The 70’s were not exactly the best time for cars, be it sports or muscle. Strict emission requirements and ’73 oil crisis (no oil crisis now – America is an energy juggernaut now with makes Matt Damon upset but oh well!) all but pushed out the muscle cars which had been America’s favorite during the 60’s.
The Clean Air Act wreaked havoc on the performance and slowed down the cars. However, these adverse events could not hold back all cars.
The 70’s still saw many jaw-dropping aero design automobiles that stood out the test of time. Many popular models were made in the 70’s even with the rising insurance prices, gas crunch and a higher push for fuel economy. Here are some of the best cars of that period.
1. 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Mustangs are the iconic American Muscle Car. Ford came up with some really great cars during the 60s, but it really went downhill from there. Mustang Mach 1st generation is the only real star out of all 3 that were released during the 70s.
Second generation Mustang was a styling nightmare which was unveiled in 1974.The third generation in 1979 lost out on the Mustang factor all together. However, the first generation was a curvy beauty that just kept going.
Mach 1 is high up in the performance level if you are looking to cruise rather than race. The performance package comes replete with front splitter, rear wing and an air scoop on the hood.
The car was designed with a 5.8 liter that is basically a 327 cu-in engine giving a maximum power of 300 hp. The car went an astonishing 60 mph in 8.3s with a maximum speed of 122mph.
Ford Mustang Mach 1 is really the muscle child of 60s which is why it is among the finest Mustangs of the 70s.
2. 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder
Daytona Spyder is massive on the looks and even better when it hits the road. It was engineered by Ferrari, developed by Scaglietti and designed by Pininfarina. It remains one of the most sought after Ferraris of all time.
In 1969, the prototype was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Showwhich featured Plexiglas headlights and slight angulations on the body.
These features were lost in the actual manufactured production models. Ferrari had a significant market base in the US and the Plexiglas was switched for pop-up headlights to meet the regulations.
Daytona Spyder is one of the rarest cars on the planets because of its low production volume and the fact that nothing contemporary has ever come close to beating it.
3. 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
New pedestrian safety laws introduced new crash structures that, in a way, ruined a majority of American sports cars. It was only through sheer designing effort that 1974 Pontiac Firebird was turned into one of the finest looking vehicles of that time.
The car has a unique style with its curvaceous body but monumentally ugly front ends because of the mandatory 5-mph telescopic bumpers that became the car’s calling card for decades.
The style is not for everybody. However, the starring role in Smokey and the Bandit turned the ’74 Pontiac into a cult figure. It was born during the time of oil crisis and gained a lot of weight because of new regulations. However, the 250hp, 7.5-liter engine was worth it.
4. 1973 Datsun 240z
Datsun is known to incorporate complex systems into fairly affordable and remarkably well conceived vehicles. Independent suspensions, overhead cam engine and disc brakes were not invented by the Datsun. But, they were brought together under one spectacular hood in the 1973 Datsun 240z.
The car was put on the road after a lot of thought which is evident from the results. It featured the all-powerful car engines associated with Datsun. 2.4L single overhead cam 6 combined with 2SU and a 9 to 1 compression ratio was something to reckon with.
It could produce 151hp at 5600 rpm. The 240z hada flat torque that lookedsimilar to a plateau like all other Datsun models of the time.
5. 1971 Dodge Charger
The 1971 Dodge Charger was the first and best car offered by Dodge in the decade. The later generations turned into neutered sports sedans. Dodge tried to reposition the Charger in 1975 by turning it into a luxury brand. However, nobody wanted that from a Charger.
This was the only 2-door car by Dodge that pushed the sales up. The ’71 Charger came in many different combinations. There were 2,659 Dodge Chargers sold in 1971. Only 63 out of these had the Hemi engine.
Most had the entry-level 3.7 liter Inline Six. However, some went up to 7.2 liter V8. The fastback coupe was among the best looking cars of that time.
6. 1974 Lamborghini Countach
’74 Countach was the sports car to be owned in the 70s. It was introduced in the Geneva Motor Show in 1971. The car featured an ultra-low 2 seats design and unique features that took the world by storm. The most captivating component by far was the scissor doors. They would swing up and forwards while opening.
The doors became so popular that they continued to feature in all Lamborghini models to the latest Mucielago. The body work was on a tubular space frame chassis and was incorporated out of an aluminum alloy. It had a 5L v12 engine with a spectacular 440hp which was not at all bad for that time.
7. 1979 Chevy Camaro
The Chevy Camaro kept getting bigger with more wings and power while other manufacturers shied away from wild offerings. The 1978 Camaro is the poster child of Chevy excess and it is beautiful in all its bulk and bold design.
The unrivalled reputation of Camaro drove sales. There are a number of engine options in the Camaro. The best of the pack were 4.1L inline Six andthe 330 hp V8. There was another 5.7 L V8 engine that could pump out a 185 bhp. The car had a 280lb/ft torque which was astonishing for the 70s.
Chevrolet had a bumper year with 282,582 Camaros produced, out of which 84,877 were Z28s. The Z28 had a 3 piece front spoiler that was wrapped around the front with restyled graphics.
And no, none of these cars were in That 70s Show!