Top six scary cars for Halloween
With Halloween around the corner, it seemed only right that we hijack our own top fives with a list of our scariest cars.
They aren’t all terrifying for the same reasons - some are scary fast, others just have scary names – but whatever the grounds for their inclusion, they are cars you really wouldn’t want to be near on All Hallows’ Eve.
Oh, and because we like a twist, there are six of them. After all, six (six six) is the devil’s favourite number.
Rolls Royce Ghost
The Ghost was a shoo-in for this list, solely because names don’t come more Halloween-related than ‘Ghost’.
It may come as a surprise to some, but the Ghost is not just scary by name. That £200k OTR price tag is enough to send most people running for the hills, so it’s probably a good job that the historic British brand doesn’t sell cars to most people. Instead, Rollers are acquired by the incredibly rich as a status symbol to be driven around in.
Less scary, though, is the interior, which wraps the occupants in luxury. Rolls-Royce’s build quality and fastidious attention to detail are legendary.
For example, despite the huge price, the Ghost does not have a touchscreen because the finger marks would look untidy, while the interior is upholstered in only the finest leather. Rolls also takes customisation to the extreme, claiming ‘no request is too elaborate’.
Chrysler PT Cruiser
The PT Cruiser has become the yardstick for ugly cars in the ContractHireAndLeasing.com office.
Is it uglier than the Cruiser? If so, it’s truly terrible to look at. The Nissan Juke is not properly ugly because it’s more attractive than the Chrysler, while the SsangYong Rodius most certainly is definitely a stomach churner because it’s on a par with the abhorrent American C-segment hatchback.
Intended to invoke thoughts of 1930s gangsters’ getaway cars, Bryan Nesbitt’s creation was actually enough to make even the most hardened mobster turn tail and run.
The final nail in the PT Cruiser’s coffin was the convertible version released in 2005, which made the ‘retro’ car look like it had nicked a grandmother’s headscarf.
Even with the roof down, it still looked terrible thanks to the rollover hoop protruding from the window sills. Thankfully, at the end of 2007, someone at Chrysler discovered mercy and convertible production ceased.
At first glance, there’s nothing too spine-chilling about the crummy little hatchback built by Ford in the 1970s, but it hides a dark secret that’s enough to make your blood run cold.
In 1977, allegations were made claiming that there was a problem with the Pinto’s fuel tank, causing the petrol inside to ignite in the event of the car being rear-ended. Lawyers claimed that Ford had known about the fault, but decided that paying off the possible lawsuits would be cheaper than redesigning the car.
Unfortunately, at least 27 people were killed by the problem and, in 1972, Ford was forced to pay punitive damages of $3.5 million after a woman was killed and her son permanently disfigured by the fire that engulfed their Pinto when it was rear-ended on a freeway.
In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that a study in 1991 suggested that the Pinto was no less safe than other contemporary designs, but the damage had already been done.
The reason for this all-American, soft-top, hot rod-style sports car’s inclusion is pretty clear. Prowler is not a scary name in the traditional sense of the word, but it exudes menace. It brings to mind big cats hunting in the jungle, as well as, sadly, middle-aged men kerb-crawling in seedier parts of town.
Either way, a Prowler isn’t something you’d want to meet on a dark night. Come to think of it, you probably wouldn’t want to meet it in the daylight, given that there’s quite a lot of the hideous Chrysler PT Cruiser’s DNA in there.
At least it wasn’t especially scary to drive. When it first came out in 1997, 0-62mph took 7.2 seconds, which isn’t especially rapid, and its top speed was limited to a not-at-all-petrifying 118mph. This was partly sorted out in the second iteration, which upped the performance so that 0-62mph took 5.9 seconds and the top speed crept up to a slightly less nondescript 126mph.
Like the Roller, the GT-R doesn’t really deserve to be keeping the PT Cruiser company because although it looks like a Toyota Supra on steroids, it is actually rather good (as our review will verify).
Despite a price tag of just £78,000 (more than £60,000 less than the equivalent 911), the Nissan is every bit as good in terms of driving dynamics. The 3.8-litre V6 doesn’t sound especially daunting, but it packs quite a punch, with 543bhp and a mammoth 632Nm of torque giving it stunning performance.
Stepping on the pedal on the right will send you from a standstill to 62mph in three seconds flat, provided you still have the wherewithal to change gear fast enough.
Try exploiting that sort of performance on the road and you’ll be left in no doubt that the GT-R has the potential to be a widow-maker of the highest order, and therefore it’s as worthy of a place on this list as any other.
While the jury is still out on whether the Ford Pinto was excessively dangerous, there’s much less doubt about the Chrysler Voyager.
Despite being Lord Sugar’s weapon of choice for carting about hapless apprentices, the old Voyager’s reputation was built on shocking performances in crash labs, rather than in the boardroom.
Euro NCAP noted that the Voyager crash tests recorded a two-star occupant protection level, the second star being struck through to indicate ‘an unacceptably high risk of serious or fatal injury’.
If you thought that made for scary reading, you should see the pedestrian safety rating. In the NCAP test, the front of the car was divided into sections and each section was marked for pedestrian protection.
Of the 60 sections rated, 58 achieved the lowest possible rating of ‘marginal’, with two on the windscreen managing somewhere between ‘marginal’ and ‘adequate’.