Some people consider the ’70s to be the nadir of the automotive era, a period when emissions standards, gas prices, and the American industry’s interest in making anything other than crap resulted in much of the rolling stock from that decade being some of the worst ever. The thing of it is though, there were also a number of cars birthed in the seventies that you might not equate to that vilified era.
It’s perhaps hard to admit but Porsche made an earnest switch from rear-engine, air-cooled cars to the more traditional front-mounted wet and wild V8-powered 928 in the seventies. That car was so futuristic that it remained a part of Porsche’s lineup well into the nineties, and of course was the vanguard for the smaller 924/944/968 series. Volkswagen too made a similar switch, casting off decades of shrill flat-four ass-hangers for crisp-folded Giugiaro-designed front drivers that would define the hot-hatch classification – beginning in the seventies.
The car originating in the seventies that I think least defines that decade is also one of its most applauded failures – John Z DeLorean’s DMC 12, the product of his quixotic quest for automotive immortality. With its stainless steel body and gull-wing doors, the DeLorean still looks fresh to this very day, and only actually driving one, where ’70s levels of engine tech rear their ugly heads, would give a clue to the decade of its origin. You may very well not agree, considering the DMC 12 a time machine taking you back to the disco era, but if so, what ’70s car do you think least epitomizes that decade?
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