Welcome to an automotive horror movie: It’s March 24th, and darkness is settling in on the cemetery. As you quickly walk by, dry leaves rustle in the wind – otherwise, there’s barely a sound, until the unmistakable noise of a rusty hood-spring creaks through the silence. Suddenly, you’re greeted by a terrifying sight – sitting in a pool of its own power-steering fluid, a Jaguar XJ-S that needs a head gasket replaced! (cue screaming)
Certain cars strike fear into the heart of any backyard mechanic, models that we’ve all heard stories about. It’s worth noting that when properly maintained, almost all of the cars on this list are suitably reliable and very enjoyable when not in the shop. But when maintenance is deferred and rust sets in, these cars are the hardest, and often most expensive, to bring back to life. And if a restoration project is part of your plan, beware – you might have a cash-eating zombie car in your garage!
1. Citroën SM
When launched in 1970, the Citroën SM seemed like it had been developed by an alien race far more advanced than ours – and maybe it was. Its complex Maserati V6 is fed by three Weber carbs, and while the engine may sound amazing, it means you need a Maserati specialist to work on the engine and a Citroën specialist to work on the rest of the car. But the real reason maintaining one of these Citroëns can be so frightening to the uninitiated is that the SM uses a complicated hydropneumatic suspension that operates at 2,200 psi. Also, the SM has no mechanical link from the steering wheel to the front wheels, meaning that if you lose hydraulic pressure, the loss of steering could have ghastly consequences.