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

Posted by Jess Stoeckeler on

We are closing out our series for the ugliest cars of the 70’s:

1977 Leata Cabalero

‘The Chevrolet Chevette was slow, noisy, and thoroughly miserable, but at least it wasn't unattractive. That's something Mr. Donald E. Stinebauch of Port Falls, Idaho decided to set right. He slapped on 350 lbs of Bondo and fiberglass, endeavoring to endow his Frankencar with styling cues from the first-generation Monte Carlo, and resold it for nearly double the Chevette's price. Amazingly, he made nearly 100 of the things, including a handful of El Camino-inspired pickup trucks that, if you can believe such a thing is possible, look even more ridiculous. Apparently, he named the car after his wife—though why he coupled that with a misspelling of the Spanish word for gentleman is anyone's guess. Mr. Stinebauch apparently lost his shirt on the whole works.

1977 Volvo 262C

Hemmings reports that when Henry Ford II came to Sweden to see Volvo's cutting-edge Kalmar plant, his team brought a phalanx of Lincoln Continental Mark IVs to drive around, and the Swedes were so taken that they decided to build their own version. The story goes that Volvo didn't bother with a clay model, and that's too bad; perhaps it would have stopped this disaster before it happened. Volvo sent perfectly good 262 GL coupes to Bertone in Italy, which chopped 2.6 inches from the roofline and rendered the car unusable for anyone over six feet tall. Amazingly, some 6,600 were built over a five-year period.

1978 Buick Century/Oldsmobile Cutlass Aeroback

When the time came to downsize its successful mid-size cars, General Motors decided that the Buick Century and Oldsmobile Cutlass ought to have a European look—and what could be more European than a hatchback? The results, as you can see, were predictably awful. Technically the Aeroback cars weren't hatchbacks, as they had a conventional trunk lid, but consumers didn't complain because they were too busy not buying them. GM was so confident in the design that it didn't bother to offer a traditional sedan version. Oops! Sales tanked, but didn't die out completely, thanks to the conventional wagon and rather attractive coupe. GM rushed a proper sedan into production for 1980, though for reasons that can't quite be explained, the two-door Aeroback got a stay of execution until 1981. If you're wondering why GM styling was so bland throughout the 1980s, well, now you know.’

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


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