Sports cars have always been a fantasy for most, if not all car enthusiasts. For years on end, they have adorned our bedroom posters, our daydreams, and most certainly our desktop wallpapers. Plus, what’s not to love about them? They are blazing fast, handle great, and remain light, which also makes their higher price tags justified. However, what cannot be denied, is that under the garb of high-performance sports cars, there are plenty that have gotten by without fitting the bill on all accounts.
Some classic sports cars, owing to their looks or even their brand, over the years, have managed to build quite the reputation for themselves, and hold the admiration of enthusiasts, while the truth is, plenty about them is oversold, and most definitely overrated. The distance that time has created between now and the time these classics came out, certainly has a part to play in the garbling of the culture’s view of these cars, but it doesn’t mean we’d give them a free pass too. Here are the 10 most overrated classic sports cars that we would much rather stay away from than blow money on and bring into our driveways.
10 AMC Javelin (1967)
Formed in 1954, American Motors Corporation was a solid auto manufacturer, and over the course of their lifespan, made plenty of vehicles that graced the American roads in the thousands. Produced for seven years between 1967 and 1974, the AMC Javelin was just a horribly built attempt at a sports car.
AMC marketed the Javelin to be a sports car that could let the ‘everyman’ take it to the track while remaining affordable. However, the reality behind the Javelin was far less appealing, as it is infamous for its low quality. Furthermore, it couldn’t even deliver its promise of being good on the track, as it was simply sluggish and slow.
9 Nissan 240SX (1989)
The 1989-1993 Nissan 240SX is what one might call a ‘holy grail’ car, as every drifter and gearhead who grew up playing racing games like NFS Underground and Forza puts it on an untouchable pedestal. Sure, it is a great car, but it only becomes so after a remarkable amount of work.
Sporty performance from the 240SX could only come out after an engine swap, which are getting progressively expensive and hard-to-find. Furthermore, in order to get it to handle anywhere close to its handling credentials one might hear, you’d need to replace the Rear Upper/Lower Control arms, and additionally, some more coil covers, and even some new wheels. Admittedly, the 240SX is a legend vehicle, but only because of its chassis’ credentials, but everything else only comes aftermarket. In its stock form, the car is simply overrated and over-hyped.
8 Plymouth Hemi Cuda (1970-1971)
One of the best-looking performance cars from its time, the Plymouth Hemi-Cuda remains, to this day, a legend, even by current standards. For what it’s worth, the Hemi Cuda has earned its reverence, much in part to the Hemi V8 engine that came with it, churning out a monstrous 475 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque.
However, it certainly shouldn’t cost millions, like it does. No matter what, that sort of asking price is clearly exorbitant. For starters, the car handles like a rock in corners, almost unusable, and the build quality isn’t something that would net the sort of cult status it has today.
7 Lotus Esprit (1982)
The Lotus Esprit is a solid and reliable car and has most certainly owned its stripes. Throughout the years, it has garnered for itself a great reputation, but at the same time, it also has a bit of a reputation for having constant off-days.
Today, they go for high price tags, and while that is partly justified, the car doesn’t truly measure up in several departments by today’s standards, even the more recent Series 3 model, which came about in 1982. It is an extremely physical car to drive, far from what its looks might have you thinking. A heavy clutch and gear shift don’t make things any easier, and the driving position is almost horizontal.
6 BMW 507 (1956)
The BMW 507 today sells for easily over a million dollars. However, this car remains infamous for having almost bankrupted Bavarian Motor Works when it came out. BMW had originally intended to sell it for $5,000 apiece, but by the end of production, it was double that amount, which translated to terrible sales despite celebrity endorsements.
Today, it might be looked at with reverence, but that is only due to the logo on the hood and the price tag that goes with it, since the actual car remains rather unimpressive, with a 0-60 time of 11 seconds, and power was nothing to write home about. The fact that even BMW did not have spare stock parts available for the car does not help its legacy.
5 Ford Mustang GT350 (1984)
The 1984 Ford Mustang GT350 came after the abysmal Mustang II had brought down the Mustang name’s reputation single-handedly. For its 20th anniversary edition of the model, Ford chose to attach a rather heavy name with the Mustang: the GT350. Since this badge had originally been for the original Carroll Shelby car, the name itself was a very tall attachment.
However, by the time, both Shelby and Lee Iaccoca, the father of the Mustang, had left for Dodge. What was worse, was that the GT350 simply did nothing to live up to the tag, and it did not even differ from the standard model in terms of performance. The only thing exclusive to the GT350 was a red-leather interior and different fog lamps, and oh, the unnecessary burden of a famed badge.
4 Toyota Supra MK4 (1993)
Before the pitchforks come out, the Toyota Supra MK4 is a great car, and is a solid vehicle, as it always has been. While its inline-six 2JZ engine remains great, it was never a performance car in its stock form, only more of a daily driver. It is only through a nostalgic lens of Need For Speed games and early Fast and Furious movies that one might consider it extremely fast, but that only happens after heavy tuning.
The handling of the MK4 Supra, while not terrible, was never too precise, owing to its heavy mass and big size. Sadly, it also never sold as much as Toyota had predicted, which also ended up killing the idea of a proper, dedicated Toyota sports car for the Japanese marque.
3 BMW E30 M3 (1986-1991)
First, the beam rear axle, or the underpinnings which were almost 20 years old even when the car came out. Its engine didn’t help its case either, as it remained a thrashy power unit which never did half as good on the road as it did on the track, as is the case for homologation cars.
2 Jaguar E-Type (1961-68)
The Jaguar E-Type remains one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and there simply is no denying that, ever. Sadly, the beauty is where its impressiveness ceased, as the car never had great driving dynamics from the start E-Types are not fast, they never handled well at all, and given the wrong circumstances, are simply unpleasant to be inside.
Today, an E-Type can fetch close to $300,000, and sometimes, egregiously more, which, for a car that is only superficially beautiful, is just not justified at all. You might turn tons of necks driving around in an E-Type, but at the end of the day, the car’s legend status is only skin-deep.
1 Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997)
The Corvette has always been as American as a Bald Eagle flying across Mount Rushmore. It’s always had huge power figures, the engine delivering all its might to the rear-wheels, and sleek looks that turn heads wherever it goes. However, the C5 Corvette, as revolutionary as it was, was never a very good car.
If you didn’t wish to drive it with a manual transmission, you were stuck with nothing but the 4-speed automatic, which had been getting rather old even for its own time. Not to mention it was quite troublesome, with a slew of issues, and then, when the back-breaking ride quality and hard plastic usage all over are factored in, you’d realize that the C5 is not as prestigious as internet forums would have you think.