Good Cars Gone Bad - NOW OPEN! ('til June 2)

Hello, all! I’ve got an idea that’s probably been done before somewhere, sometime. Maybe long ago, in a thread far, far away…

Enough about that! This is my first challenge and I’m gonna need some help getting it rolling.
Onto the, uh… show? Presentation? (R)ecyc(l)e(d) CSS?

Let’s go with the last one! Sounds fun.

Welcome to the best of the worst.
What is this challenge? Well, the idea is simple enough: start with a decent car, maybe mediocre, maybe even good! By the end? Oh, it's BAD. Really bad.

Here’s the basic idea.

  • A car is built
  • It is made bad

Simple enough!

As for what kind of bad? Well, I’m not sure! Maybe we can have a randomizer decide! Who doesn’t love a little random chance? Roll of the dice, spin of the slots… or maybe even decision of the round winner!

That last bit is important. The running concept banks on one round after another, likely up to 3-5 at most. A regular car is made at the start from some prompt, likely a theme, and progressively worsened until we find out which one has to drop the price the most here on dregslist!* Or maybe whichever one actually sells… Ah, why not, prizes for both! Maybe. We’ll see. Probably will vary by hosts, if this becomes one of those winner-hosts-next things. I kinda hope so!

*This is a link to the infamous Big Bill Hell's ad. This is a disclaimer in case this somehow, someway, gets me in trouble, because "oh no, bad words."
There's a disclaimer and I warned you. There.

So where's the funny part?
That's where you come in! Eventually.

As of right now, I want some input. For this first run, I think the following is a good idea:

  • General theme — maybe market segment, size guide, target demographic, that sort of thing. Maybe even something kind of like QFC does, only… an “ideal” car for the situation, back a number of years.
  • Era of vehicles and their (contemporary) minimum standards to meet; road legality, emissions, safety, etc
  • Budget limit
  • Maximum quality +3; Minimum trim quality -3; Minimum engine quality -5

As for the subsequent rounds of making the car progressively worse…

  • Should the vehicles swap between participants, likely at random?
  • New maximum budget is slashed, minimum quality allowed lowered or removed (later rounds)
  • New restrictions implemented, old ones dropped or modified
    ** (For example, aesthetically, wear can be implemented, lights are not required to be “functional,” deliberately de-valuing/depreciating the car to the average Joe — highly recommended but probably ultimately optional, though even some little dings and changes could improve the… “design” score, or cohesiveness, or whatever metric you wanna call it.)

Overall things to note:

  • The first iteration should have some effort put in! Even if it’s a kinda-mediocre base model with no frills, it should probably have a few bells and whistles. Standard interior might be a req. minimum here, as well as standard safety as a minimum per era (i.e., 80s car, 80s standard safety min.)
    Other than the above, I really want to keep regulations to a minimum. Creative freedom is the fun of the challenge! The first car needs to be “reasonable.” Enough to find it at a dealership… new or used.
    Everything after that…? Enjoy.
  • This format could vary between instances! Maybe one version uses a randomizer for effects, maybe one has a very specific niche that you have to fight to stay in, maybe the same car gets “resold” after years of use… the possibilities are endless!
  • These rules are very subject to change, and potentially very subjective per host, if it goes that route. I’d like to ask any potential future hosts, as well as participants to keep this in mind:
    It’s for FUN!!! Realism bins should be minimal. Sure, we don’t want PURE meme entries, but if you wanna do a little trolling… just a little… well…
    (I’m lookin’ at you, BetterDeals! [insert finger guns] Immunity to realism bids for BD! Under me, anyway. I advise future hosts to do the same, lest the ghost of GCGB past come to visit…)
  • Suggestions are open! Again, I’m new to this, and this is new, too!
Now, without further ado...
Round 1: "If I had a million dollars..."
Welcome to the United States in 2007! Obama's almost here, the internet is still young, cars aren't more computer than engine yet (mostly). But you can change that!

We need big luxury! No, not necessarily physically so… then again, look at that nice new Escalade outside. And that S-class! That Range-Rover! We need to fight those!

We want upscale, upsize luxury for the 2008 model year.

Our main priorities are:

  • Comfort
    Show customers the nice side of life. Make them feel as special as the money they’re dropping on this thing!

  • Safety
    How can you be comfortable if you don’t trust your car to keep you safe? Peace of mind is a luxury we can provide. We can market it, too — safety sells!

  • Drivability
    This is self explanatory. It’s a car, so you drive it. What kind of luxury car is unwieldy to drive???

  • Stand-out Style
    We need to break the mold here! (Or is it mould?) Make something snazzy and new. More angular! Aerodynamics are easier with computers, so not everything needs to be a glorified jelly bean. And make those DRLs snazzy! Strike fear into the heart of the Prius!
    ** Note: interiors won’t be graded, but they’re cool and could tie a fairly good design into a very good one.

Optimum stat value: 60 or better

We could use:

  • Prestige
    What kind of luxury yacht gets looked at and scoffed at for being less-than-showboaty in the executive lounge parking lot? Maybe understatement goes a long way, but make that nameplate stand out. This is a hard market to break into with such big names so well-established.

  • Reliability
    Having to take the car in for service constantly is a bit of a downer for ownership. At the very least, make it last 3 years before anything major decides to shatter. That’s the warranty length, and the usual lease length…

  • Sportiness
    We’re not exactly looking for the next supercar here, but we don’t want an anemic slouch of a thing, either. Make sure it moves well enough to keep up with the best of 'em… or at least your neighbor’s V6 Camry.

  • Practicality
    I mean, luxury should be decently usable, right? Give us a little trunk space! And preferably full-size seats only. 2 or 3 per row will do! …if you somehow make a row with 1 seat work, we’ll just be both confused and impressed. Aim for at least 4 seats total, if you can!

  • Value
    Selling a luxury sedan is great, but you won’t sell any quickly or maybe even at all if it’s a six-figure affair.

We’d like, but won’t knock you too bad if you’re missing:

  • Fuel economy
  • Low service costs
  • Good handling in inclement conditions
    ** (See traction tests)
  • Environmental resistance

Our customers probably have good money, but they shouldn’t have to worry too much about guzzling gas, paying through the nose for an oil change, slipping up in the rain or snow, or having the floor rust out 5 years after production. (Even if that isn’t exactly our problem by then, it isn’t a great look…)

Model / Family names: **GCGB1 - [forum name here]**
Trim / Variant names: Go crazy! Available techpool: DEFAULT (+5)*
* (This may change if enough people ask for it!)

Submissions open: April 28

Submission deadline: June 2



  • Extended deadline from May 19 to June 2


  • Clarified available techpool: default +5


  • Finally updated post in preparation for challenge opening


  • Finally fixed usage of VW sizing, now uses PX. Should show up less insufferably on mobile


  • Changed original tentative challenge title from “If you build it…” to current, because I like it more

Whew! That’s a lot. Tell me if I missed something!

P.S. I operate on EST.

Note for future hosts: I will HAPPILY share the dregslist CSS. Just ask me here or via Discord!

Inspirations, hidden to keep them from being huuuuge
BMW 3-series Coupe


Mercedes-Benz C-Class (sedan)


Range Rover


Town Car


Don’t forget, there’s way more possible choices than just these. Be creative! These are just a handful of baselines, but there’s a ton of other possibilities.


The first iteration of any CGCB would represent a car in as-new condition; later iterations would simulate damage, poor maintenance, or simple wear and tear over time.

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I hope nails can’t get concussions, because you hit it right on the head!

Otherwise you might have a nasty lawsuit on your hands...

Though, there are plenty of ideas for themes of each round. Maybe the owner makes some choice modifications, or it sits rotting for 20 years, or something. Lots of ideas!

I had some thoughts about the specific format of things I’d like to seek a consensus on.


  • Past this first design-to-market round, each subsequent “owner” round is styled kind of like QFC or something.
    Participants present their altered car according to the wants of the next-in-line buyer and we see which hypothetical build becomes the real one! And then what happens next becomes the next round… which could vary a lot. Maybe a whole new car, maybe a similar replacement after the previous round’s pick was wrecked or scrapped, or maybe a next-potential-owner… lots of possibilities!

Now, this leaves a lot of options, which could just come down to how the challenge is hosted over time. Tradition is overrated, so I’d say it should be at the discretion of the host, in line with the given theme.

  • Is the previous winning car file shared for participants to modify for the next round? Or do they use their previous round and try to work it into what the next buyer wants and take the lead?
  • Do participants swap cars around? Could be a randomizer, could be agreements between them, could be a bracket-esque elimination or something. Heck, maybe the worst of the batch condition-wise compared to the previous round wind up scrapped or crushed — or that could replace “motor hell” for bins and the worst eliminations, lol

There are some things I’d like to see continued:

  • Multiple awards! Sure, a Best in show is mandatory. But what about Best style, Best engineering, Best weathering… there’s many awards that could be given!
  • At least 3 rounds, but probably no more than 5 or 6. I mean, how many cars go through 6+ owners anyway…? Especially after the abuse we’re gonna dunk on 'em.
  • Not every round has to beat the life out of the ride. Maybe the 3rd or 4th owner wants to restore a rotted rusty beater of a '50s cruiser, or restore a horribly “riced-out” import to a more stock-alike condition… or they just want to cram a big engine in what they bought last round, and it turns into a crate-engine competition for a round!

I seriously think flexibility, rule-of-cool, and most importantly, having fun are gonna be what make this challenge great. I mean, sure, designing a car is fun… but so is beating it up! Think of it like painting a model train, and then weathering it to make it fit, or turning a die-cast into a detailed beater or junker or derby-racer. (ooh, there’s a round idea for a future host!) It’s building to break, lining up dominoes to knock them over, playing Jenga with financial implications and steadily worse insurance rates!

I’m kind of surprised I can’t find an older thread doing something like this, but I’m excited to see if I can make something that’ll wear and tear better than the future scrap-heaps spawned by it…

And please, anyone considering participating or wanting to give input, feel free! I’m new to this, and this might be ambitious… I’m even open to bringing in a more experienced co-host to aid in setup and judging behind the scenes.


Seems like its JOC, but following the car instead of the owner. I love lower stakes challenges/experiments like these, so I’m all for it! From a hosting perspective, it does seem a bit big in scope though, even given the extra laid-back nature of it, but once it gets the rules together I bet it’ll be pretty fun.

Some short thoughts:

  • The idea of having multiple rounds with the same car is interesting. Consider having the subsequent rounds still hosted by the same person though, rather than trying to switch hosts each time; switching hosts might be more work than its worth. Also, I wouldn’t recommend trying to grow into a serial challenge from the outset; just design a good one-off for now. If it happens to catch on later, even better.

  • So after each round, sticking with one car and having everyone modify it each round would be the simplest option to run, but maybe not the most interesting (pretty similar to ARM). My favorite idea wold be swapping cars between participants, but that feels like it could be the biggest headache to run since not everyone will likely participate in every round.

  • Round 1’s luxury premise is good overall. I like the idea of broad requirements, but it should have some rules just to give builders some sense of direction. What price (range) are we building for? What techpool should we use? Also, it’d be good to provide an inspiration section, with some real-life cars to serve as demographic and aesthetic inspirations.

  • Once its finalized, Some examples of what changes we’ll need to make during GCGB1 would be appreciated. Especially if you go with the random spinner (which I like personally), it’d be nice to know in advance what’s gonna be going into it.

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Oh, yeah, rounds under the same overall iteration are all the same host. Otherwise there’d be way too many changing-hands-ing. Should’ve clarified that.

As for the “leading” car, I think publishing the file of the round-winner is a must, but narrowing it to exclusively that isn’t. Alternative options (be it newly designed and “weathered” models fitting the original premise to target the current round’s demographic, or a continuation of a previous entry that didn’t get sent to a pick-n-pull) should definitely be allowed. Will also clarify that.

I’m gonna tighten the specifics of things like minimums, maximums, etc once I get a few mules out and propose some numbers. Those are gonna be out later today, as are some inspirations. I did throw a few names out there, but I prefer including both images and names proper, so I’ll get on that.

(That would also probably be appropriate for the "worn-down" rounds... images from real craigslist, FB marketplace, even Copart or something...!)

I might even include a polished-up version of my test-mules as “market competition” so there’s a baseline of potential targets, i.e. big brick luxo-SUV, soft-luxe Town Car-ish thing, something trying to out-sport-luxury an M3… I don’t know if anyone’s done that before. Kind of like a weirder version of that Cool Wall does, I think?

Either way, expect more soon!
Especially as far as possibilities go for the fates of the good cars… (though keeping the final choices a mystery will DEFINITELY make it more fun when the wheel is spun.) Some “demos” based on those mules might also show up, though. I have a feeling this is gonna be pretty fun to actually try…

As something of a bad car enthusiast myself, a couple of suggestions:

First of all, using setting font size to 1.1vw or 2vw makes this thread all but unreadable on mobile, at least for me. I’d request a change there.
Second of all, in both rounds of BDC, I actively scored realism, in a “Would a real car company make this?” sort of way. It’s easy to submit a five fixture wonder with everything at whatever the minimum quality is; it’s hard to make a Pontiac Aztek, a brainfart that could have realistically come from Detroit. I’m a fan of that, feel free to steal.


Oh, I had no idea VW measurements got super butchered on mobile. Will adapt accordingly with next revision!

As for the realism, very much the goal for round 1. That’s gonna practically be like QFC or something — this is new car selling! Or, at least, “selling” to the theoretical shareholders/focus groups/dealerships. The actual buyer of “the” car will be revealed afterwards… and probably decided via spinny wheel.

I don’t want to strictly hate on “meme-y” entries, or simpler ones, but I do want to maintain road legality as a bare minimum no matter what the premise is. I’ll be adding further req.s per this theme later, but I want that to be a running trend; round 1 makes a truly viable car to sell, so every round after can just absolutely ruin it. It’s more fun to rip apart when there’s more things to tweak, after all.

Okay, VW thing fixed. Big post is now all nice and reliable PX measurements, as far as I can tell. I’ll have to remember that VW is not the simple solution it seems at first glance… (emissions joke goes here, too.)

As far as notes go, here’s the list so far:

  • Challenge host decides theme for Round 1

  • This round is focused on a realistic design to fit a possible demographic, perhaps giving potential buyers as a “focus group” to keep in mind, as well as inspirations or competitors in the field

  • A buyer is chosen (either invented based on the focus group, or perhaps selected from it at random) and “evaluates” each submitted car. The round winner’s car is purchased.
    Other cars are also ranked; for example, best style, best overall score (focus group as a whole, perhaps), and any that stand out in the field, for example, an exceptionally (or even excessively) high score in a given stat.

  • For Round 2, the purchase-winner’s car is made available as a file. Participants may choose (or be given the choice) to make a worn-down version of the Round 1 winner, wear-down their own Round 1 submission, or submit an entirely new (well, probably used) car for Round 2.
    Cars are evaluated on realism of wear/use/mods, depreciation to original form, and factors based on…

  • A new “focus group” is made for Round 2, albeit more of a loose grouping of potential buyers for a car that would’ve come out in the era of Round 1, only as a used car instead of a new one. This is where the good cars are likely to start going bad.
    For example, a sporty hatch might have a fine first owner who takes it for dealer maintenance regularly and always does scheduled maintenance… but the second owner might chop the second muffler off, turn the suspension into a joke, and beat the transmission into the dirt.

  • The subsequent rounds follow something similar to Round 2, with “focus groups” made to reflect the previous round-winner’s potential buyers… if any are left except the scrapyard, at least.

Other things…

  • The decision to make another round may be left to challenge host discretion, or maybe contestant votes…? Not sure yet.
  • While focus groups might be made with specific possibilities in mind, the resultant buyer should be chosen at random… unless a very specific theme is in mind. Then, perhaps, the focus group exists only so as to prevent submissions from too narrowly fitting a given niche. In the real world, no car fits perfectly!
  • Not sure if subsequent entries of the same car should require the same model and family and only be changed in trim and variant, or if each should get its own model, family, etc.
    This is mainly because if a car’s frame is rotting, it probably won’t have the same level of
    quality" in the bodywork that it did to start… but it also will probably still have, for example, partial aluminum panels. Unless something really crazy happens… (carbon fiber panel replacement restomods ARE a thing, I think? People are crazy.)

There was something else, too, but I’m forgetting it. I’ll probably think of it later.
EDIT: I remembered. If there’s something special someone wants to do, even if it kind of busts the rules a bit, they should be able to negotiate with the host. This stuff can be a little more fluid — if car with a basic steel frame gets terrible frame rot, you might need less than the minimum quality restriction will allow to REALLY simulate it. (Granted, those slider limits mainly apply to the Round 1 entries, unless specified otherwise. Might limit how far a slider can go per round, too, or cost changes, or something. Not sure yet. There’s only so much wear one can realistically put on a car all at once…)

Posting here before updating big one to see what the public thinks.


P.S. sorry for the delays on this, lotta stuff with visiting family over my break and all. Will get faster next week.

Hey there ! I really like what I see here : )
It does look like a lot of work, but also a lot of fun ! I found some points to clarify, and had some ideas.

As a user, I’d feel a bit lost having too many options for Round 2, while having to deal with all the randomized stuff. I had ideas when reading :

  • Instead of choosing only one car for Round 1, make it so it passes some test (your/host judging). If a car passes the test, it becomes available for the market (it gets a random owner) and therefore participants can choose one of them for Round 2. Projects that don’t pass the test are scrapped and never enter production (it doesn’t get an owner and is not available for Round 2).
    This way participants are more likely to make “believable” cars in Round 1, and will still have a choice for Round 2 (between less cars, so some will use the same, although surely a different way). So no random “awarding” of a car for Round 2, I think it’s important that the user gets to choose at first when beginning a round. Or everyone gets the same car, but it would be a shame not to make the most of several good entries imo.

  • The wear could be dependant on design choices (steel and cast iron will rust, electronics will fail, high stress or hardcore engines will have been worn much faster than dull ones, etc…).

  • Maybe Luxury is already a bit high-end for the first customer ? I don’t know I’m neither rich nor American^^ And maybe 2008 feels a bit too “new”, although I understand that you have some visuals in mind, and again, what do I know as a poor french yokel :melting_face:

Anyway thanks for offering this challenge, looking forward to see what it becomes !


You raise some good points here — I do want to make clear that Round 1 entries will all either “make the cut” and be built and sold, or miss the margin and get shelved in the concept phase.

As far as the transition to Round 2 with a random owner, I was wanting to keep things simple by narrowing it down to one buyer for the “winning” car, like a mini-QFC or something.

Wear would be dependent on such things — I’ll have to do some testing with a few mules to decide exactly what avenues I want to be open for that, but the main idea is things like reducing quality sliders, replacing safety with older or simpler versions if the frame is rusting or crashes have weakened it, putting on cheaper tires (medium becomes long life), etc.
Of course, this isn’t universal, as maybe some owners are more careful, or some will make modifications instead of downgrades… there’s many possibilities, in the end. Not every GCGB has to end with a junked jalopy! (This one might, though.)

I chose a 2008 luxury car because I thought “what’s better for depreciation than the best becoming the worst?” Again, though, the real fate of the winning car will all be a result of the stream of buyers whom exchange it. Maybe it’ll be a perfectly respectable used car until age alone claims it… or it’ll get totally trashed buy an owner who barely maintains it. Or the third owner will do some “Pimp My Ride” tier modifications to it…

That brings up a new idea. Next post coming shortly.


Got it for wear and luxury :wink:
Although I will stand on my position for the transition between R1 and R2, probably because I don’t understand one thing - and I just might look like a fool, although I saw no one pick up on it - what actually is QFC ?

“Quick Fire Challenge,” A separate long-running challenge series focused on short rounds, simplicity, and a low barrier to entry


The reason I compare it to QFC is the format — namely having a theme, goals to meet, and a buyer with specific wants.

I think there might be better comparisons, and I know other challenges do this, but QFC is the main one that comes to mind. I want the whole thing to be easy and to avoid massive min-maxing, because while that can be fun in its own way, going too niche starts to dampen the fun, IMO.

That’s also the idea behind the focus groups — give “possible buyers,” so an entry can either target a handful, or appeal to all of them in some ways. It leaves more room for variety.

Maybe the cars are ranked per member of the focus group, and each “winner” that’s bought becomes available to get worn-down for Round 2? Or would focusing on one be best? I’m not quite sure, because while I want everyone to get their time in the spotlight, I don’t want to over-complicate things. Both for my own sake, and for any future hosts, should this become the kind of challenge that gets passed down like that.


This seems a very interesting idea to build for. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for when this begins!

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Current to-do list:
  • Work out some finalized “please meet these” numbers for the main priorities, as well as a budget
    I kind of have something for this, including desired scores for drivability and comfort, as well as a desired price range between $45k-$60k, with $50k being the preference (wiggle room for more budget-luxe or extra-luxe as one sees fit, because a single hard cap is lame!)

  • Get those inspiration car pics in already
    (I keep forgetting this somehow!)

  • Probably some other clarifications I’m forgetting
    I might just put all the technical-ish stuff in a Google Doc for each host to share with the next as far as hosting rules/intentions go, should this go well enough to warrant future iterations. I hope it does…!

If all goes well, I want to have a polished product ready to open within a week at the latest. I think 2-3 weeks is a decent running time, but I might extend it, because I forgot when my finals week is (oops) and if it coincides with that… well, to put it bluntly, there would be no judging happening until I was done with that, and leaving a gap between submissions closing and the judgement period is a very lame-sounding thing for me to do.
(If it does wind up extended, submissions will re-open and resubmissions will be allowed. Honestly resubmissions will probably be allowed for the entire duration, because there is nothing more painful than finding a single mistake that changes everything when fixed.)

And so, I tentatively suggest the challenge opening APRIL 14TH!

It might even move ahead of that if I can make things happen quick enough, so stay tuned...

I'll likely duplicate the challenge listing in a new post further down to make it easier to reference, maybe. Or I'll just link back to it. I dunno yet. We'll find out when we get there!

Things might just work out, for once. Numbers and inspiration coming tomorrow! The planned opening date might happen! Exciting stuff. Stay tuned!

It may be slightly delayed again! Augh! Life is evil, folks.

Hopefully today or tomorrow (4/15-4/16) will let me finish up the last of things and kick things off with a bang. I’m thinking a 3 or 4 week period for submissions. Will update some things with the challenge soon.

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Okay, it might be more than a few days. I regret having to postpone things again because now 90% of this thread is me postponing things. But that’s life!

I really don’t know when things will be clear yet, so I’m not giving a definite date. It won’t be longer than a week, I hope.

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