Cars We Admire Despite Their Flaws

Not every car is easy to live with. Some can be unreliable, impractical, and difficult to drive, constituting a guaranteed headache for anyone who buys one. Yet some cars manage to have so much character and je ne sais quoi that they can be greatly loved despite their glaring flaws. These cars aren’t easy to live with every day, but we’d absolutely love to have one in our driveway. If you can’t love a car despite its flaws, is it actually love?

Alfa Romeo Spider

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Alfa Romeos are considered a litmus test for car enthusiasts. They’re achingly pretty cars with great handling dynamics, but they’re famous for their unreliability. It’s been said that no two Alfas are alike, because each has its unique set of problems that no other Alfa in the world has. The Alfa Romeo Spider is no exception to this rule, with an infamous predisposition for rusting thoroughly. Despite its flaws, we’d love to have one, especially the top of the line Quadrifoglio Verde version with the red carpets and grey seats.

Land Rover Defender

2016 Land Rover Defender

Like Alfa Romeos, Land Rovers like the Defender have a reputation for poor reliability and expensive repair bills. Even though the Defender had a 70-year production run, Land Rover still never quite figured out how to make the SUV reliable, especially in the electrical department. The Defender also has an interior that’s often described as “agricultural” and the four-cylinder diesel engine isn’t the most powerful, with only 118 horsepower. However, the Defender’s off-road prowess and timeless design make the Defender very desirable, which combined with the car’s rarity in the States, have kept values high.

Lamborghini Countach

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The Lamborghini Countach was the definitive supercar of the 1980s, and it embodied the excess of that decade effortlessly, with gigantic wings, huge wheels, and a ton of power. It also was unquestionably a heap of junk, with a number of quirks that made it very hard to live with. There’s so little rear visibility that you have to open the door and sit on the doorsill to reverse the car, the pedal box was cramped and shifted to the right which made it difficult for anyone with larger-than-average feet to drive, the climate control doesn’t really work, and the huge tires are a unique size that Pirelli only makes once in a blue moon. But all of the flaws that make the Countach difficult to live with somehow also make it a great car, giving it an undeniable character you just can’t find in other supercars.

Triumph TR6

1976 Triumph TR6

British sports cars like the Triumph TR6 are famous for their questionable reliability and fantastic handling. Triumphs would break in new and innovative ways all the time, leaving their owners stranded on the side of the road. These days, the car’s frequent breakdowns are almost seen as a feature by TR6 owners, as they’re relatively easy to fix in your own garage, and parts are pretty easy to find. Fixing a TR6 is as much fun as driving one, making them perfect for people who need a hobby.

Jeep Wrangler

This may be a bit of an inflammatory statement, and it’s just one person’s opinion – but the Jeep Wrangler isn’t a great vehicle for all situations and all drivers. Sure, it’s unbeatable off-road, but when you’re on the road, the Wrangler can be an absolute pain to drive, especially the older generations. The steering is imprecise and loose, which is made worse at highway speeds due to the Wrangler’s unaerodynamic shape (although this has been mitigated on the newest model through some clever air flow tweaks). Furthermore, they’re both spartan and expensive, the wind noise can be deafening, soft top-equipped models are very easy to break into, and the fuel economy is atrocious. On the other side of the coin, their owners absolutely love them, and Jeep owners are probably the most passionate group of car-owners in the world. The Wrangler has so much character that it makes the difficult moments of owning one worth it, so demand will always probably be high for this iconic model.

Photos by: The Car Spy (1,2), GPS 56, Alexandre Prevot (1, 2), Katherine Tompkins, Tomas Del Coro, Jimmy Zuko

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