These cars will try to kill you
Since the inception of cars, automakers have constantly tried to make them better for their customers, adding more luxury and features, constantly pushing boundaries. Car companies are always trying new things, experimenting with advanced materials and layouts. Sadly these things fail, earning them the nickname feared by many “Widowmaker”.
For some of these cars, it starts with the little faults. From trouser wetting understeer to chair soiling high-speed wipeouts.
Straight to it, shall we.
12. Vauxhall Vectra VXR.
Handsome macho looks and quite a lot of power under the hood, 276hp to be precise. This seems a bit too much for a front wheel drive hatchback with no limited slip differential.
On straight line bursts, it’s awesome, eating miles like a stabbed rat until it sees a corner where it suffers catastrophic understeer. The understeer is so bad, the steering wheel doesn’t seem to work so you’re left shouting some quick fire prayer points.
If you still want one, do not drive it fast and avoid corners! We’ve warned you.
11. Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang has been an American Icon for many years, gracing our tv screens for many years, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Imagine a car with a powerful V8 under the hood and a price tag that rivals a Toyota Prius.
Couple that with young inexperienced drivers, excessively loud exhaust notes and the lack of a limited slip differential and you’ve got yourself a crowd Killah.
News headlines of Ford Mustangs losing control on backroads and losing control at car meets. This is a car for proper drivers.
10. Reliant Robin
Like the name, it is not reliable, especially for modern day driving in Lagos. You will spend the would day sideways thanks to its ridiculously unstable singular front wheel, any sharp turn and you’ll be out trying to right your Robin.
9. Dodge Viper MK1
Built in the 90s by Dodge as the proper race car for the road, emphasis on race as this car is only meant for the brave and downright suicidal with its massive 8.0L V10, it just wants to move worlds and it won’t mind taking you far into the stratosphere.
No ABS, Traction control and all those important driver aids we’re all used to. Plus 400hp on tap meant this car could only be driven by a driver as it is more dangerous than the animal it was named after.
8. Toyota Yaris
Looks cute till you actually crash. For the usual daily commute and city flexing, the Yaris is a very good car, offering superb ride quality coupled with awesome fuel consumption…….great yeah?
Until you get involved in an accident with one……..this being Nigeria, it’s a familiar occurence. Because of its small size, the crumpled zones in the car are not as effective as bigger vehicles which means the occupants are more likely to feel the full impact of an accident and get injured.
7. Porsche Carrera GT
Another Supercar again, at least this one is easy to drive at low speeds. It’s when you’re pushing it towards its high speed, that’s when things get really unstable. Sadly, this was how Paul Walker lost his life some years back.
Not all cars are good at staying on the limit.
6. RUF CTR Yellowbird
This is one with a sole purpose……to kill its driver. The RUF is a lightweight sports car with numbers that make it a world beater and in 1989, it beat the world by lapping the Nurburgring in 8:05mins. Almost killing its driver in the process……constantly kicking its tail at every corner.
The idea of a rear wheel drive sports car today is pretty cool and all. Porches and RUFs today handle very well, but in the beginning, they were widow makers with the Yellowbird being no exception.
5. Ferrari 458 Italia
We’ve seen so many of these guys at car meets, arguably one of the most beautiful cars of our time. But like all beautiful girls, this one isn’t just trying to empty your bank account with the insurance money, nahh.
A major design flaw in the 458, the heat-shield assemblies were placed too close to the engine, causing the very thing meant to prevent the heat from spreading to deform. The units were also near the exhaust system, which could just as easily generate enough heat to ignite the adhesives and cause the entire car to catch fire and explode.
Ferrari recalled 1248 Italias in September of 2010 as a result. Hope you’ve had yours checked? This Lagos sun can fry an egg.
4. The Danfo Bus (1979 – 1992 Volkswagen Transporter Type 2)
It’s amazing how many of these buses still grace the streets and highways of Lagos, causing more chaos than peace with that noticeable rear engine rumble………yes, its shares the same engine layout with your dream Porsche 911.
Why is it on this list? It’s super old with major outdated safety features coupled with the fact that these buses are abadoned junkyard vehicles shipped from Europe, the heat inside these buses on a hot Tuesday afternoon in Lagos traffic and in the case of an accident……just forgerrit.
3. 2007 – 2011 Mini Cooper S
Oh no, not the charismatic English hatch with handling Mr Bean would be proud of. A huge fail in the circuit board fitted above the water pump meant that in the case of a malfunction, the turbocharger would overheat, catch fire and then boom! Explosion!
Just bought one? Head straight to your local BMW dealer slowly!
2. Ford Pinto
What’s a killer car list without a Ford Pinto? This won’t kill you because of its speed, it would take years before you reach 100kph. It’s the other motorists you should be afraid of because its fuel tank is wedged between the back bumper and rear axle.
A simple dink at the back is enough to make you see the light or at least smell some gasoline. Sad how Ford could have avoided this if they did a recall that would’ve cost them a measly $11 per car.
Before we jump to number 1, here are a few honourable mentions
1. Shelby Cobra Supersnake
This car makes the King Cobra look like a cuddly animal. An 800hp twin supercharged V8 and a 320kph top speed, there are only two in the world and only one is still in existence.
The other is somewhere in the Pacific as it jammed its throttle open hurtling its owner off a cliff.
Bill Cosby bought one once, he immediately returned it back to Shelby, pointing out its erratic handling.
Oh and it was sold for around $5.5million at an auction in 2007. Phew!
This is a car for the real drivers.
If your car is on this list, remember to drive slowly or run away from ! To the auction ground.
Watch Bill Cosby talk about his experience with the Supersnake
Written by Tunde Oyeyode