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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2012, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsaengine
I had 70's cars in the following order:

72 Camaro- nice style, terrible motor, trunk would fill up with water, dash electronics fried. ONly had car for 20 months

74 Vega GT station wagon - ordered it from factory, had to be repainted off the truck before taking delivery due to peeling, it got rust holes big as baseballs in fenders. kept it 12 months.

76 Buick Regal - nice looking car, some motor and trans issues, kept it 4 yr. traded it for an 80 Buick Regal DIESEL. That was THE worst ever. Traded it in 6mo for an 80 Mazda 626 and started a decade of buying foreign cars refusing to buy Detroit junk.

The next decade bought various Fiats, Mazdas, Nissans, Audi. All were pretty bad on retrospec so not sure that I accomplished anything buying foreign either!
I worked for GM during the mid to late 70's the cars were really bad. 1980 may have been the worst year ever because of the C-3 computer systems. In my opinion the X and A cars of the early 80's pulled GM out of a hole and by 1986 they were finally starting to turn the corner to better performance and quality.

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 05-26-2012, 10:41 AM
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starnest hit the nail right on the head -- the power drop for 1971 was TOTALLY the change in the way power was rated. it took another year or two before smog related items started taking a toll as well. If you check the engine specs in a Motors or Chilton's all make service manual you'll quickly see that just the power and torque numbers changed, everything else remained the same for 1970 and 71 (or was that 72?).

There are lots of interesting 70s cars. The Fairmont/Granade and even the late 70s LTD (NOT that huge LTD II!!) platforms are real easy to build a muscle car on. Light and will handle the power. V-8 Vegas and Pintos (and hopped up MIIs) were quite popular in the late 70s. What the factory didn't do was easy to do with mostly factory parts and a bigger, or just better, motor. The MII (and don't forget the Maverick Grabber!) original 302 wasn't much, but it didn't take a lot to give it a kick in the pants, even with junkyard older Ford parts.

The AMCs of the time are way under appreciated. MUCH easier to throw an AMC V-8 in a Gremlin or Hornet (since this is a 70s discussion I won't mention the late 60s Rambler Americans...) and have one heck of a hot little car. Gremlins came from the factory with 304s, but even a 232 six Gremlin with a stick was a lively ride -- no fours for AMC until 1977! AMC made 360 Hornets for a couple years, not just the 71 SC/360 -- you could get a 70 or 71 (and I think 72) Hornet Sportabout wagon or four door sedan with a 360/2V and auto trans. I think those Hornets look much better than the Vegas, Pintos, and Mustang IIs (Hornet hatchback and two door sedans... HB didn't come out until 73). They are much easier to stick a V-8 in (any small block will fit, BB would be tight though) than the other makes -- no special kit required since there was a factory V-8 option, and that wasn't stuffed in there as an afterthought either!
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:47 AM
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Look in that same Chiltons and note the compression ratios for 70 vs 71. Changing from gross to net just helped hide the power drop.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:09 AM
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You're right about 70 vs. 71. "Net" hp ratings didn't come into play until 1972 (what I thought...)

1975 Motor's Auto Repair Manual

Chevy 350/2V
1970 - 250 hp - 345 ft/lbs - 9:1 compression
1971 - 245 hp - 350 ft/lbs - 8.5:1
(the 5 ft/lbs probably made those two feel the same)
1972 - 165 hp - 280 ft/lbs - 8.5:1

The 71 and 72 specs are the same across the board - dwell angle, plugs/gap, and timing. Same power, difference is "gross" and "net" ratings. GROSS ratings (prior to 1972) are measured using no accessories/air filter/exhaust. NET ratings REQUIRE as installed accessories (base model, AC compressors and PS weren't on there, just water pump and alternator -- unless all models had the other items as many do now), air filter and housing, exhaust manifolds, and simulated factory exhaust system.

In reality there was no power drop between 71 and 72 models, just the way they were rated changed.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:59 PM
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I started the hate when the 5 MPH bumpers came in to play, cars were butt ugly, and the H.P. didn't help a bit. Moving to Ca. in 77 from the Midwest, the smog laws going back to 76 for present times, I have no use for anything newer than a 72. Other than the Corvettes after 82, I have a problem thinking of any newer cars that turn my crank. I still like to mess around under the hood, but fixing a car quickly and without a manual for vacuum lines, wiring, computer savvyness (is that a word?) I just don't want to do it. If I were to purchase a Cosworth Vega, the first thing I would do is modify the front bumper to make it look like it wasn't a cow catcher off a locomotive. The size of cars from 73 to 78, what were they thinking, they were huge! Most couldn't get out of their own way. Under appreciated? Maybe so, but when the kids that grew up with these cars start having a few extra bucks around, they are bound to be restored, a few of them, anyway. I was looking at my Hemming Muscle Machines mag, there was an article on the Formula Firebirds and SD 455, 73-74 models, 20k to 100k values. That's nutz! They were slugs, body style wasn't terrible and they handled well but I wouldn't walk across the street to see one. To each, their own. 72 was the last year I had any real interest. On a positive note, I could tell a Ford from a G.M. product from a Chrysler product, they were all ugly in their own unique way. Most days I have to look for a name badge anymore. I still feel like crossing 4 lanes of traffic to ram a VW beetle looking VW, I hate them with a passion! Rant Done! Dan
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-26-2012, 07:33 PM
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70s cars under appreciated?


The contrite answer would be that by the mid 70s all Detroit was selling was the allusion of performance with appearance packages on underpowered slugs.

I had a friend with a Cosworth Vega like the one pictured......its real hard to get excited about a car that turns 18+ second 1/4 mile times. That was especially true if you had lived thru the late 60s and driven the real big block muscle cars. Even the V8 powered Mustang IIs and V8 Monzas were 16+ second cars in stock form. It says a lot that the fastest (to 100 MPH) American production vehicle in 1978 was a Dodge Pickup with a 360 CI engine (the Lil Red Express Trucks).

That being said the cars should really be looked at in the context of the times. Insurance rates had skyrocketed due to the accidents/deaths caused primarily by inexperienced drivers in over powered cars. Gas prices were on the rise and Federally mandated emission controls were rushed into production which literally were choking the engines to death (the early catalytic convertors were horrible). The final nail in the coffin was probably the federally mandated 55 MPH speed limit.

These were not exciting times for the car enthusiasts. The one thing it did do was weed out the wannabe car guys from the hard core ones. Even though the cars did have the potential for performance improvements by the normal hot rod techniques (improved intake and exhaust and elimination of much of the emission controls) most people left the cars completely stock for fear of losing their 5 year 50,000 mile warranty.

For the hard core guys it did provide fodder in the form of cheap light weight bodies that V8s could be stuffed into.....the most popular at the time being Pintos and Vegas. I personally picked up a 4 year old Pinto from a used car lot for $50 because it had a thrown rod.... and spent the next 2 weeks stuffing a 302/C4/9 in it.

These are the 2 cars I had in the late 70s, the V8 Pinto and the V8 4 speed Vega.




Personally, while I have no use for much of the 70s offerings in stock form there were some interesting body styles......I would love to find one of the Ventura based GTOs (of course Id end up stuffing a 455 into it). I also have a soft spot for the Mustang IIs.....This was my daily driver for 10 years with a 351W/4 speed/and Posi (Im currently detuning it and putting in an automatic for the wife).




And being as how I mentioned trucks earlier my 76 Dodge D100 complete with stripe package and factory 440 ( they only built 191 440 powered shortbed D100s in 76, and in stock form with only 8:1 compression performance was less than stellar).



Basically the 70s cars were what they were, potential, but no real performance.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2013, 08:51 AM
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Looking for exceptions I have Road & Track reports from 1978 and 1979 on the W72 Trans Am and L82 Vette. Both 4 speed cars and they did 0-60 in 6.5 and 6.7 seconds respectively. I assume they were honest times, because by then no one was prepping cars for magazines like they used to. For comparison I noted a Motor Trend test of an earlier editon of the C3 Vette with high comp 327 & 4 speed, that did 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. So I would rate the Corvette engineers that got the L82 1979 Vette to do that well on 91 octane unleaded as very good.

That said, most people rode around in L78 automatic T/As and L48 automatic Vettes, and they were only high 16s cars at best, so that sucked and you can see why imports were on the rise. The 1979 BMW 528i 4 speed only had a 2.8 liter motor but did 0-60 in 8.2 seocnds and 125 mph with those huge 5 mph bumpers. Car and Driver got the same acceleration time so I assume that was legit. But it wasn't a cheap car. I did read a report on a special Grand Am Coupe Pontiac were working on for 1979, with a 170 hp 301 with ESC, that was a 4 speed car that got 0-60 in 8.2 seconds, but it wasn't put in production. It also had great handling with the equivalent of T/A WS6 suspension and 4 wheel disc brakes, and rear drive of course. Shame they never built it.

0-60 mph in 11 seconds wasn't bad for a minitruck!!



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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:02 PM
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Rotary engine in a truck? Hmm....well you couldn't really blow it up by over-revving it but that would be a terrible power band for hauling.

I only have my Nova because I needed a cheap car quickly. Can't complain too much other than it is all rusted out (but they all did that in the 70's!)

Someone earlier in the thread hit the nail on the head. The lightweight Nova/Camaro and the Mustang II/Fox bodies made for quick cars after a few mods. They also had leagues better brakes and suspension designs than 60's cars.

Something most people forget when talking about 60's cars is the majority of "muscle cars" were sold with inline sixes or V8s with 1/2 barrel carbs! I'm talking about such jewels like the Dart Swingers with a slant six that runs a whopping 22sec 1/4 mi in 1969! Plymouth Satellites with 383 a two barrel is another example. 390 2V Ford Galaxie. 1967 Camaro with a 230 six or 307 V8 either with single barrel. All slugs. The 327SS or 440/426 big block was a rarity - as evidenced by today's prices. Most 60's Mustangs were also sixes or poor performing 289s. A 305 Camaro or that could run a 16sec 1/4 looks very good in this light!

On the AMC front in 1979 the Spirit came out with an optional 304ci V8 w/4sp that ran high 14's but no one bought it. There were also V8 Hornets, Gremlins, and even Pacers. That didn't save them either.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:19 PM
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I think the 70's was for cars what the 80's was for fashion and the 90's were for music. Just not a whole lot there, nothing you're going to look back on decades later and still enjoy. I say this owning a 70's car- my 77 formula. I've always liked the way it looks. But I say that also knowing that for that car to be appreciated by others, it really has to be cleaned up and looking flawless. It has such a stigma as a redneck mobile, that's what most people see it as. Styling was just a little overdone, and god, the firechicken is ridiculous by anybody's standards (which mine doesn't have).

Some diamonds in the rough are the TA super duty and the dodge little red express. Not exactly a muscle car, but I think the Lincoln continentals are pretty unforgettable, especially with that grill and the massive size. Always wanted to take one on a long road trip.

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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2013, 10:50 AM
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In the late 70s/early 80s V-8s in small cars weren't selling for anyone. Oh they still got attention in magazine articles and advertisements, but not many were selling. They brought a few customers in the door though, and that helped some. AMCs problem was they didn't have an adequate four and the car designs were too dated. The Spirit/Concord came out in 1970 as the Gremlin/Hornet, and it showed. Now they did have great success with the Concord when it was introduced in 1979. they made over the Hornet as a small luxury car, and the resulting Concord sold good for a few years. But the styling was still dated even after the face lift, and when others started making "dolled up" small cars AMC was left behind... again. The Pacer was actually a great car, but didn't get good enough gas mileage. Sold as many as they could build the first couple years, then the novelty of the modern design wore off, and it got no better gas mileage than a bigger car due to weight of glass and safety features. AMC had good designs on the boards, just not enough capital to bring them out fast enough.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:58 AM
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some style left

I have to agree that some of the 70 stuff didn't look as good, but you still could work on them and build them up, not like todays cars.. My 1977 concours nova hatchback with its little underpowered 305and tall 2.56 gears was only made for the open road. But now it has 355 power, 200 4r overdrive tranny and 3.73 gears. It still came with a real nice interior and style. No more nova's. The next generation will not be rebuilding the cars as we know it. That is why you are seeing more older car being found and redone then you saw fourty years ago.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2013, 01:14 PM
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Lot's of cool 70's cars just seems like they all rusted so darn bad, well at least in Ohio they did.

I had a '77 Nova in high school, always thought they were good looking.

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Old 02-03-2013, 01:16 PM
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two things, both chevy, basically sum it up.
Second gen camaro, same body for 11 years.
chevy trucks, same body from what 73-89 or something. if my dates are wrong they are close enough. Instead of new cars every couple of years, we got new cars every couple of decades!!! ok, so they changed the front fenders on the second gen. (like they did the 50's pickups in 58). still same basic thing for years. (yes i know they opened up the rear windscreen to in 74, pls see my journal before you start pickin this apart).

big bumpers, plastic interiors, drop in horsepower and the high *** price of gas (reletively speaking of course), coupled with the forementioned lack of change of looks, and oh yeah, that Detroit just started building crap, along with electronic engines that us old carb boobs couldn't understand, with ten tons of vacuum lines,

and, WHAT's TO LIKE? oh yeah, big blocks all but disappeared as well. and although the drop in h.p. wasn't all we thought it was at the time, the average schmoe, like me, didn't realize it for years. and, this thread is certainly NOT about the years 70, 71 and 72.

Last edited by bullheimer; 02-03-2013 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:21 PM
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Good point on the "plastic fantastic" interiors Bullheimer. UV degradation left a lot of the interiors trashed.

Last edited by lakeroadster; 02-03-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:55 PM
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i'm old. what can i say? however my 007 Matrix is solid plastic. doors on the dash break, the metal body is like tin foil. the trend continues til we just drive an all plastic car, i guess. at least then we can just bounce off each other when we wreck!
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