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What’s The Scariest Car You Ever Drove?

Aa Scarycar

Fear, I’m told, is the mind-killer, but sometimes it’s also a handy way of letting us know that, for example, the hunk of crap car you’re driving is dangerous deathtrap. And often, that’s good information to have! As an example from my personal life, when I drove David’s old Postal Jeep a few years back, the visceral fear I felt upon realizing that the motions I was making with the steering wheel had a very inconsistent and perhaps even cavalier relationship with the direction the car would progress on the road was in fact a potent alert that, hey, this thing is a rusty, jagged, boxy coffin. And that, as I said, is good information to have.

I should note that this was before David did any mechanical work on the thing, and at that point the Postal Jeep had most of its suspension and steering components connected to the rusty frame with nothing stronger than a conceptual connection and maybe some decorative stickers. The brakes didn’t do a whole hell of a lot either, and I’m frankly amazed I was able to drive it the few miles I did without some sort of disaster happening.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

For this car to scare me, even at low speeds, I think is quite a triumph, because, remember, I’m a veteran of the infamous Hoffman:

…and the amazing Helicron, which very much wants to mulch you into paté:


And yet, even compared with the perverse peculiarity of the Hoffmann and the swirling blades of the Helicron, David’s old Postal Jeep (shown below) somehow felt scarier. Maybe because I had it out on public roads, with plenty of traffic. Maybe it was the cold weather, which threatened to make any impact into the windshield feel even worse. Or maybe it was that the body really wasn’t all that connected to the frame. Maybe all of it.

And that was low-speed driving! I bet there’s many tales you have of cars that are scary at speed, or a car that just scared you, not for physics-related reasons, but for more metaphysical reasons, deeper, stranger things.

Point is, I know you’ve all experienced some car that scared you in some way, and I want you to tell us all about it now, so that we may grow, and, ideally, heal. Because that car is no longer here to terrify you anymore.


I hope.


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Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
2 months ago

Deathmobile. Free 1998 Isuzu Hombre. Brakes would work, usually. Sometimes it was downshift, hit e-brake (4th pedal) with left foot and stand on brake with right foot. Heater core broke so it wouldn’t defrost. Wheel fell off front left while driving. Lights (head and tail) seemed to burn out very frequently, and were super dim. Free cost too much for that thing.

Close second was the Dakota V6 manual I test drove with my (then new) wife. I pulled out of the dealer lot onto a busy road giving it the beans to get into traffic. I shift into 2nd and the handle comes off the gear shift. We didn’t buy it (or the ranger with broken glass and an ICP CD under the driver seat).

Last edited 2 months ago by Jalop Gold
2 months ago

Bought a $400 Toyota Chinook off craigslist without telling my wife of 5 months. I was going to keep it at work, and a coworker was towing it there. Rainly day, low visibility, but we got the engine running long enough that the brake booster actually had vacuum.
Well, the ride seemed a little cushy, and I assumed the seat was just well-maintained. A week or so later I was pulling out the wonderful, original, matted shag carpet, in a sublime yellow, orange, and brown color scheme. (/s for those who think this is nostalgic, or acceptable in any way). Come to find out, there was effectively no floorboard under the front of the seat, I was just hammocking on the carpet and it failing could have dropped me right to the road- at 25 miles an hour.
Ended up having to sell it as it was not something my wife would ever be interested in camping in.

Last edited 2 months ago by SteamTroller45
2 months ago

The car was a late old VW Beetle that belonged to my sister. These days it would be a valuable collector’s car, but in 1983 it was just an old Bug. The brake pedal assembly was connected with a pin underneath the pedal, and unbeknownst to me, the safety clip holding the pin in there was missing. I found this out when I stepped on the brakes and the pedal went to the floor. Luckily, I saw the pin rolling around by my feet and managed to grab it and shove the brake pedal assembly back together one-handed. Going downhill. On the freeway. I took the car back to my sister and chewed her out and stuck some wire in the pin to hold it there. THAT was my scariest experience, I think.

Phil Ventura
Phil Ventura
2 months ago

was a service writer at a vw/porsche dealer in the late 60s. the wrenchs did an oil change on a 912 porsche. i had to test drive it to qc the work done. hit the end of the driveway and turned onto a busy 4 lane. almost soiled my drawers! turns out the owner, a high end lawyer, had put bias ply snow tires on the rear! i knew to never mix bias and radials on a car, but what it did to that rear engine p-wagon was downright terrifying. he was educated when he picked up his car… hi to the guys at precision autos in e. syracuse

2 months ago

Mt ’64 F100 crewcab before I swapped out the front drums for discs. Always had to look ahead enough to have Plan A and Plan B if the brakes were not working that day. One time I had the kids in the truck and had to use Plan B, which was to go on through the stop sign turning right instead of the desired left. Best thing I have ever done to that truck and now I can drive with confidence of stopping when needed.

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