Wedges, with their missile-like profile scream power and speed, the design although still popular today kicked off in the ’70s with a mix of gorgeous cars and ugly ducklings.
The gorgeous ones, Lamborghini’s Countach, Lotus Esprit and dozens of Ferraris all crowd pleasers in their own right from famous Italian design studios steal the attention away from uglier cars that gearheads chose to ignore. However, the same big names, Bertone, Giugiaro and Pininfarina have also had their off days, ask anyone old to remember the Lancia Montecarlo, and they will likely attest big names do occasionally get it wrong.
Picking and choosing between decades of wedge shaped sports cars for the ugliest ones comes with personal choice, what is ugly to one gearhead is beauty in the bare metal to another.
10 Toroidion 1MW
Finnish newcomer Toroidion unveiled their 1MW concept back in 2015 boasting as then a future looking electric supercar power train sporting not one, but four electric motors, one per corner with a combined output of 1341 hp.
The following year, taking on former F1 racer Mika Salo in a R&D capacity with an ambitious eye on contesting Le Mans 24 hour in the near future. The last we heard, production under the Eussta M1 tag was due to commence in 2019 with little if any further information on this oddly fishy looking wedge to be found.
9 Lamborghini Egoista
King of the super cars they might be, but Lamborghini isn’t immune from a touch of the uglies. The Egoista proving not all is well in Sant’Agata, designer Walter de Silva coming up with a road-going fighter jet style affair that just doesn’t work on any level.
Peel away the bulbous mishmash of canopy meets the Jetsons bodywork, and you’re left with the nuts and bolts of a Gallardo, one of Lamborghinis best and most popular efforts this century. Ugly or not, the Egoista is still a potent supercar packing a 5.2-liter 600 hp V10, pity then that it’s so damn ugly.
8 Aston Martin Bulldog
Aston Martins are supposed to be gorgeous V8-powered luxury coupes, draped in curves as only the Brits know how, the Bulldog name itself conjuring images of traditional values, craftsmanship, and style. In 1979 all those values took a step toward the dark side, curves replaced with folded edge styling, the only feature not composed of straight lines alone being the wheel arches.
The creative output of designer William Towns, Aston Martin banking on a modern wedge shaped sports car for the brand’s future, even going so far as developing a turbocharged variant of the tried and tested 5.3-liter V8, pushing out 600 hp. Fortunately, before production started, Victor Gauntlett realized the Bulldog was just too costly to build, saving gearheads from this ugly dog of a car.
7 Lotus Elite
Think Lotus and wedge, and the Esprit instantly springs to mind, a low-slung plastic sports car that completely eclipsed another Lotus wedge, the Elite Type 75. In place of mid-engine layout the Elite used a front-rear drive layout, its steel backbone chassis in effect reversed.
The duo even shared Lotus’ Type 907 2-liter four-cylinder engines, in the Elite producing a respectable 160 hp, resulting in a top speed of 125 mph. Decent performance figures aside, the Elite’s sleek front end married to a peculiar kammback makes it the ugly sister to the much prettier Esprit.
6 Bond Bug
Bond, James Bond, if 007 had been tasked with taking down another power-crazed dictator with one of these, then we’d all be enslaved and speaking another language. Fortunately, the Bond Bug has nothing to do with the world’s most famous secret agent, and is in fact Reliant Cars’ attempt to “jazz” up the Reliant Robin, that failed dismally purely on looks alone.
Let’s be honest, any designer faced with turning the plastic pig into something cool had a huge mountain to climb, three-wheelers with a single wheel at the front aren’t an especially attractive proposition. Added to which, a 700cc four-cylinder 29 hp engine is nothing to get excited about, topping out at 76 mph.
5 Marcos Mantis M70
This peculiar piece of ’70s era wedge shaped obscurity has to be a contender for the ugliest car ever produced. Unveiled in 1968 with a lengthy two-year delay before production commenced, surely plenty of time for Marcos to address the Mantis M70s questionable bug-eyed, long-snouted styling. Sadly, no one at Marcos noticed just how ugly this wedge was, sales reaching a dismal 32 cars.
Despite the kind of looks only a mother could love, the Mantis M70 packed a surprising amount of modern engineering, built over a square section steel chassis complete with coil springs at each corner with power coming from a Triumph 2.5-liter straight six.
4 Lamborghini Marzal
One of one, The Bertone styled Lamborghini Marzal, despite its gull-winged 2+2 body, never got past the prototype stage, Ferrucio Lamborghini viewing the unique coupe as a show car rather than a production prospect.
Finding a niche in Lamborghini’s line-up is tricky, on the one hand a proper four-seater two-door coupe sporting all manner of outrageous design ideas, none less so than the doors themselves clad in glass paneling bringing the total glass area up to 48 sq ft. Beneath the elongated Miura based chassis Lamborghini opted for cut down V12 engine design, the Marzal making do with a 2-liter 6-cylinder rated at 175 hp resulting in disappointing top speed of 118 mph.
3 Bricklin SV-1
Finished in immaculate lime green, you might be tempted to think this slice of ’70s wedge shaped madness came from Hot Wheels and not from the little known Bricklin Canada plant. Launched in 1974 the Bricklin Safety Vehicle One (SV-1) envisaged as a cheap gull-winged sports car with a focus on safety aspects.
Powered by a selection of AMC and Ford sourced V8 engines, the former a 5.9-liter unit producing 220 hp. Under the skin, Bricklin specified a steel perimeter chassis incorporating rollover protection, the car’s front and rear wearing oversized and somewhat ugly low speed impact resistant bumpers.
2 Lister Storm
We hate to include the Lister Storm here, a fantastic piece of engineering, boasting a 200 mph top speed while accommodating four adults in leather trimmed luxury. Lister Cars having built its reputation on modifying Jaguar’s produced the Storm between 1993-94 with numbers stuck in single digits.
The Storm’s shovel like nose and steeply rising hood line, a compromise between chassis balance and performance. Tucked away behind the front axle, a supercharged Jaguar 7-liter V12 pushing out 594 hp, more in race spec, powering this quirky four-seater coupe to supercar levels of performance.
1 Aston Martin Valkyrie
While it’s true the ’70s is recognized as the decade that spawned supercar wedges, the sleek, low profile front end ethos has never really gone away, from time to time re-emerging much like an automotive equivalent of the mini-skirt. However, not every wedge is stunning success of performance and beauty.
The soon-to-arrive Aston Martin Valkyrie is right up there with the best supercars in terms of performance and power. Packing a mid-mounted Cosworth-developed 6.5-liter V12 and hybrid system producing 1160 hp, it goes from standstill to 60 mph in 2.6-seconds. Unlike the Norse maidens from where the Valkyrie takes its name, this one is a bit on the ugly side.
Cosworth is best known for helping Ford make faster cars, but the British tuning company has tweaked more cars than most people think.
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