16. The DeLorean
DeLorean Motor Company, 1981-1983. AKA ‘Too bad it’s not a time machine’
The DeLorean sports car had a starring role in the classic Back to the Future films — but despite its fame, the car tanked along with the American auto industry in the 1980s.
Although the stainless steel body and gull wing doors were the definition of cool, DeLorean owners complained that the cars were not as powerful as they looked. Only 9,000 of them were made by 1983.
Thirty years after production stopped, the modern-day DeLorean Motor Company announced it would release 50 replica cars per year starting in 2017, with an estimated price tag of $100,000 each. To date, no new DeLoreans have appeared.
Burger King, 2013. AKA ‘Saddest fries’
Desperate to please health-conscious Americans, Burger King rolled out Satisfries — containing 30% less fat than McDonald’s fries — in 2013.
Sadly, the crinkly taters deserve a spot among the greatest fast-food flops. With 30% less fat, they were bound to be less "Satisfrying."
Customers said they were dry and that the outer coating was tough and chewy.
A small order of the fancy taters also cost more than BK’s regular fries and contained more calories than a small order of McDonald’s fries, because Micky D's weighed less.
To the dismay of Satisfries fans (what few there were), by 2014, Burger King discontinued Satisfries at most locations.
14. Smith & Wesson bikes
Smith & Wesson, 2002. AKA ‘How off-brand can you get?!’
World-famous firearms and ammunition manufacturer Smith & Wesson decided to branch out in 2002, so it released a line of high-quality bicycles. Consumers were understandably confused.
S&W had been known for centuries for its revolvers, semi-automatic guns, rifles, shotguns and machine guns. The company also manufactured prison restraints like handcuffs and leg irons. But bikes?
They must have seen the potential for all kinds of "faster than a bullet"-type puns in ads.
Consumers just weren’t willing to accept the unexpected brand extension into two-wheeled transportation. The bikes were pulled off the road but S&W still sells road bicycles and custom mountain bikes for police officers.
13. Crystal Pepsi
PepsiCo, 1992. AKA 'The clear drink without clarity'
In the early 1990s, the makers of Pepsi tried to get in on the "clear craze," which brought us a variety of clear beverages and household products that were meant to seem more clean and pure.
Alas, while Crystal Pepsi looked clear, its mission was not. Consumers expecting it to taste like seltzer or a citrusy drink were instead surprised to find it was flavored like a cola.
Rival Coca-Cola countered by introducing Tab Clear, which was sugar-free and added to the confusion. Crystal Pepsi was off the market within months, though it has had brief revivals for cult fans of the beverage in the 2010s.
12. Google Glass
Google, 2013-2014. AKA ‘Felony Glass’
In 2013, Google unveiled Google Glass, an impressive — if funny-looking — head-worn computer that could be used solo or added to prescription lenses.
The smart glasses could run apps, record videos, place calls and be operated remotely and by using voice commands. Unfortunately, these nifty features also made it perfect for breaking the law.
Lawmakers and journalists warned that Google Glass could potentially be used for spying or to commit an array of crimes, such as recording casinos and locker rooms. The terrible press killed Google Glass for the public before any of the bad stuff ever happened.
But in 2017 and again in 2019, Google announced the Google Glass Enterprise and Enterprise 2 edition, selling specifically to businesses.
11. The SPOT Watch
Microsoft, 2004. AKA ‘The DORK watch’
A decade before the sleek Apple Watch hit stores, Microsoft created the SPOT, as in "smart personal objects technology." It was a smartwatch that used an FM radio subcarrier to send a curated "channel" of information to its user's wrist.
The SPOT was marketed to 15- to 35-year-olds and came in "sporty," "retro" and "fashionable" designs, Microsoft said at the time.
Unfortunately, despite the software giant's collaboration with fashion watchmaker Fossil, the watches turned out to be clunky and geeky — and younger people didn’t want the instant updates about the news and the barometric pressure.
And young people definitely didn't want to subscribe between $39 to $59 yearly for those updates.
10. Gerber Singles
Gerber, 1974. AKA ‘Baby food for adults’
In the 1970s, convenience foods like Jell-O salad, canned cheese and Spam were all the rage, and Gerber wanted in on the action. So, the baby food company created single-serving jarred meals for adults.
They came up with Gerber Singles, marketed towards college students and young adults on the go.
But unfortunately for Gerber, young consumers were just not interested in playing "Here comes the airplane!" in college and beyond (let alone high school.)
Flavors such as Beef Burgundy and Blueberry Delight were also confusing. Were they entrees? Desserts? Or just brown mush? The only certainty was that no one wanted to eat the stuff.
9. Atari Jaguar and Sega Dreamcast
1994 and 1999. AKA ‘Game over’
In the ‘90s, industry leaders Atari and Sega both released video game consoles to compete with Sony’s PlayStation lineup. Unfortunately, both lost out hard to the PlayStation 2, which would become the best-selling console ever.
The Atari Jaguar had finicky hardware that was too difficult for game developers to work with. Only 67 games were released for the console, compared to the PS2's 3,800.
The Sega Dreamcast had superior graphics, say fans — but unlike the PS2, it couldn’t play DVDs, and not enough customers used its online capabilities. Worst of all, it was more expensive, says gamer blog Goliath.com.
In the end, their niche audiences weren't enough to keep up with the might of the PS2.
Google, 2011. AKA 'Nobody’s favorite social network'
Google has had a whole host of successes and continues to be on the cutting edge of technology development and investment. But Google+, the firm’s fifth and last attempt at creating a social network, was a definite flop.
Google+ never had a clear vision. Critics noted that it looked too much like Facebook, which was kind of the idea. Google was working hard to keep its employees, users’ hearts and ad revenue from being poached by its competitor.
Let’s just say it didn’t work. Google+ was finally laid to rest in the fall of 2018 after a glitch exposed the private information of up to 500,000 users.
7. WOW! Chips
Frito-Lay, 1998. AKA 'Owww!'
In the late 1990s, Frito-Lay realized that consumers wanted a low-fat snack to replace potato chips made with oil. Enter WOW! Chips made with Olestra, an artificial fat substitute that couldn’t be absorbed by the human intestine.
What could possibly go wrong? A chip that would slide right through you! Looking back now, it seems like a hideous idea.
People soon realized the terrible downsides, including the horrible stomach pain and other unmentionable gastrointestinal effects of eating indigestible food.
Only two years after Wow! Chips were released, sales had dropped by half since all products sold with Olestra had to have a warning label for the gastro-intestinal...conundrums.
6. Twitter Peek
Peek, 2009. AKA 'WHY?!!'
In a world of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, well-meaning Peek Inc. tried to create something simpler: a small device that would be used purely for tweeting your opinions to the world.
Although it was cute, it was a total and complete flop. Most mobile devices were already capable of tweeting – and they could do a lot more than that.
The dedicated Twitter tool couldn’t even show users their whole tweets — only the first 20 characters! And who really needed a smartphone-sized device that could do only one thing?
To add insult to injury for consumers, the one trick, partial-tweet-showing pony cost $200.
5. Amazon and Facebook phones
2013 and 2014. AKA 'Hello???'
Trying to capitalize on their successes, Amazon and Facebook both introduced phones — and failed miserably.
The over-hyped and underwhelming Facebook Phone (AKA the HTC First) that arrived in 2013 was a typical lower-end Android smartphone. Users hated that it couldn't be personalized like other Android phones.
They hated it so much that the price dropped from $99 to $0.99 within the first month at the AT&T stores, according to CNET.
The Amazon Fire Phone, introduced in 2014, couldn’t stand up to competitors or advocate for its expensive $299 price tag. It featured a clunky operating system, was available only through AT&T and offered no access to popular Google apps.
4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Videogame
Atari, 1982. AKA 'The world’s worst videogame'
In the early 1980s, a videogame based on Stephen Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark became a huge hit for Atari. When Spielberg's next film, E.T., became a box-office winner, Atari got the call to gamify it, too.
But negotiations dragged on so long that development time was cut down to a mere five weeks so the game would be ready to ship for Christmas 1982. The Raiders game had taken 10 months to design.
The E.T. game turned out to be terribly confusing, difficult to play and an all-around disaster. Of the 4 million units sold that Christmas, 2.5 million were returned, and an untold number ended up in a landfill.
3. The Newton
Apple, 1993. AKA 'The one Steve Jobs really hated'
The very first personal digital assistant (PDA) was groundbreaking when it was released in the early ‘90s, but the Apple Newton tried to do too much too soon.
The first device to move the computer out of the office (intended to kill Apple's own Macintosh) it had a stylus and could be used to take notes, store contacts and manage calendars using intelligent natural voice recognition.
Alas, one of the main selling points was a character-recognition feature — which failed to launch. And the Newton's garbled note-taking led to endless pop-culture mockery. When Steve Jobs took back control of Apple, he retired the PDA permanently.
2. The Edsel
Ford, 1957. AKA 'The car with the toilet seat grille'
The Ford Motor Company had great hopes for its newest car design in the mid-1950s and happily sank $250 million (that's $2.5 billion in 2019) into developing, manufacturing and marketing the Edsel, billed as "the car of the future.”
But the first Edsels were delivered with oil leaks, sticking hoods and trunk doors and push buttons that didn’t work. Critics attacked its design, including its vertical grille that was compared to a toilet seat.
Ford made an infamous choice, marketing, advertising and building a product that no one even wanted.
Ford’s expensive experiment was discontinued in 1960. Today, the Edsel is considered a collector’s item.
1. New Coke
Coca-Cola, 1985. AKA. Coke II and 'The worst new product of all time'
“Why mess with a good thing?” is a question that Coca-Cola should’ve considered before launching a “new and improved” flavor formula for its iconic soft drink. Without even keeping the original formula on the shelves.
CB Insights calls New Coke the No. 1 biggest product failure of all. One sip confirmed it was a major flop: sweeter and flatter tasting than the original and obviously trying to compete with its fast-growing competitor, Pepsi.
The backlash was swift and fierce. The company received nearly 8,000 calls a day from angry customers. Less than three months later, Coke Classic was back on the shelves — and sales took off.
In contrast, here are some strange, discontinued fast-food menu items people didn't know they needed.
These are the strange and wonderful fast-food items Americans miss the most.
1. Wendy's Bacon and Blue burger
In 2010, Wendy’s introduced a gourmet bacon and blue cheese burger that created messy moments for customers pulling out of drive-thrus all across America.
The high-end sandwich consisted of a quarter-pound beef patty piled high with four strips of peppery applewood-smoked bacon, blue cheese crumbles, sauteed onions and steakhouse sauce on a brioche bun.
Reviewers praised the flavor but warned that the towering heap of toppings meant the thing would fall apart quickly and make for less-than-perfect eating in the car.
This fan favorite burger cost $4.29 and packed in 680 calories of meaty-cheesy goodness.
2. Taco Bell Volcano Burrito
Taco Bell fans lost the Volcano Burrito in 2013 — and they’re still inconsolable.
The 800-calorie burrito was stuffed with ground beef, Mexican rice, crunchy red tortilla strips, sour cream and cheddar cheese. But the "lava sauce" was the star.
It was creamy, cheesy and said to be twice as spicy as Taco Bell's regular hot sauce. Recipes for recreating the magical sauce are all over the internet, but people who've tried them say they're just not the same.
If you're desperate to get a Volcano Burrito fix, you may need to make an overseas vacation out of it. According to reports, it's still available in South Korea, Iceland and parts of the U.K.
3. McDonald’s Szechuan sauce
In 1998, McDonald’s created a sweet and tangy Szechuan dipping sauce for McNuggets around the release of Disney’s Mulan — but the sauce quickly disappeared.
Nearly two decades later, McDonald’s announced the stuff would be back for one day only for fans of the Rick and Morty cartoon, which featured the sauce.
In October 2017, thousands lined up under the Golden Arches to nab the few packets allotted to each location. Angry, empty-handed customers barely had time to start chanting “We want sauce!” before packets made it onto eBay.
In short order, a lot of three sauce packs sold for $848.88 — $282.96 each — reported CNBC. More recently, a case of the condiment sold on eBay for $179.99.
4. Little Caesars Pepperoni Crazy Bread
Little Caesars found that stuffing breadsticks takes them to another level — but you won’t find the chain's uber-popular pepperoni-stuffed breadsticks on the menu anymore.
Pepperoni Crazy Bread sticks were meaty and spicy on the inside, crispy and buttery on the outside and topped with parmesan — like a mini rolled-up pizza with an extra boost of garlicky goodness.
You got additional flavor points if you dipped the sticks in marinara sauce.
Little Caesars still has plain ol' garlic Crazy Bread sticks on the menu. For something close to the pepperoni version, you might catch a limited-time bacon-stuffed pizza crust now and then — for old times’ sake.
5. McDonald’s McRib
The McDonald’s McRib was practically made to taunt barbecue lovers. This item has disappeared and reappeared several times over the years.
The magnificent sandwich is filled with pork, smothered in barbecue sauce and topped with onions and pickles.
Supposedly, the McRib comes and goes as pork prices rise and fall. When they're low, the sandwich might show up on menus, but when they go up, it vanishes in a puff of barbecue-tinged smoke.
The Freakonomics blog has another possible explanation: that each time the McRib returns, fans flock to it — but the enthusiasm quickly fades.
6. Burger King’s Angry Whopper
The hella spicy Angry Whopper was released by Burger King in 2008 as a tie-in with The Incredible Hulk movie. Fanatics threw a Hulk-worthy temper tantrum when the burger disappeared from most North American locations in 2016.
The 980-calorie Angry Whopper featured a quarter-pound beef patty piled high with bacon, habanero or manchego cheese, plus crispy fried onion petals, jalapeños, mayo and a spicy sauce.
This flavor bomb of a burger re-emerged in the U.S. for a limited time in April 2019, and it’s still a regular menu item in Mexico.
7. Popeyes Big Easy Chicken Bowl
Invented in 2008, the Big Easy Chicken Bowl was a mess of Popeyes' best menu items heaped together in a bowl. It was last seen regularly on menus circa 2015.
The Big Easy combined white meat chicken with spicy Cajun gravy, red beans, rice and shredded cheese — plus optional hot sauce and sour cream.
Costing just $3.49 when it debuted, this low-priced potluck was not only cheap but also impossible to duplicate at home.
Sadly, Popeyes has been under new ownership since 2017, and the current management has given no hints that it's interested in going "bowling" again anytime soon.
8. McDonald’s Fried Apple Pie
Back in the 1990s, McDonald’s replaced its fried apple pie across most states (except Hawaii) with a baked version to please health-conscious consumers.
Two decades later, petition campaigns are still trying to bring back the fried pie in the continental U.S.
Its crispy pastry and piping hot filling are vastly superior to the bland baked version, say devotees.
As one Change.org petition puts it, “McDonald's, we know you're not good for us. Step up, own what you are, and put the pies back in the fryer."
9. Dairy Queen’s MySTIRy Misty
The Dairy Queen MySTIRy Misty was a color-changing slushy that hit big with tweens in 2004.
The colorless blue-raspberry flavored drink came with a special straw filled with a mysterious powder. Pulling the straw's tab released the powder so it could be stirred into the drink, magically turning it blue, red, green or yellow.
Even with this new trick, the Misty slush drinks were well past their ‘90s heyday and didn’t last long.
When 2017 rolled around, DQ boarded the ‘90s resurgence bandwagon and brought back the Misty Slush in several fruity flavors, but without the mystery — er, MySTIRy.
10. BK Cheesy Tots
Burger King’s tater tots were already popular, but they hit cult classic status after they were featured in the 2004 geek flick Napoleon Dynamite.
Hot, crispy and filled with melted cheese, the tots were a hit — but they were on BK’s menu for only a short time.
The famous tots were brought back briefly in 2016 and were promoted by the stars of Napoleon Dynamite before disappearing again.
The cheesy tater tots had one more limited-time run in 2019, this time with a little something extra: smoky bacon bits stuffed inside.
11. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe
In 1996, McDonald’s billed the Arch Deluxe as an upscale burger for adults, but it was considered too expensive (costing up to $2.49) and was quickly discontinued.
The burger was a $150 million fast-food flop, but its fans have insisted that the sandwich featuring a fresh quarter-pound beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, peppered bacon, cheese and a special mustard-mayo sauce was simply ahead of its time.
In 2018, McDonald’s brought back the special sauce and was testing it in a new "Archburger."
The culture blog Uproxx tracked down the reboot and proclaimed it just as delicious as the original ‘90s version.
12. KFC’s Hot and Spicy Popcorn Chicken
KFC’s popcorn chicken was a revelation in toss-in-your-mouth goodness — and fans say the spicy version has never been equaled for crunch and flavor.
So, why did this bird fly the coop in the late '90s?
One theory suggests the hand-breaded chicken bits took too long to make. KFC dropped the finicky item and started shipping its products frozen.
Over the years, the Colonel’s chicken bits have returned as “Original Recipe Bites” and as high-quality, all-white breast meat “Popcorn Nuggets” — but food critics at the Brand Eating blog claim the familiar crunch just isn’t there.
13. Taco Bell’s Grilled Stuft Nacho
The Grilled Stuft Nacho was crunchy, meaty and wonderfully cheesy.
Taco Bell broke hearts when it discontinued the snack in 2014 after just one year on the menu.
The triangular, handheld Grilled Stuft Nacho was filled with flavorful ground beef, nacho cheese, spicy nacho sauce, crispy red tortilla strips and sour cream, all wrapped in a flour tortilla.
Although the Crunchwrap Supreme is similar, fans say there’s just no replacing the Grilled Stuft Nacho — which only highlights Taco Bell’s ability to remix the same ingredients over and over and still create something truly magical.
14. McDonald's Third Pound burgers
In 2009, McDonald’s went beyond its Quarter Pounder and introduced hefty Third Pound Angus beef burgers — but they were discontinued just four years later.
Third Pound burgers came with bigger fresh-cooked beef patties, bacon and red onion rings, plus they were made in tasty varieties like mushroom and Swiss, or bacon and cheese.
Unfortunately, the demand just wasn't there. The burgers sat waiting for someone to order them, which could take a while.
Though people raged about the Third Pound phaseout, that doesn't change the fact that customers often wound up with unappetizing, soggy mushroom burgers,
15. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets
Finally, here's an example that should give hope to fast-food fans everywhere, because it shows how you can persuade a chain to bring back a favorite. But you might need a celebrity in your corner.
Customers threw such a fit when Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets were discontinued in 2017 that the company was forced to respond with an apology suggesting customers improvise, maybe by ordering “a plain spicy fillet and [cutting] it up into cute little squares."
That recommendation just didn't cut it for Chance the Rapper, who recently tweeted a prayerful plea for Wendy's to bring back the spicy nuggets.
Wendy's responded with a tweet of its own — and asked for 2 million likes in exchange for the nuggets' return. The goal was quickly reached, and now Wendy's has brought them back by popular demand.