You misunderstand. You’re assuming I was using the Fiesta as a juxtaposition which I wasn’t, though I can understand why you may have seen it that way. Its a bad car unto its own and I was making mention of it merely to add another car onto the list as I will do again… now!
Here’s one that definitely belongs on the “Wierd” list, arguably “Bad” too:
The 1st Generation (1961-1963) Pontiac Tempest
So what is so weird about this car? It looks pretty normal right? Well the drive train and suspension is all sorts of fun:
It had independent suspension front AND rear, which was extremely unusual for American cars of the era.
Although it used a conventional FR layout, it had a rear-mounted transaxle.
It did not have a drive shaft. It had a torque shaft. The linkage between the engine and the transaxle was a solid torsion bar that actually flexed and bowed downward at rest. This became known as the “rope drive”. Now why did it have a torque shaft? Why not a standard drive shaft? Well first of all, it helped keep the floor pan flat which was a selling point. And the second bit is the zenith of weirdness on the first gen tempest…
Its engine. The Pontiac 195. AKA The Trophy Four.
The Pontiac 195 was a four-cylinder, as its alias implies, which in itself was odd considering virtually all American cars of era came standard with a straight 6 and then optioned V8s (in fact Pontiac was putting nothing but V8s in their other cars at the time). But that has nothing how Pontiac came up with this 195 cubic inch (3.2 L) curiosity. In order to save costs rather than design a new engine from scratch, Pontiac literally took their 389 (6.4 L) V8 and chopped off the left bank. And thus, the Trophy Four was born.
Now being that the 195 was derived from a V8, it was never properly engineered to be a large displacement 4-banger so it had no balance shaft. So what did Pontiac do? Detune it? Nope! Hell, they made performance versions of this engine with 10.25:1 compression and four-barrel carburetors. Consequently this engine shook like an earthquake and so they needed to isolate and dampen those vibrations however they could like through reinforced motor mounts and… the bonkers torque shaft. Even so, first gen Tempests with the 195 were known to shake themselves apart.
A few other bits of weirdness on this car:
- It could be optioned with the Buick 215 (3.5 L) all aluminum V8 (Brits, you know this one! Its the Rover V8) at a time when sharing engines between divisions at GM was extremely uncommon.
- It could also be optioned with the Pontiac 326 (5.3 L) V8 which was actually a 336 (5.5 L) cubic inch V8. Rumor has it the name was changed to avoid it looking better than the Corvette’s 327 (5.4 L) V8.
- The car is somewhat famous for its role as a plot point in the movie My Cousin Vinny.