World’s worst car: readers' photo competition

We launch a new readers’ photo challenge to locate the world’s most decrepit working car.

About 15 years ago, I found myself temporarily residing in the seaside town of Folkestone, Kent, UK. Long before its much-publicised regeneration, the town looked and felt neglected and downtrodden – “not a Rio de Janeiro”, as a hero of a Soviet satirical novel would put it. The local newspaper, the Folkestone Herald, was dutifully chronicling that deplorable state of the town’s affairs on its pages, one of which carried a regular ‘Dumped Car of the Week’ column. I still treasure a clipping of one such column, describing that week’s unfortunate vehicle, left (or rather dumped) in Greenfield Road – the area, which, as the cheeky paper itself put it, “is not spoken in the same breath as Beverly Hills or Monte Carlo”.

An avid reader of the ‘Dumped Car of the Week’, I was expecting it to gradually evolve into a competition to designate the ‘Dumped Car of the Month’, then perhaps ‘of the Year’, before it was picked up by other newspapers to become a national and international contest, with the winner being awarded an exclusive right to dump his or her car next to such world-renowned sights as the Eiffel Tower, or the Sydney Opera House. Unfortunately, those hopes of mine did not materialise then, and – after a year or so – the ‘Dumped Car of the Week’ column was itself dumped.


Great ideas never die, though, or so they say. Encouraged by the resounding success of our ‘Crossed Wires’ competition last year, whereby hundreds of E&T readers from all over the globe first sent their pictures and then voted to determine the world’s worst wiring job (the competition was widely covered by national and international media), we are happy to announce a new readers’ challenge.

Knowing that most E&T readers are keen motorists, we are now asking you to supply your own original photos – not of dumped cars, for that would be like treading in someone else’s footsteps, which E&T never does – but of the still functional and mobile (if only just) decrepit cars on the road – one place where they certainly should not be! We will then publish the best (worst) photos in the magazine and on our website and will ask the readers to vote for the world’s best (worst) unroadworthy car still on the road.


What do we mean by ‘decrepit cars’, also known as bangers, buckets, jalopies, rattletraps, clunkers, tins on wheels (a peculiar Soviet expression) and so on? The only coherent definition could be found in good old Wikipedia: “A decrepit car is one that is often old and damaged and is in a barely functional state.”

“Yet still on the road causing pedestrians’ giggles and posing danger to other motorists,” we could add. Yes, it is important to remember that most bangers – unless they feature in special banger races, or come from Malta where ancient cars are normally well maintained and even considered a kind of national treasure – are not just motorised bundles, or indeed ‘buckets’, of laughs, but also menaces on wheels that can break down, explode or fall apart any moment. So, with hope, our WWB (World’s Worst Banger) competition will make our streets a tad safer by shaming (if not naming) the owners and drivers of the cars that should have long been dumped (at designated dumping sites, no doubt) – as well as the mechanics who mended those leaking buckets and thus allowed them on the road – in short, all those who take too literally the pronouncement, attributed to Henry Ford, that a car is not a luxury but just a means of transportation.


A couple of things to remember. One. Please take care when crossing roads as you chase a seemingly lucrative shot. Two. Try to photograph the cars when they are moving, and if taking a photo of a stationary car, make sure it is parked and not dumped: the difference should be obvious. Three. Please indicate clearly in your captions the vehicle’s  location (street, town, city, country etc), the date the photo was taken, and, if possible, the make of the car, too.


The contributor of the photo which gets voted the World’s Worst Banger will receive the prize of three beautiful coffee-table photo albums: ‘Forgotten Heritage’, ‘Abandoned Asylums’ and ‘After the Final Curtain’ – all about things abandoned and forgotten (but not dumped in the streets!) courtesy of their publisher, Jonglez.

Please send your photographs to vvitaliev@theiet.org by November 1 2017. Happy banger hunting!

For full terms and conditions, go to bit.ly/eandt-competitions

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