The malaise era was rough, but even in those dark times there were bright beacons of hope. These Jalopnik reader-chosen cars managed to stay at least a little interesting during a time when most cars sucked. Here are their top ten collectible malaise era cars.
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10.) Ford Mustang SVO
Suggested By: Jstas
What Makes It Collectible: Despite being pretty effectively neutered compared to Mustangs of the past, the SVO looked alright on paper. It came with a turbocharged inline four from the Pinto that put out 200 horsepower, Hurst shifter, updated and improved suspension and bigger brakes and wheels. Also, it included a switch on the dashboard that would allow the driver to change engine settings for regular or premium gas, (with a slight performance drop-off for regular).
Photo credit: The Brain Toad, flickr
9.) Pontiac "Bandit" Trans Am
Suggested By: Potbelly Joe
What Makes It Collectible: Originally just a Special Edition 50th Anniversary Model Trans Am, the black and gold paint job it included would become synonymous with The Bandit. The 1976 car included a 6.6 liter 400 engine rated at 200 horsepower, T-tops, and all the freewheelin' attitude necessary to get a large amount of beer halfway across the country.
Photo credit: gummyv, flickr
8.) Dodge Mirada CMX
Suggested By: crazyrussian540
What Makes It Collectible: Dodge didn't make many Miradas, and even fewer have survived. The even-rarer top-of-the-line CMX model got a 5.9 liter V8 that turned out a whopping 185 horses through a three-speed automatic transmission (there was no manual option). The Mirada could also be had with a number of different roof options, from a regular coupe to a landau treatment, to glass, removable T-tops. A radio with an 8-track player was also an option.
Photo credit: dave_7, flickr
7.) 1973 Pontiac GTO
Suggested By: pauljones
What Makes It Collectible: In 1973 the GTO was made an option again for the Le Mans. It was immense. The Thing was the size of an aircraft carrier, and lost any of the sporting attitude earlier models may have had. But, it was only made like this for one year, and that makes it special. It had two big NACA ducts on the hood, a 400 cubic inch V8 that made 230 horsepower, and could be had with bucket seats. Only 4,806 were made.
Photo credit: Chad Horwedel, flickr
6.) Lincoln Continental Mk. V
Suggested By: dal20402
What Makes It Collectible: The Mark V Continental is notable for a couple of reasons, but especially for its "Miles-To-Empty" feature. It was the first to include a digital LED display on the dashboard that told drivers how many more miles they could travel before gassing back up. The car could be purchased with a choice of two engines from Lincoln: a 6.6 liter V8 that produced 179 horsepower, or a 7.5 liter engine that made 208. The Continental could also be ordered in a number of different special editions from fashion designers, including Bill Blass, Cartier, and Givenchy.
Photo credit: jcarwil, flickr
5.) DeLorean DMC-12
Suggested By: Gamecat235
What Makes It Collectible: In the future, when interstellar space travel is no longer a big deal, people will still look to the DeLorean as inspiration. Well, visual inspiration- its 130 horsepower V6 was totally uninspiring and disappointing for a car that looked the way it did. But thanks to its role in a series of films about time travel, no one will ever forget it.
Photo credit: Portt, flickr
4.) AMC Pacer
Suggested By: Hoccy
What Makes It Collectible: The fishbowl on wheels was never fast (two of its three engine options produced 100 horsepower) or quick on its feet, but it was a style icon. The car has become so entangled in the image of the 1970's that for someone looking to remember that part of their life, the car is an important accessory. Look out specifically for the Levi's Package option, which was only produced for 1977. It featured "denim-like" seats and stickers, and could be combined with the sporty Pacer X option for even more awesomeness.
Photo credit: Bahi P, flickr
3.) Dodge Shelby Charger/Omni
Suggested By: Reciprocal666
What Makes It Collectible: The Shelby affiliation with Dodge in the mid-1980's turned out a couple of interesting cars, namely the Charger and Omni GLH (an infamous shorthand for Goes Like Hell). Shelby's modifications didn't focus on outright speed for the Charger, instead going for improved handling and appearance. The company added body kits and stiffer suspensions along with improved brakes, wheels and steering setups. Later in the car's life, the engines would be improved as well. The Omni got a turbocharged engine, hence its name. The end of production for these cars culminated in the GLHS models, (Goes Like Hell Sm'more) of which 1500 total were produced.
Photo credit: jasonb42882, flickr
2.) Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S-3
Suggested By: ScreamingSloth
What Makes It Collectible: Although originally offered in coupe, sedan and wagon form, from 1974 to 1976 the Laguna was made only in S-3 coupe trim. The car was available with a variety of different power plants, from the 145 horsepower 350 two-barrel V8 all the way up to the 230 horsepower four-barrel 454 V8. Racing versions were also highly successful, with Cale Yarborough winning the first two of his three consecutive Nascar Winston Cup Championships behind the wheel of a Laguna S-3.
Photo credit: Sherlock77, flickr
1.) Buick Grand National/GNX
Suggested By: 6 Liter Horse Eater
What Makes It Collectible: The Grand National was around for a couple of years in the early 1980's, but didn't hit its stride until the car's big 1984 comeback. Now available only in all-black paint, its turbocharged 3.8 liter engine got fuel injection and produced 200 horsepower. Additionally, only 425 1984 Grand Nationals were produced with T-tops, making them exceptionally rare. A GNX, if you can find one, is even more collectible.
Photo credit: SigmaEye, flickr