A turkey is a special kind of car which, though no lemon, is out-of-date the second it rolls off the lot. Like the bird that gives it its name, it is an inferior creature that lacks an appeal to any superior automotive taste, even if enjoyed by the wealthiest consumer. Nevertheless, this is the week we can appreciate turkeys both in bird and car form. Below is our list of the ten greatest automotive turkeys, something to give thanks for — especially if you don’t own one.
10. Ferrari 400i
The Ferrari 400-series cars are the best example of everything that’s wrong with the Italian automaker’s Malaise Era attempts at front-engined grand touring cars. Hidden below the stylish, though decidedly un-Ferrari, skin was the first automatic transmission offered in a production Ferrari. The base 400i featured a GM-sourced hydromatic three-speed transmission. Nothing like Italian power being routed through three speeds of American glory! Modern Ferrari tourers, like the 599 GTB FIorano have taken the bad taste out of our mouth, but opening the doors on an original 400i is like cutting through a crisp, buttery pie crust and finding tapioca pudding.
9. Jaguar X-Type
If you’re curious how Jaguar ended up being owned by an Indian company, look no further than the Jaguar X-Type. Designed to appeal to a wider audience than the typical Jag, thereby picking up significant market share, they hoped to sell 100,000 X-Types a year. That didn’t happen. People saw through the distinctive Jaguar grille and headlights to the Ford Mondeo platform beneath. The FWD/AWD compact luxury car segment wasn’t impressed by the lackluster performance, styling or luxury. Instead of saving the company, the X-Type became a moving example of Ford’s mismanagement of the once premium brand. Cranberries out of the can do not an adequate side make.
8. Datsun 280ZX Turbo
A classic Datsun 240Z, the original Z, is such a fine car that it’s almost hard to remember that the 280ZX ever existed… until you see one. The 280ZX essentially takes the beauty of the Z and “modernizes” it to what was modern in the late 1970s. Those smooth lines become crisper (or at least crunchier), the unbroken hood gets oh-so-many ducts, and the once solid roof gets a pair of cheap-looking T-tops. Even better, emissions laws meant a successor that was less powerful than its predecessor until the later Turbo model. It’s like when one of your relatives tries to spice up the green bean casserole by adding capers and endive. If you’re going to change it, don’t make it worse.
The Top Automotive Turkeys at Jalopnik.