Many people who review cars go out to the internet because they're dissatisfied. Any car will have negative reviews. The upper intake manifold problems in reviews i read on various sites for bonnevilles scarred me at first.
I know 3 people who've had, or have a contour. 1 had a gasket go and they donated it, and the other 2 run fine, especially for their neglect.
Many of your problems are caused by your neglect, performance aspirations, or driving style.