Asked by Todd L Ross in Antique & Classic CarsCars & VehiclesAmerican Cars
What are the coolest cars from the 1970s?
July 24, 2019 7:37PM
Defined by muscle cars, ostentatious sports car designs, and turbochargers, the “Me” Decade is unforgettable for vehicle lovers out there. Here are our picks for the coolest cars of the 1970s.
BMW 2002 Turbo.
Although it wasn’t the first turbocharged car in the world, the 2002 was the first turbocharged European passenger car, and kicked open the door to the turbo world, helping to transform the word into a euphemism for performance.
Ferrari 308 GT4.
Released originally under the Dino brand name in 1973, the 308 GT4 stands out among Ferraris as being the least-Ferrari looking car in their entire catalogue. It eventually was produced with the iconic prancing horse logo in 1976 when re-released under the mainline Ferrari brand.
Not much can be said about this legendary vehicle that has not been said already. The unofficial car of “The Rat Pack”, the Miura was the defining car of the early 1970s, being the preferred vehicle of musical icons like Rod Stewart and Miles Davis.
Ford Mustang II.
Although the Mach 1 is probably considered the more iconic model of the Mustang, it felt odd to put it on this list as it was produced mostly in the 1960s. After the popularity of its predecessor, the Ford Mustang II found new competition among pony cars at the time, but still was a major success, being produced from 1973 to 1978.
The quirky sports car designed by Bertone for Fiat is unmistakable with its unique design in the sports car world. It’s definitely among the entries on this list that are highly desired by vintage collectors, as this design just screams “1970s”.
This might be the most “1970s” of all the cars here, with its wedge shape, extremely curved windshield, and pop-up headlights. Incorporating all of the popular fads of the car industry at the time, the Lancia Stratos was also successful in rally events, becoming one of the most iconic rally cars in history.
Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The Trans Am needs no introduction, being the iconic car of the 1970s, thanks in large part to Burt Reynolds’ model in Smokey and the Bandit. Sales almost doubled for the model in the year following the film’s release, making it one of the most popular vehicle models of the entire decade.
With a hand-made body, 15 coats of paint, gold-plated trim, shag carpeting, and an engraving of the owner’s name on the dashboard, the Stutz Blackhawk was a hit among celebrities looking to show off. Famous drivers of this car included Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Lucille Ball.
First produced in 1975, the Jaguar XJS just screams classiness with its sporty design. However, the questionable reliability of this car led to its depreciation in value, making it one of the more affordable vintage cars on this list today.
Although the Miura is objectively more stylish, the Countach’s futurist design stands out among the competition. Many other manufacturers tried similar concepts to no avail, while the Countach has had an obvious influence on later Lamborghini models, most especially its successor, the Diablo.
Although not as flashy as other models we’ve talked about, the TR7 was a comfortable, lightweight and fun to drive vehicle with a simple style that was more wide appealing that some of its competitors.
Porsche built many 914 models throughout the 1970s, but the inclusion of a flat-six engine is what made the 914-6 stand out among its peers. Flat-six engines became fairly popular among automobile manufacturers at the time, but today, Porsche is one of the few that still regularly uses the engine in its designs.
Aston Martin Vantage.
Debuting in the early 1970s, the Aston Martin Vantage is an incredibly stylish luxury car with a V-8 engine that let it crossover into muscle car territory. Although it was only driven in one James Bond film (as opposed to Bond’s signature vehicle, the DB5), it is still very sought after by collectors today, and is one of the most expensive entries on this list.
Alfa Romeo Montreal.
Made during the mid-70s oil crisis, the Montreal is a rare sight, with less than 4,000 cars being made during production. With a classic GT profile, the Montreal stands out as one of Alfa Romeo’s coolest cars, especially with the unique shrouds that flip out of sight when the headlights are turned on.
This car really doesn’t need an introduction, as the Challenger is still made by Dodge today. However, we definitely prefer the first generation models with that classic muscle car style.
Debuting in 1978, the Mazda RX-7 earned its spot on our list for its popularity, due mostly in part to the lightweight design and the unique, pleasing sounds provided by its powerful rotary engine.
Although it was originally introduced to the market in 1969, the Datsun Z paved the way for car styles in the 1970s, and is iconic for the time period. The straight-six engine and sleek design made this a hotly desired vehicle at the time, and collectors still idolize this classic car today.