The Chevrolet Vega, introduced a couple of years earlier, may not have consumed a lot of gasoline, but it earned a bad reputation for burning through motor oil. The Vega's light-weight aluminum engine was the culprit.
Besides that it also had a reputation for being badly built. It was probably a bad sign when, eight miles into a test run on GM's proving track, a Vega literally fell apart, according to John DeLorean recalling his days a GM executive in his book 'On a Clear Day you can see General Motors.'
Along with cars like the Ford Pinto, the Vega helped cement the idea that Detroit just didn't know how to build a good small car.
NEXT: Cadillac Cimarron