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Top 10 worst sport editions: Classic MOTOR

By Nathan Ponchard, 08 Sep 2017 Features

10 Worst sport editions main

Like greg louganis head-butting an olympic diving board, some sporting failures are best handled in public

Here are what we, in 2008, thought the worst 'sport' editions were.

This was originally published in MOTOR's March 2009 issue 

Now, car makers would probably rather forget these. Except the Camry Sportivo - that one's still a thing.

 1. HSV XUV Avalanche

What possessed HSV to take Holden’s lumbering Crewman and turn it into something ‘sporting’ is probably a matter for Victoria’s drug squad, but what a turd-burger. Rumour has it the Queen Mary has a smaller turning circle.

HSV XUV Avalanche2. Saab 9-3 Viggen

Unfortunately, yet another prime example of the Swede’s inability to make a fast car corner. The combination of a firecracker 169kW Saab turbo donk and old GM J-car bits made the Viggen scary on any road, wet or dry.

Saab 9-3 Viggen3. Holden/Isuzu Piazza

Italian styling by Giugiaro? Yep. German-engineered rear-drive platform? Yep. Japanese-designed turbo-fed engine? Yep. Suspension tuning by the work-experience chick? Sadly, yes. Spare undies and a defibrillator? Not included.

Holden/Isuzu Piazza4. Toyota Sportivos

Always half-arsed in at least one crucial area – engine in a Camry, chassis in an Echo, and the wheel/tyre package in a Corolla – and engineered by Toyota, meaning these white goods on wheels will never die. Only their owners.

Toyota Sportivos5. Peter Brock Lada Samara

Dumped by Holden and duped by the Polariser, Brocky must’ve been in limp-home mode when the Russians swayed him into fettling a Lada. The result – ‘Samara by Brock’ – was similar to a ‘Brabham Torana’, only much worse.

Peter Brock Lada Samara6. Datsun 280ZX

The lowest ebb in the Zed’s 40-year career is this poncy, flaccid, overweight lush-mobile, in its element as a metallic-gold T-top with brown velour trim, a quadraphonic cassette deck, and a bouffanted poseur at the wheels.

Datsun 290ZX7. Alfa 33 S 16V Permanent 4

The Permanent 4 combined all the qualities the regular 33 was renowned for – shitty build, torturous driving position, occasional reliability, glorious engine – with a live rear axle and a Calais V8 price-tag. Enough said.

Alfa 33 S 16V Permanent 48. Porsche 924

Perhaps unfairly rubbished because the 924 Turbo was actually bloody good, but it takes just one tedious drive of a manual-steered, three-speed auto ‘Sportmatic’ to know the base 924 is a howler of the highest order.

Porsche 9249. Datsun Stanza SSS

In an attempt to revive the highs of the late-60s 1600, Datsun copied it and created the Stanza. And what a flimsy, vague, under-performing lemon it was, too, headlined by a stripes-and-decals SSS with all the appeal of a mouthful of vomit.

Datsun Stanza SSS10. Subaru Vortex XT Turbo 4WD

The promisingly weird Vortex Turbo 4WD mixed dazzling on-paper spec and tech with the ride height of a Brumby ute, making it the most high-tech farm vehicle ever built. Unfortunately, it was meant to be a sports coupe.

Subaru Vortex XT Turbo 4WD

Read more of MOTOR's Classic series