1990 Pontiac Trans Sport
The Pontiac Trans Sport was a minivan that was well-received at the concept stage and approved for production. It didn't retain that styling, unfortunately, and what rolled off the assembly line was not pretty.
The Trans Sport was nicknamed "Dust Buster" because it resembled the handheld Black and Decker vacuum cleaner, according to Brauer. "General Motors' first minivan effort resulted in a visual train wreck," he said.
1982 Aston Martin Lagonda
The Aston Martin brand recalls agent 007, and all the cool, sophistication and class we associate with him. But the British luxury-sports automaker's nonsensically shaped Lagonda proved nobody bats 1.000.
"One of the most expensive cars of the 1980s was also one of the most 'creatively' styled," Brauer said. "Its flat, squared-off body panels and lanky proportions were controversial when new. Now it just looks wrong."
1965 AMC Marlin
The Marlin was a midsize fastback that AMC made from 1965 until 1968. Press reaction was mixed, but Bob Nixon, then chief of Jeep design for Chrysler, pulled no punches: He denounced it as an "ugly embarrassment."
Brauer viewed it as an example of bold risk-taking gone awry. "AMC was always the underdog American car manufacturer working to get noticed," he said. "It would sometimes use unorthodox styling exercises, like the Marlin, to get attention. But this wasn't the kind of attention AMC wanted."