When it comes to automotive design, there are certain cars that stand out as iconic, not just for their beauty and performance, but also for their notorious design flaws. These flaws have become part of the lore and legacy of these vehicles, often adding to their mystique and allure. From engines that overheated to doors that wouldn't close properly, these design flaws have become synonymous with some of the most famous cars in the world. Let's take a closer look at some of the most notorious design flaws in iconic car designs.

Ford Pinto: The Infamous Fuel Tank

The Ford Pinto is arguably one of the most infamous cars in automotive history, and it's not because of its performance or styling. The Pinto gained notoriety due to a fatal design flaw in its fuel tank. In a rear-end collision, the fuel tank could rupture, causing a deadly fire. This flaw led to a scandal that cost Ford millions in lawsuits and damaged its reputation for years to come.

Chevrolet Corvair: Handling Woes

The Chevrolet Corvair was a revolutionary car when it was introduced in the early 1960s, featuring an air-cooled rear-engine design. However, this innovative layout led to serious handling issues, particularly in slippery conditions. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader famously wrote about the Corvair's handling flaws in his book "Unsafe at Any Speed," which ultimately led to increased government regulation of the automotive industry.

DeLorean DMC-12: Unreliable Gullwing Doors

The DeLorean DMC-12 is most famous for its role in the "Back to the Future" movie franchise, but it also had a notorious design flaw in its iconic gullwing doors. The doors were prone to sticking and breaking, causing frustration for owners and adding to the car's reputation for unreliability.

Lamborghini Countach: Poor Rear Visibility

The Lamborghini Countach is one of the most iconic supercars of all time, but it has a design flaw that has frustrated drivers for decades - poor rear visibility. The Countach's wedge-shaped design and high rear decklid made it nearly impossible to see out of the rear window, leading to many a scraped bumper in parking lots.

Porsche 911: Rear-End Instability

The Porsche 911 is a legendary sports car, but it has a design flaw that has challenged drivers for generations - rear-end instability. The 911's rear-engine layout can make the car prone to oversteer, especially in high-speed and slippery conditions, leading to some hair-raising moments for drivers.

Toyota Prius: Braking Issues

The Toyota Prius revolutionized the automotive industry with its hybrid powertrain, but it also had a notorious design flaw in its braking system. In certain conditions, the Prius's regenerative braking system could cause a delay in stopping, leading to some scary experiences for drivers.

BMW i3: Range Extender Failure

The BMW i3 is a pioneering electric car, but it has a design flaw in its optional range extender engine. Many owners have reported issues with the range extender not working properly, leaving them stranded with no power.

Ferrari F355: Engine Fires

The Ferrari F355 is a beautiful and capable sports car, but it has a design flaw that can be a literal hot mess - engine fires. The F355's design led to overheating issues, which could result in a catastrophic engine fire, turning dreams of driving a Ferrari into nightmares.

Tesla Model X: Falcon Wing Door Woes

The Tesla Model X is known for its futuristic falcon wing doors, but they have been the source of numerous headaches for owners. The complex door mechanism has been prone to glitches and malfunctions, leading to frustration and costly repairs for owners.

Volkswagen Beetle: Weak Front Axle Beam

The Volkswagen Beetle is an iconic car with a timeless design, but it had a notorious design flaw in its early models - a weak front axle beam. This flaw could lead to catastrophic failure, causing the front wheels to collapse in extreme circumstances.


These are just a few examples of the most notorious design flaws in some of the most iconic cars in automotive history. While these flaws may have tarnished the reputation of these vehicles, they have also become part of their legend, adding to their mystique and allure. It's a stark reminder that even the most celebrated and beloved cars are not immune to design flaws, and it's a testament to the enduring passion and loyalty of automotive enthusiasts that these iconic cars continue to be cherished despite their notorious flaws.

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