Literally thousands of auto nameplates have come and gone in the last century. The bulk of the failures came early when a brand new industry was forming, but there have been some notable flops along the way by the daring and those perhaps not daring enough. What follows is the WAW staff's pick of buggies that bungled -- but still left an imprint:
Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg -- It's ironic that the only cars that did well during the Great Depression of the 1930s were the luxury cruisers. E.L. Cord set all-time sales records in 1931 with his Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg. By 1937, the Depression had taken its toll, and Cord Corp. left automaking.
Airflow -- A three-year flight of fancy for the folks at Chrysler. Only 11,000 were sold, despite its streamlined appearance and safety features. It was the first "cab-forward" design, as well as the first unit-body construction.
Tucker -- Only 51 were built. Tucker Corp. was founded by Preston Tucker, who had made his fortune designing the Tucker turret for World War II bombers. The 1948 model had a rear-mounted horizontally opposed 355-cu.in. overhead-valve 6-cyl. aluminum air-cooled engine that put out 166 hp.
Edsel -- This new line was intended to fill a perceived gap between theand Mercury lines. It lasted from 1958 to '60. Curious features included push-button automatic transmission controls mounted in the middle of the steering wheel, self-adjusting brakes and its strange grille. 110,000 built.
DeLorean -- John DeLorean of Packard and GM fame left GM in 1974. The car debuted in 1981 with stainless steel body and gull-wing doors. His Belfast factory was financed by the British. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine in a sting operation. He was later acquitted. 8,583 built.
turbine car -- Creative types at Chrysler Corp. in 1963 put a Brayton Cycle turbine engine into 50 cars for consumer testing. The results weren't particularly encouraging.
Fiero -- Plastic bodies, mid-engine, sporty, stylish...GM could have had a hit here. The car arrived in 1983 with anemic horsepower, but just enough to appeal to plenty of young clerical workers. Died in 1989. 350,000 built.
Cimarron -- A knee-jerk reaction to a fuel-crisis-inspired-need, 1981-1989, for an upscale Cadillac compact. 130,000 built.
Allante -- A reasonably bold styling statement and an innovative assembly process involving airplanes arriving daily from Italy sounds good on paper. But it's quality and performance that count, and this Cadillac roadster couldn't compete on a dollar-for-dollar basis with its European-import competitors. Production ran from 1987 to 1994. 21,000 built.
TC by Maserati -- If GM can blow money on an Italian fiasco, then maybe Chrysler can't be blamed. 7,300 built from 1989 to '91.