#4 Volkswagen Beetle
#5. Austin Healey Sprite
Like many sports imports, “Bugeye” Healeys were sometimes retrofitted with wood-rimmed steering wheels that got all splinter happy in a wreck.
However, one of the deadliest car designs came from BMC itself: an optional child seat. It was little more than a glorified arm rest on the transmission tunnel, and no, there wasn’t a seat belt.
#6. Chevrolet Corvette
When you mix cheap speed and fiberglass, your car gets unflattering names like, “plastic casket.” The No. 6 deadliest car design was a novelty act upon its introduction in 1953.
If Chevy could convince the faithful to accept, say, aluminum, owners would at long last enjoy cars that don’t shatter upon impact.
#7. Mercedes-Benz 300SL
As pretty as it looked, and as confidently as it accelerated, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL gull-wing coupe was a handling nightmare.
The harder the car pushed, the more likely the swing-axle rear suspension would get moody at the worst moment possible.
A combination of exclusivity, driver skill and prudence have likely kept more from suffering the consequences of this deadly car design.
#8. Porsche 930 Turbo
There was a time when the Porsche with its even more precise handling, and throttle lift mid-corner sent you backward into the weeds.
When the turbo was added, you got a car whose potency was matched only by its lethality. In the right hands, the Porsche 930 Turbo was sublime, however, the slightest errors in high-speed cornering often meant you wouldn’t get a chance to try again.
#9. Suzuki Samurai
Despite having horsepower that could almost be counted on fingers and toes, some managed to get their Samurais up to speeds greater than a jog, then attempted to change direction — bad idea.
Suzuki’s little SUV had a high center of gravity and the stability of a shopping cart, with approximately the same level of occupant protection.
#10. Volkswagen Bus
Do I really need to spell out why this is one of the top 10 deadliest car designs? There’s something exceptionally disconcerting in knowing your body is atop and ahead of the front wheels. Along with other flat-nosed pickups and vans of the day, this VDub took things a step further.
If a head-on collision didn’t do you in, there was always the potential for engine fires from the under-aerated engine, signifying one of the rare occasions when a VW Bus produced any appreciable degree of heat.