Oh, the 70s! You don't even need to have been alive then to know they were crazy years. Besides the bellbottoms and faded jeans, other great things were going on. The Vietnam War and the oil shocks were enough to impact heavily on almost everything. But they definitely didn't turn off the style. The automotive industry took several punches in the face from the financial crisis and emission controls. But they refused to bow before the altar of any external pressure.
The decade's first few years saw the production of some of Detroit's most powerful cars before the Malaise era dampened automotive progress in the United States. One man's (or nation's) problem became an opportunity for others like Japan, and Europe hit the market with economical sports cars. Let us take a look at some of the most iconic cars of this amazing era.
What is the Stutz Blackhawk?
This is what you get when you wrap up the entire 70s period in a single car. It was a step ahead of the Lamborghini Miura in terms of the price but here's what that got you; a hand-built body from Turin, Italy. This was the celebrity car of the decade, and the likes of George Foreman, Elvis, Lucille Ball and Willie Nelson all bought one while John Travolta was somewhere in a disco dancing. There were 15 coats of paint available, a gold-plated trim level to accompany shag carpeting and you could get your name engraved on a piece that went on the dash.
What did the Pontiac Firebird offer?
You know what earns this car a spot on this list, aside from the fact that you could actually get a bird painted on the hood of this bad boy? We could say the brash styling, but that alone wouldn't be enough. Then someone could say that it is the "bandit" image that the car got you. But what would best explain it is perhaps the fact that the Black Special Edition contributed largely to the American culture of the day.
What about the Lancia Stratos?
The Italians have always been good at style, and the Stratos was a pure reflection of this. Above that, the Stratos was also business at its best. The story is told of how an Italian design powerhouse Bertone designed the concept car that led to the development of the Stratos in a bid to impress Lancia who had not worked with Bertone before. What followed was a scene from a Hollywood movie with the resulting car which sported a Ferrari Dino engine winning the WRC three times. The Stratos was definitely a great piece of Italian art.
How did the Ferrari/Dino 308 GT4 perform?
This luxurious grand touring Ferrari could just happen to be the one that least resembles a Ferrari. If you thought the same then it can be explained, the 308 was not technically a Ferrari at first. It was produced under Dino, a name that was given to Ferrari's smaller engine cars. Dino was also the name of one of Ferrari's sons who had died earlier. That notwithstanding, it was a car that served its purpose all the way and is really representative of the 70s lifestyle.
What about the AMC Gremlin?
The sheer number of options that were available for the Gremlin was just insane. Customers could also choose between two and four seat options and whether to spring for the vinyl top. The Gremlin was going up against the Chevrolet Vega and the Ford Pinto in the battle for market sales and a bad reputation in equal measure. Somehow, the Gremlin managed to exceed many people's expectations of an economy car. It outperformed its class rivals and became an enigma.