The 1970s seemed like a bad time for the automotive landscape, what with rising fuel and insurance costs, plummeting engine power, and some seriously questionable styling. Still, the ‘70s laid the groundwork for what would happen in the coming years. The first Cannonball Run took place in 1972, and Japan invaded with everything from the 240Z to the Civic and Accord. Despite its bell bottoms and mustache stereotypes, here are the grooviest iconic cars that defined the 1970s.
FORD MUSTANG II
Speaking of the competition, the Mustang was like any other teenager at the time; ugly and awkward. 1974 was a dark year for the Mustang, as it was now based off the less-than-awesome Pinto, and the performance oriented Mach 1 sported a V6 with 110 hp.
While performance was dead, that’s okay, as the Mustang II launched just months before the first oil crisis. Sales boomed. This all-around terrible car became a solid seller, moving 1.1 million cars in 5 years, and saved the name so the real Mustang could return in 1979.
Speaking of Pinto, production spanned 1970 to 1980, so it’s hard to be more of a ‘70s car than this subcompact. Just 22 months spanned the time from concept to production, so Ford might have delivered a half-baked product. One good idea was the drivetrains sourced from Ford of Europe.
While the 2.0 liter four only delivered 54 hp and an 11 second 0 to 60 time, it was reliable, which was unlike everything else in its class. Buyers went for it, and the tiny car with the weird big rear window sold over 3 million units in the 1970s.