What's the most collectible car from the malaise era?

Illustration for article titled What's the most collectible car from the malaise era?

The 10 years spanning 1975 and 1985 were abysmal for American-made high-performance cars. And yet, there's a growing, nostalgia-led interest in the vehicles of this era. What's the most collectible car from the malaise era?

This question comes to us thanks to Rollo Grande, who shares our own pick for the most collectible malaise-era car. That is, the Cosworth Vega. Back in the early '70s, GM star exec John Delorean knew that even economy cars, like the company's recently-released Vega, need a performance halo. A Telex to Cosworth's Keith Duckworth led to a partnership that bore fruit in the form of a twin-cam, aluminum-block inline-4 based on the two-liter Cosworth EA racing engine.

Of course, an early street version with a 12.1 compression ratio requiring high-octane leaded gas and producing 185 hp was detuned to a mere 110 hp to meet emerging corporate average fuel economy requirements. Produced only during the 1975 and 1976 model years, the Cosworth Vega was no economy car, and cost just $900 less than a Corvette. Chevrolet only sold around 3,000 of the things, but the remaining examples have quite a following as perhaps the cheapest way to bask in the Cosworth racing aura. Well-preserved CVs are a wonderful thing.


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The 8/8/2011 issue of "Autoweek" did a thing about the worst "collectible cars" based on return on investment.

Here's their list:

74-76 Cosworth Vega Cost $6k new = $26k today's money. Today's estimated value $20k

76 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible Cost $15k new. Today's estimated value $15k

81 Imperial Coupe Cost $18311 new. Today's estimated value $10k

78 Corvette Indy Pace Car Today's estimated value $35k - 50k

84 Pontiac Fiero Indy Pace Car Cost $11k new. Today's estimated value $22k

Thank you AUTOWEEK magazine.