Skip to main content

Overconfidence can be a dangerous thing, even when it’s mixed with talent and skill. Add a car with a scary tendency to unexpectedly break traction or rollover, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So, even if you’re a good driver, you might want to think twice about disrespecting these off-roaders, and even three-wheeled cars, and performance vehicles, like the Dodge Viper.

Even a good driver might have their hands full with any of these unruly vehicles

Today’s supercars include helpful features like all-wheel drive (AWD), industry-leading tire technology, and driver-aid suites. However, some vehicles take an old-school, even dangerous approach to driving and off-roading.  

  • Dodge Viper
  • Suzuki Samurai
  • Shelby Cobra
  • Lancia Stratos
  • Reliant Robin

What do you get when you drop a 400-horsepower V10 in a lightweight, rear-wheel drive (RWD) performance car? You get a first-generation Dodge Viper. However, its unruly formula is multiplied by a lack of driver aids and airbags. Yes, the Dodge Viper’s airbags got the axe in favor of lightness. 

I know, I know. A Suzuki Samurai is a scary car? Well, don’t dismiss it. Sure, it’s, let’s say, cute. However, its narrow footprint and relatively tall center of gravity made the Samurai a serious rollover risk. In fact, several lawsuits over the years named the Samurai for its propensity to go end-over-end. As such, the little Suzuki off-roader qualifies as a scary, albeit adorable, car.

A blue Shelby Cobra replica car shows off its scary small platform and powerful V8 engine.
Shelby Cobra | falun via iStock

Granted, a true Shelby Cobra is a rarity. However, it’s an extremely popular replica and continuation model choice for enthusiasts. What’s more, fans will often drop big-block V8s producing well over 400 or 500 horsepower into their light, top-less roadster. As for the real deal, the supercharged CSX3303 that once belonged to Bill Cosby killed its subsequent owner after he drove it off a cliff. Anything short of a good driver could find stabbing the throttle to be deadly. 

320 horsepower might not sound like an overabundance of grunt. However, when it’s wrapped up in a lightweight Lancia Stratos package, you get an eager, even scary little car with an appetite for oversteer. Even the new Lancia Stratos rides on a super short wheelbase, albeit with more modern brakes and tires. However, with a Ferrari-sourced 4.3L V8 pumping out 533 horsepower, the new Stratos is a handful.

If you’re a Top Gear fan, you’ve likely conjured an image of Jeremy Clarkson rolling a Reliant Robin onto its roof repeatedly. The culprit is a naturally unstable platform, namely one wheel up front and two to the rear.