70s and 80s Cars Going Up in Price
Let’s be honest for a moment – the period from around 1972/1973 to about 1987 was a pretty dark time for automotive enthusiasts.
First, there was the switch from leaded fuel to unleaded fuel that started in 1972.
GM was among the leaders and for muscle car owners, horsepower numbers seemed to drop overnight.
By the 1980s, every car company was pushing for fuel economy and with gas prices now over $1 dollar per gallon, it was hard to justify commuting to work in a 455 equipped Trans Am.
The cars we got for the next decade or so or were some of the worst cars ever produced by any company in any country. Cars like the Chevy Chevette, the Citation, the 1981 Dodge Challenger, the Ford Granada, the Ford Fairmont cars like the Mustang II, which was an unmitigated disaster, was a low point of this era.
My high school parking lot was filled with these cars and almost every one of them was so poorly built that even before I knew much about cars, I knew these cars were rubbish.
They did nothing well – they weren’t fast, they didn’t handle well, and they didn’t stop well – but they weren’t supposed to.
They were basic transportation. I could’ve lived with all of that if the cars were built with any consideration to quality of reliability.
A brand new Ford Granada should not leak in the rain. You shouldn’t have to take the engine out of your Chevette to change the starter motor.
When I was teaching at automotive VoTech schools, a fellow instructor lamented that the dark days of the 1970s 1980s resulted in the loss of an entire generation of car enthusiasts.
1990s Brings Nostalgia
By the 1990s, people like me, who couldn’t afford that 69 Z28 were now able to and we, as a generation started searching for the cool cars of our youth.
While Camaros, Firebirds, Mustangs and Torinos were among the most popular, both GM and Ford made several other models that were available with V8 engines.
As they got gobbled up, prices of the cool cars – the Camaros, Mustangs and other 2 door muscle cars- started to rise.
They seemed to level off in the early 2000s, but more recently, we’ve seen those prices creep skyward.
Today, in 2021, most of the good examples of cool cars are about to launch into orbit, and as they pass through the stratosphere, what remains are the cars that were our second or third choice cars when were in high school. Cars like the 1974 Malibu, which was a far cry from its early model years.
As we see more 70s and 80s Cars Going Up in Price, we’re seeing cars being offered for prices that could have bought you a Lamborghini 10 years ago.
Bring a Trailer is a website that allows people to sell “interesting” cars. This listing is for a car that was probably bigger than my first apartment.
I’m sure there are some diamonds in the rough among cars during this period, but generally speaking, it was a dark time in the automotive hobby.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, of course, this begs this next question.
With 70s and 80s Cars Going Up in Price, what will be the best cars to buy?
I have my own ideas. None of them include anything with four doors, nor would I look at any station wagons. These cars were decidedly uncool when I was in school. Just because car companies have now convinced people that a four-door car with a lift gate is a hatchback, it’s still a station wagon in my eyes and unless it’s a Chevy Nomad, I’ll take a hard pass.
I try to remind myself that just because I had good times in my mom’s station wagon, it doesn’t mean I’d bid on a 1979 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country wagon with genuine (read “fake”) wood siding on the side.
What cars from that error would you buy if you had the change.