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
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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:

6/6/2024

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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.

6/08/24
Buzz, in the Discord, notices as well:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 11.58.46 Am$rrrr

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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

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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.

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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

And:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.00.52 Pm

We were all nervous. And then it happened:

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Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.01.12 Pm

NOOOO!!!!!

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.01.26 Pm

And:

Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.01.42 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:

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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

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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.

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Screen Shot 2024 06 11 At 12.04.41 Pm

Mwhahahaha

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

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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

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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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Jesus Helicoptering Christ
Jesus Helicoptering Christ
1 month ago

These sorts of shenanigans truly make me happy to be part of this community.

Idiotking
Idiotking
1 month ago

that is the Fisher-Priciest thing I have ever seen. Are those AC controls made for flippers?

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Idiotking

No. Just the bean counters.

They can be used with gloves, IIRC, which does put them one up on the modern implementation of touchscreen or physical push-buttons to adjust climate settings.

Eric Gonzalez
Eric Gonzalez
1 month ago
Reply to  Idiotking

Truly an interior that befits the exterior

Muop
Muop
1 month ago

Sorry but your Aztek have a most interesting design (like multipla) to be consider so ugly

For me, the real ugliest car is probably the Daewoo Rezzo “designed” by pininfarina, ugly on pic, terribly worst IRL, an incredible pile of shit (and dramatically well sold here in France because cheap)

https://betterparts.org/daewoo/daewoo-rezzo.html

Last edited 1 month ago by Muop
Citrus
Citrus
1 month ago
Reply to  Muop

I’d be curious to see them side-by-side. The Aztek has some choices that also make it look REALLY cheap in a way the Rezzo doesn’t appear to – mostly in surfacing, the flat part on the side never looks right – but I’ve never actually seen the Rezzo outside of pictures so it might actually do some similar stuff in ways that don’t come across in a picture.

Muop
Muop
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

Yes, but I think cheap choices does not necessarily mean bad design if it is assumed (but I admit I never saw Aztek IRL)

The Rezzo is a bingo of all the 2000’s gimiks design and believe me, it sucks

Bob the Hobo
Bob the Hobo
1 month ago
Reply to  Muop

Never seen a Rezzo in person but it looks like they applied minivan styling to a hatchback.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
1 month ago
Reply to  Muop

Was that press release written by AI or translated from the Korean by a Chinese version of Google Translator?

Citrus
Citrus
1 month ago

The ugliest car of all time is the Daimler SP250 just sayin’

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

Speaking as someone who finds the SP250 to be interesting, charming, and desirable I must respectfully disagree. A 2.5L V8 at the very least should be interesting to many Autopians. (Signed, someone who would probably start a Daimler collection with a winning Powerball ticket.)

Citrus
Citrus
1 month ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

I have no doubt it’s fun.

But hoo boy it’s ugly.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

It is rather unfortunate looking.

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

To me the ugliest has to be the SSR

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

The Jellybean Truck is indeed awkward, and the fake-metal trim pieces in the interior are remarkably dumb for a convertible, but I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say it’s “ugly” exactly. “Concept that shouldn’t have made production” is more apt.

Lardo
Lardo
1 month ago

either you want a convert. pickup or you don’t

Master P
Master P
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

1st Gen Ssanyong Rodius, hands down

Citrus
Citrus
1 month ago
Reply to  Master P

Now that’s a compelling case. Haven’t seen a Rodius in person, but there are some impressive visual crimes happening there.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Citrus

Poppycock. The SP250 isn’t even ugly. The BMW iX is far uglier.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 month ago

But without the Rugged Black Plastic Trim™ is it really an Aztek?

Robert M. Graham
Robert M. Graham
1 month ago
Nycbjr
Nycbjr
1 month ago

He got one already!

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
1 month ago

This is truly incredible. After DT is done living in this heap I want Adrian to road trip it from Chicago to LA and give his unvarnished opinion.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Adrian never goes anywhere without his varnish.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 month ago

I guess this will become the company vehicle in LA. All visiting writers will have to drive it now LOL

Aaron Headly
Aaron Headly
1 month ago

Champagne Beige Metallic is a kind of beige, I guess.

DysLexus
DysLexus
1 month ago

But wait just one minute…Look again everyone!!!

This Aztek unit has the only textured-black chunky-gripped “Oh Shit Handle” (OSH) vertically and medially mounted on the dash adjacent to the stereo complex equally accessible to both front-seated persons in the history of automotiveness.

That there is a piece of engineering rarity folks.

John Beef
John Beef
1 month ago

I was gonna say that’s hella rusty for an Arizona car.

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
1 month ago
Reply to  John Beef

David needed a little Midwest/rust belt reminder he got rid of to many rust buckets since moving to Cali he was feeling a little homesick.

Bill Amick
Bill Amick
1 month ago

I, for one, think it is adorable that they asked PlayMobil to design the interior buttons.

OttosPhotos
OttosPhotos
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Amick

I’d forgotten what GM interiors used to look like (or maybe they still do, haven’t rented one in some time).

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  OttosPhotos

I seem to remember Car and Driver regularly referring to them as “Rubbermaid”.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
1 month ago

Aztec Emporer: Welcome Traveler! Where are you from?
Me: I am from the future. I bring good tidings. We have named a chariot after you!
Aztec Emporer: What a great honor! It must indeed be a mighty chariot.
Me: Well, it does have a cooler and a tent.
Aztec Emporer: Please, show me a pictogram!
Me: I don’t think we should…
Aztec Emporer: I must see this glorious chariot!
Me: If you insist (shows the pictures)
Aztec Emporer: (awkward pause) Why is it beige?
Me: Could you wish David Tracy luck? He’s going to sleep in it for a week.
Aztec Emporer: Um…
Me: It would mean a lot to him.
Aztec Emporer: Wait… are we not around anymore in your time?
Me: No. If someone rolls up in a boat from Spain… You know, I’ve already said too much. Really it was nice meeting you. Good luck to you.
Aztec Emporer: And I guess good luck to David.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

Wow, that looks remarkably good for a car that’s over 20 years old. Great find!

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago

For the week that David lives in it, The Autopian banner on the site should be rebranded with the Aztek font (or just the A). I especially like the floating A on the doors, like everyone is supposed to look at single letter, and know exactly what they are looking at. The bravado(not Oldsmobile) that GM has when releasing new products, knows no bounds.

Lightning
Lightning
1 month ago

That would look nice if you replace the missing trim piece, put some nice wheels on, and slam it.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago

The Offspring keychain is perfect for this car. Ask the seller if they will include it.

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 month ago

That’s a Grateful Dead keychain.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago
Reply to  A. Barth

That’s what I get for looking at tiny pictures on my phone and not zooming in.

ReverendDC
ReverendDC
1 month ago

I do not envy you DT. What a HIDEOUS example of corporate groupthink. I mean, how could you make an early 2000’s GM minivan even more disgusting? Missing out on the cladding, which I’m sure would have made a rhythmic sound over every road divot is upsetting, to be sure, but…the four nostrils…the angular with the circular design choices…the disgusting upholstery…I mean, which one would you prefer…this or the Jeep FC with generations of rodents? Still thinking the Jeep FC…

ReverendDC
ReverendDC
1 month ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Nailed it!

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
1 month ago

I like the pontiac logo as the lock guide for the cooler..i see you, GM.

Buzz
Buzz
1 month ago

Recommended subheader for the week of camping: beige cars you’ve been sleeping in.

Please don’t eat any chow mein in this one. Or do. I’d be happy to add an Aztec to the “used up former Autopian staff car” HooptieX fleet.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago
Reply to  Buzz

Aztek chow mein doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as shower spaghetti.

Last edited 1 month ago by StillNotATony
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

It’d have to be Aztek frites.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

I’m with Adrian…why not a first year with the horrendous cladding!? That’s what really turned up the ugly to 11.

That said, I love the seating fabrics. Pontiac was big into this at the time (the Sunfire was usually a recipient).

KITT222 aka The Vibe Guy aka Nick
KITT222 aka The Vibe Guy aka Nick
1 month ago

I look forward to the many adventures of the Autopian Aztek

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

YES! It’s finally here! #AztekLyfe

I initially wanted you to get one of the rad colors the Aztek was available in, but I can’t lie, the beige of this one really sells the design in the so bad it’s actually still bad sort of way. It’s great.

Also, pretty solid price given the condition is pretty good. There aren’t too many Azteks around here that look this nice (lol).

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

Aztekkin’ across the universe
Boldly going camping ’cause we needed more memberves.

[I know, I know, but I had to make it rhyme ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯ ]

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
1 month ago

So it begins….

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