By on August 24, 2007

1978_ford_pinto_squirred_001.jpgIn a collectors' market overrun with million-dollar Mopars and other obscenely-priced oldies, what's an average schumck to do when he's bitten by the automotive nostalgia bug? BusinessWeek brings news of the next hot thing in classic collectibles: Pintos, Pacers and Gremlins. According to McKeel Hagerty of Hagerty Insurance, these darlings of the disco era are beginning to increase in popularity and value. If rarity is an indicator of collectibilty, anything surviving from the 70s should be a hot commodity by now, given the rate at which most rusted-out within their first three years.

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11 Comments on “Just Don’t Drive ’em in Platform Shoes...”

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Greatest car scene ever in a movie — Pacer.

  • avatar


    Better run out now and buy that Aztek now! It’s bound to be a collector’s item too!

  • avatar

    I owned a 2 year old Pacer I bought in 1977, and it was one of the worst cars I ever had. I should have known to “not bother” because before I even got it out of the used car lot, the air conditioning vent fell apart in my hand. And it was down-hill from there.

    Ironically, I recently found a 1975 article about the Pacer, and some 69% of the new car owners listed “styling” as the number one reason they bought it.

    But of course, we walked around in psychodelic nylon shirts (top 1/2 unbuttoned) and bellbottoms during those days, too……

  • avatar

    I remember just before I got my drivers license there was a Gremlin X just sitting beside a barn and I was interested in buying it. My dad and I went over there and the guy wouldn’t budge. That was about 6 years ago now. Probably for the better though.

    If I was going to start a buying cars for future value I’d go with low mileage, stock examples of Japanese sports cars from the 90’s. Mark IV Supra, second gen 300ZX, RX-7, etc.

  • avatar

    It’s more likely that the retro-car bubble will burst before you see a 6 figure Gremlin. If equities take a dive like the residential property market then you will see cheap restored muscle cars for sale faster than you can say 5 cents in the dollar – and no amount of hype from the auction houses will be able to prevent it.

  • avatar

    The best scene was in the movie Top Secret, where a VW kuebelwagen just barely touched the bumper of a Pinto (This was very emphasized as it showed a closeup of the bumpers touching and a “ping” sound could be heard), the Pinto immediately exploded… priceless. :)

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    “But of course, we walked around in psychodelic nylon shirts (top 1/2 unbuttoned) and bellbottoms during those days, too…… ”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • avatar

    Most people who get into old cars do so in order to in some way relive their youth. Hot rods are all the rage right now because the 55-70 year olds who now have plenty of extra money are spending it on one last fantasy of youth before time takes it’s inexorable toll. None of us gets out alive.

    Muscle cars of the 60s are likewise enjoying sky high prices for the same reason. The vast majority of old car nuts are most interested in things which were new when said same nuts we between 10 and 20 years of age. Those who were teenagers in the 70s are now in their 40s. This is a time when many people are starting to free up some play money cash, but not a lot of it. Cars which are different and interesting from today’s point of view and which evoke the 70s period feeling are natural targets of their affection.

    Hey, I’m just such a person and have an X1/9 and a Volvo 1800ES in my garage for fun. Both evoke the time of my youth and are relatively inexpensive to own and enjoy. If a perfect Cosworth Vega came into sight at a bargain price I would be tempted. Cheap and cheerfull fun helps make life more entertaining. If my cars suddenly shot up to over $100k price tags it would ruin the fun for me. As it is, a few $k up front and a few hundred per year provides me plenty of joy. If a Pacer does that for someone else, more power to them. I was a Road and Track devotee in the 1970s, so I’m kind of addicted to the European stuff of that time.

    I just hope that the mids 70s Cordobas and Monte Carlos don’t make a big come back :).

  • avatar

    P.S. Rust, what is that? Those of us in most of California and the southern states don’t have that problem much. When I first moved to CA from NJ I was shocked at how many older cars were doing daily driver duty like it was normal!

  • avatar

    Actually, and for reasons that elude me, there are a surprisingly large number of Cordoba’s on the used car market, some in surprisingly good shape. The rich Corinthian leather seems to have held up surprisingly wekk!

    As for appreciation of the other 70s vehicles, going from 200 to 250 dollars is appreciation, but don’t plan to retire on it.

  • avatar

    Before you start laughing too hard:

    1. I remember the 305 Gremlin being one heck of a killer car in A-Sedan SCCA autocross back in the early 70’s (Misery Bay Region SCCA, Erie, PA).

    2. Ditto a 2-liter Pinto with suspension modifications in B-Sedan.

    3. Vega GT’s were almost competitive in B-Sedan. I say ‘almost’ because we had to put up with BMW 2002’s and 1600’s, so you know who was taking all the trophies.

    Actually, the one time the BMW’s didn’t show up, I beat out an Alfa GTA with my Vega for third place. First points of the season!

    So the SCCA group, seeing lots of Pintos and Vegas pointing well due to the lack of BMW’s, suddenly decided this would be a practice autocross, handed out of couple of cheap $5.00 trophies, and announced the points autocross was reschedule for two weeks hence.

    I walked out, never came back, and have had absolutely nothing to do with the SCCA since.

    Oh yeah, Pacer’s weren’t the joke they’ve become – they were alternatives for the big Detroit iron, not Toyota Corollas. No, not completely successful. But still, an attempt at coming to a solution from a different angle.

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