So you’re walking down the street when an Italian supercar rolls by, turning every head as it goes. Everyone agrees that it’s a thing of beauty, right? But is it possible that ugly cars can be beautiful in their own way too? We think so, which is why we’ve put our heads together and come up with our definitive top four cars that are still head-turners despite originally being seen as anything but!
Ford Anglia 105E
The 105E was the last of the Anglias to be built by Ford, but it’s by far the most iconic. Up to this point, the Anglia styling was as bland and uninspiring as one would expect from a cheap runabout, but that changed with the 105E. The British design was based strongly on much grander American cars like the Thunderbird and Lincoln but in a diminutive body. It didn’t really work… unless they were actually trying to create a car that resembled an unhappy frog! Despite this, the Anglia remains much loved and if a mint example drives past we guarantee that it’ll turn as many heads as any supercar.
1971 Mercury Cougar
How did Mercury get this so wrong? The first generation Cougar was a beautiful muscle-car with the looks to rival the great Ford Mustang, but when they updated the model in ’71 there was an outcry. Gone was the cool vertical bar grill that spanned the front of the car, to be replaced by massive double headlights, a jutting chrome bumper, and snub-nosed grill. Full of 70s bravado and grunt, the Cougar now fetches a fortune as nostalgia has softened our view of it. Yes, despite its looks we’d still absolutely love one!
The only car on this list that we all agreed should be here is the 2CV. It’s a car that nobody truly understands until they’ve been for a ride in one… and then you fall in love! Designed to be used as a farm vehicle in the late 40s, the 2CV gained popularity everywhere for its simplicity, reliability, and its revolutionary suspension that allowed farmers to drive across incredibly rough terrain without breaking their cargo of eggs. Ugly, yes, but beautifully designed and loads of fun to drive. We won’t mention the time one of our team had to hold the broken roof down on her friend’s 2CV (yes, they’re even convertible) for 50 miles on the M1!
Chrysler PT Cruiser
If the 2CV was a unanimous addition to our list, the PT Cruiser was the one that divided opinion the most: some of us thought it was a beautifully ugly car, and the rest thought it was just plain ugly! The retro styling was supposed to be a homage to the old 40s gangster getaway cars, but looked like it was designed by someone who had never seen a real classic sedan. Despite this brash design, the PT Cruiser is still a head turner because Chrysler broke the mould and tried something different.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s look at our favourite ugly ducklings that turned into swans with the passage of time. So far we’ve only spotted a 2CV in our car park, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the others!