Sinclair C5: Biggest ever gadget fail

Betamax is up there too
Darren Allan

March 25, 2013

Sir Clive Sinclair has been credited with the worst gadget flop ever with his C5 electric trike back in the 1980s.

This is according to a poll of 1,000 “gadget lovers” conducted by the Gadget Show Live.

Sinclair is the inventor of one of the top home computers of the era, the ZX Spectrum (and the ZX81), but his Midas touch soon turned sour when it came to vehicles.

Anyone who lived through the 80s can’t fail to remember the Sinclair C5 (pictured above). It was a ridiculous looking white tricycle with a very low profile that ensured it was labelled a “deathtrap” by the RAC. You think motorbikes have a hard time being spotted by drivers, just imagine driving around in one of these things back in the day.

Of course, nobody did drive around in them, because (a) they didn’t want to be a laughing stock, and (b) they didn’t want to be decapitated by some unwitting lorry driver who had more chance of spotting Shergar in the next layby than he of seeing did a C5 driver.

So what were the other entries in the gadget hall of shame?

Betamax – the alternative to VHS that went the way HD-DVD did more recently – only came in at number three, losing out to Rabbit mobiles, which was number two. That seems very odd as we don’t even remember Rabbit, a location-specific mobile phone service.

Another big consumer tech flop, the MiniDisc, resides at number four, followed by the Laserdisc.

And the only console to make the top ten is next, the Sega Game Gear.

The remainder of the top ten consists of the “squarial,” a square BSB satellite “dish,” the Amstrad E-mailer telephone (“Sugar, you’re fired”), and pizza scissors (a spatula/scissors Ronco-style combination kitchen device which is actually still available to buy today, unbelievably).

Oh and the final entry at number ten is the DAT or digital audio tape, another Sony oldie like the MiniDisc.

Of course, not all of these inventions were terrible along the lines of the C5 or pizza scissors. Betamax was a superior video format to VHS, in fact, and the MiniDisc was quite a cool invention too – both failed on the marketing fronts, though.

Image Credit: Daily Mail


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visited 37248 times, 1 so far today