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Mama Says: 6 Extremely Ugly Cars That Are Still Awesome

Sometimes it’s just all too much: the shiny chrome, the curved carbon fiber, that perfect intersection of form and function... ugh. Often the world's automotive beauty is just exhausting. But then, every once and a while, a car comes along that is exceptional in its ugliness; and that too deserves a bit of recognition. Thus, I give you a list of my favorite extremely ugly cars and why they’re awesome:

1. Mustang II


Poor Mustang II. Being the second-generation Mustang is like being the band that was supposed to play after Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock — you're following something so very sacred, so why even bother? Take that precedence and then add the pressure of a pending oil crisis, and you've got to do the impossible; but Ford did it anyway! They took the plunge. The result? A somewhat wimpier, less sexy version of the original that gets better mpg but in the process gently whispers “Pinto” in your ear when you start it up. However, Ford sold the hell out of that weird Pinto/Mustang thingie... so who’s the idiot now?

2. Lotus Europa


Just so you don’t think that America has a monopoly on ugly, let us not forget the Lotus Europa. The front end is simply beautiful, as expected from Lotus land... but that weird, blocky, El Camino-like back end that leaves us wondering, "Can you put a lawn mower in that thing?" Sadly, the answer is no; but you can put in a tall Renault engine, which is significantly speedier than most lawn mowers. The bad news? The Europa’s rear window is nobody’s friend, making it impossible to see out of the back. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

3. Paris Hilton's Custom Bentley Continental GT


One person who does have everything is Paris Hilton (don’t worry, this is going somewhere); and she’s got a doozy of an awesome/ugly car. Between the bedazzled PH emblem on the trunk and those Pepto-pink wheels, there’s no mistaking this vehicle for anyone else’s. It’s basically the antidote to the sea of silver Priuses seen in most LA parking lots. And it reminds us that money sure doesn’t buy taste.

4. The Youabian Puma


One thing money can buy is plenty of plastic surgery. There’s so much tucking, plumping and cropping in this town, that one LA cosmetic surgeon started his own car company. Between its unforgettable looks and $1.1 million price tag, the Puma sure gets people talking. According to the company, its goal was “to standout and be unique.” Well, mission accomplished! The Puma’s not the first four-seat GT coupe to get smacked with the ugly stick; even Lamborghini has its day in the sun.

5. Lamborghini Espada


Though the Espada isn’t pretty, it sure looks mean. So when you learn that it’s hiding a roaring 4.0L V12 and dual fuel tanks inside, you’re not entirely surprised. Ugly just got a lot more appealing.

6. Tatra 87


The final and most fabulously awesome ugly car is the Tatra 87. Though Tatra may not be a household name, it is actually the world’s third oldest auto manufacturer and likely not the ugliest thing to come out of Czechoslovakia. What made the 87 special was its trademark back end with the unmistakable shark fin and lack of rear windows. This exercise in aerodynamics divided the air pressure on both sides, creating a really efficient trail-blazing vehicle that inspired such names as Porsche and VW to emulate its ugliness — so much so that Tatra sued VW... and won.

So the next time you want to get all high and mighty about that Pontiac Aztek, or feel self righteous towards a Juke, just remember that sometimes, ugly is awesome. And sometimes, it's just ugly.

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