1971 Chevrolet Vega
The Vega was a lesson in reputation. Initially lauded and an award winner (Motor Trend Car of the Year), the Vega eventually ran into reliability and safety concerns, as well as a tendency to rust. Sometimes the classics aren't as great as we all remember.
1977 BMW 3 Series
While BMW introduced the first 3 Series model to Europe in 1975, it didn’t come stateside until 1977. These models did have six cylinders, but they still started a revolution that now accounts for 30% of all BMW’s sales.
1973 Pontiac Grand Am
1975 AMC Pacer
1976 Dodge Aspen
Motor Trend’s ‘76 Car of the Year was a replacement for the Dart and featured notably improved visibility compared to other Dodge models. It was billed as the “family car of the future.”
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna
This top-of-the-line Chevelle model was only in production for 3 years, but in that time it racked up a winning reputation for being the car-of-choice for NASCAR competitions.
1971 Ford Pinto
Ford’s first North American subcompact might be most remembered for its...ahem..."explosive" fuel tank design, but in its first 10 years, 3 million models were produced.
1975 Dodge Ram Van
Dodge was a pioneer in the 15-passenger van model. Ford and GM were much later to the game. Why you need 15 passengers...well—keep that to yourself.
1972 Honda Civic
The current Honda Civic is a segment leader in the compact car arena. This 1972 model foreshadowed great things to come, even though it was a subcompact and only available with 2 doors. Boy, has the Civic changed!
1973 Mitsubishi Lancer
The Mitsubishi Lancer left North America in 2017, so it’s worth a look back at the original model in its 1973 debut. The boxy, unassuming car has a strong rally history.
1977 Ford LTD II
Replacing the Torino, the LTD II was one of the largest cars to be designated for mid-class status. The sharp-edged styling was a rebuke to the “coke-bottle” shapes that were previously popular.
1976 Cadillac Seville
Even though it was smaller than other Cadillac models, the Seville often carried the highest starting MSRP. It was GM’s answer to the surging popularity of European Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
1979 Volkswagen Rabbit
1975 Pontiac Astre
This subcompact was the Pontiac version of the Chevy Vega. The hatchback coupe especially took styling inspiration from its sportier cousin, the Pontiac Firebird.
1971 Pontiac Grand Safari
What else says 1970s better than this full-size, top-of-the-line station wagon? It was the largest Pontiac ever built.
1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible
1977 Dodge Diplomat
The Diplomat was Dodge’s sister car to the Plymouth Gran Fury. The boxy square roofline might seem familiar to some, as the model was a popular choice for police cars across the country.
1978 Dodge Magnum
When the 78 Magnum was released, its styling was basically a “rounded off” Charger. Chrysler marketed it as a NASCAR contender, but drivers found it too inconsistent.
1974 Volkswagen Dasher
The original Volkswagen Passat was launched stateside in 1974 under the Dasher name. It was named Wheels magazine’s car of the year.
1977 Lincoln Versailles
This compact luxury car was a main competitor to Cadillac’s Seville. One distinguishing feature of this design was the vinyl landau roof that became common across many makes and models.
1977 Honda Accord
This small, unassuming 3-door hatchback would eventually come to dominate the American market as one of the most popular cars in the U.S. Honda’s entry from Japan came just in time to take advantage of the 1979 energy crisis.
1978 Pontiac Sunbird
This car is still fire! The flexible Sunbird had a variety of body styles to choose from: coupe, hatchback, and even station wagon. Its exceptional fuel economy was what it was truly known for. Maybe not as great by today's standards...
1979 Pontiac Phoenix
Pontiac’s compact Phoenix went through two generations. The first (released in the late 70s) featured a boxy design with square headlights, vertical grills, and long nose.
1975 Ford Granada
In 1975, Ford brought its popular European car stateside. Its stately box design remains the all-time favorite of Stephen Estrada, once Ford’s design chief.
1978 Mercury Zephyr
The 2-door notchback sedan might be the most popular version of the Zephyr, but the most unique was the Z-7 model with its wrap-around taillights and angled rear deck.
1977 Chrysler LeBaron
Originally a top-of-the-line Chrysler Imperial, the LeBaron was spun on as its own nameplate in 1977. It was intended as a more upscale version of the Dodge Aspen.
1975 Plymouth Gran Fury
The Gran Fury sputtered through a flurry of production year gaps in its triple iteration, but one constant was the V8 rear-wheel-drive configuration.
1978 Ford Fiesta
Now one of Ford’s best-selling nameplates, the Fiesta had humble beginnings in the 1970s. Initially, a European offering, the Fiesta made the jump to America, and a subcompact star was born. Looks-wise, it's not super stylish by today's standards. Nevertheless, it was loved fro its time.
1980 Chevrolet Citation
Though a 1980 model, the Chevrolet Citation was introduced in 1979. It was one of the most popular launches for General Motors, selling 810,000 units in its first year. It was produced until the 1985 model year.
1979 Chevrolet Chevette
And at Last, we have the Chevette. The Chevette was Chevrolet’s subcompact hatchback. It was an immediate hit and was the best-selling car in the U.S. for 1979 and 1980.