15 of the Absolute Grooviest Cars of the ’70s

1974 Ford Gran Torino Starsky and Hutch - Coolest Cars of the 1970s

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1971 Chevrolet Camaro
1971 Chevrolet Camaro by cars cars cars Florida (CC BY)

Sweetest Rides of the '70s

In the ’70s, some motorists got stars in their eyes when they looked at muscle cars, while others gravitated toward supercars or even subcompact models. While what’s “cool” just depends on what appeals to each driver, we found 15 of the most iconic, attention-grabbing cars of this funky decade to get the conversation started and used J.D. Power and Sports Car Market to document the manufacturer's suggested retail price for each.

Related: This Was the Average Car Price the Year You Were Born

1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6
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1. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport

MSRP: $3,486 

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $27,358

Chevy rocked the muscle car world with the release of the 1970 Chevelle SS. Dubbed “The King of the Streets,” the Chevelle had Chevy’s LS6 454 cubic inch engine, which put out 450 horsepower and pushed out 500 foot-pounds of torque — the most powerful engine offered in 1970. The car had sculptured lines above the wheel openings and featured a blacked-out grill that was split horizontally and had a large “SS” emblem dead center. It also had cowl induction, with a vacuum-operated door at the rear of the hood that fed air from the base of the windshield to the carburetor, allowing for smoother airflow at high speeds.

Related: Want a Truly American-Made Car? Pick One of These

1971 Chevrolet Camaro
1971 Chevrolet Camaro by cars cars cars Florida (CC BY)

2. 1971 Chevrolet Camaro

MSRP: $3,635

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $27,353

The 1971 Chevy Camaro highlighted some small but significant changes from its 1970 models, welcoming high-back seats and updated emblems that included shortening the “Camaro by Chevrolet” on the trunk lid to “Camaro.” Motorists could get the Camaro in four model options: Rally Sport, Super Sport, Z28, or coupe.

Related: Tail Fins, Hood Ornaments, and Other Classic Car Features You Don't See Anymore

1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda Convertible
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3. 1971 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda Convertible

MSRP: $4,348

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $32,718

There’s an inherent allure to rare cars — a “you want what you can’t have” notion. The mega-rare 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible is extra elusive since there were only 12 models ever made, with five of them shipping overseas. The car was built on a new E-body platform and had a wide body with a low stance. What does a rare car that looks this cool cost today? Apparently, its worth is valued north of $4.8 million.

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1972 De Tomaso Pantera
1972 De Tomaso Pantera by Hugh Llewelyn (CC BY-SA)

4. 1973 De Tomaso Pantera

MSRP: $10,295

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $70,651

An Italian-American supercar, the 1973 De Tomaso Pantera featured an Italian chassis and body with an American Ford V-8 in the back with a manual transmission. The car embodies the foundations of race cars and was featured in several car race touring classes.

1971 Chevrolet Vega
1971 Chevrolet Vega by wallerdog (CC BY-SA)

5. 1971 Chevrolet Vega

MSRP: $2,090

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $15,727

Meant to replace the Corvair, the 1971 Chevy Vega was a fresh four-cylinder subcompact offered in four two-door models: panel express truck, sedan, Kammback station wagon, and hatchback coupe. It was the first car Chevy offered with front wheel disc brakes standard. 

1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

6. 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

MSRP: $3,258

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $23,740

The Cutlass Supreme was Oldsmobile’s top intermediate vehicle. The 1972 model was offered as a sedan or coupe. Motorists could choose between a cloth or vinyl interior, and the car featured a 350 V-8 engine. 

1972 Chevrolet Nova
1972 Chevrolet Nova by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

7. 1972 Chevrolet Nova

MSRP: $2,467

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $17,976

The 1972 Chevy Nova came in multiple engine options, and drivers could choose between a coupe or sedan. This model brought the Nova one of its best years, with nearly 350,000 units sold. The V-6 model was wildly popular, selling just under 140,000 units. The car also offered a Skyroof option — a soft, foldable sunroof available in six color options.

1970 Dodge Challenger T/A
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A by Greg Gjerdingen (CC BY)

8. 1970 Dodge Challenger

MSRP: $3,266

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $25,632

What started as a challenge to the Mustang and Camaro pony cars became one of the most classic muscle cars around. Although the 1970 Dodge Challenger wasn’t overly popular when it debuted, it is now considered a rare collector’s car. The chiseled design of the Challenger was bold and eye-catching, but the car wasn’t cool just in the looks department. Equipped with the iconic Hemi V-8 engine, the ’70 Challenger had plenty of power too. 

Related: Fiendishly Fast: Once-Banned Dodge Demon Returns With a $100K Price Tag and 1,025 HP

1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1 by Jack Snell (CC BY-NC-ND)

9. 1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1

MSRP: $4,523

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $21,127

This marked the last year for the legendary Ford Mustang Mach 1. With a two-barrel six-cylinder engine, the Mustang generated 104 horsepower and sported a brushed aluminum dashboard panel, styled wheels with raised white lettered tires, and a full instruments package.

1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am by priceman 141 (CC BY)

10. 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

MSRP: $4,204

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $28,851

The 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am featured the second-generation body style and was offered with a special engine version called the Super Duty 455. The engine was innovative because it had a strengthened cylinder block with four bolt main bearing caps. In 1973, auto manufacturers were veering away from muscle cars, which were expensive to maintain and insure, but that didn’t stop Pontiac — it released the ’73 Firebird that became known as the fastest Pontiac ever.

1977 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
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11. 1977 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

MSRP: $8,648

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $43,477 

The 1977 Chevy Corvette Stingray shied away from the usual wild design and had a more sophisticated appearance. The sleek look of the car is only part of what makes it so desirable. If you had a need for speed in the ’70s, this Corvette was a great option with its 350 cubic inch V-8 engine that churned out 210 horsepower.

1972 Ford Pinto
1972 Ford Pinto by Vauxford (CC BY-SA)

12. 1972 Ford Pinto

MSRP: $1,960

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $14,282

In 1972, the subcompact Ford Pinto gained notoriety for being cheap and fast. The lightweight vehicle featured a solid rear axle and a rear-mounted fuel tank, so its design wasn’t exactly the safest — it could lead to fuel spillage and fire in an accident. But safe doesn’t always equate to cool, right?

1972 Plymouth Road Runner
1972 Plymouth Road Runner by GPS 56 (CC BY)

13. 1972 Plymouth Road Runner

MSRP: $3,095

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $22,552

Equipped with a 400 engine with dual exhaust, the 1972 Plymouth Road Runner boasted a heavy duty suspension and brakes. Unique features included a vinyl bench seat, a day/night rearview mirror, a “beep beep” horn, a three-spoke steering wheel, and Road Runner decals and trim items. 

1977 Cadillac Coupe Deville
1977 Cadillac Coupe Deville by That Hartford Guy (CC BY)

14. 1977 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

MSRP: $9,810

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $49,319

Sleek and luxurious, the 1977 Cadillac Coupe DeVille boasted a thinned-out design distinct from previous Cadillacs. The car was lighter, had a smaller wheelbase, and was shorter in length than previous years, albeit still spacious. The Coupe DeVille was fast, too, with a V-8 good for 180 horsepower. 

1976 Ford Gran Torino
1976 Ford Gran Torino by Sicnag (CC BY)

15. 1976 Ford Gran Torino

MSRP: $4,461

Inflation-Adjusted Cost (in 2023 dollars): $23,885

This was the year of change for Ford’s Gran Torino. The sport option was discontinued and the car was available in nine body styles. The model was the first to offer a power trunk release and an automatic parking brake release. The flashy car was so cool that it was featured in the TV show “Starsky and Hutch.”

Related: Classic Cars That Made a Comeback