- 1970s American

5 Cars You Might Have Forgotten that Were Made Due to the 1973 Oil Crisis.

Here we reflect back to American vehicles of the late 1970s and the 1980s that were developed as a result of the 1973 oil crisis.

1w ago
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Let's take a trip back to 1970s America, particularly keeping your attention on the vehicles.

1970s USA

1970s USA

Big, gas-guzzling vehicles clogging up the roads and highways. Many of them were loud, some were fast, all had ridiculously sized V8s and most were beautiful to look at. Although, in 1973 things changed with the oil crisis. Those large American V8 sedans and trucks we have come to love were now imposing a serious issue on our oil and gas industry. They were inefficient and consumed far too much gasoline. America needed to change its ways and as a result, this article captures five American vehicles that were made due to the 1973 oil crisis.

1. The 1981 Dodge Omni. (One of America's takes on a Japanese hatchback).

1981 Dodge Omni

1981 Dodge Omni

Yes, it's a hatchback you wish you could unsee. It's not very nice to look at, it wasn't very fast and if you hit a pothole, your spine would shoot through your skull but it was, to say the least fuel-efficient. It also brought new standard tech features that many cars of the 1970s did not have. Powered windows and powered seats and adjustable mirrors. Later models even had airbags and ABS. It was futuristic for its time. Best of all it got 26 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway.

2. The 1981 Mercury Lynx LS-3

1981 Mercury Lynx LS-3

1981 Mercury Lynx LS-3

Obviously another yellow American hatchback. This is Mercury Lynx, it came standard with a 4-speed manual transmission and optional 3-speed automatic. It had a 1.6-litre inline-4 and did 0-60 in 14.1 seconds. I believe the man in the photo is a little too happy to be driving this hatchback as I would not be very pleased if my first car was a Mercury Lynx. But, hey, it did 25.6 mpg in the city and 30.8 on the highway so at least it has fuel efficiency going for it.

3. The 1979 Plymouth Horizon

1973 Plymouth Horizon

1973 Plymouth Horizon

Alright, I'm starting to see a trend here with yellow vehicles and I don't know why. This is another simple American hatchback, it's fuel-efficient and gets 28.7 mpg in the city and 41.9 on the highway. Not bad for a vehicle from the 1970s. It weighed less than a ton at 968 kilograms, did 0-60 in 15.1 seconds and was speed governed to 94 MPH. Personally, I wouldn't want to drive this above 70. An Interesting fact about this car is that it had a 1,297 cc Volkswagen engine in it, producing 59 horsepower.

4. The 1984 GMC S-15 Pickup

1984 GMC S-15 Pickup

1984 GMC S-15 Pickup

Finally, a vehicle that is not yellow. Quite surprising to see a pickup truck in this list but this GMC S-15 from 1984 was surprisingly fuel-efficient compared to other trucks of the era and years before it. With the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission, it got 23 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. It was also the official vehicle of the Olympics for that year. Not a bad-looking truck if you ask me.

5. The 1982 Dodge 600 ES

1982 Dodge 600 ES

1982 Dodge 600 ES

Sort of saving the best for last in my opinion. As Dodge put it: "building an American car for the family used to be easy, just build it big. Now, it has to be big and small". That is certainly the case for this extended wheelbase K-platform car. The base engine was Chrysler’s K 99 bhp 2.2 litre/135 ci inline four with fuel injection. The high-performance option was the Turbo I 146 bhp version of the same engine with a Garrett T3 turbocharger and fuel injection. The other option was Mitsubishi’s Astron series 4G54 101 bhp 2.6 litre/153 ci inline-four with a two-barrel carburetor.

Fuel economy for the Turbo I and three-speed automatic transmission combination (the five-speed manual was no longer available) was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (it would be 17/22 today). With a 14-gallon gas tank, the new owner of a club coupe could expect a range of between 245 and 270 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. Best of all it sold for under $10,000 dollars.

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Comments (5)

  • The S15 isn't really forgotten, it is well loved by everyone, but that is a great list it really shows how America was desperately trying to improve their efficiency and be more like foreign car makers

      7 days ago
  • Is the S-15/Sonoma/Canyon really that old?

      7 days ago
  • I had an '84 S-15 extended cab in High Sierra trim with the 2.8l V6 and 5 speed. Great little truck and was economical even with the V6. Had it for 8 or 9 years. The first few years had an 'electronically controlled' carburetor that became a nuisance after several years.

      6 days ago
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