The Oldsmobile V8 diesel is up there for pile-o awards – a terrible engine that ruined the reputation of passenger car diesels in the US. Another candidate for pile-o honors is the V6 engine from Volvo, Peugeot, and Renault (known as PRV). It depreciated Volvos and was even used in a DeLorean. That’s pretty awful, isn’t it?
The OM617 engine was the worst engine ever designed, and it was also the smallest. The OM617 had a lot of moving parts, which made it extremely noisy, and the steering wheel could literally shake with every ignition. It is also one of the most expensive car engines in history, and was notorious for being overly thirsty for fuel and oil. It’s a shame to see such a good engine ruined by its poor design, but the fact is that millions of cars came equipped with it.
The Cadillac HT 4100’s gasoline V8 was so bad, that the production was rushed ahead of schedule. It was also rushed because of unrealistic government demands, cafe demands, and GM’s policy of no gas guzzler tax. Ultimately, this engine was a complete disaster, and was installed in a heavy car without a jack-of-all-trades.
The Chevy Corvair was another bad car, and it featured an air-cooled flat-six engine. Ralph Nader singled it out in his book Unsafe at Any Speed. The Corvair’s single-piece steering column was so bad it could potentially impale the driver in a front-end collision, and the car leaked oil. So the question is: What are some of the worst-designed car engines ever?