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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

4 canceled vehicles that deserved a second chance

The automotive industry is brutal. Dollar signs drive design decisions every day, and if a product doesn’t continue to satisfy bean counters and board executives, it’s tossed aside regardless of the cult that might follow the nameplate to its grave. 

 

Today we both celebrate and mourn the loss of several models that were axed before they could be polished or refined to the full extent. Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

 

https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/4-machines-that-deserve-a-second-chance/

173 REPLIES 173
aktwg
Passenger

Chevy Volt for me.  Too bad GM ceased production last Feb.  Put the voltech drivetrain in a compact crossover.  

Blackpanthers81
Pit Crew

hmmm not the pontiac aztek

RonW
New Driver

We had a 2007 Magnum SXT. If it had a Hemi I think I'd still have it. We really enjoyed that car. Drove it from coast to coast a couple times at least. Comfortable, practical and a bad boy look. One of the few cars I miss not having any more. I still check the used cars once in a while in case a clean Hemi or SRT shows up. 

RG440
Intermediate Driver

Me Too !
Rich8
Intermediate Driver

Bring back the Corvair! 

MST
New Driver

I knew a dentist who owned a VW Phaeton and drove it because he wanted a luxury sedan without giving his patients the appearance that he was above them. Driving a Volkswagen made him one of us. I think that may have been the market Volkswagen was aiming for or perhaps trying to create.

67rmjcorvet
Passenger

Were is the Ford Excursion ? I would Take a Newer one over any Of These !!

SkyHogg
New Driver

I miss seeing Magnums (kinda rare around here), and while I probably wouldn't go for a 700+ HP model it really would be an interesting car.  The Aztec?  C'mon...no level of tech, performance or accessories could make up for those lines.  It put the "Ug" in ugly.  So what are the new ideas coming out of the auto makers?  Hey, let's build a 4 door electric sedan (good idea) that we'll call... a Mustang?  I think the values of my '67 and '69 just went down.

Terrencepflynn
Passenger

C'mon Haggerty!!!!   The Mercury Marauder from 2003-2004 is mandatory for this list.  Recommending an Aztec is a complete joke.  Past the Aztecs terrible build quality, el cheapo plastics and stupid design its a reflection of everything wrong with GM, and continues to be wrong with GM.   Haggerty, if you are going to pass yourself off as experts at least have someone who truly has in depth knowledge on what if you bought you could honestly invest in safely, and not go bankrupt over repair bills like in the VW.  One more thing:  When I worked at GM the Aztec was such a dismal failure they forced employees with company car benefits to drive Aztecs, the thinking was that if people saw them on the road it might sell.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I always had a jonesing for a Marauder
Healeydays
New Driver

The car I was waiting for that never came was the final 3rd hoping that a ragtop was in it's future as the lines made the possibility a potential looker.   I had 2 of the previous 2nd generation Rx7 convertibles loving every driving mile of them, but I held off on buying a 3rd gen .  Unfortunately it never came and I headed to a BMW M roadster.  Nice car, but it's not a rotary...

jelliott
New Driver

Umm, if the Magnum only lasted through 2008, it has nothing to do with FCA, i.e. it ceased to exist prior the creation of the FCA name/entity; it was only ever produced by DaimlerChrylser and then by an independent Chrysler, before they were acquired by Fiat. (Does no one proofread these things before they get published?)

Mech39
Navigator

I currently own a 05 Magnum RT, it is one of the most fun daily drivers I'v ever owned. I fully believe it will be a very collectible car someday in the future. If it was still being produced I'd  buy a demon powered Magnum in a heart beat.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I love the old commercial where the guy in the Magnum passes the supercar and the supercar driver asks shat he has in it it only to be told what's in the cargo area. Great car. I also liked the styling of the Crossfire, but the Magnum was just plain cool.
llawrence9
Intermediate Driver

Mitsubishi quality, and parts pricing at the time were horrid. I had two Mitsubishi products, and they were cheap used for good reason. Rust in Peace.

The first Hyundais in the US were Mitsubishi clones, and look where they went with devotion to quality control.

Caroll
New Driver

I would add the VW Corrado and the 2nd generation CRX Si to this short list.

Agree on the statement that VW was daring a lot on the Pheton. Thé Artheon might unfortunately live the same story.

Michaelmotorcyc
Pit Crew

Arteon is just an A5 in VW wrapping
bugsplatter
New Driver

That camping shot looks like someone is forcing the Aztek into a trash bag.

 

67airvair
New Driver

The biggest problems the Aztek had were 1) it was a fastback, which precluded it having a third row of seating, unlike its sister ship, the Buick Rendevous; and 2) that it was butt UGLY, also unlike the Buick. Simply put, styling sells, always has. The Aztek was so ugly that as soon as it hit the dealers' lots, the company announced a second year "freshening", almost unheard of in the industry, and a huge red flag that screamed "we're in deep in trouble" to everyone.

MagnumSmitten
Passenger

My wife and I currently own a 2006 Dodge Magnum R/T AWD with the 5.7 L Hemi. We bought this car brand new, and still own it all these years later at 169K miles. We've maintained this car as new all these years and it has always had a spot in the garage. Best car we've ever owned, and we've had many. Will not let it go. It now resides with our 1971 Dodge Superbee, 71 Plymouth Scamp, 1963 Polara 500 convertible and our 2015 Shaker Challenger. Of all these, the Magnum is the greatest street racer. Sleeper is the word for this car until you unleash the 340 horses to all 4 wheels. No wheel spin and no anti-spin system cutting out the engine power. This car HAULS butt, and 2x4s when needed. It has surprised many Mustangs, Camaros and yes, Challengers with way more horsepower. The thumbs up from the guys who get it at the next light, and the sour puss looks of those who don't are both great. On it's way to being a collectible? Maybe? The wife now drives a new Durango, so this Magnum has become part of the collection. Only time will tell.

RG440
Intermediate Driver

Super Cool Grocery Getter that leaves ‘em in the dust. What just happened??
Spotter
New Driver

I worked at a Pontiac dealership in Colorado at the end of Aztek production We sold lots of the Aztek's brother, the Buick Rendezvous. We sold every used AWD Aztek we could get our hands on. Very popular with young families living up in the foothills. Set of winter tires and they were good to go.

Project3SI
Passenger

The information on the 3000GT and stealth is so inaccurate it's disgusting.  Jesus man.. do some **bleep**en research first.  Wikipedia alone could of helped clear up the obvious mistakes made. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

The Aztec? REALLY?!!!! It looks like Pontiac had a "Have your kids design the next Pontiac" contest at work. That or maybe the Transformers or Go-bots mistakenly sent their blueprints to Pontiac.
spoom
Technician

Get rid of the current "Charger" (because nothing with four doors is a Charger) and drop the Magnum body on it with all the same available drive trains. YUM!!!

Guitar74
Gearhead

There we go. Does anyone remember the Charger concept in either late '99 or early 2000? THAT would have been awesome. Had the "hidden" small rear door, the fender mounted fuel cap, flying buttress b pillars. The styling was a great tribute to the original. Instead we got a re-badged 300.
Bill
Detailer

"Each system of the Phaeton would be world-class, from the active suspension to the all-weather 4Motion all-wheel drive and CNC-milled trunk hinges. " But those "world class" features all make it an incredibly complex and stupidly expensive. Active suspensions have never had durability. 4motion was incredibly expensive to service or god forbid, repair. And really CNC hinges? Destined to fail before it got iff the drawing board.
Bill
Detailer

If one took the Axtek technologies, added some Stealth style.... ie, basic, reliable, inexpensive to service systems in a cool, fast car...... theres a winner, simple, stylish, functional, sporty, powerful.
RonW
New Driver

As you can see, almost everybody that ever owned a Dodge Magnum would buy one again if they could. Our 2007 SXT went from coast to coast a couple of times and a daily driver as well. I wished I had bought the Hemi but I did do dual exhaust and fatter tires so I could at least feel like I had. Except for very poorly designed front end components which got replaced every 40K, it was and still is the most enjoyable "sedan/wagon" style car we ever owned and if they ever came back would buy another one in a heart beat. I felt Chrysler did a very poor to none job of marketing this car and the FCA takeover timing didn't help. Admittedly, it always was a sort of bad boy or cult image car that would appeal to a smaller market anyway.
Commuter
Pit Crew

I would buy a modernized Magnum, probably, but instead have on order an AWD Challenger based on the same basic platform after driving several AWD Chargers in the interim.
RonW
New Driver

I looked at that Challenger to replace my old Vette so I could have a fun drive in the winter as well. Problem for me was that it only came with a 6 cyl which would not be much fun in the summer if you're used to a lot of power.
Commuter
Pit Crew

I had a 2005 AWD Magnum, a very nice car but with some significant design problems that later were addressed in the Charger versions of the same platform:

1) Poor visibility to the front (low windshield meant you couldn't see traffic lights where you were at an intersection) and rear (tapering greenhouse narrowed this).
2) Not much cargo space. Using the Chrysler 300 doors and greenhouse caused that taper, and there really wasn't a lot of space as a result.
3) Interior that looked like it was made by Rubbermaid.
4) I am told by insiders that the rear design meant that it could not be produced economically so as to make a profit.

My Magnum had sat on a dealer lot for something like 15 months before I bought it. Apparently "cool" was not enough in the market. Later model year Chargers that I had were significantly better in the areas above and also had improved drive trains.
Commuter
Pit Crew

. . . and I did not previously mention the cruise control wand (from Mercedes) that could easily be mistaken for the turn signal lever.
ppointer
Intermediate Driver

When I saw a Dodge Magnum in 2004, it had a vanity plate on it -- "Man Wgn". From then on, my BMW '00 323i touring was known within the family as man wagon. So, too, is its predecessor, an '09 328i touring. For as long as possible I will own a wagon, and I won't be buying a crossover. You hear that BMW?
DavidHolzman
Detailer

The Phaeton didn't sell because it had no beauty, and no character. It was the automotive equivalent of an overcast sky over Toledo.

The Magnum--Hagerty nailed it. No stick.
Maestro1
Instructor

I think the Volkswagen Phaeton ought to be made again, as bizarre as it is with its VW insignia; I got
close to one in a parking lot here on the Left Coast and it is certainly in the Rolls Royce class, without
the ostentation.
Dodges are ugly no matter what manifestation. The car is simply rude. And so are the trucks.
I have a very old Mitsubishi 4 cylinder in a truck I own; I have no experience with the sophisticated
engine you describe, but I can tell you my 2 Litre 4 Cylinder is now in its 41st year and still running.
A friend who is another car nut recommended putting a Mitsu V-6 in the truck, with the automatic
transmission and appropriate attachments. I haven't done it. The truck is numbers matching, except for the transmission, a weak link in the thing. A reluctant 4 Speed manual. Everybody in the family drives it including the girls.
Thank you for this.
ed
Detailer

I would love to see what a contemporary Pontiac Fiero would be like. I owned several of the V6 GTs, and the last year '88 GT with a 5 speed was a blast. Imagine what a mid-mounted V6 could be today.
hyperv6
Engineer

The VW should have been an Audi. Too much car for value leader VW.

The Magnum no because no matter how cool you make a wagon there is still not a great enough buyers. The Magnum proved it.

300GT too expensive to repair and still ugly. Besides who buys Mitsubishi cars anyways.

The Aztek? I am and have been a Pontiac fan since birth but I e mailed Pontiac when I saw the Aztek prototype in Detroit and asked what the hell are you thinking?

There are a great number of good looking CUV and SUV models out there that fill this segment. No need to revisit a poorly styled model.

I even had a new AWD Aztek offered to me for $14,000, that is $11,000 below sticker and I could just not pull the trigger to buy it. Besides Pontiac is gone so no need bringing this back. If Pontiac ever returned there are many more themes better revisited.
Pioneer27185
Intermediate Driver

If the Dodge Magnum Wagon had come out as a 2-door Hatchback with a hemi under the hood, I and a lot of folks I know would have bought one. But NOOO, management had to make a 4-door out of a classic design!
Michaelmotorcyc
Pit Crew

The VW dealer experience for their premium cars (Touareg) has never met the expectations of buyer (me). Phaeton should have been positioned as an “Uber” Audi.
bill71fx
New Driver

i always thought the aztex looked like a mini trash truck?
Rickyt
New Driver

I LOVED my Magnum. I had the 340hp RT that was totaled when I got rear-ended by a SUV
AWD & 340hp great in snow.
When I drove cross country I cruised at a buck & a half thru north Texas. At 4500lbs it was heavy enough to feel completely grounded as I've been in 911s that float at 150
(had the programmer to unlimit it)
Rickyt
New Driver

People that had the Aztek loved it. It was just too damn ugly.
k3for
New Driver

"like the Honda Element" >> Absolutely, the Element deserved a longer chance (2003-2011) - it was way better than the Aztec - 325,000 sold, better camping capabilities, very dog- and spill-friendly, and left the gimmicks up to a tremendous aftermarket. The Element only looked unusual when you DIDN'T have something on the roof! It's only crime was sales overlap with the more conventional CR-V. Known as "the box that the Pilot comes in" or "H 1/2", my 2003 is still going strong with 250,000 miles and only repair being a new starter (which I could do myself, in the driveway). The AWD still wasn't on par with Subaru, which is why the lower headroom Outback is still going (and made way for the CrossTrek).
Ambu7070
New Driver

Took the 2005 Hemi Magnum Hunting yesterday. Got a good deal on it in 2009. Not an economy car as the front end parts and springs have all been replaced and the last tune up was $600, but it's easy to get in and out of and the way it effortlessly pulls you around is luxury. The back end storage with seats up is not spacious but I have managed to get a twin bed in back of it. We have a conformist Grand Cherokee but I still appreciate the Magnum. I'm not opposed to investing a few bucks to keep it going. 140K now and I plan to keep it indefinitely. JT
ShepherdsKnoll
New Driver

All the cars in these articles are dogs and money pits.
Don’t invest your money in any of them, you will find yourself dealing with repairs, emissions, high cost per mile and massive depreciation.
A new mode of auto is here, it is fast, efficient, cheap to run, has almost no maintenance,is electrified and computerized by the best engineers.
Find yourself on the right side of technology or you will be left behind.
michaellhinton
New Driver

You omitted one major drawback of the Aztek. It was ugly with a capital F. It’s still difficult to believe that more than one person in GM’s design department found that thing attractive.
djkorson
New Driver

I wish they would bring the Magnum back. I'm still nursing my 2005 HEMI full-time AWD along that I purchase new in the spring of 2005. I absolutely love this car! It has been great in winter driving conditions, has so much room inside and is a pure pleasure to drive! There has been nothing else on the market that can replace it (at least in my eye's), which is why I'm still hanging on to it.
bartrman21
New Driver

I agree 100% with Pepperalls. I first saw a Phaeton, in Dresden, at night parked in front of the Dresden Opera House. It was the first one I had seen anywhere in Europe. I was blown away.
And I still see Magnums around in No. California, often tricked out. Love them.
DrSchinbeckler
Pit Crew

I will never understand why the Jaguar X-Type Sport Wagon was a flop. Jaguar only sold 35 of them in Canada and I had to go to Maryland to get mine. Underneath was the Ford Mondeo, which was ranked three years running as European Car of the Year. All-wheel drive, comfortable, capacious, and reliable. Plenty of grunt from the 3.0 litre V-6, heated leather seats, and far more handsome than the offerings from BMW and Audi. Mine has 200,000km on it and for Canadian winters, can't be beat. It's a pity that the market simply could not wrap its head around the idea of a Jaguar station wagon.