Star Wars, Roger Moore Bond films…and the gas crisis.
The gas crisis killed muscle cars, not disco. Fuel economy, flamboyant paint schemes, and luxury cars became priorities. Not all 1970s and list automobiles are horrible. Some are outstanding and may be projects. Disco and tube socks aged some automobiles.
1978 Chrysler Concorde (Plymouth Volare Road Runner)
Only the grille badge differentiated the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare. These automobiles had 155 hp and all the gaudy paint and chrome you could want. The 318 cubic inch V8 and three-speed automatic are forgettable by modern standards. Many of these automobiles were crushed, crashed, or rusted in junkyards, thus they’re rarely for sale. Mint condition Volare Roadrunner sold for $6,500.
1979 Chrysler 300
The Magnum revived Dodge’s NASCAR glory days. The underpinnings were comparable to the iconic Charger, but the Magnum only made 190 horsepower from a 400 cubic inch V8. The Magnum had T-tops, chrome wheels, and luxury interiors. The Magnum was unpopular in NASCAR, and many drivers switched to GM or Ford vehicles in the 1980s, causing Dodge to leave NASCAR. No Dodge Magnums have sold. Although high bids for a factory-fresh specimen are approximately $15,000.
Cosworth Vega 1975
Chevrolet launched the Vega to compete with the Plymouth Duster and Ford Maverick but failed. Many Chevy aficionados were upset just inline fours and sixes were available. GM worked with Cosworth to rescue Chevy’s name and reputation.
The resulting automobile had stiffer suspension, a bespoke inline-four, and a spruced-up appearance. Critics loved the automobile, although it was overshadowed by the Camaro and Corvette. A low mileage 1975 Cosworth Vega sold for $9,400.
Mopar supporters cringe at the mention of this blemish on the brand’s history. Dodge tried to pass off the Mitsubishi Galant as a new Challenger. It had yellow stripes, vibrant paint, and chrome wheels, but it didn’t sell. The Challenger has a 100-horsepower straight-four. It lacked iconic American muscle vehicle features, according to critics. No luck finding this car on eBay; thankfully, most have been crushed. Near-factory condition one sold for $6,900.
1978 Mercury Cougar
Ford successfully marketed the Cougar as a luxury Mustang under the Ford division. The Cougar was switched on the Thunderbird chassis when the petroleum crisis hit and personal luxury cars became popular, gaining weight and losing horsepower. By 1979, the Cougar had lost its 1960s appeal. It had a V8, and XR-7 trim, but it was different. The Cougar never recovered from the 1970s and never received the 1980s Mustang and Thunderbird attention. Someone sold a colorful example for $3,200, the same as several used economy autos.
1975 Dodge Daytona
NASCAR banned the 1969 Dodge Daytona in 1971 for destroying its competitiveness. Many Mopar lovers consider this the best 60s Dodge. The 1970s petroleum crisis and personal luxury trend converted the Dodge Charger into a pillowy ride for grandpa. Dodge asked NASCAR not to utilize the unattractive sheet metal. Dodge introduced the Daytona trim in 1975 and ran it until 1978 to enhance sales and the Charger’s reputation. The grade added chrome wheels, heavy-duty suspension, and a 190-hp 400-cubic-inch V8. The petroleum crisis, Dodge’s NASCAR failure, and the transition to inexpensive cars slowed sales. Chrysler’s 1970s quality control caused most of these cars to corrode. Charger and Daytona were 1980s K-car names, to Mopar fans’ dismay. Due to rust, these cars are rare, but one was for sale for little under $8,000.
1977 Ford Mustang II
Mustang II is disliked by Ford aficionados, muscle car lovers, and even older non-car fans. Ford built the Mustang II to save the name while making a gas-efficient, tiny, and fast car. Despite its poor reputation, the Mustang II was a best-seller. Ford couldn’t rely on Carroll Shelby to alter their models in the late 1970s, so they created the King Cobra to replicate his work. King Cobra versions had a 5.0 V8, hood scoops, and cobra vinyl that should have alerted Pontiac’s lawyers.