Halloween special: The five scariest cars to drive 0

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Halloween is almost upon us; groups of small ghosts and goblins walk the streets (hopefully not armed with eggs or anything else unpleasant when you come up short on the confectionary front).

Over the years there have been a fair amount of stinkers on our roads too. We thought we’d take a look at this spooky time of year to have a look back at…

The five most scary cars to drive

1. Citroen 2CV. The iconic French 2CV (literally meaning “deux chevaux” or “two horses”), was initially designed so that a farmer could drive across a ploughed field, with a box of eggs in it on the passenger seat, and not break a single one of them. Its highly sophisticated suspension system could keep the vehicle dead straight and level front to rear, regrettably the same couldn’t be said about the side to side motion. Consequently, the 2CV leans so much going round corners; it feels as though you were going to go full capsize. Despite the boat like body roll, and wafer thin tyres, the 2CV actually handles pretty well – all be it at the not so zippy speeds it can manage.

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2. Reliant Robin. Made into legend by the antics of Del Boy and Rodney, Robin Reliants were a relatively common sight on our roads up until a few years ago. The most frightening thing about the little three wheeled run-around was that if you took a corner at speeds anything faster than a light jogging pace, you’d end up going over on one side. With a body made from fibreglass, the Robins rarely suffered any permanent damage, and Reliant actually reinforced the front corners, fully anticipating the vehicle to spend much of its time keeled over. How did the Reliant not get marked as a death trap? It was actually classed by the UK’s motoring laws as a motorcycle, which subsequently meant lower tax and no need for a standard driving license to operate one, which saw it adopted as a popular mode of transport for slow cruising retirees.

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3. Skoda Estelle. It had taken till around the mid 1970s for car makers to collectively realise that positioning the engine at the rear of a vehicle was not a great idea. Using a swing-axle suspension only made things worse – but Czech manufacturers Skoda weren’t put off by the previously unimpressive track record of such vehicles and the engine was deposited confidently in the boot. This led the Estelle to follow in the footsteps of previous rear-engined vehicles, and fishtail unpredictably when going round fast corners. What saved the occupants from danger in these situations was the Estelle’s puny 1.1-litre engine and the middling speeds it was capable of – if it started at all. All its drawbacks aside, there was plenty of space for luggage under the car’s front hood.

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4. VW Beetle. Okay, so the Beetle IS probably one of the most popular cars ever released but that doesn’t hide the fact that it drove like a pig. With frightening oversteer and a tendency to roll over, it also handled badly. Also there was a phenomenon called ‘the Volkswagen ejector seat’ that meant that if the vehicle was rear-ended, the seat backs would bend backwards and launch unbelted occupants through the car’s rear wind
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5. Porsche 911. It’s not a coincidence that most of the cars on this list had their engines in the boot. Neither is it a coincidence that most of the cars on this list drove very badly. For some reason, it took manufacturers  – most of which should have known better – some time to realise that having a car’s engine in the boot would lead it to oversteer (fishtailing). In the case of the 911, and the potent speeds it was capable of, unless you were a highly skilled driver, travelling at speeds would more often than not, end up with you in the bushes on corners. The car was never really tamed by Porsche until 1994 – 30 years after its introduction – and even then, it was slightly unpredictable until the introduction of electronic stability control.

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