When it comes to car design, some vehicles have a lasting impact that transcends their initial controversy. These are the cars that were once criticized for their daring and unconventional designs, but have ultimately stood the test of time. From the DeLorean DMC-12 to the Lamborghini Countach, these controversial car designs have proven that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

DeLorean DMC-12

The DeLorean DMC-12 is perhaps one of the most iconic and polarizing cars of its time. Designed by renowned Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the DMC-12's stainless steel body and gull-wing doors were a departure from the traditional car designs of the era. Despite its initial mixed reception, the DMC-12 has since become a timeless classic, thanks in part to its starring role in the "Back to the Future" film franchise.

Lamborghini Countach

Debuting in the 1970s, the Lamborghini Countach was a radical departure from the sleek and understated designs of its competitors. With its angular lines, aggressive stance, and iconic scissor doors, the Countach was met with both criticism and adoration. However, over the years, the Countach has become synonymous with the excessive and flamboyant aesthetic of the 1980s, cementing its status as an automotive icon.

Fiat Multipla

The Fiat Multipla was a controversial design when it first hit the market in the late 1990s. Its unconventional and almost comical appearance polarized both critics and consumers. However, the Multipla's unconventional layout and spacious interior set a new benchmark for practicality in the compact MPV segment. Despite its initial criticism, the Multipla's bold design has aged surprisingly well, and it has even gained a cult following among automotive enthusiasts.


The BMW Z3 received mixed reviews when it was first unveiled in the mid-1990s. Its retro-inspired styling and elongated hood were a departure from BMW's traditional design language, leading to some skepticism from enthusiasts. Despite this initial backlash, the Z3's timeless lines and classic roadster proportions have helped it to become a highly sought-after collectible today.

Citroën DS

The Citroën DS, with its distinctive futuristic design, caused a stir when it was introduced in 1955. Its unconventional looks, featuring a sleek aerodynamic body and unique hydropneumatic suspension, were ahead of their time. Despite the initial controversy, the DS has since become a design icon, influencing countless cars that followed and earning a reputation as one of the most innovative and beautiful cars ever produced.

Porsche 911 (996 generation)

The Porsche 911 (996 generation) was met with mixed reviews when it was first unveiled in the late 1990s. Its controversial "fried egg" headlights and departure from the traditional air-cooled engine design of its predecessors led to some criticism from purists. However, the 996 has proven to be a highly capable and desirable sports car, and its design has aged gracefully, earning a place in the hearts of many Porsche enthusiasts.

Ford Edsel

The Ford Edsel, named after Henry Ford's son, was a controversial car from the moment it was announced. Its bold and divisive design, coupled with a high-profile marketing campaign, made it one of the most talked-about cars of the 1950s. Despite its initial failure in the market, the Edsel's unique styling has since been appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts, making it a sought-after classic car today.

Chevrolet Corvette C4

The Chevrolet Corvette C4, introduced in the 1980s, featured a futuristic design that departed from the muscular and aggressive lines of its predecessors. Its sleek and aerodynamic styling was met with mixed reviews, but the C4 has since gained a loyal following and has become a beloved classic. Its timeless design and performance capabilities have solidified its place in automotive history.

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius, with its distinctive and aerodynamic design, was met with skepticism when it first arrived on the scene in the late 1990s. Its unconventional hybrid powertrain and futuristic styling were seen as a departure from traditional automotive norms. However, the Prius has since become a symbol of eco-friendly motoring and has influenced the design of countless hybrid and electric vehicles.


Controversial car designs often challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of automotive design. While these designs may initially face criticism and skepticism, the cars mentioned above have ultimately proven that they can stand the test of time and become timeless classics. Whether it's the futuristic styling of the Citroën DS or the bold lines of the Lamborghini Countach, these cars have transcended their controversial beginnings to become enduring symbols of automotive innovation and design excellence.

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