Earlier this week in his Question of the Day, Matthew Guy asked everyone to share a favorite vehicle from their year of birth. An interesting walk through history ensued in the days following, and I encourage each of you to head there and read through the comments if you haven’t done so already. You’ve probably already guessed from the title above where I’m going with this particular question.
Today’s inquiry is all about the worst, steamiest pile of junk on sale the year you were born. Let’s get down and dirty.
Some of the Malaisey babies in the room will have a more difficult time choosing the worst car on offer from their year of inception. Matt’s birth year of 1980 is lousy with brown and green boxes containing strangled engines and questionable build quality. All of this goodness was “assembled” with flimsy metal that would rust at the sight of a salted margarita glass. But I digress.
I got in the game early with my special best pick for 1986, the Acura Legend. Surely we can all agree it was an excellent, quality-made vehicle. Flipping the perspective of the question toward the negative, my search began for all things opposite of the JDM Honda Legend. The opposite of a lovely rebadged sedan and coupe, leather-lined and left-handed for the North American market. Perhaps an FDM choice would fit the bill.
As I’m sure you are already aware, that acronym stands for French Domestic Market.
Initially, I planned to talk about the Renault Fuego, but that sad hatchback burned out in 1985. This alternate will do! The Renault 18i Break just makes the cut-off. The square beauty was sold in the United States as the Renault Sportwagon between 1981 and 1986. Certainly an obscure vehicle, I wonder if there are any left on the roads. The Sportwagon was a result of AMC’s tie-up with Renault towards the end of their existence — that is, before various Renault, Chrysler, and Mitsubishi vehicles were branded as Eagle for a few final years.
Some additional engineering was done on the 18i (available in 1981-1982 as sedan) and Sportwagon before they arrived on our shores. Changes included bigger impact bumpers, sealed-beam headlamps, and an inline-four cylinder engine (federalized to 82 French horses). Federally mandated modifications did not appeal to consumers. Mercifully, the dated Sportwagon was replaced for 1987, by the much more modern Renault Medallion. Almost immediately, the Renault became the Eagle Medallion for 1988. This new identity would last for just two years, as the Medallion was eliminated from the Eagle lineup after 1989.
Your turn. Reach back in time for the worst pile from your year of birth. Maybe put on some gloves first, though.