Follow by Email

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Safe Driving Q&A with Ryder’s 2013 Driver of the Year David Hopper

Story thanks to Jack Roberts and Links provided:
April 24, 2014  Memorial Day — which marks the unofficial start of the Summer Driving Season — is a little over a month away. To help professional drivers deal with this annual influx of motorists, Ryder System decided to interview its 2013 Driver of the Year David Hopper to find out what driving safety tips he could offer to those who will be on the roadways during the holiday weekend.
Ryder (R): What vehicle inspection tips would you recommend prior to embarking on a long road trip (which many will be doing this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend)?
David (D): Make sure you keep the air pressure in your tires up to standard for safety and fuel efficiency purposes, and purchase new wiper blades.
(R): What are some safety precaution tips you can provide to those who find themselves stuck in traffic over the long weekend?
(D): Keep calm. There’s no sense in getting agitated, especially since there’s nothing you can do about it. And turn the radio ON!
(R): What are some of the things you find drivers neglect to do most while driving?
(D): I see a lot of improper lane changes and people failing to put their turn signals on. I also notice drivers who hit the brakes at the last minute when they’re merging off of a ramp…it’s so important that you stay up to road speed when you’re doing that.
(R): What is the best way to handle distracted drivers around you?
(D): The best thing you can do when you spot a distracted driver (i.e. a texter) is to move away from them as soon as you can, and remain a safe distance away.
(R): What have you found is the best way to remain distraction-free while driving?
(D): Remain concentrated on the task at hand, which is driving. It’s important to see the “big picture,” which means being vigilant of what’s going on in front of you, behind you, and even above you.
(R): How can you prevent an accident?
(D): Stay alert at all times. If you’re alert, most, if not all, of accidents can be avoided.
(R): If you find yourself not as alert at the wheel as you should be, what do you do that you’ve found works best?
(D): Pull over and take a break. Sometimes your eyes just need to rest. Other times, you might find yourself needing to refocus your mindset or train of thought.
(R): If hauling a heavy load, how might someone want to alter their driving habits?
(D): The same rule that pretty much applies across the board when you’re hauling a heavy load of any kind is to brake sooner than you normally would. Doing so prevents whatever you’re hauling from spilling or breaking.
(R): What would you say is the single most important piece of advice you could give to those on the roadways (or list a top 3 if has multiple)?
(D): Be on the lookout for:
  • Campers. Families are itching to get out of the house after this long, cold winter, so there’s bound to be plenty of campers on the road this holiday weekend.
  • Motorcyclists. While many follow the rules, there are also many others who do just the opposite and cut in between lanes. It’s important to be cognizant of those.
  • Broken down vehicles on the shoulder. Make sure you give them enough room when passing.
David Hopper David Hopper is the 2013 “Driver of the Year” (DOY) winner for Ryder’s Supply Chain Solutions business.  DOY honors drivers who have demonstrated exemplary safety performance, customer service, and citizenship throughout their careers. Mr. Hopper drives for Ryder’s Xerox account based in Monroe, Ohio.  He has driven more than 1.3 million preventable, collision-free miles during his 10 with Ryder and more than 2.5 million preventable collision-free miles over the course of his impressive 20-year professional driving career.  When asked what he finds most enjoyable about being a truck driver, he said, “All the sites you get to see along the way. I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time in my life at the age of 50. It was a great feeling.”
Jack Roberts is executive editor for CCJ and equipment editor for its sister magazine Overdrive. Roberts joined Randall-Reilly in 1995 as associate editor of Equipment World magazine and began covering both heavy-duty and light trucks in 1996. In 2006 he was the founding editor of Total Landscape Care before joining CCJ's staff in 2008.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Milwaukee Mob Hit on August S. Palmisano
Story thanks to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and it’s historic archives. Links provided:

Palmisano is Still an Enigma 

July 1, 1978  He was a hard working business man, a friend to the poor and a companion to the working man.
But August S. Palmisano, who was killed Friday by the explosion of a bomb under the hood of his car, also was a criminal.
To many, like a bartender at Palmy’s tavern, 348 N. Broadway, owned by Palmisano,he was “a nice man who paid his bills and didn't cause any trouble.”
To some of the produce workers on Commission Row, where the tavern is located, however, he was a person to be feared, a man whose name meant trouble. When approached by a reporter Friday,several of these workers said they did not want to get involved  and quickly walked away.
To police, Palmisano was a person to watch carefully, a man who they suspected had connections with organized crime.
Four years ago, Palmisano’s tavern, then called Richie’s on Broadway, was one of several area locations raided on Super Bowl Sunday. Police confiscated 93 sticks of dynamite, extensive gambling records, firearms and large quantities of cash.
Palmisano pleaded guilty in Federal court to conducting a gambling business. He was placed on two years’ probation.
Police have continued to watch Palmisano closely. Last month it was revealed his telephone was being tapped apparently as part of an FBI investigation. Also tapped was the phone of Frank P. Balistrieri, who, officials have said, had links with organized crime.
Palmisano also was a friend of Vincent J. Maniaci, who narrowly escaped an almost identical attempt on his life last summer.
A bomb placed under the hood of Maniaci’s car was not properly connected and did not explode, according to police.
Maniaci’s brother, August, was not as lucky. He was killed three years ago in what police said was a gangland slaying. He was gunned down while in his car behind his home on N. Newhall St.

‘A Friendly Person’
Irving Goldman, vice president of Morris Goldman, Inc., 223 E. St. Paul Ave., said Vincent Maniaci used to spend a lot of time with Palmisano at Palmisano’s bar.
Goldman’s produce firm is owner of the building that houses Palmy’s tavern and is located across the street from it.
(Vincent) Maniaci was around here a lot before he went to jail,” Goldman said. “They used to go out together to other spots, too. They used to be chums.” Maniaci was jailed in 1975 for loan extortion.
Goldman and other acquaintances of Palmisano, said however, that Palmisano was a friendly person and a good businessman. “To me he was a nice fellow, that’s all I know”, Goldman said. “He always paid (his rent).”

Worked Out of Tavern
Palmisano operated his own produce service from his tavern. Goldman said he often arrived at 5 a.m. to buy from local dealers and then organize deliveries. Some days , he would stay until the  tavern closed early the next day.
“He’d sleep there in the days sometimes,” Goldman said. “He never used to sleep too much. He had too many things. In fact, sometimes he didn't have any (sleep).”
Palmisano had several helpers to load the truck and a driver to make the deliveries, which were to small restaurants, grocery stores and nightclubs. Goldman said that Palmisano did most of his business in Madison, Eagle, Genesee, North Prairie and Mequon.
Palmisano had no warehouse or office for the produce service. The food was bought in the morning, stacked in crates on the sidewalk outside the  tavern and loaded on the street. He kept the trucks parked on E. St. Paul Ave. Goldman said Palmisano did much of his book work on a table in the bar.
A man who drives trucks for Palmisano said of his boss, “He was good to bums, paupers, rich men and poor men. He would take a bum off the street and feed him. There ain't no one that could say anything bad about him.”
One unemployed man who was outside the tavern Friday said Palmisano once lent him money when he needed it.
The tavern is patronized primarily by produce workers along Commission Row during the day. At night, it attracts a variety of customers that keep it a relatively successful business, acquaintances said.
A small tavern with two pinball machines and a pool table, it draws considerable business from persons leaving Summerfest late at night, they said.
Behind the bar are two pictures of Palmisano, one superimposed over a drawing of Commission Row.
Palmisano, 49, had an apartment at Juneau Village Garden Apartments, 1319 N. Jackson St., and a home at 5358 N. Kent Blvd., Whitefish Bay. The explosion occurred in an underground garage at Juneau Village apartments.
Palmisano was the father of four children, the youngest of whom is 14.
Friday morning, the bar door was open and nearly all the barstools were occupied. few customers were talking about the murder despite the presence of reporters and the fact that detectives were questioning the bartenders.
By early afternoon, the door was closed and a sign had been placed on it. It read: “Sorry, the tavern is closed today. My father died this morning.” It was signed John Palmisano.

Mob Killing Tied to Mob Rivalry by (reporter(s) not credited by the Journal Sentinel)

July 1, 1978  August S. Palmisano, who was killed in his car Friday by a powerful bomb blast, apparently was the victim of a rivalry between organized crime factions in Milwaukee, police sources said Friday.
“There was some speculation that maybe somebody thought he was going to talk.” one highly placed police official said. Another source said the killing was part of a long standing fued between criminal factions in the city.
Police described Palmisano, 49, a convicted gambler, as a ‘Substantial figure in organized crime in Milwaukee.”
He was killed shortly before 9 a.m. Friday when a bomb exploded in his car in the underground garage in the Juneau Village apartments, 1319 N. Jackson St. Palmisano’s brother, Ted, said he knew of no motive for the bombing. “It’s a bad situation, that’s all,” he said.
Palmisano was found burned almost beyond recognition behind the the driver’s seat of his 1977 white Mercury.
Police said the bomb apparently was placed under the hood on the driver’s side of the car. The force of the explosion pushed the front seat of the auto into the back seat, according to police.
“It was one heck of a bang,” said Michael Thiel, 22, who lives on the first floor of the complex. “The blast actually knocked pictures off the walls,” he said.
Robert Martin, a second floor resident of the apartment building, said the explosion felt like an earthquake. A third floor resident said the explosion rocked the building.
Police said Palmisano’s car registration listed a Whitefish Bay address 5358 N. Kent Blvd. However, Al Sunn, manager of the Juneau Village garden Apartments said Palmisano had lived in a third floor apartment there for several years. Palmisano’s son, John, lives in a first floor apartment in the same building.
Neighbors of the Whitefish Bay address, where Palmisano’s wife, Jean, and two of the couple's four children live, said Palmisano kept late hours but occasionally was seen at the Whitefish Bay home.
One neighbor said in the last two years she had only seen Palmisano four or five times, usually coming home from work, or letting out the family dog.
Palmisano was one of nine persons whose phones were wiretapped in May by the US government as part o a federal investigation of illegal gambling. The probe is part of a nationwide investigation involving organized crime, gambling, loan sharking and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to government sources.
Palmisano was convicted along with two other men in 1963 on federal charges of gambling the required $50 occupational gambling tax stamp. He was fined $1000.
In 1975 Palmisano pleaded guilty to federal charges of conducting an illegal gambling business and was fined $500 and placed on two years probation. At that time, he also was charged with unlawfully storing 93 sticks of dynamite in the basement of his tavern at 346 N. Broadway, which was then named Ritchie’s on Broadway. It is now called Palmy’s tavern. The dynamite charge was dismissed when Palmisano pleaded guilty on the gambling charge.
Police sources said that Palmisano had been the subject of various investigations in connection with prostitution, receiving stolen property, extortion and commercial gambling.
According to records in City Hall, Palmisano owned one-third interest in Palmy Corp., which owned Richie’s on Broadway, until June, 1976, when he transferred his ownership to his son, John A., 24.
While Palmisano owned the tavern, from 1973 until 1976, he was cited several times for license violations, including keeping the tavern open beyond closing hours.
Detective Lt. Thomas Perlewitz said Palmisano was reportedly last seen by his son, John, at Palmy’s tavern approximately 2:30 a.m. Friday.
First Battalion Fire Chief Thomas Konicke said when firemen arrived at the apartment building Friday morning, the garage was filled with smoke. Firemen pried open the garage door and found the car in the center of the block long garage.
Police said they were still investigating to determine what type of explosive was used. They also did not know if the bomb was rigged to explode when the car was started.
Police said the garage is a locked building which can be opened only by a key. Officials had no information on how the bomb got placed in the car. Konicke said about 20 other cars in the garage were damaged by the blast, but no one else was injured.
A second minor fire occurred at the garage Friday night as a result of the earlier bombing, Fire Department officials said. Firemen were called about 7 p.m. to extinguish a fire in a car that had been parked next to the Palmisano auto.
Lt. Gale LeFebvre said the gasoline tank of the car next to Palmisano’s apparently was ruptured by the explosion and some gasoline leaked onto the floor. he said the fire may have been ignited by a discarded cigarette. The fire burned part of the tire on the car.
Smoke in the garage after the morning explosion prevented firemen from finding Palmisaro’s body until about 15 minute after they arrived. The interior of the car was on fire and the sprinkler system in the garage was on when firemen arrived, Konicke said.
The sprinkler system was damaged in the blast, as were electrical conduits in the ceiling. A concrete block partition near the car buckled from the force of the blast and parts of the car motor were strewn about the garage, officials said.
“It almost severed the front of the car,” Konicke said of the explosion. “It was a very, very forceful explosion.”,42016

Other of my related mob posts:
"Mr. Fancy Pants" Balistrieri - Tracking Milwaulee's most dangerous mobster
Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggerio-The real story of the "wise guy"
The Beef That Didn't Moo - Wisconsin Ties to the Mob
Tales of the Milwaukee Mob and Two Cigarette Men!
Married to the Daughter of a Milwaukee Mob Boss-Our Pediatrician!
The Milwaukee Queen Bee of Organized Crime
Tale of a Failed Milwaukee Mob Hit!
Lieutenant Uhura (of the Starship "Enterprise") - close encounters with the Chicago and Milwaukee Mob!
Part Two: The Milwaukee Mob and Lieutenant Uhura (Star Trek)
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef - Part 1
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef Processors - Part II
Sally Papia - A life lived on the edge
The Milwaukee Mob Hit on Anthony Biernat

The Milwaukee Mob Hit on August Palimisano

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What's behind RV driver shortage?
My guess? It's the same as the owner operator over the road trucking industry, lack of a real return on investment, low rates and no compensation for expenses, especially fuel.
Story thanks to JIM MEENAN and the South Bend Tribune. Links provided:
There are numerous reasons for the driver shortage that is affecting the RV industry.
Officials from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association estimate that an additional 2,000 drivers are needed to deliver the 25,000 to 30,000 recreational vehicles that are sitting on lots in southern Michigan and northern Indiana, mostly in Elkhart County.
The problem could cost the industry as much as $500 million in lost sales in 2014, according to one industry official.
And Doug DeMeyer, a former driver who is now an owner of a transportation company that lines up drivers to transport RVs across the United States and Canada, believes the shortage won't be solved quickly.
DeMeyer is happy that transportation company leaders gathered for a seminar led by the RVIA last week at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
He believes ideas to help recruit drivers and improve laws to lessen the number of deliveries that require a commercial driver's license are all good steps.
But he also believes there are other major issues that need to be worked on.
"It's multi-layered," DeMeyer, president and owner of MDZ Trucking in Shipshewana, said. "There's got to be a lot of fixing and a lot of things to happen to not have a shortage in drivers."
He believes increasing pay for drivers and better cooperation from dealerships would help gain and retain drivers.
The shortage
Doug Gaeddert, board chairman of the RVIA and a general manager at Forest River, estimates that shipments are anywhere from four to six weeks behind schedule.
For an industry that has been on an upswing the past four years after suffering through the recession, the issue is of great importance. There are more drivers today but not enough to keep up with the growing number of shipments.
RV shipments were at 165,700 in 2009 but could hit 339,000 this year, said Richard Curtin, a University of Michigan professor who studies the industry.
Two measures talked about at last week's seminar were recruiting drivers through a system offered by the Employment Network and decreasing the need for a CDL for lighter models. Those are nice steps, DeMeyer and other transporters believe, but other issues remain.
Pay is definitely an issue, according to DeMeyer, who also says that delivering RVs is not really a career for a person with a family and a mortgage to pay.
Tough math
To enter the delivery business, a driver needs a full-size pickup truck, which can cost $50,000 to $60,000, and then there are expensive additions such as a fifth-wheel plate, a trailering package and more, DeMeyer said.
A driver without a CDL might gross $2,860 on a 2,200-mile trip to California, but $1,500 of that could easily be eaten up by fuel costs, DeMeyer said. In addition, there are costs for meals, hotels and insurance for the truck, he added.
DeMeyer said better pay would likely help solve the problem, but ultimately, those costs would be passed on to the consumer.
But there's another problem with some of the dealers. "A lot of the transporters have drivers that won't go back to dealers that make the driver wait two to three hours to check in a unit," DeMeyer said.
And unlike a tractor-trailer rig that can gain efficiencies by going both ways with a load of cargo, pickup trucks aren't as suitable for such purposes. Additionally, since the drivers are independent contractors, they have to keep track of literally every expense for tax purposes.
When DeMeyer was driving more than a decade ago, he said, it was and often still is a job for retirees.
Transportation companies were founded on that concept, he said. Retirees work because for them it becomes a supplemental income, and when the deliveries slow down after July, it's not as big of an issue.
DeMeyer said moving RVs by rail is really not an option. It was tried after Hurricane Katrina but many RVs were destroyed as glass broke and doors blew off while in transit. Gaeddert said having manufacturers hire their own drivers also would not likely fix the problem.
"Most manufacturers and suppliers in northern Indiana are finding it extremely difficult to find enough good folks to fully staff their cornerstone businesses, much less anything outside of their current fields of expertise," he said.
Gaeddert said one positive that came out of last week's meeting was the need to develop a joint voice among the transport companies to tackle issues such as regulations from the Department of Transportation. That's where RVIA can help by pushing for regulatory changes, he added.
Forming a committee would make it possible to identify, prioritize and more effectively address the most critical objectives of the transporters, he added.
"It wouldn't solve issues such as the driver shortage overnight, but it would put a process and means in place to level things out and hopefully get out in front of problems before they become a crisis," Gaeddert said.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another Point of View on EOBRs
My company and our drivers have been on electronic logs for 20 years now. Our drivers moan and groan if the computer goes down and they actually have to fill out a paper log. Here's another point of view thanks to By Jack Roberts and on

Drivers may fret e-logs — and quit over them — but they could benefit the most

Last week, the always-excellent Todd Dills, Senior Editor with CCJ’s sister magazine, Overdrive, published a survey on driver response to the proposed 2016 Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate proposed last month by FMCSA.

Todd’s story, which you can read here, caused a stir that is still rippling through the trucking industry, because his findings indicated that 52 percent of company drivers owner-operators and a whopping 71 percent of independent drivers responding to the survey said they’d fold up their tents and quit their driving jobs if an ELD mandate became law.
But before everyone starts clutching their pearls and mopping their foreheads over these findings, consider this: The very same survey revealed that 26 percent of responding owner-operators are already using ELDs for their business, and another 25 percent of responding fleet drivers said they’d simply get an ELD and go on about their business if a law was passed.

If you take those numbers at face value, there’s good reason to panic. There’s also good reason to think an ELD mandate won’t be a big deal at all.
What exactly, is going on here?

First off, let’s note that polling can be notoriously tricky to get right, as Fox News discovered on Election Night back in 2012. Which is why I don’t believe for one minute that 71 percent of all the owner-operators on the road today are going to say, “Screw it!” and quit if an ELD mandate becomes law. It’s one thing to answer a few questions on a survey and say you’ll quit. It’s another thing to think about feeding your family, making the rent and keeping the lights on when push comes to shove. And besides, in case you haven’t heard, jobs are still hard to come by in this economy.

That’s not to suggest we won’t see some attrition if the ELD rule is enacted. Every time a new trucking regulation comes into play, I think the industry loses drivers — particularly on the owner-operator side of the equation. Some of these are “unsafe” operators who don’t want to play by a rulebook that is getting increasingly harder to ignore. Others are simply independent-minded Americans who love the romance of the Open Road and resent any sort of oversight or “interference” in their daily activities.
And really, that second view, in my opinion, cuts to the core of the opposition to ELDs. 

Americans are a free people increasingly surrounded by a growing Surveillance State. Technology has made it easier than ever before to track the movements and activities of people as they go through all aspects of their lives. Sometimes this is a good thing: The identification and capture of the Boston Marathon bombers last year springs to mind.
But whether or not the benefits of all this surveillance outweigh the steady loss of privacy we’re all faced with today is an issue that is brand-new and very much open to (and deserving of) debate.
But here’s the thing: There is growing evidence that ELDs won’t be all bad for drivers. In fact, voices in the industry are starting to speak up and say that ELDs will actually make life easier for drivers and protect them from abuse from shippers/receivers and law enforcement officials alike.

As I reported from the Technology and Maintenance Council’s Spring Meeting in Nashville earlier this year, the No. 1 violation truck drivers are cited for by law enforcement officials is for improper logbooks. ELDs take that handy little citation away from the cops forever. They want your log? You hand them a printout. If you’re legal, they’re done. (Although I hope to hell all your lights are in operating order.)

A friend of mine who manages a fleet in the Midwest has been thinking a lot about ELDs lately and he sent me a note this week. His fleet is an early adopter of ELDs and, naturally, experienced resistance from its drivers. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:
We adopted the slogan ‘Embrace Change’ as we started gearing up to put e-Logs in the fleet. And I met with several drivers who told me flat out that [ELDs] were ‘bullshit.’
 One of the loudest critics was an older guy – one of our best drivers. And he told me there was no way he’d accept an e-Log in his rig. As a favor to me, I asked him to give it a try.
 He is now a big fan of the system and says it saves him about an hour a day in terms of paperwork. Even better, our fleet’s driver pay went up year-over-year because we now have metrics in place to make our company more profitable. This allowed us to pay out two additional driver bonuses in 2013.
 My take on the change to E-Logs is this: The adoption and acceptance of e-logs is not a driver problem. It is a fleet management problem. Fleets need to start educating, embracing and managing drivers on the advent of these devices. Because they don’t just benefit fleets; we’ve shown that they make life much easier for drivers.”

My point here is not to defend – or condemn – ELDs. It’s simply to say that the responses recorded in Todd’s Overdrive survey appear to be an overreaction. It’s very possible that e-logs will help you fight unfair traffic tickets, save you an hour or more in paperwork and even get your run finished and home sooner.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

10 Cars That Probably Should Not Have Hit the Road

Story thanks to Justin Loyd-Miller and Links provided:
Like all other industries, automotive history has its instances where makers released products that left many completely unsure as to how they made it to production. However, because of the auto industry’s inherent exposure to the public, and the weight that rides on companies’ ability to create quality products, automotive flops tend to be more spectacular than most — and potentially more damaging to the brand responsible.
Here we’ve compiled a collection of 10 frequent offenders. Although these cars may have seemed right at the time, they probably should have been put under more stringent review — and at least a focus group or two, as nothing embodies “hindsight is 20/20″ quite like automotive miscalls.
Christopher Ziemnowicz
Photo Credit: Christopher Ziemnowicz

1. AMC Pacer

More denounced for its unusual styling than its actual performance as a car, the AMC Pacer is a classic automotive flop. Hagerty Insurance issued a poll asking for the enthusiasts to name the worst car design of all time, and the Pacer was bestowed with the unfortunate honor. In addition to its bulbous appearance, cheap materials and subpar build quality didn’t help the Pacer in the court of Public Opinion.

2. 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood V8-6-4

The Cadillac (NYSE:GM) Fleetwood V8-6-4 had the potential to be a good car, had the engineers at Caddy stuck with a traditional engine. Instead, they got a little ahead of themselves, and opted to add a primitive form of cylinder deactivation to keep up with the CAFE standards. The result was a jerky ride in a car that stalled consistently — and made unusual noises that cars probably shouldn’t have been making. It turns out the car was ahead of its time, as cylinder deactivation systems are found throughout industry today.

3. 1971 Ford Pinto

The Ford (NYSE:F) Pinto is one of the most infamous examples of automotive flaws, for the unfortunate placement of the fuel tank behind the rear bumper. It also had a penchant for rupturing in accidents over 25 miles per hour. Conservative burn death estimates associated with the faulty tank design hover around 500 during the eight years before Ford redesigned the fatal flaw.
*Updated with a new photograph

4. 1996 Suzuki X90

The X90 wasn’t really a sports car or an off-roader like the earlier Samurai, but sort of a odd and impractical combination of both. It had all the drawbacks of a small SUV, coupled with the worst parts of a sports car, like the conspicuous lack of seating for more than two people. Needless to say, it sold terribly, but found limited success as the choice car for Red Bull — that is, until Red Bull moved on and adopted the Mini.

5. 1991 Chrysler TC By Maserati

Though intentions were pure (as they most often are), the Chrysler TC by Maserati was a Frankenstein of vehicle, with adopted parts and badges thrown together to create what would ultimately become a bit of an embarrassment to the two companies it was trying to promote. Over three years, the car only sold 7,000 examples, and successfully butchered the friendship between Chrysler and the Italian automaker.
Cadillac Cimarron

6. Cadillac Cimarron

In what has become known as the most shameless example of horrific badge engineering to date, the ‘Cadillac’ Cimarron was little more than a Chevrolet Cavalier in a fancy suit — but not a nice suit. More like an ill-fitting one bought off the rack during the 70 percent off-everything-must-go sale. In the words of Pulitzer-prize winning automotive journalist Dan Neil, “Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy, and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac.”

7. 1997 Plymouth Prowler

Around the mid-nineties, Plymouth set out to create a factory-rendition of the iconic hotrod. It’s open wheel design, wedge-shaped fuselage, and sloping arches hit all the right hotrod notes, until one opened the hood to see Chrysler’s 3.5-liter V6 and all of its 250 horsepower — the car was more of a rod, but not really a hot one. While 250 horsepower could be written off as respectable when it was released, the lack of a manual transmission humbled the car’s performance significantly.
Ford Edsel...

8. 1958 Ford Edsel

The Ford Edsel is one of, if not the most, famous — or infamous — of automotive blunders. Despite being kind of homely, fuel thirsty, and quite pricey, the Edsel was actually a pretty decent car. The big shortcoming here was Ford’s overhyping of the vehicle, promising it to be much more than the Mercury ultimately was.

9. 1985 Yugo

The Yugo. The pinnacle of automotive imperfection. The gold standard of inferior craftsmanship that gave off the impression “of something assembled at gunpoint.” It’s the car that all crappy, poorly made subcompacts strive to be when they grow up. The engine had a tendency of not working, bits of the car would fall off, and the electrical system seemed to be more for show than anything else. “Yugo” was probably an ambitious statement in this case.

10. 2001 Pontiac Aztek

No terrible car list is complete without the dearly despised Pontiac Aztek. In efforts to appeal to a younger crowd, Pontiac cosmetically botched its result so badly that even though the underlying vehicle was relatively decent, its outward appearance scared off buyers before they could get close enough to unlock the damn thing. ”It’s undeniable that the Aztek’s utter hideousness drove the biggest and last nails into Pontiac’s heavily side-clad, plastic coffin,” says Editor-in-Chief Scott Oldham.