Home » How I Ended Up In A Bidding War For ‘The Ugliest Car Of All Time’

How I Ended Up In A Bidding War For ‘The Ugliest Car Of All Time’

We Bought An Aztek Real

It happened. The Pontiac Aztek — arguably the most hideous automobile ever produced — is mine. And the one I snagged isn’t just any Aztek, it is the ugliest of the ugly: it’s beige. Here’s how I managed to snag this machine from the jaws of defeat. Here’s how I won a bidding war for arguably the ugliest car of all time.

Back in April I promised that If 200 people became Autopian members that month I would purchase a Pontiac Aztek, daily drive it for a month, and live in it for a week. To do that I’d actually have to buy an Aztek, but soon after announcing this membership campaign all the good Azteks in my area seemed to dry up. This meant that, when one came up on Cars & Bids, I felt an immense amount of pressure to get it.

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Actually, The Autopian’s Publisher Matt Hardigree did a great job putting together the play-by-play of what happened, so I’m just going to quote his Member Email (which you get if you’re a member here at this fine automotive publication — join here!).

The below is a play-by-play from Matt’s email:

Matt’s Email To Members:



I honestly can’t remember if someone told me to look at Cars & Bids or I just saw it as I was browsing the site, but I make the first mention of it I can find (apologies if someone told me):

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.58.23 Am

I suggest to David/Jason that we bid on it.

Buzz, in the Discord, notices as well:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.58.46 Am$rrrr


David, Jason, and I discussed the merits of the car. At length. Since the car was in Arizona, we decided a budget of $3,500 would be appropriate as we could probably get it back to California after fees/travel/et cetera for less than $4,000.

The Day Of
David even texted everyone to make sure it was ok:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.59.18 Am

We nervously watched it all weekend. David can spend upwards of $30k on an old i3, but spending $3k of company money on an Aztek gave him pause. [DT Note: I’m always careful spending company money. My own money? I’m also careful, but I have no defenses against Galvanic Gold i3s. -DT].

With the prices hovering around $2,300 going into the morning we made a plan: David would set up a name that wasn’t obviously him, do a test bid of $100 more than whatever was there with an hour to go, and then we’d be ready to bid another $100 with 20 seconds left. As we got closer the price went up:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.59.40 Am


With about an hour to go we made the test bid:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.59.58 Am

Yes, this is the name David chose so as not to give it away.

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.00.15 Pm

It took about three minutes for someone to figure it out.


At this point, we were busily watching it in Slack, on the site, on the Discord, and in text messages.

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.00.35 Pm


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We were all nervous. And then it happened:


Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.01.12 Pm


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Then it started happening super fast:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.02.06 Pm

In the Slack room:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.02.26 Pm

And in the Discord:


Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.02.50 Pm

But we were ready:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.03.13 Pm

And then it happened:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.03.30 Pm


Part of being a success is sticking to your guns. Another part is being flexible enough to know when to bend a little:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.03.53 Pm

Well, fun for us.

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.04.21 Pm

Less fun for the Discord maybe.


Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.04.41 Pm


Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.04.57 Pm

People seem to think it was a great deal and we agree.

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.05.18 Pm


Thank you all for being a part of this journey. We are all excited to take delivery of the Aztek and will write about it every step of the way. We even have a special plan for where/how David is going to sleep in it.

Ok, not all of us are excited:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.05.37 Pm

Lol. Adrian did find a great black one, but…

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.05.57 Pm


Anyone know where we can find some cladding?

Ok, Back To Me, Dravid Tacy

Thanks, Matt for writing half of my article for me!

But whew, that was a nerve-wracking! How high would we have gone? Would we have stopped at $4000? I’m not sure I have that willpower. It’s possible I was headed toward the most foolish purchase of all time. Luckily, FruitBoots3000 has some sort of internal restraint that I don’t, and they showed mercy. The Aztek was mine for $3,604. Honestly, not a bad deal.

Did I ever think I’d end up in a bidding war over a Pontiac Aztek? Much less a beige one? No, no I didn’t. Anyway, I notified The Autopian’s accountant; here was our short exchange:

Accountant: This is quite the RIDE, David! I must say!

Me: Possibly the ugliest car of all time!

Accountant: You’re not wrong!

Hopefully, our accountant doesn’t refuse to pay this, or I’ll have to dip into my own pockets for this Aztek. [Reaches into pocket, pulls it inside-out…Gulp.] Anyway, enough talking, let’s show some photos of this incredible machine:




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As you can see, it’s got some rust from having spent time in Nebraska, Montana, and Minnesota. Also, this isn’t a very highly optioned Aztek. It doesn’t have all-wheel drive, it doesn’t have a head-up display, and it doesn’t have a rear air compressor. I’m hoping to find an air compressor at a junkyard so I can retrofit it to inflate an air mattress, as I will be sleeping in this Aztek. After all, I did manage to snag a nice example of the fabled Aztek Tent.

You all came through for us by becoming members, now it’s time for me to uphold my end of the deal. It’s Aztek time!

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David W Alderman
David W Alderman
12 days ago

Someone should find a replacement trim piece for the right rear door. Maybe it could be 3D printed? After all, we want it to look pretty!

Last edited 12 days ago by David W Alderman
Is Travis
Is Travis
12 days ago

You got an absolute bargain, wicked good story!
This is such a clean example, treat it well and pass it along to another enthusiast if you don’t fall in love with it yourself.

Last edited 12 days ago by Is Travis
Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
13 days ago

I laud your outstanding accomplishment. Not buying the car, but the header image of the article. This might be my favorite one that I have ever seen on this site. (It helps that I was reminded of that movie just the other day for some reason that escapes me.)

13 days ago


I’m not sure how I feel about that upholstery…part of it is giving strong ‘public bus’ vibes, but at least it’s interesting to look at, right?

Last edited 13 days ago by PlatinumZJ
Ben Chia
Ben Chia
13 days ago

TravidDacy. Really.

13 days ago

That interior seat design screams early 2000’s harder than Avril Lavigne belting out Sk8ter Boi.

13 days ago

As a Canadian, it’s weird to see cars driven through winters not being oil sprayed underneath, I feel like it’s the easiest $100 preventative maintenance you can do if you’re driving where they use salt/ only helps the resale value. Also, my 2013 CRV doesn’t even have a passenger armrest, look at that luxury.

James Colangelo
James Colangelo
13 days ago

OK but wow.. that thing is nice.. and clean.. wow. I love it! Congratulations!!

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