7 crap cars that are shockingly collectible



2015-06-26 14:04:40

We look at some collectible cars that were, frankly, crap

If we're talking collectible crap cars, the discussion must start with the Sinclair C5. It celebrates its 30th anniversary earlier this year, having been released back in 1985.

While we may treasure the diminutive drive – the brainchild of Sir Clive Sinclair – today, it was something of a joke on arrival, with the pedal power/electric motor hybrid capable of just 20 miles on one battery charge.

That's not to mention its lack of protection from the elements, which meant that the car sold just 9,000 units – far short of the 100,000 expected.

Yet those 9,000 units have become highly sought after by enthusiasts, with one selling from the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum at RM Auctions for $4,600 in 2013. Not a hefty sum, but still a fair amount for a car that is almost unusable unless you live in a country with good weather 365 days a year, and no traffic on the roads.

Take a look at some of the other crap cars that have since become collectible:

1. Trabant

Image: Bonhams

Most people will remember the Trabant as the car that transported thousands of East Germans to freedom following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Made by VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau, the car was advertised as an all-purpose, durable family car capable of considerable speed. In reality, it was a two-stroke skip on wheels, which guzzled gas and saw plumes of smoke billowing from the exhaust every time it started.

Admittedly, the car does have its place in history, and today there are many collectors who are
passionate about the "Trabbi".

Fortunately, those collectors don't have to pay much to get their hands on a Trabant, with a nice example crossing the block at Bonhams in 2012 to the tune of £1,437 ($2,172).

2. DeLorean DMC-12

Image: Coys

The DeLorean DMC-12 was, understandably, the only car ever made by DeLorean, who basically gave up when they realised they had created a monster.

Featuring gull-wing doors and a fibreglass underbody, the car is the result of John DeLorean – once the head of GM's design department – and his well-publicised cocaine habit.

However, we all know from watching Back to the Future that, fitted with a flux capacitor, the car is capable of time travel. This has made it a somewhat desirable collector car, with examples selling for around $20,000 at auction.

Yet Profiles in History sold that auction car from the Back to the Future trilogy for an impressive $541,200 in 2011, with the addition of a Volkswagen V-6 engine full roll cage.

3. VW Type 2

Image: Barrett-Jackson

This is a controversial one, with many collectors owning the iconic VW camper van and loving everything about their undeniably iconic style.

The problem is, underneath that shallow veneer is a rust bucket powered by a mighty 25 horsepower engine that is prone to disaster. The good news is that you can repair it will little more than some duct tape and good intentions, and if all else fails, drop an early Porsche or Subaru engine in there.

One of the best selling VW vans is a rather fetching 1963 VW 23 Window bus that sold for $217,000 at Barrett-Jackson in 2011.

4. Ferrari Mondial

Image: Silverstone Auctions

Now, Ferrari don't actually make bad cars, it's just not in their repertoire. But the Mondial comes about as close to crap as the company is likely to get, and it's the very concept of its design that's the problem.  

The Mondial was produced as Ferrari's "usable" model, offering room for four while giving you the thrilling ride expected of the prestigious marque. 

Our main problem with the Mondial is that it is quite simply the most boring car Ferrari have ever come up with, and if there's one thing you don't want from your Ferrari, it's a dull ride that's likely to send you off to sleep and straight over the edge of a cliff.

If you want a family car with four seats, buy yourself a saloon, not a Ferrari that's the best of neither worlds.

However, it does offer you the opportunity to own a Ferrari at a stunningly low price, with a Mondial selling at Silverstone Auctions for just £8,360 ($12,641).

5. Triumph Stag

Image: Wikipedia

The Triumph Stag is a great looking machine, and today is one of the most collectible low-end British cars around, with dozens still traversing the country's winding country roads on a regular basis.

Yet the car was produced amid large cuts at the factory, and this is often blamed for its mechanical faults, with many assuming the dissatisfied workers were doing "Friday afternoon" style jobs while distracted by impending unemployment.

As soon as the car was released, it overheated at every opportunity, all caused by the engine. Many collectors simply replace the engine and are left with a fine looking sports car. It's affordable too given that you can pick up a nicely restored Stag for just £12,000 ($18,145) at auction.

6. Yugo

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Ahhh the Yugo, possibly one of the worst cars ever made. Actually titled the Zastava Koral, it was produced in Yugoslavia but ended up in the US thanks to Malcolm Bricklin.

Thanks, Malcolm.

Bricklin wanted to introduce a low-cost car to the market, but didn't account for the car's terrible build quality, which meant it virtually fell apart after leaving the showroom, just like a classic comedy sketch.

Yet the car has become such a joke that it is now becoming sought after by collectors who clearly don't care about mechanics, or their street cred. A yellow 1990 Cabriolet version, much rarer than the standard, sold for $11,000 at Barrett-Jackson in 2013.

To recap, you could have that Ferrari Mondial for just over $1,500 more.

7. Lamborghini Countach

Image: Wikipedia

We all want to own a Countach, yet in practicality it seems like a slightly hellish experience.

The early LP400 models had such poor visibility that Lambo fitted it with a periscope just some you can see out of the back window. Rather than improving this obvious flaw in later models, the company added louvers and various lumpy bits, doing away with what little visibility it already had.

You'll notice many Countach owners sit on the door sill with the scissor doors up while reversing, in order to avoid ploughing into other drivers.

That's not to mention the cramped conditions inside the car, with poor ventilation that leaves the driver almost cooked by the just V12 sat just inches behind them.

Nonetheless, the Countach is a badass looking car, and we'd be happy to have paid the $1.6m auction record for a LP400 at Bonhams in 2014. 

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2015-06-26 14:04:40

Never in all of my years would I have guessed that anyone would want to pay money for a Yugo.

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