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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2005
As the former owner of one of these craptastic vehicles (a 1988 Hyundai Excel), I'm not getting these people's negative reviews because this book is just downright funny. True, this is not the world's best and most definitive book on bad cars, but it never claimed to be. This is just a fun look at what the author thinks are the 50 crappiest cars that have seen US highways. I'm sure several additional volumes could be written if the borders were opened and Eastern European cars were included (my vote for the worst in that category is the Lada Cossak, btw).

If the previous reviewers had truly read the book in its entirety, as opposed to quickly scanning it in a bookstore (!), they'd have seen that the author chose specific years for some of the models. Thus, the Nissan 300ZX, the Hummer and the Fiero *are* crap for the specific years listed. The writing is sarcastic and the author points out the various cars' glaring faults: some are obviously well-known (Suzuki X90, Nissan NX, and Renault Le Car), others not so (Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo, Maserati Biturbo, and Sterling 825/827).

This makes a great gift for car lovers and others who want a good laugh...after all, who can't relate to ever having owned a bad car? The size is small enough to leave anywhere and the format allows you to read up on a car in a minute or less.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2010
I had my local library obtain both this book and Lemon!: Sixty Heroic Automotive Failures through interlibrary loan. They looked interesting. I read Lemon first, and that is the far better book. Crap Cars was terrible. All the author did was write a snarky simile-filled paragraph about each car. There was no explanation of what made the car bad, and some of the criticism was shallow and ill-informed. Also, some of the cars featured in the book are not "crap cars" at all. For example, the 1984-1989 Nissan 300ZX is in the book and is referred to as being porky and slow. These models were not at all bulbous or slow. The post-1989 models could be called porky, but that doesn't merit being called a piece of junk. Also some of those models featured a 300hp twin turbo engine. The author's criticisms are misdirected and unfounded. Also, the section about the Chevrolet Vega was one sentence followed by a five-point list that focused on rust problems. Only 35 words were written about the Vega, and all were about rust. Nothing about the engine and quality control problems. Lastly, the Volkswagen Bug was in this book! Granted, it was not the most comfortable or speedy car. Given its place in culture and history and how easy it was to fix, it is unconscionable that the VW Bug was included in this book. Based on the book's rankings, the VW Beetle is a junkier car than a Chevy Citation. Huh?

The book did have nice photographs, but don't waste your money on it. Check out the Lemons book I mentioned earlier. It is a much better read. It comes across as a more objective account of junk cars, lays off the snark, and most importantly tells you why a car was a failure.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2005
I decided to buy this book after reading a favorable review of it in the New York Times Book Review. What surprised me was that I probably read the book faster than the NYTBR review of it. For you bean counters you gotta figure a cost of about 25 cents a minute of reading.

But it is a funny book, and I feel sad for those other reviewers who can't enjoy something like this even if they have one of these lemons parked in their garages. Author Porter doesn't just pick on the econo-box cars; he heaps disdain on vehicles ranging from Yugos to Porsches and Maseratis. It's a witty, fun little ride through the history of horrific auto design. My only gripe is Mr. Porter's repeated use of certain terms throughout the book. One gets a wee tired of seeing the first word of the title used over and over, as well as a high frequency use of "garbage" and the commonly used word for regurgitation.

I'm thinking of sending a copy to our California governor so he can read the section on the Hummer (ranked as 27th worst out of 50).
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2005
The readers who panned this book need to get a grip. It isn't often that I wander into a bookstore and start laughing within seconds of opening a book, which is what you get with this one. I immediately thought of someone on my birthday list that would get a kick out of this book and for heaven's sake, I spent eleven dollars on it. After getting it home and before wrapping it up, I had to read it cover to cover. As much as I loved it, I cannot give it 5 stars for the following reasons: 1) There is a bit of redundancy with the sarcasm, which makes it less funny if you actually read the whole book; 2)The Delta 88 was not represented; 3) #5 is the VW Beetle!! how could they??

As long as you have a light-hearted sense of humor and accept this book as comedy and not a compendium, you will enjoy it and see past the brief flash of irritation you experience when you see one of your beloveds lambasted.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2005
I loved this book - it's funny - there's a lot of truth to the pithy descriptions on each car. Alas, I owned number 11 (do you think 22,000 miles is too soon to replace a cam shaft???)

There are omissions from this book - but it really begs for a sequel - More Crap Cars?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
You can go to any bookstore and find pretentious books on supercars. Here is a bit of relief from that. In my opinion, you have to give some attention to the truly dismal cars to better appreciate those that are top notch.I re-read this book today and though it is great satire, I feel there is some element of truth to it.
I personally own an Amc Gremlin, a car I actually use as my reliable backup for the days my regular car is in the shop. It is a funny-looking car,which seems to be the only credentials given for its inclusion to begin with.In actuality, the Gremlins 6-cylinder engine is known for durability and easily will run over 100,000 miles-not bad for a cheap 70s compact car. Its competitor, the Vega, is also included--because it was a rustbucket.Probably a valid point.The cadillacs included all did help tarnish the once great name. Yes, theres a Porsche in the book- a slow, watered-down Porsche intended to be badged as a VW.The Maserati Bi-turbo was truly an unreliable disgrace.Many of the cars you'll find did a lot to harm the names of great companies and are seen as the moments of embarrassment from carmakers who normally make snobmobiles that are sources of jealousy for many.I would love to have a Porsche 924, but mostly because I can get one for under $3000 with little or no rust.Seriously, a $3000 Porsche? Thats not becoming of them.The Fiero was a joke a few short years after it was introduced. To this day the name is still associated with cheapness, failure and very poor execution of an imitation affordable sportscar.
The Renault Alliance made its way into the book as well. My grandfather had one of these, and it truly was inferior.
Good comedy and satire usually tends to be rooted in an element of truth. I argue that the basis for most of the entries inclusions are pretty valid and are indeed indicated.as far as the complaints of it being juvenile, well, it makes its intents known pretty clearly that this is satirical first and foremost.Probably 70% of it was intended for a quick laugh and 30% as automotive commentary.I think as humor, its all a matter of ones tastes and preffered style, but as far as reasoning for selections, there is some truth.Though I agree,the VW Beetle seems to be misplaced.Then again, in keeping with the nature of the book, maybe the intent was to outrage people by dissing an icon for comedic effect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 26, 2011
I received a copy of Richard Porter's Crap Cars as a Christmas gift several years ago, and the book is still fun to pull out and read from time to time. Porter takes the reader on a tour of what he considered to have been the 50 worst automobiles ever to have been sold in the United States. Sure, the Yugo is included, as is the AMC Pacer, and the Chrysler K-Car. However, the MGB, the darling of the British sports car world and entries from Maserati, Aston Martin, and even Ferrari make the grade (well, that's probably not the best way to put it...). Whether it's styling, being underpowered, being overly small, being overly large, or way too fast to rust away, Porter gives in his brief text an explanation of why each of the 50 cars deserve to be included. Note that the writing is thoroughly tongue in cheek, a little crass at times, but it's too funny to put down, especially for "car people." Porter's book may make a comeback now that BBC America carriers the television program "Top Gear." While Porter has nothing to do with the BBC program that I know of, some of the pointed humor will remind you of Jeremy Clarkson's putdowns of more contemporary vehicles.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2012
"Crap Cars" is an informal examination of what, in the author's opinion, are the fifty worst automobiles in his memory. Stock photos accompany subjective critiques of the skewered vehicles, which include usual targets such as the Yugo, Ford Mustang II, and Chevrolet Vega.

The sophomoric criticism offered in this joyless book (most reviews indulge the word "crap") more resembles Don Rickles than legitimate automotive journalism--except, Rickles is actually funny. If the author expected the entertainment value of his jabs to compensate for lack of information, he missed his mark, coming off as merely supercilious.

Not to say that criticism is unearned. The history of automotive marketing is rife with products whose hype exceeded quality, utility, or value. But "Crap Cars" would have been more engaging had it examined the questions of how these cars came to be brought to the market in the first place... under what constraints they were developed... how they were received in their time... and what lessons were learned... rather than merely gloating over their perceived "crappiness." That, however, would have required the author to undergo the tedium of genuine journalistic research.

"Crap Cars" starts with a good idea but fails to develop it, yielding a cheap, thin product. And isn't that the author's main complaint against the vehicles in his book?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2008
I was waiting to get my car inspected and I picked up Crap Cars book to read at the garage. By the 3rd car review, I was in hysteries. That was one of the funniest books I've read, great sense of humor that just zings and zangs. By the time I was done reading, I was in tears and the garage owner was shaking his head. Probably not so funny if you had the misfortune of having one of the cars listed in book, but the author had a great, very wry way of writing. I've got to get this book for myself and this is a great Father's Day present for a car loving dad. If you need a good laugh, get this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2014
... well, over the *final weekend* of a spring break otherwise spent drunk at daytona beach. Some glaring omissions, baffling inclusions. The VW beetle? Yeah, total flop, right up there with the Yugo on the cover. VW Fox? The worst he can come up with against this lightweight workhorse that just won't quit running and which (wagon) seems to somehow envelop a greater volume of cargo than its own volume, is that... it has two doors. Um, ok...
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