By on December 7, 2011

Having just spent a weekend officiating at a race with one of the perpetrators of the latest Motor Trend Car of the Year choice, I got to thinking about past controversial COTY choices… and what choices we might make today, with the benefit of hindsight. Second-guessing the 1971 and 1983 choices is fish-in-a-barrel stuff (though I think the very radical-for-Detroit Vega deserved the award in spite of its terrible execution), but you can find tough choices all the way back to 1949. Today we’re going to talk about 1970′s Car of the Year winner: the Ford Torino.
The Torino wasn’t a fundamentally new car for 1970 (though it did get a sheetmetal redesign and a longer and wider chassis than its predecessor), and it didn’t break any new technological ground. It was a good-looking machine, to be sure, and it could be had with a mighty 375-horse 429-cubic-inch engine, but did it deserve the award? If not, what new or “substantially upgraded” 1970 car would you choose, were you to go back in time equipped with Svengali-grade hypnotic powers to change the minds of the MT War Council? To make things more interesting, we might revise the rules to allow imports to be considered for the purposes of this debate (the Porsche 914 won the Motor Trend Import Car of the Year Award in ’70, by the way), but that’s up to you. The AMC Hornet? The second-generation GM F-body? The Saab Sonett III? Discuss.

Image source: Old Car Brochures

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74 Comments on “Car of the Year Revisionism, 1970 Edition: If Not the Torino, What?...”


  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I’d go with the Monte Carlo, which was a new nameplate, IIRC, and sold a ton that year….it was a DeLorean project and again, IIRC, he tried to emulate (copy….plagiarize….steal?) M-B’s design for the front suspension for the Monte and her friends the Cutlass and Grand Prix….

    The 1970-1972 Monte’s were my first case of car lust, as a 12-13 year old back in the day….

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      The 1st gen Montes still had the 64-72 A-body front suspension and mediocre geometry,

      The 73 and up Montes got the better suspension design, which really came from the 70 and up F-body. The 77-96 B-bodies also had John Z.s influence since that chassis is a re-hash of the 73-77 A-car chassis.

      Having said that, I’d still rock a 1st gen Monte!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      That first Monte Carlo wasn’t a ground-breaking design, either. It was Chevrolet’s version of the Pontiac Grand Prix, which, in turn, was basically Pontiac’s smaller and cheaper Thunderbird.

      If I recall correctly, one of the reasons for choosing the Torino, aside from the fact that it was heavily restyled that year, was that it could be configured to be everything from a muscle car to a 2/3rds LTD. While Ford was late to the muscle car party, it was at the forefront of the Brougham era.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        Truly, Ford could make a car really plush.

        I had an eye on a 68 4 door Thunderbird for a while, and it was a nicely trimmed, well assembled car, it really did feel like a proper baroque luxury car.

        Alas the owner sold it for more than I had available as play money.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        I have a 1967 Thunderbird four door. These are nice cars. The 1967-71 Thunderbird sedan pioneered a market segment Cadillac later claimed credit for creating with the 1975 Seville. Prior to the OPEC Embargo and CAFE there was not much of a market for a downsized, domestic luxury car and these Thunderbirds tend to be forgotten.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        I think the Torino is an excellent choice.
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/1970_ford_torino_cobra_sportsroof_chiolero.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Is that pic taken in Ford heaven? Aside from what looks to be a red Jetta on the left, all else appear to be Ford products. Tidy looking place too, but i feel sorry for Torino-owner having to live next to the dick who has to protect his front 40 by putting up a fence.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I’m with Pig_Iron – the Torino was the bomb.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Seriously? AMC Gremlin. First US subcompact, and a sign of the times. Plus there was nothing else like it on the road (even though the powertrain was entirely carried over from existing models).

    Laugh all you want, but I stick to my guns on this.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The AMC Gremlin didn’t officially debut until April 1, 1970, or halfway through the model year, so it was too late to be included in the competition. GM’s F-bodies were also a late introduction for that year.

      I learned to drive on my father’s 1973 AMC Gremlin, and it was by far the worst car I have ever driven. And I knew this even during the craptastic 1970s. When he bought it (as a one-year-old used car), I remember reading the introduction to the owner’s manual, which stated that the Gremlin and Hornet were built with the highest quality materials and components, as were all AMC products. Which made me laugh, even at the tender age of 12.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        I had a Gremlin too. I agree that it was not a brilliant car but it was a shot across the bow of the market. Again, it was the first US subcompact. Certainly more noteworthy than the Torino.

        I stand corrected about its eligibility for COTY, though!

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Maybe we had a lemon. That happened a lot in the 1970s. I’d still take a 1970 Torino fastback coupe over a Gremlin today, though.

        My grandmother’s neighbor had a 1970 Torino Brougham hardtop sedan, which looked rather sharp in medium metallic blue with a black vinyl top, deluxe wheelcovers and whitewall tires. He washed that car EVERY Saturday morning during warm weather.

    • 0 avatar
      phargophil

      My first car out of school was a used 1974 Gremlin X. Wish I still had it.

      I agree, it was controversial, but it was one of the first US “downsizers” of the ’70s.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The Gremlin – most definitely – I owned a ’76! I’ll stick to my guns on this, too.

    The ’70 Monte Carlo? Oh yeah! Wish I owned one.

    I guess I’ll have to add the 1970 Chevelle Malibu – hardtop coupe, of course. My favorite, especially the 1972 model. Wish I owned one of those, too.

    Add to that the 1970 340 Duster, too.

    Notice: Not a Ford in sight!

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    I had a 67 Chevelle. While no one would argue it was good on the twisties (driving fast anyways), however, it did ride and drive very smoothly. If I recall correctly, it was actually a pretty quiet car on the freeway as well.

    Much better than the, ghasp, 73 Monte I owned for about four months until my higher self woke up.

    Maybe at one point in its life, the Chevelle had some of its suspension components replaced, while the Monte maybe still had all the old factory components.

    I don’t think any car from the Big 3 really deserved a COTY award in 1970.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    The 70′s were a little before my time but my impression is that cars were just awful in that decade. Domestic, Japanese, German didn’t seem to matter. Please correct me if this impression is wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      You would be correct: the ’70s were an awful decade, but I would submit that things didn’t turn truly awful until the front bumper regulations hit in ’74. Even so-so vehicles like the LTD, Centuries, Caprice’s, etc. became gawdawful ugly with their big, heavy bumpers hanging off the front and back like after thoughts. Very few cars integrated them well (the Cordoba being one notable exception) and even the early attempts at plastic fascia’s were of a dubious nature.
      I grew up in the ’70s and even my pre-teen and teenage tastes recoiled in horror. I loved the behemoths, such as the Toronado and Grand Prix were almost beautiful until the bumpers destroyed them.
      The era is known for its craptastic interior plastics that split and cracked within 5 or 6 years. Horrid rust problems.
      Yep, my family owned a lot of forgettable cars in that era: a ’72 Duster, ’73 Grand Prix, ’71 Gremlin (my grandmother traded her ’69 Parisienne for that!), ’77 LTD. Ugh. The only car I liked from the era was a friend of my dad bought a ’75 Dodge Magnum in cool two-tone blue. The worst offense was my best friend’s father traded his pristine ’67 Newport 2 door hardtop for a new ’75 orange Hornet with black and white checkered interior. Super ugh!

  • avatar
    James2

    My mom owned a ’72 Gran Torino. It looked like a UFO from the outside, felt like a bomb shelter on the inside. Had all the visibility of a gun bunker on the Normandy coast.

  • avatar

    This was an amazing car in ’70… http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/2-features/special-issue/976-24-cars-of-christmasday-19-the-dodge-daytona-and-plymouth-superbird.html

  • avatar
    fincar1

    My father-in-law had that exact ’70 Torino 2-door hardtop in yellow with the gold/tan interior. 302, automatic, power steering, radio. It worked well for him. I think the styling is great, just swoopy enough not to detract from the practicality of the car.

    Myself, I’d have picked the 340 Duster as the car of the year, or maybe in a nod to law enforcement, the Fury 440 cop car which was basically a four-door Road Runner.

  • avatar
    sprintcar17m

    Well, we can’t go back in time. But if we could the Torino would STILL be COTY. I’ve owned mine since 1976 (my first car) and when I go to car shows not too many other cars turn heads like it. A 429 4-speed 70 Torino Cobra in bright bright orange paint with the blacked out shaker hood screams musclecar. Many people don’t recognize the car and ask what it is. It shocks them when I tell them it’s a Ford Torino, but they ALL love the car. That shows to me the cars styling has stood the test of time and proves that the people at the magazine knew what the hell they were doing.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Since someone recommended the friggen Gremlin, I’m going to nominate the NOVA. But only because it was my first new car. I ordered it with bucket seats SBC, Three on the floor, posi, manual everything, no chrome around the side windows, factory “baby moons”. I had it for 12 yrs. great car.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    1970 Toyota Celica!

    It was the automotive shot heard from Long Beach to Boston.

    It was the first Japanese car that proved that driving a Japanese car didn’t have to be punishment in a small car focusing on economy. The Celica redefined what a sporty car became today.

    Compared to a 1970 Mustang, Challenger or Camaro, the Celica changed that muscle market, so that by 1974, you have the Mustang II, a Chevy Monza, and no Challenger. What you have is the redefining of a vital car niche.

    The Celica was a four cylinder, five speed, AM/FM Stereo, Japanese sports car with quality that outranked previous sporty cars on the market.

    And it was hugely successful. It became the Japanese Mustang and established a real beach head for new Toyota products.

    Now – I don’t want to bash other nominees, but when considering the direction of the American market after 1970 and what the 1970 Celica did to that market, the other nominees pale in comparison.

    As to the ToriNO –
    The Torino and the Hornet were lazy updates on existing cars. They weren’t even that good. The Gremlin was a front heavy Hornet without a trunk, and drove like one. Neither the Hornet nor the Torino figured out that the Monte Carlo and Grand Prix were where the market was headed. It took Ford five long years to put out a Torino-based competitor to those cars. The Celica redefined what was Japanese in 1970. The Monte Carlo brought vinyl bordello to the Walmart masses until that fad died out within 15 years. What is considered a sporty car today still reflects what the 1970 Celica was first.

    If we had to just go with an American car – Monte Carlo. It was the future of American cars for the entire decade. Ford doesn’t catch up until 1976 with Thunderbird. Chrysler doesn’t catch up until Cordoba. AMC never caught up. The Monte Carlo screwed up what passed for a personal two door and really is a great icon of the Malaise Era.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      + 1 on Celica. Prior to this, all we saw in our school’s parking lot were American cars and a very occasional VW. After my friend got his Celica it ran for years and close to 200,000 miles with minimal care. Before Celica, most American cars showed that Japanese and compact European cars (like Opel, Renault) were POS. A very few years later, the equation reversed. Toyotas like Celica and Datsuns (not Nissans) became the reliability standard and American cars entered free fall.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        My dad had a Celica in the 70′s (no idea what year). Said it was a piece of junk but he loved it. This is from someone who still will only buy a domestic car if he gets a great deal on it.

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      The Celica didn’t debut in the US until the ’71 model year.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The Torino wasn’t a direct competitor to the Monte Carlo.

      The Chevrolet Chevelle/Malibu competed with the Torino, while the Monte Carlo was a cut-rate Thunderbird.

      The Hornet was in a completely different market segment than the Monte Carlo. It was never designed to compete with the Monte Carlo (or even the Chevelle/Malibu).

      The Hornet was a success for AMC. It was AMC’s bread-and-butter car throughout the 1970s – particularly the Sportabout variant that debuted for 1971.

  • avatar

    If it could be a foreign car, I would go with VanillaDude’s suggestion of the Celica.

    For an American car, I suspect there were more Valiants and Darts on the roads 20 years later than anything else, and I think the 1970 Valiant was a much better piece of styling than the Dart, a wonderfully clean example of the boxy look. Moreover, the two cars had enough of a track record that their longevity could have been predicted, and the slant sixes were not only extremely reliable, but economical and very zippy.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I was actually on shore duty in 1970 and remember the 69′s and 70′s pretty well. Your government had taken to engineering our new cars by then and I didn’t think any of them were any good with a gallon of gas. Probably would have been a good year to stuff the COTY into mothballs. IMHO the car manufacturers didn’t manage to cope with the governments help till about 86.

    I know that our impressions change as we get older. I am sure that mine have. If I could be a time traveler and go back I think my vehicle would have a nova/valiant/falcon size body with the appropriate six cylinder/stick. It sure wouldn’t have been this no matter how much Clint Eastwood might like it.

  • avatar
    Jess Douitt

    Hindsight is 20/20, and the ’70 Torino is still the correct choice. If you haven’t read the article naming it COTY, you can’t even make a reasoned assertion as to why it should not be the COTY. Besides, any second guessing now is an exercise in futility. The Torino won…get over it.

    In 1970, the time was not ripe for small domestic or foreign gas savers. The average cost of a gallon of regular was still 36 cents. All those little cars are out as contenders. The foreign tin cans weren’t even eligible, as they had their own category.

    Seriously??? Valiants, Darts, Gremlins? Yikes!

    • 0 avatar
      sprintcar17m

      Exactly right Jess. The Torino was every mans car back in 1970. As said on another forum, it could be a race car,a cop car,a grandma grocery getter,a cheap kids sporty first car and a luxury car. All were available with the multitude of options and platforms available.

      1970 Celica? If you bought one of those in 1970 you got laughed at. It was a pile of junk and would rust right before your eyes. I sense alot of big 3 haters on this forum and the estrogen levels are dangerously high, lol.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        In terms of styling and progenitor to what Toyota would become, the Celica was probably a very important vehicle, but in hindsight only. At the time, Toyotas and Datsuns were novelty vehicles, nothing else.
        The first ‘import’ I ever had experience with was a guy in my grade 12 class had a ’79 Datsun 210SX. Although many of us did think it was kind of cool (in retrospect, it still is a good looking car, in a quirky way), in a parking lot of F-cars, Mustangs and even the occasional Oldsmobile and Buick, the Datsun stood out like a sore thumb.
        There is a reason California embraced all things Japanese: they did not suffer the same rust problems that they did (and do) in the savage north east. In 1981, I witnessed a 240Z separate itself from its wheels as a hoist lifted the vehicle off the ground. A common problem at the time, I was told.

  • avatar
    stuart

    FIAT 128, European Car of the Year in 1970.

    The 128 pioneered the transverse engine/transaxle with unequal-length drive shafts that are commonplace today. It incorporated many other ideas that were relatively new or radical at the time, including an aluminum head, overhead camshaft, rubber timing belt, and a spare tire stored on top of the engine. Very much ahead of its time.

    True, the 128 was a failure in the USA because of servicing issues, ratty interiors, and rust. IMHO the innovative parts worked really well.

    stuart

  • avatar
    ktm_525

    The 1970 Volvo P1800E I am driving today. In typical Volvo fashion they had ironed most of the kinks by then and didn’t feel the need the redesign the entire car every 2-3 years. 1970 added such goodies as fuel injection, high compression 2.0L engine (good for 130 old HP, 4 wheel disc brakes. Carry overs were a 5 speed manual with overdrive and of course 3 point seat belts.

    Have I mentioned the engine has never been rebuilt and closing in on 250k miles.?

    I guess Volvo didn’t have a big enough advertising budget to be considered for COTY.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The 240Z was groundbreaking, and new for MY 1970, if I recall correctly. That would be my choice.

    Along with the 510, it led the wave of the Japanese gaining credibility in the US market. How Datsun/ Nissan managed to snatch mediocrity out of the jaws of victory, I don’t know, but they were ahead of the curve at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      David Halberstam’s excellent 1986 book, The Reckoning, gives a thorough overview of Nissan’s rise in the United States, and the seeds of its eventual fall.

      The Nissan executives assigned to crack the American market succeeded despite corporate management in Japan, which was ambivalent at best over what needed to be done to conquer North America.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’re right, The Reckoning is a good read.

        My point was more rhetorical. It’s interesting (and a bit sad) how both Datsun and VW could both squander their leadership after they had made such significant strides in establishing a market for foreign cars in the US.

  • avatar
    drylbrg

    The 1970 Camaro would have been my choice. It was both beautifully styled and a good performer. Unfortunately a strike delayed its introduction so I don’t know if it was available in time.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    Wasn’t 1970 the first year of the Ford Capri? I love those cars though I don’t think the V6 was offered initially.

  • avatar
    sfbiker

    https://www.google.com/search?q=1970+detomaso+pantera&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oe=&rlz=1I7ADFA_enUS447&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=LsPfTtHEDsGutwfX4OjdBQ&biw=1202&bih=702&sei=MsPfTsHCEYeftwfJiLniBQ

    1970 Detomaso Pantera. OK, OK, it’s not in the same league as a Ferrari or Porsche, and it probably doesn’t qualify for one reason or another, and I have no idea about the build quality. But in terms of forward-thinking design and looks, it was the shape of supercars to come for the next thirty years, and it still looks great.

  • avatar
    sfbiker

    Also, it stole its looks from the Ford GT40. But since when is that a bad thing?

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Camaro. One of the most iconic cars from the 70s.

  • avatar
    George B

    I vote for the 1970 Chevrolet Camaro. The design survived most of the decade and became iconic in Pontiac Trans AM form. I read that this generation of Camaro can do more than drag race.

    The Chevelle and other A bodies were just like standard BOF cars like the Impala, but smaller. I owned a 1971 Chevelle and managed to get the back end to pass up the front end on several occasions. Engine torque would twist the entire car at stop lights and it’s suspension was only slightly better than that of a pickup truck. The seats were like cloth and vinyl covered sofas more suitable for parking than for driving. What made Chevelles desirable were the inexpensive and relatively rugged V8 engines and transmissions that would easily bolt into the engine compartment. Even dumb guys who could barely figure out clockwise vs. counter-clockwise could bolt together a fairly hot Chevy that could blow the doors off smog and safety regulation neutered cars from the mid and late 70s.

  • avatar

    If it was 1971, I’d say the Lotus Europa Twin Cam

  • avatar
    rudiger

    You guys need to know how COTY went and the prior winnners. It was always rotated among the Big 3 (or 4 if you count AMC). COTY for 1967 was the Mercury Cougar and 1968 was the Pontiac GTO. 1969 got the Plymouth Roadrunner. So, it had to be a Ford again in 1970, and Ford’s only ‘new’ car in 1970 was the Torino, so that’s what won the COTY.

    I always thought the Roadrunner choice as COTY for 1969 was a bit odd, though. It wasn’t a new model but in its second year. All I can figure is that the rotation just didn’t fit for a Chrysler product to win in 1968, so the RR got it in ’69.

    But, frankly, a better Chrysler choice in ’69 might have been the actual new product from that year, the fuselage style Mopars, specifically the Chrysler line.

    But, still, that’s the down-and-dirty sole reason how the Torino won for 1970. It was simply Ford’s turn that year, and the Torino was the only new thing from Ford, so that’s what got the award.

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    I had a ’70 Torino GT for a while, complete with 351-4v. I didn’t know it had been car of the year for 1970 and I can’t imagine what MT was thinking, except potential advertising dollars. The Torino was inferior in every way to the intermediates from GM or Mopar that year.
    It was a horrible, wallowing barge that sucked down the best premium you could find like a B-52 at takeoff power. Typical Ford “dead zone” power steering, overboosted badly balanced brakes, bad seats, just plain bad car. I got it cheap, drove it awhile and then sold the engine for a lot more than I paid for the car.
    I sent it to the crusher with no regrets in about 1985, although I guess it would be worth something now to the right person. Car of the year in 1970? Datsun 240Z would be my choice.

    • 0 avatar
      Jess Douitt

      Sounds like you had a worn out fifteen year old clap trap. I’ve had worn out clap trap intermediates from GM that I “bought cheap and drove for awhile”. If I based my opinion on them as the examples, that would be rather unfair comparison to a brand new 1970 Cutlass, Chevelle, LeMans or Skylark, don’t you think? (roll eyes)

      BTW, the 240Z is a FOREIGN car…like the article clearly states, foreign cars were not eligible for COTY. (again, roll eyes)

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    My pick for 1970 would have had to have been the Datsun 240Z. A
    truly remarkable vehicle that completely changed everyone’s perceptions about Japanese cars.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    My selection for COTY in 1970 would have had to have been the Datsun 240Z. It was a truly remarkable vehicle and changed everyone’s perceptions about Japanese vehicles. I find absolutely nothing exceptional about the Torino, but then I think bottom line, these awards were more about ad revenue for Motor Toones than anything else.

  • avatar
    thebanana

    Anyone recommending a Gremlin never drove one on gravel roads. As much dust in the car as behnd it.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    1970 was such a revered year, at least in regards to muscle cars. But virtually no one thought of a 442 W-30, Gran Sport Stage I or II, GTO Ram Air, 396/402 or 454 Chevelle SS. For Pete’s sake, there was a Monte Carlo SS (I think in 70) too. It was the top of the bubble in muscle car years. We had a couple mentions of Road Runners at least, no GTXs, no Super Bees, and not one of my very favorite, the Mercury Cyclone GT…

    I favor the mid-sizers, as they were a nice sized car, could do most anything you needed a car to do.

    I think if money were no object on what I had to spend back then, I would pop for the Cyclone GT. Or the W-30. Or the AMX.

    This could take a while…

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Motor Trend actually cited the ’70 Torino award when they named the Ford Fusion COTY in 2010. They said they picked the cars for the same reason: “Bandwidth.” Then and now, apparently no other manufacturer thought to offer a variety of powertrains in a lightly-refreshed, plainly-styled intermediate chassis.

    http://www.motortrend.com/oftheyear/car/112_1001_2010_motor_trend_car_of_the_year_ford_fusion/

    They just make it up as they go. There’s no consistency, no standards. One year they’ll give it to a completely uninspired, pedestrian also-ran (Fusion, Passat) and the next year they’ll give it to an over-the-top, high-tech dream machine that is irrelevant to most consumers (GT-R, Volt). They stand for nothing and the award is a waste of magazine pages that could otherwise be filled with advertisements for rubber floor mats and male enhancement pills.

    The only forward-thinking thing they’ve ever done was eliminate the separate Import Car of the Year. Based on the views of the people who comment on their website, the readership probably still hasn’t forgiven them.

    The worst part, the absolute worst part, is that they still bother with Truck of the Year. Since splitting the SUV award off about 10 years ago, there’s only a handful of competitors each year. Somebody’s mildly-updated HD inevitably wins…didn’t they start a separate magazine for this stuff? This year, there’s a whopping TWO choices: the F-150 with a couple of new engines and the new Nissan commercial van. What a waste of time.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    The Camaro isn’t a bad choice but arguably overly predictable. Forget the Gremlin — it was little more than a weird styling exercise that had poor space efficiency, low gas mileage and nose-heavy handling/braking compared to other subcompacts. Although the Gremlin initially sold well, it cost too much to make a decent profit and quickly became a dead end from a design and marketing standpoint.

    The Hornet, in contrast, was the only truly new American compact of the early 1970s. Even the Maverick was naught but a facelifted and decontented 1969 Mustang. The Hornet had a completely new body that shed the dowdy Rambler boxiness in favor of a clean and space-efficient fuselage shape that looked far more contemporary 10 years later than any of its 1970 competitors.

    One might reasonably argue that the Hornet needed a few years of seasoning and the Buyer Protection Plan to make it competitive with a Chrysler compact. However, right from the outset the Hornet offered considerably more car for the money than the bare-bones Maverick, which was its closest competitor in size and price.

    AMC assumed that advanced styling and a sportier name would give it an advantage in the compact class. That didn’t pan out — the Hornet by and large didn’t sell nearly as well as its predecessor, the Rambler (American). Meanwhile, the aging Chrysler compacts — which were the spiritual heirs to the Rambler — sold like hotcakes during the early-70s.

    Not that AMC learned anything from the Hornet’s failure.

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      The Gremlin sold well for years and made money for AMC. How could it not, since it was really a chopped Hornet? Seems strange that you laud the Hornet but revile the Gremlin, since they are very similar.

      I actually agree with you though, the Hornet is the better car. The 2-door Hornet hatch would offer anything a Gremlin could while looking and handling better.

  • avatar

    To reset.

    MT’s COTY in those days was domestic only, an Import COTY came along somewhere in there, dunno the year…

    Also, the obvious choice – the GM F-body – hit showrooms Feb ’70, after the COTY issue was published.

    Barring that, the Torino was probably most correct.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    Cougar.


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