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The Best Cars From The '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s



  • berriberri Posts: 4,138
    Funny story on those pop up hidden headlights. When I was young I had a good friend who had an Opel GT. Now you had to hide the headlights somewhere on that car since there was no level surface plane for them. I always knew when he was visiting because I could hear him pounding on the lights to close them (and he often had to do the same thing to open them). Kind of liked the car though.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,138
    ...the corners have that "Chinese Lantern" look

    I didn't mind that look really. Didn't the 67 Chevy kind of do the same thing but on a less pronounced scale?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    Didn't the 67 Chevy kind of do the same thing but on a less pronounced scale?

    Yeah, it did, and to a lot of people, 1967 marked a major change, where Chevrolet was starting to eschew sportiness in favor of wanna-be luxury. Which, in the 1970's, would transform into pimpiness.

    On the Riviera, which was a much more upscale car, and designed with a bit of neoclassicism in mind, I think it worked fine. But on the Chevy, it just seemed a bit pretentious. Of the '65-70 models, I think the '67 is actually my least favorite Chevy overall, although I do like its dashboard. And, it's not a case of I think the '67 sucks, or anything like that...I just happen to like the other models better.

    With the Riviera, I guess the '63-65 is considered the most collectible, but personally, I prefer the '66-69 models.
  • The 67 chevy is your least favorite dude what about the chevy volt that is ugly. Then all those chevy caprices out of the mid 80s sure you wouldn't rather have that 67 chevy. or that chevy chevette then there is that my favorite, the 58 Buick Invicta convertable have you seen one ?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The '63-65 Riv has always been considered 'the most collectible Riv', but other than '65 GS models, remain quite affordable. Check out eBay for them at any given time.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    For years I never liked those first Toronados. Always thought they looked way too big for that swoopy styling. In the past couple years I've come to like them more. Always admired the engineering though.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 693
    edited September 2011
    But the Torino was also a fat, heavy car, and NEEDED a V-8! Although I don't think I'd want a GM Colonade with a 6 or small V-8. Maybe a Malibu with a 305 wouldn't be TOO bad?

    Curb weight for a 1976 Malibu with a 305 V8? Probably 2 tons.
    Curb weight for a 1976 Torino with a 351 V8? Probably 2 tons and an extra 150 pounds!

    I grew up in the 70s era which gets re-written and re-made into movies, music and fiction far more often than I would have ever imagined back then. For example, "The Colonades (sic) were...considering the times...a great choice in midsized cars back then. Quality control was pretty good for the era..."

    I know that people really liked Smokey and the Bandit, Foreigner, 3.2 beer and GM's 50% market share of the car biz. There will never be another time like that. (Insert sarcastic retort HERE.)

    If you weren't there, then you missed some party. And if you were there then we both know that there weren't too many "great choices" taken or even available in the 70s. And no, I'm not picking on GM's fat boy, colonnade lineup as the worst example of that, either. The 70s were, put bluntly, an all-you-can-eat-buffet of bad choices and questionable judgement. And that's the point. Now that the 70s are gone, we should all have a more sober, clearer vision of what can/should be salvaged from that era. I liked a lot of things back then and can't defend any of it!

    Please strike GM's Colonnade-style cars from consideration as a "great choice" of anything ever created from raw materials on this planet. Thanks and have a nice day.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The '67 Chevy did have the 'Chinese Lantern' look too, but not as large as the first Rivs. I know it's sacrilege to say that. I will say when you got cornering lights on the Chevy, they were placed in this area, which is clever I think. Andre, I like on the '67 Pontiacs where the cornering lights were if ordered, but do you believe how they did the '68's? Looks like out of a J.C. Whitney catalog!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    My sister and her husband bought a new, dark chocolate brown '73 Chevelle Deluxe wagon with six-cylinder and Turbo-Hydramatic! No stoplight races going on with that baby. I did drive it a little at age 16. Funny, starting in mid-year '73 when the front bumper filler was body-color instead of silver on all colors, I liked the '73 Chevelles, even with the big front bumper. I like the glassy greenhouse, and they were quieter and better-riding than the '72's, although that's been lost to history now I think.
    In later years, they changed the round taillights for the sake of change. The '75's rear end lights were so sloppily engineered, they looked like a low-rent body shop did the conversion. And I'm a Chevy guy (especially so back then)!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    edited September 2011
    I've always thought the best cars of the 70s were used cars from the 60s. there were painfully few highlights from any maker, and everyone had a share of crap.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I've always thought the best cars of the 70s were used cars from the 60s. there were painfully few highlights from any maker, and everyone had a share of crap.

    They probably were! The first car I can remember us having was a 1968 Impala 4-door hardtop that Mom drove. My grandparents had bought it new, but in '72 gave it to my Mom in trade for her '66 Catalina convertible, which my Dad had ragged out, and then they used the Catalina as a trade on a new Impala.

    I don't remember much about the Impala, but Mom said it was a good car. In '75 she traded it on a new LeMans coupe. The rear-end was starting to go out on it, but that was about it. It wasn't rusting, falling apart, or anything like that. But it was starting to look like an old car, simply because the styles were changing.

    In retrospect, I wonder if she would have just been better off getting the rear-end fixed, and keeping the '68 awhile longer? Even though it was a bigger car than the LeMans and had a slightly smaller engine (327 versus a 350), the Impala was probably faster, and I wouldn't be surprised if it got better fuel economy, too!

    The LeMans actually wasn't a bad car, although I do remember the distributor failing on it when it was fairly new. Dad wrecked it in 1977, and after it got fixed, it never seemed to run right again.

    It's funny, but as much as I love the '76-77 LeMans, I hated that '75 when I was a kid. It's amazing what a difference a facelift can make, although most people, I think, prefer the round-headlight models.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    edited September 2011
    I probably missed somebody else posting these, but the gen 1 VW GTI would be my top car for the '80s. Also the HO V8-equipped Mustangs, as crude as they were.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    the gen 1 VW GTI would be my top car for the '80s. Also the HO V8-equipped Mustangs, as crude as they were.

    I had both (not at the same time), an '83 (Rabbit)GTI and an'86 Mustang GT 5.0 convertible. Fun cars indeed and certainly among the best of the 80s. :shades:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,623
    My dad had a beautiful blue '63 Riviera that I loved...even though those doors were quite heavy. Was almost as big as the caddy my mom drove. He went on to get a '67 and then a '69 Toronado. Now those were great cars and the front wheel drive was great for when we lived in New York. But my true favorites are the Pontiacs and Buicks from the late '50's...true land yachts but loved the use of the chrome. The best part was that the cars changed every year back 5 to 6 year cycles where the car was tweaked a bit in year 4. Now those were the glory days of Detroit!

    It was a great perk for my mom that the business leased her a new caddy every two years...they just about fit in the old garage but boy were they beautiful pieces of metal!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    edited September 2011
    I have vague memories of 70s cars in the family...I remember my mother's huge T-Bird vividly, I remember my maternal grandfather had a big pre-downsizing Chrysler and my grandma had an Olds, while my other grandfather had a 70s Ford truck along with a period Chevy conversion van and the other grandmother even had a Pinto for a time (she liked it!), but I don't remember much else. I do remember how poorly the T-Bird aged though, and how all cars then seemed to need the hood to be raised at an unplanned moment from time to time
  • berriberri Posts: 4,138
    Speaking of 50's big GM cars, I always thought the 55/56 Buick, Olds and Caddy were classic looking vehicles even today. With Pontiac, I lean more toward the 58 and 59. Olds pulled the 59 new look off better than Buick IMO. The 59 Caddy is a car of great debate, but that alone really makes it a milestone vehicle. Personally, there's something about it that symbolizes our growth, strength and optimism as a country back then, so I'll always be a fan.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,138
    The 70's have a lot of things going against it like rapid run up in demand, inflation and Nixonomics, the initiation of EPA and safety rules, etc. I think I best remember the decade for GM's success in starting the effective downsizing trend. People can bash GM, but cars like the 77 Impala were an outstanding engineering accomplishment and a market success story. It was a milestone car IMO.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    cars like the 77 Impala were an outstanding engineering accomplishment and a market success story. It was a milestone car IMO

    I've mentioned before how we had a bright red '77 Impala coupe 305 bought new in Nov. '76. We traded in a '74 Impala Sport Coupe and I liked driving the '77 better in every possible way. I was away at college and a hometown buddy told me on the phone, "I saw your Dad driving a new Impala!". I went home for the weekend and shortly after I got home my Dad asked if I could run an errand and take the car. The '77 was in the garage, but I knew about it already!
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    My dad had a '76, I think.

    The '77s still just seemed like typical land barges to me. By 1977, you could easily buy cars with fuel injection, 4 wheel independent suspension, decent gas mileage, etc. So, how exactly was the Impala breaking new ground?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    The '77 Impala may not have been a technical breakthrough in any one area, but it proved to buyers that 'downsizing' could be pretty much painless, with better cars, better handling, better mpgs, and just about the same amount of room. So by that measure they were certainly one of the best US cars of the 70s.

    The downsized Caprices became very popular, showing up in neighborhoods formerly frequented by Buicks and Caddys.
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