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Kwik 05-17-2012 06:51 AM

'70s cars, under appreciated?
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There could be more to '70s cars than Mustang IIs donating parts to hot rod projects. I think the decade had some interesting cars, like the Vega Cosworth, that didn't reach their potential. What other notable rides can you recall from that time?



TucsonJay 05-17-2012 08:55 AM

It's funny that I found this post! I just saw the first Cosworth Vega that I have seen in over 30 years!!! It was at an eastside Tucson evening show last Saturday! {:-o

As far as the cars of the seventies. I think the cars of the very early seventies are still very appreciated! ...especially the "musclecar" and "pony car" varieties!

However, as a heavily involved enthusiast, the majority of the cars of that decade suffered from multiple problems. First, it was the beginning of the emissions era, and the cars went from being quick and exciting... to "slugs"! I don't even want to talk about my '76 Trans Am! What a PIG it was! ...and it still had to be tuned to where it almost wouldn't run at all... just to get it through emissions testing! {:-(

They also changed in appearance as things like rubber bumpers started being adapted... and most were pretty unattractive in the early years.

Lastly, the increasing use of plastics took 10-15 years, before the parts would last without cracking... dying in the sun... and falling apart.

Some of the cars were nicely styled... but as a performance enthusiast, and one who likes to see things well-engineered, the cars of the last 3/4 of the decade hold almost no attraction for me, because of my experiences. :-(

Sorry to be negative... but you asked for opinions. {:-)

MARTINSR 05-17-2012 09:56 AM

Having gotten my drivers license in 74 with my dad in the car business I soon would be too, this was a depressing time for the car enthusiast. Between the plastic bumpers and smog and giant bumpers made out of what looked like rail road track and shocks on them from a earth mover, it looked like the end of cars as we knew them (and basically it was). It was a time of despair, what we had grown up to love was over, it would have been like Major League Baseball to have turned into "RollerBall, Professional Wrestling" sort of event.

When I first saw the 78 Mustang with the plastic bumper/grille thing on the front I knew it was over, what crap. We honestly thought that the V8 was GONE for ever, it was a very bad time for us car nuts.

That Cosworth was a shining moment, one tiny moment mind you. I road miles on my bike to the Chevy dealer to look at that car in the show room, it was what would be a "hot rod" in the future, that was it, there was hope.

The rest of the seventies produced CRAP (well at least after 72) and there was NOTHING we wanted from the offerings.

Now, heck yeah times have changed and those cars aren't "so bad" or so a lot of us think. I will find myself going over to look at a restored Pinto at a show. But it is a long time coming and most still think they are hideous junk and it will be many years before the general thought of those cars changes.


TucsonJay 05-17-2012 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by MARTINSR
The rest of the seventies produced CRAP (well at least after 72) and there was NOTHING we wanted from the offerings.

Now, heck yeah times have changed and those cars aren't "so bad" or so a lot of us think. I will find myself going over to look at a restored Pinto at a show. But it is a long time coming and most still think they are hideous junk and it will be many years before the general thought of those cars changes.Brian

I guess I am not alone in my feelings about that era! I would suspect that since younger builders would not have had to go through the changes we experienced, they would be more admiring of a car from way back in THE SEVENTIES!!! At least I do consider them better looking than the generic "pumpkin seed-looking" cars of today!

If there is a good side... the lack of major popularity will make them more affordable alternatives to newer cars. ...and they will certainly get attention from the general public! :-)

MARTINSR 05-17-2012 11:16 AM

I honestly think there are plenty of cars from the seventies worth building and worth my attention. I see them all the time at the shows, cars that I would have spit on in the seventies, I now can appreciate them. At a Goodguys last year there was a SUPER detailed and amazing hot rod 78 Ford Fairmont. It don't get any lower than that. And just like me with my Rambler, I get the joke, the guy LOVED having his lowly Fairmont, he loved the fact that he had made this amazing car out of one of the bastard step children of the seventies. He loved that many people wouldn't "get it", and he loved the attention he got from the ones who did. Even a nice 78 Vette, I dig them now.


silentpoet 05-18-2012 08:53 PM

I love the Cadillacs of the 70s up to 1976(except the Seville). After that they got smaller and had the tiny little 425 motors. My current caddy is a 1968 sedan deville hardtop. But I am looking real hard at a 71 eldorado convertible or a 1973 sedan to replace my daily driver. Even with good gas around town my daily is not even getting 17mpg.

MXrider13 05-18-2012 09:50 PM

I like the early 70s Mopars like the Plymouth Duster, the Dodge Dart, and the highly underrated Dodge Demon!

poncho62 05-19-2012 04:58 AM

My daughter had a 77 Capri car

deckofficer 05-21-2012 03:08 PM

For me the high water mark was 1970. By 1971 most all engines had reduced power due to the lowering of the compression ratio to tolerate the new unleaded fuels of the time. This was the period of the 165 hp Corvette, and I for one have no love affair with the cars of that era because everything I drove that was new back then was much slower than the 60's cars I first drove.

1ownerT 05-21-2012 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by poncho62
My daughter had a 77 Capri car

Shes HOT!....

I know it isn't your daughter. :D

1ownerT 05-21-2012 05:03 PM

Very little performance wise past 70-71, although the Super Duty Trans Am was an exception.

starnest 05-21-2012 05:21 PM

Overall, I tend to agree with most of the comments so far.

Although, at least for chevrolet, the drop in power ratings (for 1971) was due to changing from gross ratings to net ratings. Ex: my 71 Vette with the base 350 rated at 270HP was the same as the 70 engine rated at 300HP. My '71 was a great car (after restoration) that I dearly miss. In 1972, the compression ratios fell and so did the performance, still I had a '72 Camaro that was fun to drive and it was a beautiful car.

There are other cars and trucks worthy of attention. I had a '76 LUV truck that was great. The little 4 banger was tough as nails and I drove the wee out of that truck on and off road. Took 3rd place (in class) at a local autocross with it.

While detroit struggled the imports took hold with cars like the Datsun 240/260Z, and the BMW 2002.

1930u 05-21-2012 08:33 PM

My favorite 70's cars include 70-72 Camaro, 70-72 Grand Prix 400 or 455 4-speed, 77 Trans Am TA 400-4-speed and of course any big block 70-72 Vette

Flipper_1938 05-22-2012 01:36 PM

The build quality of late-70's GM stuff is horrible! I'm guessing most other stuff from the period is similar.

To take something from that era and bring it up to modern show car/nice hobby car standards is a serious undertaking.

jdsaengine 05-22-2012 01:57 PM

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!

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