Category: 1970’s

Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Like a kid in a candy store, we’re zipping our way around a vast, virtual car market that is the Hemmings Classifieds. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re circling around to a specific asking price point between $10,000 and $20,000, this time rounding up four-door hardtops and sedans from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We’ve mentioned this plenty of times before, but for those new to this game, the good news about a $20k cap is that it offers options in good condition (even in our inflated market). So, given the money and space, which one would you take home?


With exception of the Toronado, Oldsmobile’s Ninety-Eight (or, 98) continued its reign as the division’s top-of-the-line series for 1973, now offered in five body styles, including this four-door Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan. Bested in fine accoutrements by only the Ninety-Eight Regency, the hardtop’s lengthy listed of standard features included – but were not limited to – a 275-hp engine, Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, bench seats finished in “luxurious Bravo cloth with Morocceen trim” upholstery, windshield antenna, and more, all strapped to a 127-inch wheelbase chassis that cost $5,234 (or $34,335 in today’s currency). Olds built 21,896 four-door Luxury Sedans that year, making it the second most popular car within the Ninety-Eight series. From the seller’s description:

Talk about Old School Cool, once you see it, you won’t be able to walk away. Often turned into low-riders, or used for cruising or hopping, this car has the potential for it all. However, it’s perfect as is… a car that your Father drove and swore it was the best car ever. Finished in Honey Beige with Black 60/40 cloth upholstery, the looks are sure to get the town talking. Drive this one home now, it’s ready to go, in close to perfect condition. Solid body, chassis and drive train. Everything works and was a central part of an estate collection. Do you want to win car show trophies or just take the family out for an ice cream? Pile em’ and go. This car is an amazing drive that you don’t want to miss out on.

Price$18,500LocationCampbellsville, KYAvailability Available


Like the Olds Ninety-Eight, Chrysler’s New Yorker Brougham was bested only by the Imperial in terms of divisional luxury hierarchy by the time our featured 1974 four-door Brougham sedan was sold to its first owner. The Brougham’s mechanical DNA was identical to that of its base New Yorker sibling, meaning it was fitted with a 230-hp engine, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar front suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, and 15-inch wheels, yet the Brougham also benefitted from the installation of power windows, plusher 50/50 front bench seat with additional arm rests, upscale trim, and a few other bits, all for a standard base price of $6,479 (or $39,099 in today’s currency). While pillared four-door sedans sold exceptionally well in the entry-level Newport and Newport Custom series, the pillared four-door New Yorker Brougham flopped: just 4,533 examples were built. From the seller’s description:

This highly desirable top of the line 1974 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham has only 50,500 miles! Highly optioned with the iconic big-block 440 four-barrel V-8, three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, working air conditioning, power windows, locks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, vinyl top, factory AM/FM stereo, 50/50 power bench seat with dual armrests, etc. The body’s finished in Lucerne Blue Iridium, and is super straight rust free both top and bottom. All lights are in working order, the trunk trunk and engine compartment look like new. This car drives as good as it looks, and is guaranteed to draw attention. The 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler designed from the ground up, and one of the last to receive the big dog 440 V-8. Here’s your chance to own one at a very affordable price!

Price$12,950LocationMaple Lake, MNAvailability Available

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Which $10,000-or-Less Car From the 1970s Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


In our latest edition of This or That, we’re continuing our recent theme of cars with an asking price between $5,000 and $10,000, this time rounding up examples from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. As has been the case with previous installments having a $10k cap, moving up in price comes with a commensurate increase in condition, meaning these dream-garage opportunities need far less attention than our past $5,000 surveys. Will one of these varied gems tug at your heart strings?


As the Seventies marched on, the Newport continued its long tradition of capturing the majority of Chrysler’s divisional sales. In 1974, for example, Chrysler built a combined total of 8,194 Town & Country wagons, 25,678 New Yorker Broughams, and 6,138 base-series New Yorkers. Newport’s combined output numbered 49,696 units, which was complemented by another 27,667 upscale Newport Customs. The best-selling car of the entire panoply: our featured base Newport four-door sedan, at 26,944 examples. When new, they cost $5,225 each (or $29,458 in today’s currency) and were furnished with a V-8 and automatic transmission standard, along with power front disc brakes, electronic ignition, and more. The Newport had also been subtly redesigned in that it sat one inch lower and was five inches shorter than the ’73 version. From the seller’s description:

This beautiful 1974 Chrysler Newport is painted in Chrysler burnished red iridescent with a complementing full vinyl roof. Under the hood is a powerful 400 cubic inch V-8 attached to a three-speed automatic transmission. Odometer shows 63K; that?s less than 1200 miles a year ! The Light Gold geometric patterned cloth interior looks like new, and is the highlight of this Newport. The trunk is overly large and fully carpeted. Comfort features include power steering, power brakes, working air conditioning, cruise, and the original radio. This is a factory original zero rust car. All lights are in working order. At 226.6 inches long, this 1974 Chrysler Newport will certainly turn heads wherever it goes!


The Seventies encompassed a staggering number of market shifts from what was once the norm for Detroit. Some were expected, others were not, and a few – like AMC’s subcompact Pacer – were, well, simply surprising. The rolling fish bowl snagged many a buyer in its first year and a half of production, fulfilling the expectations of the AMC board but perhaps surprising a few automotive executives in Detroit. Shockingly roomy, certainly economical to operate, and stylistically unlike anything else on the road, AMC followed up on the Pacer’s early success by adding a station wagon version for 1977, such as this one we found for sale. With just a skosh more cargo room, the wagon outsold the hatch sedan 37,999 to 20,265 during the year, despite its modestly loftier $3,799 price tag (or $17,002 in today’s currency). From the seller’s description:

Rare find, well kept original car, nice freshened up interior, factory roof rack and original wheels covers, 6-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, power steering, cool car, runs and drives

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A modern design didn’t save the 1969-1975 International Pickups from plummeting sales – Pat Foster @Hemmings


For 1969, there was big news in America’s truck market: the announcement by the International Harvester Company of a completely redesigned lineup of light-duty trucks, its first all-new pickups since 1957.

The new trucks were very attractive. Called the “D” series, its styling was clean, contemporary, and ruggedly handsome. Bodywork was straight and uncluttered, completely abandoning the bulbous styling of previous models. Roofs and hoods were flatter and fenders crisper, providing a family resemblance to the smaller Scout line, and body sculpting was much more subtle. A rectangular grille with a similarly shaped “International” nameplate floating inside was clean and simple, and encompassed the single headlamps. Larger window areas lent a bright, airy feel to the cabin. Taken as a whole, the new trucks had a look of modern, clean efficiency. International dubbed it the “Now” look, and it was the work of International Harvester styling director Ted Ornas and his small staff of designers

The D series being all-new inside and out meant the company could now integrate the optional air conditioning system into the instrument panel for a much neater look, while also substantially upgrading interior trim. Seats were more comfortable and instrument panels more car-like. Management belatedly realized that the light-truck market had evolved over the previous few years and the average light-truck buyer wasn’t necessarily a commercial user; he or she often was an ordinary suburbanite using a truck as a second, or even first, car. These buyers wanted a more car-like interior along with the comforts and conveniences they enjoyed in their personal vehicles. Automatic transmissions, power steering, power brakes, and AM/FM radios had become the rule rather than the exception. Even commercial buyers were looking for more comfort features, since they often spent their entire day in their trucks.

Chassis frames in 115-, 119-, 131-, 149-, and 164-inch wheelbases were all new, with improved shock absorbers and suspensions, and modern cross-flow radiators to allow a lower hood line. The popular Bonus Load bodies (i.e., straight side versus fender side) featured double-wall construction to keep shifting-cargo dings from showing on the outside. In addition to the regular two-door cabs, a Travelette four-door pickup was offered, as it had been since 1961. Available in 149- and 164-inch wheelbases, it was sort of like a Travelall with a pickup bed.

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1973-’87 Chevrolet Pickup Buyer’s Guide – Mike McNessor @Hemmings

Rounding out some finer points of the popular “square body” haulers

There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years around 1973-’87 Chevrolet light trucks (and their GMC counterparts), aka “square bodies.” Whatever you choose to call them, these boxy trucks are popular because they’re widely available at affordable prices, there’s an abundant parts supply, they’re simple to work on, and they’re a blank slate for modifications

.The current trendiness of 1973-’87 Chevrolet light trucks is inspiring this issue’s buyer’s guide, but it’s probably overdue. While values have been on the upswing—we’ve seen some examples fetch breathtaking amounts at auction—with more than 10 million built, these trucks are still plentiful.

When Chevrolet’s C/K light trucks broke cover for the ’73 model year, they sported a new, more modern-looking profile, with a hood that was flush with the tops of the fenders and doors that were set into the trucks’ roofline. (To clarify: “C” for two-wheel drive, “K” for four-wheel drive, and in ’87 the nomenclature changed for one year on full-size pickups to “R” for two-wheel drive and “V” for four-wheel drive.) A four-door crew-cab model was also introduced as a $1,000 option on 1- and ¾-ton trucks.

Under the skin, updates from the 1967-’72 series included a switch from standard rear coil to leaf springs on two-wheel-drive ½- and ¾-ton trucks, longer front leaf springs and a standard front stabilizer bar on four-wheel-drives, full-time four-wheel drive, and an energy-absorbing steering column. The V-8 was offered for the first time, and the fuel tank was moved from inside the cab to outside the frame rails.

1976 C10 fleetside with the Silverado package

It was that last change that would embroil these trucks in controversy and lead to accidental deaths, a federal investigation, millions in court settlement costs, and a nationwide class action lawsuit. Long after the last of these trucks had left showrooms, their side-saddle tank design received a double dose of national media attention. First, in 1992, NBC’s news series Dateline aired a segment that showed a GM truck exploding when it was T-boned by a speeding Chevrolet Citation. Subsequently, Dateline retracted the segment and admitted that it had rigged the truck with incendiary devices to make it explode. But, in 1995, GM agreed to a $600-million settlement over the sidesaddle tanks. As part of the deal, owners of 1973-’87 GM light trucks were issued $1,000 rebates toward the purchase of a new GM vehicle.

Today, 1973-’87 GM light trucks make great projects and excellent work or play rigs. Their popularity means you might pay more for good examples as time marches on, but it also means a better return on investment. Due to the wide range of this guide, it’s a little bit general in some areas. For specific year and model details, go to, where every brochure from 1973-’87 is available for download, as are detailed information packets with dimensions, options, specifications, and more. That said, if you’re considering one of these hardworking haulers, here are some points to be aware of.

Silverado (left), which was the top trim offering with available cloth seats, carpeting, and more; Scottsdale was a step up from base and included vinyl upholstery, full-depth foam seat, and interior courtesy lighting.

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Which one of these 4×4 trucks from the early Seventies would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Believe it or not, the ancestral lineage of the modern four-wheel-drive system dates to 1893. Bramah Joseph Diplock, an English engineer, patented a four-wheel-drive system that year, designed for a steam-powered traction engine. The concept was then adopted by would-be dignitaries in the self-propelled industry, including Ferdinand Porsche (in 1899), Daimler-Benz (1907), Marmon-Herrington (1931), and a host of others, including American Bantam, which designed the prototype general purpose vehicle that famously became the jeep built by Willys and Ford during World War II. Three decades later, the 4×4 drive system – offered by multiple corporations – had attained a long-established reputation for uncompromising off-road durability. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating 4×4 vehicles from the early Seventies. Let’s take a closer look at four examples for you to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

Arguably, Jeep made the 4×4 vehicle both fun and affordable for the masses with a contemporary system that was truly battle-tested. Its proliferation beyond what became the CJ was hard to miss, offered in larger platforms such as this Commando-based Super Commando II from 1972. This was one of but a couple years in which the Commando line did not include the Jeepster name, and convertibles, like our featured vehicle, came standard with a removable hardtop, V-8 engine and, of course, the four-wheel-drive system. According to portions of the seller’s listing

The Commando had its own new front end and unique sheetmetal that made it one of the most distinctive Jeeps in decades. What makes this one even more distinct is it’s done in range-topping Super Commando II trim. While we don’t have the paperwork to confirm an SC2, the appearance absolutely shows the premium feeling correctly…The darker blue streak highlights the power bulge in the hood, and the full-length stripe is a reminder that these had flush-fitting front fenders…The sea of blue continues inside, and it shows off quite a comfy interior. You have high-back bucket seats with a velour pattern, and the door panels were even done to match…the dash has a great classic look with a clean pad, factory speedometer, heat/defrost controls, and even the locking hub instructions are still affixed. You’ll also notice well-integrated upgrades for more confident driving, including the auxiliary gauges…This optional 304 cubic-inch unit looks authentic and authoritative under the hood…A three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and Goodyear tires make for a good all-around cruiser…Plus, don’t forget as a true jeep you have a proper two-speed 4×4 transfer case.

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WATCH THIS: A zen moment with a Deuce – Dan Stoner @Hemmings


Sometimes, we just want to lay our eyes and rest our tormented souls on a simple car walk-around video. Just fire it up, lift the hood, let ‘er idle and walk the camera around it and let us enjoy. We’ll turn off the ringer, put the email dinger on mute and turn up the volume, just to keep ourselves centered and force us to remember what’s important in life.

If the car up for review is a drag car, that’s awesome. If that drag car is an unexpected jewel, even better. And if that jewel is a rare model of a car that’s oft-times forgotten or maligned, well, now you’re pulling at our blackest, thinnest, hardest-to-find heart strings.

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NASCAR downsized: Which one of these sell-on-Monday cars would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Word on the street was that Detroit was introducing downsized cars for 1977. When NASCAR got wind during the ’76 season, it began exploring the idea of initiating a rule change that would mandate a 110-inch wheelbase chassis, versus the then-current 115-inch design. But once that process began, developmental cost was a concern, prompting Bill France Jr. to issue a statement: “Eventually, we will have to follow Detroit’s trend. In order to curb expenses, the teams will be permitted to use equipment they already have instead of letting new equipment become obsolete in a short time.” The changes Bill hinted at were finally scribed into the 1981 rule book, with one exception: the outgoing cars would be permitted to race at the season opener at Riverside International Raceway (in Riverside, California) on January 11. Bobby Allison won at the helm of a 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. New downsized cars were permitted to compete side-by-side, even though they were not fully mandated yet. Dale Earnhardt finished third in one such Grand Prix, owned by Rod Osterlund.

Which one of these high-strung, small-cube muscle cars would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


Although the American muscle car was pretty much clearly defined by the mid-Sixties, automakers were quick to adapt the formula to different budgets, styles, and – in some cases – homologation rules. In other words, you didn’t have to have 400-plus cubes under the hood to go fast. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating a series of muscle cars that may have been small in terms of displacement, but offered big power and ample fun. Let’s take a closer look at four examples from 1968-’71 for you to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

The AMX immediately came to mind for the simple reason that AMC was the one company that was quick to offer a small displacement engine that offered spritely power at a reasonable price in racy trim. First released in 1969, the base-trim, two-seat AMX included a 225-hp 290, and cost $3,245 (or $24,933 today), helping push first-year sales to 6,725 units. The 1969 base price rose to $3,297, but that didn’t hold back sales, which rose to 8,293, one of which was this example, from the Hemmings Auctions Premium Classifieds.

The 290 was one of three available engines, the upgrade being a 280-hp 343. Of course, the top engine option was the 390, which is far more prevalent in the contemporary enthusiast market (see the link below). According to the original listing of this AMX:

This 1969 AMC AMX projects all the panache of the brand’s bold experiment, with a restoration that includes some aftermarket enhancements that amplify the AMX’s uniqueness. The seller says it was an original, rust-free California car, until he brought it to Florida in 2019, and that a rotisserie-type restoration on it was completed in 2013. It wears a custom Candy Apple Red finish and is driven by a punched-out 290 engine that now displaces 308 cubic inches

By the time 1970 rolled around, manufacturers had already found ways to pull more power out of true small-block engines rather efficiently. Arguably, one of Chevrolet’s best examples was its LT1 engine, as seen in this mid-year 1970 Camaro Z28 RS. In base trim, a V-8 powered Camaro cost $3,172; however the Z28 package delivered the LT1 engine – a small-block rated for 360 hp – for the small fee of $572.95 (or $3,959 today), which bumped the sticker price to $3,744.95 (or $25,874 today). Per our published resources, Chevrolet built 8,733 Camaros in Z28 trim. According to the seller of this example:

Front sub-frame off rotisserie restoration one year ago; everything new; numbers matching engine, tranny, differential; Mulsanne blue paint; M22 rock crusher four-speed manual transmission with 4:11 gears; LT1 V-8 engine, 360 hp.

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A budget-friendly rear disc upgrade for ’60s and ’70s GM cars – @Hemmings


When GM introduced front disc brakes on many of its passenger cars in 1967, they were a huge improvement over the drum brakes that were, for the most part, barely up to the task of stopping a 3,500- to 4,000-pound hunk of steel.

Nearly 50 years later, the old discs are certainly still suitable for a stocker, or a runner of occasional errands. But if you’ve made some mods to upgrade your ride’s power output, or have enhanced its lateral acceleration, chances are you can use a rear disc-brake upgrade as well.

Besides being a much simpler design with fewer moving parts, other benefits derived from such a swap include reduced fade after heavy use and easier pad replacement versus brake shoes; plus discs are virtually unaffected by water in the event of submersion. And, for you aggressive drivers out there, the braking force is much more linear with disc brakes and easier to modulate than that of drums, which are self-energizing by design and more difficult to manage

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The Bodybuilders is a color documentary filmed by Fisher Body between 1970 and 1972. Fisher Body was an automobile coachbuilder founded by the Fisher brothers in 1908, in Detroit, Michigan, and was dissolved in 1984 to be blended into General Motors. This film looks at the engineering and manufacturing needed to produce car bodies and their assembly.

The film opens showing industrial metal stamping machinery, presses, and sewing machines all doing their work making automobile parts that are to be assembled into Chevrolet Monte Carlos (0:082:00).

The Bodybuilders begin with product engineers who produce the concepts and ways of accomplishing those concepts (2:193:41). Computer printer (3:423:45). Engineers study new concepts and their cost (3:474:32).

Stylists put those ideas on paper (4:335:23). A Monte Carlo by Chevrolet assembled in 6 manufacturing plants from 1970-1972 (5:245:51).

They then focus on the comfort factor of roof, seats, seating space (5:526:13).

When all this is done final approval of the styling concept is given (6:136:26).

The design is then modeled in clay (6:276:48).

Electronic system called an electronic surface recorder is used to put clay dimensions into engineering drawings (6:527:12).

Photogrammetry is used to determine moldings and glass openings (7:137:23). Drawings are then transferred to a Honeywell series 200 computers which is called digitizing (7:357:45), puts dimensions on Punched tape (7:467:47), transferred to magnetic tape (7:497:50), and then to storage disks (7:517:52).

The Product Engineers use the computer information (7:538:23). A computer main frame system (8:248:39).

Machines are controlled by this computer information (8:449:27). View of engineers doing draftsman drawings (9:289:43).

Dies are used to stamp out metal parts (10:0110:07). Inca, a development of the General Motors manufacturing development organization, helps make the dies (10:0810:42).

Test bodies are created and tested (10:4312:13). Road testing the prototype at the Proving Grounds (12:1412:54).

Testing integrity and design (12:5513:23).

Tools and dies for making the prototype are designed and checked (13:2413:50).

Computer storage unit with printer (13:5614:01).

Rolls of aluminum and steel alloys being run through large presses making parts (14:0314:54).

Upholstery sewing machines at work on the interior needs (15:1216:31).

Automobile hardware and parts (16:3216:54).

Presses making the hardware (16:5517:36).

Parts ready to be assembled (18:3118:32).

Car parts being assembled (18:3319:06).

Tack welding (19:0719:13).

6 axes manipulators (19:2219:38).

Welding robotic machines (19:3919:48).

Smoothing and finishing welding (19:4919:58).

Assembling parts (19:5920:30).

Bonderite coating, a liquid chemical used to produce a protective coating on aluminum and aluminum alloys (20:3120:45).

Priming the car with robotic arms (20:4821:00).

Painting the car with robotic arms (21:0121:19).

Rear Seats being put in (21:3721:48).

Vinyl top being put on (21:4922:00).

Windshield put in place (22:0122:06).

1970-1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo moving through the assembly line (22:1722:21).

The water tunnel (22:2222:36).

Front seat put in (22:5322:58).

Released to the car division, the body building is complete (23:0423:30).

The body is placed on the frame and engine (23:4424:19).

The Monte Carlo rolls off the assembly line (24:4124:45).