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1. The Flying Car: This undated handout photo shows The Terrafugia Transition shortly after a takeoff.

AP Photo

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2. The Tail Fin: Detroit designers became entranced with tail fins in the 1950s. Pictured, the 1959 Cadillac Coupe deVille .

Bill Philpot/iStockphoto

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3. The Car Alarm. Who hasn’t listened to an alarm blaring through the night?


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4. The Vinyl Roof: If you lived through the 1970s, you were witness to the stylistic scourge that was the vinyl roof.

Peter Cheney/The Globe and Mail

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5. The Swing Axle: Until it rolled you upside down in a corner, a rear axle that pivoted in the middle seemed like an inconsequential technical detail. The 1960 Chevrolet Corvair (pictured here) had this potentially dangerous design.

General Motors

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6. The Add-On Spoiler: An aftermarket wing kluged onto the tail of a street vehicle is nothing more than a drag device.

Peter Cheney/The Globe and Mail

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7. The Three-Wheeler Car: There haven’t been many of these, and for good reason. The Reliant Robin was built in post-war England, where a three-wheeled car owners avoided a tax.

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8. The Aquacar: There have been several attempts at marketing an amphibious car, but none caught on. Bernd Weise, of the Amphicar Club Berlin, pilots his 1961 Amphicar down the Grand Canal in Venice in 2009. The German-built amphibious car is capable of reaching speeds over 110 km/h by road and 8 knots on water. Its driver needs a regular driving licence and a boat licence.

Michele Crosera/REUTERS

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9. The SUV: Although few people actually need a tall, giant-sized vehicle with gas-guzzling four-wheel drive, the SUV became a runaway sensation in the 1990s, and persists to this day despite soaring gas prices.

Sarah Dea/The Globe and Mail

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10. The Fake Air Scoop: This is the toupee of the car world. The fake scoops did add weight and drag, and they made any car instantly tackier, creating a near-perfect design fail. Pictured: A 1976 Ford Mustang II Cobra II.


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