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Favorite cars of the 70s-80s? Like to hear what the general thoughts are..


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I guess this group is aging into the trap of collecting luxury cars.  I like them too, but they're expensive to keep pristine or repair. 

For the 70'& 80's, I have to agree with other posters, the El Camino & Caballero are hard to beat.  Stylish, functional, easy to get parts and are usually appreciated in stock condition. The gentleman's pickup is desirable from 1964 to 1987.  I have a great 1981 that I'd trade only for a 1957 Ford Ranchero.

Another great automobile is the Datsun/Nissan 240 Z, 280 Z, 280 ZX and the first 300 ZX.  For 20 years, 1975 -1995 I drove them every day (4 in row).  All were Z-Barted and didn't rust or have many mechanical problems. My favorite one was the 1979 280 ZX.

Both these suggestions have a large following of  devoted fans, which makes replacement parts available to keep them a regular

driver type cars.

not sure where you are but there has been a 1957 ranchero sitting along the highway just south of greewood delaware, looks like it might be both restorable and for sale. it's been there for 10 years or so

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Well my favorite of that period was my 78 Sunbird that dominated Texas and later south Florida F/Stock autocrossing (car was better than the driver). 305 V8/4 speed/Posi/AC.

Fortunately 13x6 Vega wheels were plentiful because I cracked at least one every weekend (once broke the whole center out of one). Also kept Vega four speed Saginaw transmissions around (was fastest starting in 2nd) and tried to keep at least one spare 7 1/2 posi. EVERYTHING (shock towers suspension mounts, clutch mount on firewall) broke or cracked. But it was fast.

ps that 93 followed me home this week. Less than 50 built. But is another decade.
 

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Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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Awesome to see this post resurrected ... I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying reading all of the replies & seeing the photos.  Talk about bringing back some memories along the way.....

 

 

Cort > www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

pigValve.paceMaker.cowValve | 1979 Caprice Classic (needs new owner)
"Something inside has died" __ Carole King __ 'It's Too Late'
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I'm very much into 70's-80's cars. They are lots of fun and far more affordable than older ones. Even the lowly Cordoba is welcome to my fleet.

 

I could fill a whole garage with 1970's cars.

(Actually, I have!)  But I appreciate all eras of cars.

 

It's just that the 1970's-and-up versions are easier on the wallet---

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I'm happy with my 1989 Camaro convertible. Parts are reasonable and they are making repro parts now. If you get a 3rd Gen Camaro, make sure it has the 5-speed manual transmission. Makes it a truly fun car. 

 

Can still get them cheap, but prices are starting to go up. 

 

 

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I agree with much of what has already been said. I too love the big Lincolns, Cadillac and Imperials. I would also like to add the Checker Marathon (especially the wagon) to the list of my favorites. I have always liked the styling of the 72 Mercury Montego. Oddly enough I always thought the sedan and wagon were better proportioned than the two door models.

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My favorite 70's car would probably be a '76/'77 Toyota Celica GT Liftback.  I had a '77 with some leftover circle track parts (big cam, high compression head, holley carb/intake, side exhaust) and it was a blast.  Looked like a mini-Mustang fastback.  I hope to own another one day.

 

00505_jgRpc7M7zSP_600x4501.jpg

 

 

And for 80's cars it would have to be a widebody '86-89 Mitsubishi Starion/Chrysler Conquest.  I had an '87 in great shape for a little over a year and drove the wheels off of it.  Great handling cars.

 

Chrysler_Conquest_TSI_1989_Mitsubishi_St

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My favorite 70's car would probably be a '76/'77 Toyota Celica GT Liftback.  I had a '77 with some leftover circle track parts (big cam, high compression head, holley carb/intake, side exhaust) and it was a blast.  Looked like a mini-Mustang fastback.  I hope to own another one day.

 

00505_jgRpc7M7zSP_600x4501.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

It sure does, with its home-market bumpers!!  'Exactly how it was SUPPOSED to look without those ghastly 5-mph things at each end mandated by the Feds at the time!

 

Craig

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As I had recently posted, I've been fortunate enough recently to grab onto one of my favorite 70's cars - the 71 Riviera. Can't wait for better weather to get it back on the road after 25 years of storage.

 

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And don't forget the headlight laws that meant every low car with fixed headlights had to be raised. Did bring back hidden headlights- popups met the height standard.

 

Must admit I always liked the H-bodies of the 70's.

 

2intx.jpg

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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8E45E, on 23 Feb 2016 - 8:06 PM, said:

It sure does, with its home-market bumpers!!  'Exactly how it was SUPPOSED to look without those ghastly 5-mph things at each end mandated by the Feds at the time!

 

Craig

 

Definitely, the chrome "smiley" bumpers really transform the look of the car.  First thing I did when I got mine home was to rip off the hideous US market bumpers and start looking for Japanese spec bumpers.  They would have cost as much as I paid for the car for a nice set.  I keep an eye on craigslist and ebay and there haven't been any 76-77 liftbacks for sale in the last few months.  I only know of one locally that's parked in a yard with "keep out" and "no trespassing" signs so I'm reluctant to stop and ask about it. I'd sure love to find another in good shape, seems that they're all out west though.  

 

This is the one I owned for a few months.  I registered it on a Thursday, drove it to work on Friday, and it started knocking on Saturday. Tore it down Saturday night and found that it had trashed the crank and the pistons were hitting the valves- previous owner installed a high lift cam without notching the piston tops.  That was the second engine I'd blown within a few months so I got aggravated with it, put it on craigslist, and sold it within a day.

 

53BAD3C9-1807-46F4-A894-E5A1E76A5EA2.jpg

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Another neat and very overlooked car of the '80's is the Ford Festiva (Mazda 121).  They absolutely suck with the stock 12" wheels and overly soft suspension- tire squeal at normal cornering speeds around town :huh:.  But throw a set of coilovers from a MK2 VW Jetta/Golf and a decent set of wheels/tires and they go around a race track or autocross like nothing else.  Mine is carbureted so it has the lower 58 horsepower engine and I'm running the same times autocrossing as the new Fiesta ST's.  I can't wait to swap in a DOHC 1.6 from a Miata and get a stickier set of tires, should be in the top 5 of the day easily.

 

A buddy of mine races his quite often and has a few videos on youtube of him chasing down Corvettes, Ferraris, etc.  This video is him and his friend's 340 horsepower Miata battling it out. He only has 170 hp in the Festiva.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5F7RWJ7Sro

 

 

CE434EF1-92B2-4898-B444-2868BBE42550.jpg

Edited by theastronaut (see edit history)
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Another neat and very overlooked car of the '80's is the Ford Festiva (Mazda 121). 

Perhaps you are thinking of the 1991-'92 Capri, which was a 2-seat convertible, based on the Mazda 121.

 

The Festiva was based on a Kia Pride.   Don't get me wrong, the Kia/Festiva was a great car, and one still sees them here on the road some 25 years since they've been made.

 

Craig

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My favorite 1970's Car is a Mid 1970's Chevy Nova. 250 CDI 6 Cylinder with a 3 Speed automatic. I have had three driver Nova's in the past and a parts car or two through the years. Those cars were tough as nails and very reliable but here in the not so great North East they rusted away before the drive train ever gave up. I do not have the room now, but would have one again if it was a nice original, and if I had proper storage for it. I do have a 1982 Buick Rivera Convertible in my collection. I really like the way it runs and drives and for the fact that only 1,200 were built that year makes it fairly uncommon. My two cents, Dandy Dave!  

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I always had high horsepower muscle cars in the 60's and 70's (70 SS Chevelle the best), but in the '80's one of my favorites was an '87 Lincoln Mark VII. Not a muscle car, but a very good driver with lots of bells and whistles. Black inside and out, not much chrome and beautiful lines. It was a great highway car for long trips. Traded it in on a Jeep limited edition, what a mistake. Can't keep them all, as much as I'd like to.

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My favorite 1970's Car is a Mid 1970's Chevy Nova. 250 CDI 6 Cylinder with a 3 Speed automatic. I have had three driver Nova's in the past and a parts car or two through the years. Those cars were tough as nails and very reliable but here in the not so great North East they rusted away before the drive train ever gave up. I do not have the room now, but would have one again if it was a nice original, and if I had proper storage for it. I do have a 1982 Buick Rivera Convertible in my collection. I really like the way it runs and drives and for the fact that only 1,200 were built that year makes it fairly uncommon. My two cents, Dandy Dave!

You mean like my 1976 Olds Omega Brougham. I'm the original owner and the cars still has it's original drivetrain, original interior and original paint. See below:

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0124.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0125.jpg

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Perhaps you are thinking of the 1991-'92 Capri, which was a 2-seat convertible, based on the Mazda 121.

 

The Festiva was based on a Kia Pride.   Don't get me wrong, the Kia/Festiva was a great car, and one still sees them here on the road some 25 years since they've been made.

 

Craig

 

The Festiva was a Mazda design, built by Kia who sold the car as the Kia Pride.  The 121 was Mazda's version.  The Capri shares a lot of parts with the Mazda 323.  I'm actually about to buy a Capri XR2 to use for the FWD parts (oil pan, transmission, etc.) when I swap a Miata 1.6 engine into my Festiva.  All used variations of Mazda's B-series engines so it's easy to swap the parts between the different cars.  

 

mazda-121-05.jpg

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Yeah. That's the one. Dandy Dave! 

 

You mean like my 1976 Olds Omega Brougham. I'm the original owner and the cars still has it's original drivetrain, original interior and original paint. See below:

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0124.jpg
http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0125.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Other than the obvious (Corvettes, Grand Nationals, certain BMWs and Porsches, Firebirds, Mustangs, Eldorados, boat-tail Rivieras, DeLoreans, etc.) that are already established, if not necessarily universally appreciated collectibles, the most interesting cars of the malaise era in the future are going to be simply clean examples of regular everyday cars.

 

Already there is a kind of indifference among many towards the typical street rods, muscle cars and pony cars that have long dominated car shows and a growing appreciation towards "survivor" little old lady cars that were once passed up by enthusiasts as common. I know that I personally can no longer see the typical muscle car as anything but a "been there, done that", long-since-jumped-the-shark kind of thing, but am still nostalgic to see a nice, well preserved old Matador, Grand Am or Satellite - stuff that was once so common that I wouldn't look twice at it back in the day, but that has long since disappeared from our everyday life.

 

If you look at old photos of car shows, the cars  in the background are now just as antique as the ones on display. Well, today I'd probably be more interested to stroll through a c. 1970s - 1980s parking lot than through that show field. Just as with prewar cars today, just about any one that survives is interesting enough to preserve, even though some are more interesting and/or valuable than others. Any car that defines its era and brings back memories will be collectible in the future, some will just achieve that distinction a little faster.

 

 

Edited by Big Beat (see edit history)
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I always liked the NOVAs (Nova, Omega, Ventura, Apollo) & almost bought a '77 Pontiac Phoenix (Nova with a Grand Prix interior and the first rectangular headlamps from GM) but bought the V8 Sunbird instead.

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16 hours ago, Big Beat said:

If you look at old photos of car shows, the cars  in the background are now just as antique as the ones on display. Well, today I'd probably be more interested to stroll through a c. 1970s - 1980s parking lot than through that show field. 

 

Well said, Big Beat!  It would be interesting to see the

mixture of cars that were around back then.  It would give

us more insight into that part of history than what people

may remember many decades later.

 

And different parts of the country would show different mixes of cars.

A parking lot at a high-end California country club

--with more expensive and exotic cars, all rust-free--

would be quite different from a shopping center in New York State.

In that northern shopping center, cars would be more modest,

and the oldest cars would no longer exist due to salt and rust.  

 

I remember from growing up then, that a 10-year-old car was a rarity.

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I love the 73 Century Gran Sports. (Have a few!) Last year for a 455 Stage 1 with a 4 speed. Way better ride, handling and style than the Skylarks it replaced. 728 Stage 1's built. 92 Stage 1 4 speeds built. 45 Stage 1 SunCoupes built like the yellow SCO car shown, Black one is a 4 speed. Awaiting the finish of my Harvest Gold 4 speed hopefully in time for the Eastern NJ meet. The only American car in 73 faster was the SD455 Trans Am.

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IMG_6950.JPG

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  • 3 weeks later...

I remember growing up that every year the cars were better/faster and a car was considered worn out at 100k. Every kid knew every car by the taillights. Was a time when a three year old car was "old" and a Chevvy convertible with AM radio, 283 2bbl powerglide & power steering but manual brakes was obviously a rental.

 

Of course I also remember seeing rusty new cars on dealer's lots.

 

BTW I won a lot of autocrosses (and surprised a few Z-28s) with my '70 GS. Bit lighter than a 73.

 

buvette2.jpg

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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10 hours ago, padgett said:

I remember growing up that every year the cars were better/faster and a car was considered worn out at 100k....

 

I came a bit later.  I remember, growing up, that every year

the cars were lighter and flimsier, with more plastic than

the cars that came before!  

 

Hmmm.  That might be one reason why today's youth

have less interest in cars.  But it's also a reason they COULD be

intrigued by the old ones---

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        Posted 13 hours ago (edited) · Report post

I remember growing up that every year the cars were better/faster and a car was considered worn out at 100k. Every kid knew every car by the taillights

 

 I assume you are talking about cars from the 50's 60's. I know you are a smart enough guy to know  that cars of the 70's 80's 90's+ etc. were changing also, just in a different way. Examples would be in the realm of safety and emissions. Once the emission problems were brought under control, the next thing was to concentrate on mileage, after we got better mileage under control we started to work on performance again so that where we are today we have better mileage, better performance, and a much safer car. As far as body styling goes, much of styling is dictated by weight of the materials in a car, what happens in the wind tunnel, and safety equipment requirements.

 When I was a kid ( like five years old ) my dad would point to a car and I would be able to tell him make and most time year, however today most cars seem to look alike is what I hear. If I were to take a 32 Ford roadster, and a 32 Chevrolet roadster and ask my great grandson ( 7)  from 30 feet what was Chevy or Ford I know what he would say. " They both look  the same".

Ask yourself about this strange phenomenon; You buy a new car and suddenly you seem to see your make of car everywhere you drive.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

I came a bit later.  I remember, growing up, that every year

the cars were lighter and flimsier, with more plastic than

the cars that came before!  

 

Hmmm.  That might be one reason why today's youth

have less interest in cars.  But it's also a reason they COULD be

intrigued by the old ones---

We all know the usual distractions kids have these days, but consider this. These days if you want to go fast you are better off buying a fast factory car and that equals in most cases big bucks. Unlike the days of installing 2X4's and manifold, a hot cam a set of headers, and a turbo 350 or 400 and a 4.10 posi. on your 56 Chevy. Most kids today don't have the shop classes or knowledge we had, or consider this; unless a part has a CARB # you can't modify your car's engine or exhaust in any way legally. Safety inspections and emission testing have killed all the fun in modifying a new car in today's world.

You must remember when I or most of us on this forum were a kids our society was a can do society and today it's a can't do society. A example of that would be when I was a kid ( I lived in the outskirts but in the city of Los Angeles ) I could put my 22 rifle over my shoulder and walk down my street and go to the fields nearby and go dove hunting. Today that neighborhood is much the same and some of the fields are still there but if you did that especially at the age of ten, not only would you be in trouble but social services would have you taken away from your parents and tossed your parents in jail. Back then the conversation would be my mom saying what have you brought home for dinner?

 

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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"The rules are different here" (Florida slogan from a few years ago. We have no CARB. No inspections or emissions testing (removed in the 70's). And despite all of the snowbirds clogging the Interstate there is still a hundred mile stretch of the turnpike with one exit.

 

Personally I really like FI but am a sucker for lotsa carbs. Need to decide whether to put dual quads or a 66 tripower on the Judge...

 

ps: never had a .22, did have a .44 mag though.

 

pps 73 SD 455 Trans Am was fast but the 89 Trans Am was faster (had a six).

 

 

carbs.jpg

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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25 minutes ago, padgett said:

"The rules are different here" (Florida slogan from a few years ago. We have no CARB. No inspections or emissions testing (removed in the 70's). And despite all of the snowbirds clogging the Interstate there is still a hundred mile stretch of the turnpike with one exit.

 

Personally I really like FI but am a sucker for lotsa carbs. Need to decide whether to put dual quads or a 66 tripower on the Judge...

 

ps: never had a .22, did have a .44 mag though.

 

pps 73 SD 455 Trans Am was fast but the 89 Trans Am was faster (had a six).

 

 

carbs.jpg

 You know even though your county or state does not have emission testing, cars that were built with exhaust emission controls are requited by the federal government to have those devises on the car. Sometimes it makes it very hard to get a car registered when a car is sold out of a county or state by some moron who removed all the emission equipment.

I had that .22 when I was ten. If you had a .44Mag when you were ten you must have been one big fellow and used two hands. 

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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10 hours ago, helfen said:

I could put my 22 rifle over my shoulder and walk down my street and go to the fields nearby and go dove hunting. Today that neighborhood is much the same and some of the fields are still there but if you did that especially at the age of ten, not only would you be in trouble but social services would have you taken away from your parents and tossed your parents in jail. Back then the conversation would be my mom saying what have you brought home for dinner?

 

That must have been the same time Granny asked Jethro the same thing!

 

Craig

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4 hours ago, Tom99 said:

It's really nothing special, but it is mine, and I bought it new in June 1985.

My Oldsmobile Calais has a 5 speed manual transmission, HD suspension, and some other odd options.

85_Olda_Calais.jpg

Been to a car show with it? I bet it would attract attention. Have more pictures??

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6 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

With all the talk of hunting and small game,

I had to scroll up to the top to remind myself

what the original topic was--

It was a metaphor.

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19 hours ago, helfen said:

Been to a car show with it? I bet it would attract attention. Have more pictures??

I've only had it in one show. It was an Oldsmobile Club of America zone show. My car received Chairmans Choice, and class awards.

Most of the shows here in Houston are 1979 and earlier, or it is put in with newer Mustang's, Corvette's and Camaro's. I don't bother

showing it. Very few people seem to have an interest in it, it's not a muscle car.

The car is all original, except the two outside mirrors have been repainted, and I know have different wheels on it. The 205 70 R13's are hard to find, and

they are expensive. For driving, I have American Racing wheels, and 14" tires on it.

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6 hours ago, Tom99 said:

...My car received Chairman's Choice, and class awards.

Most of the shows here in Houston are 1979 and earlier....

Very few people seem to have an interest in it, it's not a muscle car....

 

Tom, EVERY car, before it's appreciated, goes through a period of being ignored.

Even Duesenbergs languished on car lots, since who would want an outdated gas-guzzler?

 

Just take the apathy in stride, and appreciate the fact that you're preserving history.

Eventually people will wonder where they all went, and you or your children will have one.

You could even put a card on the windshield explaining that it has a factory stick-shift--

that alone might bring it some more attention!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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52 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Tom, EVERY car, before it's appreciated, goes through a period of being ignored.

Even Duesenbergs languished on car lots, since who would want an outdated gas-guzzler?

 

Not completely true.  Very few Duesenbergs actually got scrapped.  They might have gotten cheap (relatively speaking) but they still rarely changed hands in the hundreds of dollars range.  By 1960 the prices were already climbing.  There was always somebody that wanted a Duesenberg.

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I think the Studebaker Avanti set a record in recovering from the depreciation cycle to its original selling price. I don't think there are many others that come close.

 

Today a 1991 car is eligible for all the benefits of an antique car. And it reflects in my online searches. I have a mushy spot between the ears for the V12 BMW coupes and it is a sweet spot for the Silver Spurs. A 1991 5.7 Fleetwood Brougham in the right color would be a great score and probably on a $6500 budget. Imagine the car you could get for 10K. That's is a little less than the equivalent value I paid for my Riviera in 1978.

 

Even though my Impala SS is only 22 years old it is recognized as a desirable variation of the Caprice and has had collector insurance since it turned 20.

 

Looking for a bigger building!

Bernie

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