RAC Cars News


White Elephants

By raccars Published

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The landscape of automotive history is littered with expensive, excellent cars, a number of which become classics and industry icons. However, there is also a small group of cars that have become famous for being, essentially, expensive but rubbish. Often developed at huge expense and launched with high hopes and great fanfare, they never quite hit the mark with buyers and are now mostly famous for their awfulness.

Maybach 57/62

Briefly a favourite of rappers and footballers, the Maybach was a step too far towards ostentatious luxury and is now a symbol of tasteless excess. It epitomises the maxim that 'money can't buy style' and is, quite simply, ugly. Available now for £50,000, down from some quarter of a million new.

Rolls-Royce Camargue

The principal was sound - turning the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow into a sleek coupe. Somewhere along the line, however, this thought got lost in translation and, despite Pininfarina design, the result was a clunky looking lump of very expensive metal - the most expensive production car in the world at that time, in fact, selling for less than £25,000 today.

Aston Martin Cygnet

If your budget is Toyota but you're really desperate to get hold of an Aston Martin, this is how to do it. Essentially a rebadged Toyota IQ, Aston Martin's rather pointless attempt at a city car failed on every level and suffered, deservedly, a very short production life. Strangely, residual values are pretty stable at £20,000-£30,000.

Aston Martin Lagonda

The British firm has history in this area - an earlier attempt to deviate from its more successful luxury sports car blueprint was the enormous and unwieldy Lagonda saloon. While it has developed a cult following in later years, the Lagonda simply didn't work - in fact, not just as a concept. It was spectacularly unreliable and is now worth even less than the Cygnet.

Plymouth Prowler

Probably a great buy if you're hankering after a Batmobile, the Prowler's aim to replicate the retro V8 hotrod sector completely missed the point thanks to being powered by a rather puny V6. And an automatic transmission.

Lexus SC 430

Boldly determined to take a place up among Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, Lexus completely missed the mark with the graceless SC 430, which didn't tick any of the relevant boxes of style, performance or driving dynamics and boasted a price tag that revealed a wildly over inflated view of itself. Famously nominated Top Gear's 'worst car in the history of the world' in 2012.

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