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The 30 Coolest Cars of the 1970s
The 1970s were all wings and wedges and jaw-dropping designs, the best of which stand the test of time today.
Some of the most radical designs in all of car history came from the 1970s. These are some of our favorites.
The XJS first hit production in 1975, sporting stunning looks and a magnificent V-12 engine. Questionable reliability caused heavy depreciation as the cars aged, meaning you can now pick one up for well under $10,000.
Porsche dominated Le Mans in the early 1970s with its 917 race car, spawning different variants like the 917/20 shown here. It was one of Porsche’s most successful motorsport programs, and the cars remain icons to this day.
Though it might not be as exotic as some of the other cars on this list, the TR7 remains one of the great vehicles of the 1970s. It was stylish, lightweight and incredibly fun to drive. This convertible model is up for bidding right now on eBay.
Porsche built a bunch of 914s in the 1970s, but just a tiny fraction of them were equipped with flat-six engines. Taken from the 911T, the motor made this baby Porsche into a serious performer.
The original Vantage debuted in the early 1970s as a muscular coupe. It had a V-8 like a muscle car, and sounded wonderful. They’re pretty hard to find these days, and when they do come up for sale, they’re incredibly expensive.
The 928 was originally supposed to replace the 911 as Porsche’s flagship vehicle. But the 911 was saved, and the two cars were sold side-by-side for awhile, until the 928 was eventually dropped. Here’s an S4 model you can own right now.
The Montreal is one of the coolest-looking Alfas out there. It has a classic GT profile, and sports some incredibly cool headlight shrouds that drop down out of view when you flip the bulbs on.
The first Challenger made its debut in 1970, and it remains one of the coolest vintage muscle cars you can own. The new Challenger may make over 700 horsepower, but for some reason, we prefer this one. This one’s painted in a lovely shade of purple, and it can be yours today.
The 2002 was around before the ’70s, but its most desirable non-turbocharged trim, the “tii,” didn’t come around until 1971. It had a fuel-injected engine that made 130 horsepower, resulting in some serious performance for the time. This one is up for grabs on eBay right now.
Fiat’s quirky mid-engine ’70s sports car was designed by Bertone, and still looks great today. If you can find one that hasn’t been rusted to bits, we’d say it’s worth holding onto. Here’s one for sale on eBay.
The RX-7 first hit dealerships in 1978, amassing a large following thanks to its lightweight body and wonderful rotary sound. This one has under 100,000 miles, and you can own it today.
The Celica takes a lot of its design from American muscle cars of the time, but really, it’s just a fraction of the size. Still, the looks worked, and it drove great. This one is incredibly clean, and it’s for sale on eBay.
It seems like the G-Wagen has been around since the beginning of time, but really, it got its start in the late 1970s. Of course, it hasn’t changed much since then—this 2002 model is for sale right now.
Chevrolet introduced the second-gen Camaro in 1970, with wildly new looks. People loved it, and examples like this one are now extremely desirable. This one’s been heavily modified, and you can buy it now.
The 1970s saw Porsche’s first turbocharged 911, with widner fenders, a big wing, and a whole lot of power. It had a tendency to snap-oversteer mid-corner, earning the nickname “the Widowmaker.” Here’s one listed for sale for under $80,000.
Some people may not like the C3-generation Corvette, but really, what’s not to like? Chevy offered some big-power engines, and the looks are top-notch. This one is painted in a lovely shade of green, and it’s up for bidding right now on eBay.
Technically, the Datsun Z was first introduced in 1969. But it was sold until 1978, so we’d say it counts. Stylish looks and a wonderful straight-six engine are just some of the reasons why people love it. Here’s one with some patina that you can own today.
Like the Datsun, production for the Mach 1 actually started in 1969, but was sold until ’78. It’s a true 1970s car, and one of the coolest muscle cars ever made. There’s a white one for sale on eBay right now that we love.
The 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built by BMW based on its 3.0 CSi grand tourer. The “L” stood for lightweight, representing all the weight-saving measures BMW took to make the car as nimble as possible.
The Stratos is perhaps the most recognizable vintage rally car of all time, sporting a distinctive wedge shape, a deeply curved windshield, and some period-correct pop-up headlights.
“So aerodynamic, it went 140 mph with just 170 horsepower. To this day, it still looks like the future.” — Jay Leno
The flat-six was bumped up to 2.7 liters from 2.0 liters for the RS, part of the reason being that the RS needed to meet motorsport homologation requirements for FIA Group 4 class racing. It made 210 bhp and had mechanical fuel injection and the famed ducktail spoiler. The name “Carrera” came from the Carrera Panamericana Race in Mexico during the early 1950s.
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The 2.7 RS was a simpler, more sporty lightweight version of the already fantastic Porsche 911 of the time. Built in extremely limited numbers, examples are now sought out by collectors everywhere.