In the early days of the automobile, cars were such new technology that manufacturers struggled to convince the general public that they were reliable enough to justify purchasing. These days, however, manufacturer technology has improved so much that most new cars, even if neglected and abused by their owners, will probably make it to 100,000 miles on the odometer.
There are exceptions, however, as some brands have developed nasty reputations for building shoddy products. And, of course, even the stoutest of vehicles isn't going to make it very long towing loads that are too big or being parked in snowbanks for months on end. Every car, no matter how cheap, deserves to be taken care of, though this isn't always the way things end up.
Keep scrolling for 16 photos of cars that have been treated so badly that they clearly shouldn't be driven ever again.
16 Reliably Rusty
The Toyota Tacoma has earned a reputation that makes it one of the best vehicles for holding value over a long service lifespan. But one critical weakness of the model is the frame rust issue, which can result in hilarious—yet dangerous—damage like seen in the picture above. Clearly, this truck should never be driven again.
15 Snorkels Up!
Some cars left the factory destined to become lifelong beaters that zero percent of their owners would ever treat well. This Ford Fiesta fits perfectly into that category, although its owner clearly has a sense of humor about the terrible condition their car is in. That custom bumper and ridiculous snorkel, however, don't make this a safe car given all the rust.
14 Dead and Gone
Pontiac is dead and gone, the result of GM simply failing to give the brand enough of its own identity. This sedan has seen better days, clearly, and given the difficulty of finding parts for a carmaker that doesn't exist anymore, there's little hope that its owner is going to put in the time and effort to get it into running shape again.
13 Need A Tow?
The hilarious part about this jalopy isn't the door missing, the extensive rust, the grille that's halfway popped off, or the people riding inside. Instead, it's the fact that there appears to be half of a living room furniture set being pulled behind it on a trailer—even set up so that the lamp is still resting, albeit precariously, on the table.
12 Needs TLC
Craigslist is full of car listings that are exceedingly generous about running conditions. This Honda Civic would make for the perfect stereotypical Craigslist post, going along the lines of, "Runs and drives, lifelong garage kept, California rust-free car, just needs a little TLC to go for another 200k miles." But, of course, this car should head to the junkyard.
11 Take It Behind The Shed
Barn finds have developed into a category of their own online in recent years, as older model cars skyrocket in value. Finding a perfect survivor in some grannie's garage, though, is a totally different experience from finding a car that's been left sitting with no cover, out in the open, and left for rats to build a home.
10 Mustang Needs Help
There may be some backyard mechanics willing to take on a project in as sorry a state as this Mustang was found. But anyone with a lick of sanity would look at this unfortunate car and quickly realize that it's too far gone to even serve as a parts car. The amazing fact that the rear tire holds air probably won't even last for long.
9 Stance Nation
The growing phenomenon known as "Stance Nation" has been responsible for ruining plenty of cars. Dropping a sports car over coilovers, airbags, and excessively cambered, enormously awkward wheels isn't the recipe for any fun driving. Instead, it's an exercise in revealing just how much a car can be ruined—but don't say that to any stance bros.
8 Batman Says No
There are plenty of Batmobile replicas that have been built by fans in their backyards, but this one is definitely one of the most absurd. It looks to have begun as a C3 or C4 Corvette that received a bunch of sheet metal that's pop-riveted together. But the overarching plan that might have looked so good in the owner's mind didn't come together very well in reality.
7 Fighter Plane
This is one of the most hilarious custom cars ever to have been captured and shared for eternity on the internet. Obviously, the silly propeller nose and camo paint job stand out as signs that someone with an obsession for fighter planes got their hands on the car. But the real reason it shouldn't be driven—other than because a propeller might pop off and go through the windshield—is the spare tire out back.
6 Left To Rot
Finding parking in dense urban environments can be a real pain, even in a car as small as a BMW 3-Series coupe. But has anyone had to leave their car parked so far away that they decide to never go back and get it? It seems likely that the owner of this Bimmer just decided the car was on its last legs, so the walk back just wasn't worth the effort.
5 Mechanic's Special
The scary fact about the picture above is that this early Porsche 356 barn find, despite all the rust and the obvious fact that it will take thousands of hours to get into running shape—is that it is probably worth more than most cars on the road. The collector car market has blown up so quickly in recent years that even $100,000 thrown at this car could be a worthwhile investment.
4 Rolling Shell
This Porsche shell is missing most of its glass and brightwork. But once again, collectors are willing to shell out ridiculous gobs of money to find rolling shells like this to resurrect. This one won't come even close to the value that the 356 might fetch, but still, a rotisserie restoration could be in the works.
3 Oil Spill
There are few things worse than pulling out of a parking spot and seeing that your vehicle has left an enormous puddle of oil where there was once dry ground. Having a friend around to point in fear doesn't help the stress of the moment, either, though they may be kind enough to offer a lift. Driving any car with this much oil missing can be very bad for the engine.
2 A Weird Rattle
There are plenty of urban legends about people who discover that their air conditioning has stopped working because a snake has made its way into the hoses and ducting. This photograph lends credence to the stories, though. This looks more like a boa constrictor but just imagine taking the car to a mechanic and complaining about a weird intermittent rattling, only to discover a rattlesnake under the hood!
1 Please Don't Donk
Despite being a Fiat product for the last few years, the Jeep Wrangler still commands serious respect among off-roading aficionados—just don't remind them that brand-new JL-generation Wranglers have a fun tendency to spontaneously combust. But even burning a Wrangler to the ground is better than donking it, as this borderline undriveable Wrangler proves beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sources: Wikipedia, Jalopnik, and Barn Finds.