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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J Money
J Money
1 month ago

This era of Pontiac always had a Fisher Price vibe to me. Those climate control knobs, the steering wheel….just looks like it’s out of a preschool.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 month ago

I can’t explain it, something about that woven 2000s GM fabric just felt…damp? even when dry. Like it held humidity more than mouse fur of the time did. Maybe it’s something with freshly detailed rental or used cars that didn’t quite get out whatever sins and/or cigarette smoke that had seeped in.

Speaking of damp Pontiacs, a few months ago I was on a walk after it had been on/off rainy most of the day, and almost home when I passed an Aztek cooler…sitting against some bushes by the sidewalk…just out. It looked grimy and I was tempted to grab it and clean it up but it also felt like some kind of trap. I hadn’t seen an Aztek in the vicinity in a while so I really wondered how it was kept so long and then just abandoned like so.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 month ago

You are correct. It was always just a little damp feeling. Now, I have lived all of my life in the Great Lakes region, so humidity is typically high, but I bet even in Arizona, it feels a little damp.

I also wonder what kind of funk it will have after DT lives in it for a week. I can’t imagine it will be great…

Christopher Warren
Christopher Warren
1 month ago

Just wondering why none of interior designers suddenly said at a design review of the steering wheel airbag cover, “Hey, is it just me or does that airbag cover look like an inflamed zit about to explode ?”.
Bravo GM, bravo for also reminding anyone driving it by the bulginess that there’s an explosive device just waiting to smash your face like a direct facial hit in dodgeball.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
1 month ago

That beast looks like 10 designers from different studios took up stations around the clay styling buck. None looked at the work of the others and then they made the stamping dies to match. The B & C pillars look like they are shooting off in different directions the hunchback roofline is not stylish, but it compromises cargo capacity to make up for it.

When it was introduced, I looked at it at the Auto Show. They were advertising it as an adventure van, but stuck that beam rear axle under it that offered about 5” of ground clearance, guaranteeing that it would high-center on the first 2-track the owner wandered down. The less said about the interior, the better.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago

Remember Tim Scott fawning over a certain orange person recently? That’s how I feel about DT and this adventure.

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
1 month ago

Why does the lead image look like an advertisement for a prescription medication with unspeakable side effects in the fine print?

The48thRonin
The48thRonin
1 month ago

Man, Doug’s used car lot turns up some real gems once in a while

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
1 month ago

Take the stigma of this being an Aztek out of the equation and you have a pretty darn functional vehicle for throw away money that looks to be in decent shape.
Everyone talks about the way it looks on the outside. Look at that early aughts GM interior. It’s brutal. The plastics look like fisher price toys. And the knobs are goofy big and really, just all of it. Oof.

Eric Gonzalez
Eric Gonzalez
1 month ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

IKR. I paid so much attention to the atrocious exterior that I never stopped to contemplate the just-as-terrible interior. It’s… even uglier somehow?

The Aztek is truly the ugliest man made object.

* BMW XM enters the chat *

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
1 month ago

um….what happened to those pinch welds? How did rust get in there but really no place else? Are those like magic galvanic auto nodes?

Whatsanautopian
Whatsanautopian
1 month ago

when does the mack hardigree/ travid dacy cross-over novel get released?

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
1 month ago

Does DT understand the reference being made in the top shot?

Mr E
Mr E
1 month ago

That is literally and figuratively the beigest of beige vehicles.

Have…fun…I guess? 🙂

Industrial_design_guy
Industrial_design_guy
1 month ago

It’s, uh, beautiful?

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago

I’m not sure how I feel about having my hesitation in the Discord immortalized in an article. *cries softly*

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago
Reply to  VanGuy

This is a safe space.

Janeane Garafolo
Janeane Garafolo
1 month ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

Unless you are on an electric boat.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 month ago

You keep bemoaning the beige color but it’s a virtue on a car with this much, uh, style. It tones it down. I always thought an Aztek looked like an over inflated Chevette. If you don’t poke holes in it someone will buy it when you’re through.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
1 month ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

Yeah I think this is the perfect color for this special vehicle and makes it almost tolerable when compared to say the red with the (now) grad cladding.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
1 month ago
Reply to  Dodsworth

I always thought they looked like a bloated ’80s Pontiac LeMans hatchback personally.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 month ago

Has to be asked: will “Elise” join David for part of this adventure. Even if it’s only for a couple of frosty beverages from the cooler, it would be entertaining.

And where will the week of Aztek living take place? A campground? On the sprawling Galpin grounds as a sideshow/curiosity for car buyers?

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
1 month ago

The pattern on those seats is like the fabric on every couch in a Holiday Inn circa 1993. I half expected to see some horrible pastel painting of sand dunes and beach chairs hanging from the B pillar.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  ClutchAbuse

If you can believe it, Pontiac used to pitch it as “inspired by adventure sports!” (all the rage back then, right?) I’ll admit to unironically liking it.

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I hate the pattern but it brings me good feels. It reminds me of the hotels we would stay in as kids when we visited theme parks in Socal.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  ClutchAbuse

It looks better in dark colors for sure; light colors, it brings to mind the blonde laminated wood frames of those chairs you mention!

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago

Time to shave your head and grow a goatee so you can really hone in on your Walter White cosplay.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
1 month ago

David Treisenberg.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 month ago

I thought someone was getting cut with the carpet shampooer, but nope, that’s the pattern on the seat fabric.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

My wife’s uncle was a GM dealer and we visited his dealership looking for a new car. He shamelessly took us straight to the 1 Aztek on the parking lot and started touting how great it was. At that point I knew there was no way we’d get any love by buying anything from him.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
1 month ago

whatever your opinion on that car is the rust is fucking terrifying!

LastStandard
LastStandard
1 month ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

That’s practically rust free for a MN car.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  LastStandard

PA resident here, that thing looks clean.

Creative Username
Creative Username
1 month ago
Reply to  LastStandard

Illinoisian here. The pinch welds aren’t crusty and crushed flat by a jack. It’s like new!

Sly Bob
Sly Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

Here in Canada it looks like it’s just a year old, looks absolutely amazing for it’s age.

Adinsapo
Adinsapo
1 month ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

Wisconsinite here, no that’s practically rust free – especially for a GM product of it’s age

Davey
Davey
1 month ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

It’s not as bad as it could be for the age, but I do wonder why the owner (s?) didn’t oil spray it if it was driven where there’s salt on the roads?

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

Autopian Aztek is nicely alliterative. Add more adjectives as you will.

I can’t tell where the interior starts and the exterior ends it’s so beige. Greige?

I don’t think sleeping in the tent counts as sleeping in the Aztek unless you’re fully within the confines of the vehicle.

CRX89
CRX89
1 month ago

Of course it is rusty LMAO. You can take David to California but the rust will always find a way.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  CRX89

The car was rust free until Travid started bidding on it.

TooMuchWombat
TooMuchWombat
1 month ago

Wouldn’t even be a contender for the ugliest car on sale in 2024 if it was sold new today.

But champagne on beige is a pretty brutal combo no matter what car it’s on.

JTilla
JTilla
1 month ago
Reply to  TooMuchWombat

Sadly this is the case. Modern cars are so ugly.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
1 month ago

Nice and this can become a press mobile/travel around the states vehicle.

Just not the RV. 🙂

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

How much shrimp can you fit in the back?

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
1 month ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

The same as shower spaghetti.

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