The 1970s: If you lived through them, you might be trying to block out their memory, especially if you're a car lover. This was not a great time for car enthusiasts, chiefly because of the oil crises of 1973 and 1979, which meant not only high prices, but long lines at the gas station, and stations that ran out of gas altogether!
The automotive industry's response? Economy cars, of course. These flooded in from Japan, and U.S. carmakers tried to follow suit. The problem was, nobody really knew yet how to make a car that combined high gas mileage with decent performance and good style. Even Ford stumbled in this era, making a Mustang that car buffs almost universally hated ... this after nearly cornering the market on the pony car in the 1960s.
Even so, there were bright spots. This was the decade that released classic car-centric movies like "Duel" and "Vanishing Point." Dodge and Pontiac released cars that would become iconic. Europe gave us the Lamborghini Countach (even if most people could only afford the poster, not the car itself.)
So, are you a fan of the cars of this redheaded stepchild era, the 1970s? Prove it now, with our quiz. We'll see you at the finish line!
Thanks to Smokey and the Bandit, this car is one of the most iconic American vehicles from the 1970s. It's brash in just about every way, from the snub nose to the T-top, and integrated spoiler in the rear.
Thanks to a poor design with the fuel tank, the Pinto almost sunk Ford back in the 1970s. What made the situation worse was how Ford mismanaged its response, trying to calculate how much the lawsuits would cost, instead of just recalling the car.
This was a truly exotic machine loved by quite a few celebrities back in the day, including George Foreman, Willie Nelson, and Lucille Ball. But its design is purely 1970s automotive culture.
Thanks to a mid-engine layout, short overhangs, and low curb weight, this Italian car was a monster in the rally scene. It took the top spot in the World Rally Championship from 1974 to 1976.
Mr. Bricklin thought making a car out of fiberglass would be a boon for safety. In reality, fiberglass cracks easily, and isn't durable in a crash. Not only that, the Ford and AMC V-8 engines tended to overheat.
When the Countach hit the automotive scene, it was like a thunderclap. Nobody had seen anything like it before, the supercar had such a wild, futuristic design. It became an instant favorite for posters and drooling, lasting well into the 1980s.
Designed by Marcello Gandini, the same man behind the Countach, Stratos, and many other Italian cars from the time period, this car wasn't particularly powerful. Its secret to success was a low curb weight, making it quick and sharp through turns.
This three-wheeled car is notorious for easily tipping over, making it both a laughingstock of the automotive world and a brunt of many jokes even today. Top Gear has especially driven this point home.
The Ford Mustang II was supposed to be revolutionary, but enthusiasts rejected it roundly. Ford bumbled this project big time, including not even offering a V-8 engine for the first production year.
The BMW M1 is held sacred by fans of the brand, even today. BMW hasn't made a legitimate supercar since this one debuted back in 1978, and the name has been purposely shelved by the company for all these years.
AMC actually offered quite a few options for the Gremlin, allowing buyers to really customize the car to their preferences and needs. You could get 2 or 4 seats, a vinyl top, and so much more. Unfortunately, the Gremlin gained a reputation for being unreliable, which some people argue it didn't deserve.
When it debuted at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show, the BMW 2002 Turbo wowed people. It had on tap 170 horsepower, which was a considerable output number for that time. Many credit it with really popularizing turbocharging for passenger cars.
The French automaker really wowed everyone with this vehicle, which kicked the decade off in a big way. One of the more amazing details was that it could hit 140 mph, which is an impressive number by today's standards, but was pretty insane back then.
Porsche made the car originally for motorsports, but offered it to the public as a requirement to compete. Only a few hundred were made, so the car today is a highly sought-after collector's item that fetches a pretty healthy price on the market.
"Pantera" in Italian means panther, and this was De Tomaso's most famous vehicle. Despite being very Italian in its design, the car featured a mid-mounted Ford V-8, which was notorious for overheating. Still, the company sold over 7,000 of these cars.
Easily one of the most striking vehicles of the 1970s, the Maserati Bora is also one of the most forgotten. Not only did it come with a mid-mounted V-8, a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive were standard.
Not only did this Ferrari look downright amazing, it wowed with a flat-12 engine, meaning it handled well and absolutely wailed at full throttle, like any proper Ferrari. Even the 5-spoke wheels became icons over time.
Even though the Chevelle was the first muscle car from Chevrolet in 1964, it wasn't until 1970 that the SS model stormed onto the scene. It packed a 454 V-8, which throttled out 450 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque, making it one amazing monster.
When Plymouth introduced the Hemi 'Cuda Convertible, it quickly became a favorite of many MOPAR fans. It's also one of the rarest muscle cars from the era, and as such, fetches huge prices whenever one makes its way to any auction today.
As the ultimate muscle car from the Buick brand, the GSX wowed plenty of automotive publications back in the day. It was the upgraded version of the GS 455, and as such only came in Saturn Yellow or Apollo White. Unique striping and aero pieces further set the car apart from other Buicks of the time.
It was one thing to base the Bobcat on the Pinto, and another to pork it up to the point that the Mercury weighed 800 pounds more than the Ford. That made the already-slow car even more sluggish, dooming it to be rejected by shoppers.
Despite a horrible build quality, the Chevrolet Chevette sold in big numbers back in 1979. It repeated the feat of being the top-selling vehicle in the country for 1980 as well, making you seriously question everyone's sanity back then.
After wowing everyone with the 2002, BMW released the 320i in 1977. Of course, as you know, the 3 Series is still going strong today, making it one of the longest-running vehicle lines on the market, and a real force in the automotive industry.
Launched in 1976, the 911 Turbo demonstrated that forced induction made the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car so much more amazing to drive anywhere. The Turbo has become a favorite among enthusiasts, and is still offered today.
Jeeps aren't really known for being high-end vehicles with lots of amenities, but that was even more the case before the CJ7 launched in 1976. It added steel doors, a tilt steering wheel, a hard top, and optional leather seats. People began to drive their Jeeps more regularly, and sales soared.
There's no disputing the Ford Mustang II was a flop, but the Fox-body Mustang was a critical success. Not only did it look far better, it was lightweight, and you could get the legendary 5.0. At first, though, the car wasn't that potent. That would change in the 1980s.
Dodge engineers were able to find a loophole in tightened emissions regulations, thanks to the high curb weight of the D-150 step side. They were able to squeeze 225 horsepower from the V-8, and paired it up with 3.55 gears, making this truck the fastest American vehicle in 1978.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cars sold in the 1970s, the Jaguar E-Type originally launched in 1961. The 1972 model with a V-12 engine was also especially quick, reportedly doing the 0 to 60 mph dash in just 5.5 seconds.
Because the rear axle was pushed back to about where the spare tire was normally mounted on the truck's underside, Ford created a special removable panel on the side of the bed, right behind the cab, where the spare was hidden away.
BRAT stood for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, which made for quite the name. It was created to provide utility, while also sipping gas, right in the middle of the oil crisis. The rear-facing jump seats, among other things, helped cement this vehicle as a classic.
With one of the most aggressive and exotic names to grace an American truck, the Dodge Warlock had a lot to offer. It shared a platform with the Lil' Red Express Truck, but was only available originally in three colors: red, black, and dark green. Gold pinstriping was standard.
Chevrolet's answer to the camping truck craze was the Longhorn, but it was only made until 1972. To give the truck a 133-inch wheelbase, engineers actually added onto the frame and body. You can actually see the spot welds in the bed where the truck was lengthened.
In an egregious case of badge engineering, Chevy introduced its Light Utility Vehicle back in 1972. As a cheap and fuel-efficient truck, the LUV was an instant success and helped Chevy ride the wave as small trucks gained popularity quickly.
As the first special edition pickup made in the 1970s, the Dodge D100 Dude kicked off a trend that would introduce some pretty wild styling. This one was pretty tame, with the white decals and a tipped cowboy hat in the logo, signaling that the owner was pretty tough.
From 1971 to 1975, Ford made the Baja Bronco as a tribute to the desert racers that had been competing in the Baja 1000 since 1967. The SUVs were painted red, white, and blue, which were the signature colors of Bill Stroppe, builder of the racing SUVs.