute commercials, but it also made for a seriously unattractive car. The Pacer's huge glass area was designed to give drivers better visibility, but instead it made them feel like a goldfish being boiled in its own bowl. The Pacer got even uglier in 1978, as shown in our photo: AMC fitted a bulging hood and stand-up grille that provided clearance for the new optional V-8, an attempt to give the Pacer the power it needed to move all that heavy glass, with no worries about economy since the cast-iron six-cylinder engines were already gluttons. The Pacer was poorly conceived and poorly executed.

1975 British Leyland Princess

The Princess is yet another abomination from across the Atlantic. Originally introduced under the Austin, Morris, and Wolseley brands, the car eventually became a stand-alone marque, presumably because none of the existing BL makes wanted anything to do with it. The Princess was an awkward wedge-shaped car that looked like a hatchback, except it wasn't—what trunk (sorry, boot) space there was had to be accessed through a tiny lid. That made it impractical as well as unattractive and unreliable. Shortly after the Princess was introduced, British Leyland collapsed and had to be nationalized. Was anyone surprised?

1977 Datsun 200SX

By the late 1970s, Datsun (later Nissan) had earned a good reputation in the United States thanks to handy little economy cars like the B210 and 510 and brilliant sportsters like the 240Z… and then this happened. The 200SX was a rear-drive sports coupe with a two-liter engine and a grille apparently influenced by an electric shaver. Surprisingly, there were very few complaints about the c-pillar blocking rearward visibility, most likely because there were very few buyers. The 200SX was too slow to be sporty and too thirsty to be thrifty. What it was best at was rusting, something it did with admirable rapidity and enthusiasm, the end result being that few are left to assault our eyes today.’

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

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