MINI Cooper (2015)
The MINI Cooper is praised as one of the best handling and most fun-to-drive hatchbacks of all time, and the latest generation is no exception. The 2015 redesign brought with it a turbocharged three-cylinder engine packing 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, or a turbocharged four-cylinder making 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque in “S” guise.
Paired with a six-speed manual or automatic, there’s a ton of fun to be had, so why does the new MINI look so afraid? Though the little hot hatch has grown in size over the years, it would appear its courage has been spent.
Bugatti Veyron (2005)
When the Bugatti Veyron was produced in 2005, it was a supercar to break all records. Output, top speed, price tag, and even its massive 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged, W16 engine were on the upper-limits of sanity within the automotive world. It took almost a decade for anything to topple the mighty Veyron, and even then, it wasn’t ever embarrassed. So why would such a monstrously powerful vehicle have the look of terror? As history shows, the reign of a king can only last so long; me thinks the Veyron knew from the beginning it had a limited lifespan at the top of the food chain.
Mitsubishi Eclipse (2003-2005)
Named after an 18th century English race horse that won 26 races, the Eclipse had a loyal fan base up until its ultimate demise in 2011, but that didn’t stop the facelifted third generation, built from 2003 to 2005 to wear a permanently fearful expression. At least it’s clear what the Eclipse had to fear: soon after an Eclipse moved on from its initial owner’s clutches, there was about a 207 percent chance the tuner crowd would rip and replace the sports car’s body panels… and then add underglow. [Shudder]
Audi Rosemeyer Concept (2000)
The Rosemeyer was a concept that gave Audi a boost of design and performance credibility before the R8 made it to production. Not only did the vehicle combine contemporary design with classic Audi Union’s “Silver Arrows” Gran Prix racer style, it packed a gargantuan mid-mounted W16 engine with 700 horsepower and Quattro all-wheel drive. Unfortunately for the Rosemeyer, Audi ultimately scrapped the project because production would be too expensive and the automaker didn’t want internal competition with Lamborghini. The petrified, petrol-powered Rosemeyer seemed to know its time in the limelight would be but a blink… just look at that face!
Ford GT40 Mk IV (1967)
For a car that had such a successful racing career, including victories in the 1967 12 hours of Sebring and 1967 24 hours of le mans, it sure seems spooked. The MkIV Ford GT had innovative honeycomb-panel construction the highly-praised J Chassis, and a long, sleek design with extraordinarily high top speed potential. Also, the MkIV, unlike previous GT40s was built in America and included a heavy duty roll cage that may have saved Mario Andretti’s life when he crashed at Le Mans. I personally believe the Ford GT was so good it was frightened of its own potential.
Lola Mk 1 (1958-1962)
The Mk 1 was the brainchild of racer and engineer Eric Broadley in 1958 and was powered by a 1,100 cc four-cylinder that only weighed 215 pounds. Its elegant design included a 20-gauge square steel tubular chassis that weighed just 60 lbs. Maurice Gomm then built an attractive aluminum body to clothe the underpinnings. Broadley found instant racing success and was asked to build more for sale in 1961 and 1962. Around 38 models would eventually be built. No doubt, the Lola was a remarkably capable track machine, but when it was being pushed to within inches of concrete walls on a circuit, the fear crept out.
Buick Special (1957)
The Buick Special was the brand’s entry level, full-size model, produced from 1936 to 1969. The massive machine was powered by a 250 horsepower V8 during its 1957 model year. While 250 horses don’t sound like much from a V8, at the time, it was pretty impressive. Still, the Special was right to be afraid: if any more chrome had been added to its body, it would blind just about anyone who looked at it.
Maserati A6GCS (1953-55)
The Maserati A6GCS was produced in extremely limited numbers: only 52 were made, all with a 170hp inline six cylinder, and all designed to be raced in the world sportscar championship. Four additional Berlinettas and one Spyder were made later by Pininfarina. Though it was a quick and handsome vehicle at the time, it may have been afraid that years, later its design wouldn’t be appreciated. Of course those fears were unfounded because just last year, an A6GCS won the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance Polyphony Digital Award and there’s talk that it will be featured in a Gran Turismo Racing Game.
Crossley CC47 (1947)
You may have never heard of Crosley Motors, and that’s probably because it was just a blip on the radar of automotive manufacturing. Powel Crosley Jr. was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds and found success in many different businesses, including baseball and radio broadcasting. Unfortunately, car making wasn’t among his strongest showings. Crosley Motors was founded just before World War II, when domestic U.S. car production ceased in 1942. However, Crosley is credited with building America’s first subcompact car, and the first car to feature four-wheel disc brakes. Before Crosley Motors closed its doors in 1952, the CC47 was built with a 27 horsepower four-cylinder. Wow. It’s quite obvious why the CC47 was afraid: it was clearly just worried about whether it would be able to propel itself up a hill.
Duesenberg Model J (1928-37)
The Duesenberg Model J was a pretty monumental vehicle, built to rival the world’s best luxury cars. Sadly, right after it was revealed in 1928, the stock market crashed, putting quite a damper on sales. Still, what’s not to love? The Model J was powered by a straight eight-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower, allowing the car achieve a top speed of 119 mph. As the fastest production U.S. car available, the Model J demanded a price premium. However, with prices at about $17,000 (roughly translated to about $200,000 current dollar value), barely anyone could afford it. For reference, the average physician made only $3,000 per year at the time. Alas, the Duesenberg Model J showed the ultimate terror in its eyes: the realization that a tiny number of people would ever be able to experience its raw, unadulterated power.
Think you know of a car or two that’s even more terrified than these ten? Let us know in the comments below!