‘World’s Worst Banger’ photo competition: the winning cars

The results are in! Find out which vehicle was voted the 'World’s Worst Banger' by E&T readers.

Beep! Beep! Drivers and pedestrians, beware! The battered and rusty cavalcade of bangers, buckets, jalopies, rattletraps, clunkers, tins on wheels and what-nots – the unwilling participants in E&T’s ‘World’s Worst Banger’ competition – is screeching to a halt right in front of the IET’s offices in Stevenage, UK. The organisers’ intention to terminate the rally in front of the IET’s Headquarters in London were thwarted when all participating vehicles were refused entry to the British capital on the grounds of their looks and technical condition. 

It is now time to quote my favourite literary hero, Ostap Bender, the infamous protagonist of ‘The Little Golden Calf’ by Soviet satirists Ilf and Petrov and a proud passenger of the spectacular early 20th-century jalopy (or banger, if you wish), ironically nicknamed ‘Antelope-Gnu’ – “so old that its appearance on the market could be explained only by the liquidation of an automobile museum”.

“Comrades! I rejoice in the opportunity to violate the patriarchal peace of the city of Udoev with an automobile siren!”

Likewise, I rejoice in the opportunity to violate the peace of the glorious town of Stevenage by summing up the competition, probably the longest-lasting in the history of E&T, and revealing the names and the makes of the fortunately unfortunate winners and runners up (albeit  ‘crawlers up’ would constitute a better description of the latter.

Yes, Comrades, it was indeed a long and bumpy journey, but let me remind you that we are not talking here about Ferraris and Lamborghinis - nor even about Mazdas and Toyotas - but a bunch of decrepit old buckets that should have been dumped years ago. And, unlike the cars that participated in the recent ABB FIA Formula E Championship, they were not even blessed by His Holiness Pope Francis before the start of their journey! Is there any wonder no speed records were broken?  

Indeed, it took our readers some time to trace down and photograph the vehicles, which had to be not just horribly neglected, but also still on roads, as required by the competition rules.

The challenge became rather popular among E&T readers. It even led to the appearance of an online discussion  club, with a rather audacious (even if curt) name that, unfortunately, cannot be reproduced in a respectable magazine. For some reason (out of sheer shyness, I assume), the participants of that online discussion, one of whom was ingeniously calling himself ‘Harmonic Cheeseburger’, chose to publish their photos there rather than send them to us, which automatically excluded them from the competition and therefore from the chance of the prize, too.  

Even from the entries that did reach us, some had to be disqualified, mainly for one of two reasons. Firstly, the cars and their photos being much too old, some going back to the 1980s – one entry even to the 1960s and already looking pretty dire, so logically there was no way they could still be plying the roads. Secondly, the cars being obviously off the road – dumped and abandoned (one was even lacking front wheels, which would make driving it anywhere a rather tricky business) and hence probably still able to qualify for the now-defunct ‘Dumped Car of the Week’ column in the Folkestone Herald, but unfortunately not for our ‘World’s Worst Banger’ competition.   

The jury eventually selected the ten best/worst photos, which were put online – anonymously and in no particular order – and opened for voting. The voting closed on 11 April and – drums and trumpets – the results are in.

The outright winner, with 53 per cent of the votes, is Lyn Dutton, with the awfully brilliant (or brilliantly awful?) photo of a vehicle of an indefinite origin and nature. It looks like an amalgamation of a pick-up truck, a smashed supermarket trolley and an antediluvian sewing machine and was taken in the village of Yongshuo, near Guilin in China, in April 2015. Lyn will receive a set of three spectacular photo albums courtesy of Jonglez Publishers.


Dear readers, if by any chance you spot that mechanical mongrel on the road while in China, please drive (or run) away from it as fast as you can.

Congratulations to Lyn Dutton!

The three runners up are:

■ Paul Foster (37 per cent of the votes), with the picture of a “little beauty” (in his words) of a banger of no less indefinite origins than our winning vehicle. The reader’s guess, however, is that the jalopy’s power unit “was a rotavator before a DIY project started. It was the attention to detail and overall electrical payout that grabbed my attention.” The photo was taken recently in Porto do Calhau, Pico, Azores.

■ Gavin Oddy (28 per cent of the votes), with the photo a peculiar Chinook mobile home (or is it a caravan?) taken several years ago in Manhattan, New York, USA, where the reader was on a choir tour with his wife. Prior to taking the photo,  he made sure the vehicle was not dumped and pretty much still on the move.

■ Terry Harris (21 per cent of the votes), with the photo, accompanied with a caption (or rather a plea), “Clean me, please!”, taken in Rhodes, Greece. Despite the fact that all other possible defects of the unfortunate vehicle are probably hidden under layers of dirt, it is obvious that simple cleaning would not be enough to bring the car back to normal.

Allow me to commend two more entries, which I myself found particularly appealing (I mean disgusting, of course):

Tony Tollitt’s photo of the vehicle “used to transport metal fabrications from a factory”, taken last year in Sairee village on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand.

And  my absolute favourite – John Dyas’s photo of a Land Rover used for launching and transporting boats at Batu Feringhi Beach, Penang, Malaysia, in 2014.

As you see, the sheer geography of the winning (losing) photos is rather impressive: from Greece to Malaysia, via the USA. One thing that gives me some comfort is the total lack of the entries from the UK, where most of our readers reside. Is that because most of you prefer taking photos while on overseas assignments or on holidays? Or (as I would want to hope) is it due to the sheer strength and efficacy of Britain’s MOT test scheme?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts: please email them to me at vvitaliev@theiet.org

In the meantime, look after your cars and drive safely!

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