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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

Replies (75)

Replies (75)

Correct on the Magnum. The Aztec??? The camper "thing" had been available as early as on the 1973 AMC Hornet X. A great car which I used to pull an RV trailer 25k and sold in perfect shape at 153k.  The Aztec is crap. The writers of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, know thier cars. The use of the Aztec was brilliant as was Saul's Suzuki "Esteem".

Pit Crew

I totally support a reboot of the Magnum. 😞 

Hagerty Employee

I agree with the VW Phaeton assessment. Wrong badge for the price, lives on under other skins.


Magnum... should be brought back. Still the same platform so its not a full retooling to put the modern front on it, just do a 3rd refresh and bring it back then. And yes... Demonize it.


I'll agree on the GT300/Stealth. These things have quite the following, but pretty much all the Japanese makes stopped making their fun cars. Mitsubishi held out with the evo  --its a different kind of fun and deserving of its own mention in this article. Mitsubishi should just make all Lancers wide body (and better looking) to amortize the cost of the Evo platform ---(Lancer = base Mustang vs Evo = Shelby is the pricing concept, not that they are comparable vehicle niche)


Aztek was ugly to the public at the time. That is why it failed. Lose the cladding, simplify the styling a bit to the trends of the time and maybe you sell more (pricing may still have been a factor). I disagree with saying Aztek had anything to do with Pontiac's demise  --Pontiac was selling more cars than Buick when it was axed to my knowledge, just not in China. Pontiac's direct overlap with Chevrolet was reasonable to cut... it was silly to toss away one of the fiercest brand followings and identities. Purely not a car person decision.


Ford Focus, especially RS should have remained available in North America. I think USA gets some sort of hybrid version now? We don't see them in Canada.


Chev SS (Pontiac G8)  --the great car no one bought or no one could find at a dealership?


And then there is all the ended-when-sorted  examples like Fiero, Corvair, SS trucks, Lightnings, etc.


I'd have included the 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird on the list.


No! The worst characteristic of the Aztek was styling that proved you can go through art school and learn almost nothing about proportion and esthetics. Or did somebody in the front office pen it while experiencing a god-awful hangover?

New Driver

hmmm not the pontiac aztek

Aztec?? What were you smoking?


The Aztec was ugly and stupid.  No surprise there.  


The Phantom was a VW that should have been badged as an Audi.  


The Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth was wonderful.  Back in the day I wanted one.  


The Dodge Magnum, there aren't enough good words in the English Language to describe it properly.  I see this as a modern day, and better Chevy Nomad.  These when found need to be put away, then in 20 or 30 years brought out to stun the collectors market and car shows everywhere. 


The Aztec was just plain ugly.  I was working for Pontiac at the time and a lot of thought its looks were at fault.


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.


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.

Pit Crew

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.


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?)


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...


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' 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.

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.

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. 


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


The Magnum deserves the Hellcat treatment. A big power, American V8 wagon would be a glorious thing. Specially if in manual.


If Dodge had put the Magnum Wagon out as a Two door Hatchback with a luggage rack on top, they would have outsold the Chevy Nomad by miles! Dodge will go the way of Plymouth if they don't get with the program soon!

New Driver

The Phaeton story was sad, but i cannot understand why the VW people did not take advantage of the LEXUS story. Imagine if the lexus carried the toyota logo on the cars, would anybody  like to spend the money on a longer version of Camry,  What killed Phaeton was the same problem.  Like Lexus, they should have created a different logo, separate dealer ships and marketing.  They could have put the VW in the 'O' in PhaetOn, I would still like to own a 10 cylinder diesel Phaeton, if they replaced the Diesel Particulate Filter free every time.  I have a Benz GL320CDI, it cost $3000 to replace the DPF at 150,000 miles.


I own an auto repair and restoration shop, and have multiple cars of my own.  I will never part with my 07 Magnum SRT8 in black.  Factory chopped, hot rodded, tinted, slammed, and graciously optioned . I'm reminded often how sad it is that it was canceled before the hellcat generation. 


The Dodge magnum has a big following in my area.  And the prices show it.   As far as the Aztec is concerned, I remember my dentist getting one brand new when they first came out.  He was so proud of it.  I could never figure out what he saw in it.   I thought maybe it was because he had to look into peoples mouths all day long and it affected his judgement to some degree.

Pit Crew

The Aztec? Wow. I'm shocked you forgot the Edsel!


(The 3000GT yes, for sure, and the Magnum yea, but the Aztec is nuts.)


I had a 2005 Magnum R/T as a company car when they first came out.  I loved it.  Reasonably quick, handled well for a car of that size and it was very comfortable on trips. I changed companies while I had it and hated to give it up.  My successor was not a car guy and did not appreciate it for what it was.  On one road trip, I carried two large rolls of carpet in it.  Very practical.  I am still a station wagon guy and now have an Audi Allroad.


Alas, Aztek. With a better front end, it might have challenged the equally funky Honda Element. That car had no tent, to my knowledge. Unlike the Aztek, it has a cult following. Try to snag a used one and you will see how fast they sell.


Honda, bring back the Element, with a tent!


The Aztec sucked so hard people thought it was a rogue weather system. Actually watched one almost tip over going around a tight corner too fast. Too tall, too skinny and just butt ugly. The guy that designed it should have been put against a wall and... well, y'know. I really used to like Pontiac until the penny pinchers put it into the ground.


For Europen markets Chrysler marketed the 300C Touring, derived from the Dodge Magnum. I owned one with the Mercedes 3.0 litre V6 Diesel. In spite of its size it was well suited to european roads - and a great drive. 40mpg, sub 8 seconds 0-60 and 140mph without breakinfg a sweat. I miss it ( too big for my wife)

Pit Crew

The new Lamborghini SUV resembles the Aztec. Stretch the Aztec and there it is. The GM b body should of stood around the Impala SS was a great car a would of been better. 


The asstek was the ugliest car

Ever made. GM employees, in some

Cases were forced to buy. So ugly

Many have next to zero miles on

Their maladjusted marque. So

Ugly they kept them hidden in

Garages with the doors locked

Shut. Like the crazy aunt one

Would keep in the basement.

Pontiac hated the car buying

Public at this time. Pontiac's

Predetermined suicide also

Eternal rests with the :06-09

G 6. G6 retractable hardtop

Drop top. I bought this POS for

30000$. The top went down once.

On the electronics that made the

Entire car run. GM owned patents

On repair parts. Would not make

Parts and would not sell patents.

GM bankrupted Karmann which

Made the top as well. I called 12

Dealers. Not one would touch this

Topless whore of a car. This

Top was also used on the 80000$

Cad of that time period. One went

Nuts on a car serviced at a local

Dealer. Destroyed the Cad.