By on November 20, 2019

pt cruiserIn our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.

My selection today was an example of great innovation at its debut. So influential was this new model that it changed the landscape of the segment in which it competed. Just have a look at this aerodynamic beauty:

I selected a picture of the Mercury Sable in particular, because I like the light bar at the front and how it’s slightly more upscale than its Taurus sibling.

Ford began the development of its own new lineup of sedans and wagons in 1981. At the time, the American family car landscape was a bleak one: Leftovers from the Malaise Era, inefficient in their design and questionable in their materials, roamed the country as they rusted rapidly. Consumers wanted front-wheel drive, modern designs which were kinder to the eyes and the fuel economy figures that came with.

Think about what the Taurus replaced. Just have a look:

The midsize Ford LTD originated on the Fox platform for 1983, replacing the Granada. Taurus was a revolutionary step forward, and it existed with its grandfather on dealer lots for only the 1986 model year. The Taurus caught other domestic automakers by surprise when Ford pitted it against entries like the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera or the K-car Chrysler Town and Country wagon. On sale at the end of 1985, the Taurus and Sable were instant sales success stories. Originally available with four or six cylinders and manual and automatic transmissions, consumers and fleet companies alike threw their money at Ford. General Motors and Chrysler were left with surprised faces and some product development to do. Advantage: Taurus.

Let’s hear your selections for right product, right time.

[Images: Chrysler, Ford]

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87 Comments on “QOTD: The Right Stuff at the Right Time?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Chrysler (Dodge & Plymouth) Magic Vans.
    The 2nd generation Honda Civic.
    The 3rd generation Honda Accord.
    The 1st generation Ford Mustang.
    The 6th generation Chev Impala.
    The K-Car.

  • avatar
    volvo

    1969 BMW 2002
    Datsun 240Z

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Before we go too much farther I think we need to mention the Ford Model T which put the automobile into the hands of middle class Americans

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      It created the middle class.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yes, actually Ford paid workers $5 a day so that they could afford a Ford, awful, but smart man

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          “…awful, but smart man”

          Like the President!

          And despite his many personal shortcomings, and more importantly (for me at least), bad policy moves that I strongly disagree with, remains, for the most part, the best candidate for his job, aka, the lesser of the evils that the US public will have to choose from in 2020.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Though I disagree with you tomLU86 I will ALWAYS encourage people to “vote for the lesser of 2 evils” over not voting at ALL.

            Those who do not participate should never complain about the outcome.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Well, until we know who the other “evil” is I’ll reserve my thoughts until then

          • 0 avatar
            MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

            Lesser of 2 evils- yup- that’s why he got my vote in 2016 despite being waaaaay down my list of preferred choices.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Those who do not participate should never complain about the outcome.”

            that’s nonsense. If I’m forced to make a Sophie’s Choice then I have every right to complain about the system which forced this on us.

            But I reserve my rage for people (some of them here) who can’t wrap their head around the idea that I could dislike both candidates in 2016. But these weak minded fools will take any criticism of Trump as evidence that I must “love” Hillary. Or that if I dislike Hillary I MUST dutifully line up behind them and fellate Donald Trump. I don’t like her, I don’t like him, and never have.

            They were both s**t and I’m POed that out of 320 some million people this was the best we could do.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            How far off topic can one get??

        • 0 avatar
          ScarecrowRepair

          Naw, that’s the myth. The truth is Henry Ford paid his workers so much because he got tired of training new workers who went elsewhere as soon as they had enough experience. He wanted them to stay in place with him, and figured it was cheaper in the long run.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yes, but it’s common knowledge that he felt his employees should be able to afford the cars they were building. A very progressive attitude at a time when many workers were hardly more then paid slaves

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    LX platform dodge. 300C and charger.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      Although we may (or may not) disagree Dan, I like the way you put it.

      Sometimes I have voted for the “lesser of the evils” among the 2 choices foisted on me. However, I often refuse to vote for bad Republicrat, but I still vote.

      There is another alternative to not voting. If a 3rd party candidate aligns with one’s views, vote for him/her.

      To those who say, one wastes their vote, I would counter that voting for a Republicrat is rubber-stamping the status quo, and thus (if you don’t like their policies) an even bigger waste.

      But this is a car site, I shouldn’t have brought up Trump. THe quote about Henry Ford just fit….but…my apologies to all.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        On election days I wear a shirt that simply says “VOTE”

        If anyone asks me about people or positions I simply shake my head and restate “VOTE”. It’s your civic duty, who you vote for is your business but make your voice heard.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My dad had a ’94 silver Mercury Sable after a long line (three of them!) ’87 Nissan Stanzas that he used for his 40k mike a year traveling. The Sable, which I got to borrow a few times, actually made me reconsider my Japanese car loyalty. My perception at the time: The 150 hp (?) V6 actually felt quite powerful versus the 4-cyls I normally drove and the whole car actually felt screwed together well.

    A few years later I bought a 90s-something Taurus wagon – ended up having a bad transmission – that didn’t last long in the car stable.

    Back then the Taurus (and the SHO) really was a game changer. It’s too bad that Ford messed up the succeeding generations and then bobbled it around. It should have been the “American” Accord / Camry.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    1984 ChryCo minivans of course.
    Early 90’s Explorer.
    They basically printed money for their parent companies.
    The PT Cruiser is interesting in that it was wildly popular when introduced, but now less than 2 decades later it is widely mocked and derided. I can’t think of another vehicle with that trajectory – maybe the late 90’s New Beetle, which I wouldn’t be seen in on a bet (but I did have a GT Cruiser turbo and it was really a great and fun vehicle).

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      And yet the PT Cruiser has a very dedicated cult following, the benefit of which is that you can generally find used examples for quite low prices that are well taken care of. Browse AutoTrader, I found a few in great shape within 100 miles of me. Even one example of the turbo 5-speed.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The PT is an easy mark for non car people to use as a scapegoat when they’re pretending to know something about cars. There’s nothing bad that can be said about the PT Cruiser that can’t be said about a large swath of the compact CUVs that currently clog the left lanes of our freeways.

      • 0 avatar
        PentastarPride

        The PT Cruiser is not on my list of favorites but it is a cheap and durable little car.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      I think it’s just trendy now to bash the PT Cruiser. I would suspect most people who bash them have never even been in one. It’s just people are lemmings and they see others deriding it so they think they should to. Gotta be on the bandwagon.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        The automotive press is notorious for this. I remember the Cadillac STS being generally accepted as a decent vehicle when it was released. The STS-V doubly so, placing not last (which, let’s be honest, was an accomplishment for the time) in multiple comparisons against its German competitors. When it was approaching end of production it was lambasted universally as outdated and non-competitive (mostly true) but also spoken of and written about as if it was always trash.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        My parents were about to buy a new PT Cruiser so I had to dive on the hand grenade. They were in their ’60s and were pulled into the hoopla. I just let them know it was a K-car derivative and a Plym Neon reskin, neither of which the would ever own in a million years. So they bought a new Tacoma instead.

        I drove a PT and while it wasn’t completely horrible, they went crazy cheap with the shifter, which was just on a steel stalk sticking up from a low console. Victims deserved better.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      The minivan segment as a whole was lauded and then mocked within 10 years. It went from the most exciting vehicle of the 80s to something no one wanted to be seen in by the early 90s.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    2008 Chevrolet Malibu. For GM at the time, it was a revelation, and real breath of fresh air. Replacing a much-maligned, dumpy “Malibu Classic” model that, outside of reliable powertrains, had few (if any) redeeming qualities. It was an all new design that was sleek and even, dare I say, kinda sexy, at least for a Chevy sedan. I liked them so much that I bought one, with the 3.6L V6. Build quality was excellent, and I would put the interior design as well as the materials up against most European makes of the time (yes, I would). I drove mine for eight years without a single, solitary issue. They got almost everything right with this one. Unfortunately, they went and ruined the model again with the 2013 facelift. It looked like the 2008 after the “freshman 15”, and build quality and materials went right back to being typical GM.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      Scientist, you are spot-on! It showed that GM could actually make a proper car, believe it or not! After 30 years of mediocrity (quite a bit of it very reliable, in fairness to GM), this WAS a revelation!
      For the first time in 30 years, GM had a credible sedan for US buyers. In some regards, I felt it better than Accord/Camry, in others not, but it was in the same league. That’s saying a lot.

      That Malibu did everything well! It was a good car–it grew on me. I leased it, but I was a little over on miles, so I bought it out. Good call!

      And it was well put together! I actually bought one, kept it 6 years, 102k miles. I had only two repairs–broken driver seat springs (WTH?), and a cam sensor that was replaced at 88k (emissions warranty). THAT’s it. Car averaged 28mpg. I’d say even Toyota/Lexus would be happy with that level of reliability.

      And then GM took a ‘victory lap’ and mucked up the 2013….typical GM hubris–but 2013 is not 1973…

      So, the Malibu was right for GM–but others had been there for years.

      The Mustang created a new category and redefined US (and even international cars–it’s presence overseas cast a huge shadow, even if it’s sales did not….Capri, Manta, Celica, etc owe their existence to the Mustang)

      And the Accord redefined what people could reasonably expect in a small car, and the level of quality in a mass-produced car, forcing everyone to improve their game. In that sense, the 2008 Malibu can trace it’s lineage to the $3995 1976 Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        My expectations are just too high. Pretty much any failure within 10 years/120K miles is a reliability issue. My expectations have been met by Honda/Toyota vehicles since 1990 but that may have changed recently. I keep cars until replacement absolutely necessary so YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I’d be interested in learning what car(s) you kept for 10yr/120k, and what repairs(not maintenance, and not a wear item) they required.

          I’ve found people who like their cars sometimes tend to overlook repairs.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Some repairs are just required AND expected, you could make the case a better design (read 1 piece driveshaft) would have prevented it, but I just replaced the center carrier bearing on my old Nissan truck, at 203k Miles and 20 years it’s just something that goes bad as rubber does with time and heat.

          • 0 avatar
            volvo

            I guess for me it is a combination of choosing the right car, regular maintenance and luck.

            1995 Avalon – Currently DD at 165K miles. Redid the suspension at 20 years/140K. Otherwise routine.
            2007 Accord V6 now at 160K starter last year at 150K otherwise only routine maint.
            2009 RAV4 V6 now at 70K only routine maint.
            Earlier ones included 1969 BMW never failed in 15 years/170K. 1972 MBZ s class V8 made it to 20 years/180K before head gasket. Went another 12 years before sold.

            On the other hand
            1989 Mustang V8 – A/C failed at 2 years, paint failed at 3 years, transmission failed at 6 years / 48K.
            1995 Windstar V6 – Engine blew at 3.5 years/37K miles.

            Several other cars served me well but I did not keep them 10y/120K

          • 0 avatar
            volvo

            Also to add to my comment (since I cannot reply to myself).
            The best quality vehicles I owned (materials and workmanship) were the 1972 MBZ 108 and the 1995 Avalon.
            My cars are garaged, kept pristine (no aftermarket anything) and driven regularly. Until recently I performed most routine maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I have the complete service history for my 1995 Legend with 201k.

            It required nothing beyond scheduled maintenance until 140k, when some suspension parts (wear items) were replaced.

            I don’t think any non-wear item broke until shortly before I took ownership, when both front wheel bearings failed (in the 180k range).

            Since then I’ve had a radiator crack and had to replace a bunch of rubber parts (gaskets, engine mounts, etc.), no surprise given age and mileage.

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            Volvo, you have me beat.

            86 VW GTI, 13 yrs, 144k. Clutch PEDAL broke at 55k. Radiator 95k, water pump 128k, shift linkage (reverse hard) 139 k.

            2011 Malibu, 102k, just seat spring

            97 Grand Prix, radio under warranty, loose tie rod, fuel gauge intermittent inop, heater blower resistor (also on VW), 5 yrs, 82k

            Other cars I leased, or drove less than 40k

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        To be fair, the prior-gen Malibu was OK, and in Maxx guise had a lot of utility (and was a far better exercise in innovation/non-conformity than the Aztec and XUV).

        Its primary failure was that it was ugly as sin.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Exactly, the ’04-’07 Malibu had most of the objective strengths of the ’08 (although the addition of the 3.6 was nice), it just looked and felt more like a budget car (material quality was okay for what it was, just no pretensions of being something nicer).

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Have to agree 2008 Malibu was a huge step up, little did we know it was a one off and not GM getting shot together.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton

      Wasn’t the 2008 Malibu a Bob Lutz mobile, as was the 1994 Dodge Ram pickup. I think some people don’t like Bob Lutz but if he had been head of Chrysler instead of Bob Eaton, the world might be a better place.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        One practice Lutz ended at GM was that when executives got cars to drive those cars had been gone over with a fine tooth comb to fix assembly errors, even up panel gaps etc. He made sure they got cars straight off the assembly line so they would understand what dealers and customers were dealing with.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1977 GM B-C-D Bodies

    Gave us a short revival of the classic American car. V8-BOF-RWD as god intended.

    Lighter and smaller on the outside than their predecessors but larger on the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      Agree. 77-78s were some of my favorite cars. And that was in the days when the general wisdom was to avoid newly designed cars for the first year or so. I had friends with 77 Impalas that were beautiful cars and I wound up buying a 78 Bonneville. But alas, the gas crisis was about to rear its ugly head and I (foolishly) bailed out on it too soon.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Yup. Great cars.

      In those late ’70s days, I travelled/flew to Toronto a lot and took the “limo” downtown. There were Caprices, Bonnevilles and whatever the Olds version was. No doubt about it, over myriad expansion joints and bumps, the Chev was the best-riding one, the one with the least vertical jar and motion and for a car nut, the difference ws not subtle. Someone at Chev really knew how to specify bushings, because the cars were nominally identical underneath. A ’74 Cadillac “real” limo I drew once was very badly assembled inside and just not in the same class as those B bodies. What an improvement they were over the ’74 Impala I ride-shared for work sometimes when not on trips!

      Two friends had a ’77 Impala and ’78 Caprice 350/F41 suspension between them and one other bailed out of a Volvo 245 for an Impala wagon in ’80. Those Chevs were even pretty darn fine in snow when I rented one in Newfoundland one winter. Excellent vehicles. Some had nasty front seats where the rear seat frame ate your buttocks, but overall, not bad at all.

      The Panthers when they arrived (for what? ’79?) were just not in the same league when they came out. If you ordered one of the original square ones with HD suspension, there was over a foot to the bottom of the rear bumper from the ground, and they looked silly.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    I am so sick of reading the phrase “Malaise Era”. Who came up with that stupid phrase. Of course now everyone is using it. Let it go people.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jimmycartercrisisofconfidence.htm

      Jimmy Carter “Crisis of Confidence” – also known as the “Great Malaise” speech.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      You’re going to laugh…

      Per Wikipedia-

      “The phrase “Malaise era” was defined by automotive journalist and photographer Murilee Martin early in his tenure at Jalopnik. He expanded upon his definition in a lengthy article for the website The Truth About Cars in 2011″

      • 0 avatar

        I gotta use it, it came from here!

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I think malaise is entirely appropriate, especially as far as cars are concerned.

          I was in 7th grade and we had just returned to the US when Carter was inaugurated. I would devour car magazines, MSRPs, etc.

          We had a situation where some one who replaced car built from 1965-71 with a 1975-80 car spent a LOT more money on a car that probably was markedly

          less quick,

          used more fuel,

          more likely to stall, surge, hesitate,

          and did I mention, a LOT more money!

          The only improvement was chances were it had a nicer interior (often, but not always), and possible A/C.

          Paying a lot more for less–that is MALAISE

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Yeah, I am reasonably sure it was Jimmy Carter.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I remember when the first Taurus/Sable first came out people actually crowed around them to get a better look, same with the PT Cruiser that had a several month waiting list with dealer gouging common

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I much preferred the Taurus to the Sable. I thought the light bar was weird and the ones I saw on the roads over the years always had one of the sections out.
    Plus I have never liked modern cars with the skirted rear quarter wheel opening. Euro cars absolutely LOVED the design but I thought it made every car with them so much more clunky looking.

    The right cars at the right time:
    Tri-5 Chevys
    1982 Camaro
    1984 Corvette
    88-91 and then 92-96 Camry
    Hummer H2

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The first fuel injected MAF (versus speed density) Mustang 5.0. 1987, if I recall. It was cheap speed and popular with the modders of the era.

    When I was in college the Fox body Mustang GT seemed to be the most popular frat boy / jock car around.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As a Nissan fanboi I have to list off their greatest hits that I got to experience:

    1995 Maxima- Le Cost Cutter shows his brilliance. The all new VQ was silky smooth and pulled like a freight train. And they made the absolute most of their budget, making the car look great in and out and feel refined. The *only* misstep was that god awful rear beam axle.

    2002 Altima- picking up where the Maxima kind of left off, this thing brought great design and horsepower to the working man, setting off a torque steer arms race. Yes the doors were paper thin and the materials were awful, but at least it had an IRS.

    The whole FM platform- brought back the Z, put BMW on notice and turned Infiniti from an also ran to a top contender overnight. Not much else to be said about that whole ~2005 lineup.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Nineties Chrysler, beginning in earnest with the 1992 LH cars and continuing through to the second-gen LH intro and mild Ram pickup revamp and interior restyle in 1998.

    History has shone most of the products to be middling, but there wasn’t a newer and fresher vehicle lineup at the time and it was genuinely exciting to work at a CPJE store in the mid-1990s.

    IMHO, the luster started wearing off with the 1999 Grand Cherokee and really dimmed with the 2000 Neon and 2001 Sebring/Stratus sedans. The 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser was an exception; as others have said, it was hugely popular at first and a generally neat vehicle overall.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Everyone hates SUVs and CUVs enough that no one has mentioned any of the obvious suspects. Every one of these was a megahit and every one was in the right place at the right time.

    1984 XJ Cherokee. It was the first real daily driver SUV for most people and put the formula in place.

    1991 Explorer. Huge debt to the XJ, but it was the first to capture the suburbs’ hearts.

    1994 Outback. Pointed the way toward off-road marketing of car platforms.

    1998 Lexus RX300. Defined the CUV. Doubled Lexus sales overnight.

    1998 Mercedes ML. For all its considerable flaws, this was the car that got mainstream luxury buyers to treat non-off-road SUVs seriously in the high end of the luxury market.

    2000 Toyota RAV4 (second gen). The first mass-market CUV following today’s formula. The first RAV4 and CR-V were outliers, austere vehicles with pretensions to ruggedness. The second RAV4 really established the formula of “FF economy car, but taller.”

    2002 Range Rover. The Range Rover had always been an object of affection of preppies and Brits. The 2002 version was the one that turned it into a status symbol all across the world and started the process of dethroning the sedan as the vehicle of the very rich.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      2nd comment I gave credit to the WWII Willys Jeep the grand dad of all SUVs. I think because everybody now has a CUV/SUV that nobody wants to admit it was a good idea. We’re always beating on them here, but most of us probably have one hiding in the garage.

      “It’s my wife’s car, not mine”, lol

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Chrysler Minivan; Jeep Grand Cherokee; Ford Explorer.

    Maybe slightly early, but better for it – the redesigned Dodge Ram with the crosshair/bigrig truck grill.

  • avatar
    Dale Houston

    How is the answer to this not Miata?

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    1983 Thunderbird whch not only erased the memory of the awful shrunken ’80-’82 Tbirds but set Ford on the aero course that led to the Taurus.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’m going to go with the Gen II Prius. It mainstreamed hybrids with its unique shape.

    Funny about the PT Cruiser – I distinctly remember seeing my first one on the street. New Beetle too. I rented one a few years later and was disappointed in the loud power train, but overall I thought it was a distinctive, useful design. Still do.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Miata. Red, White and Blue (first year).

    They didn’t create anything new, but they re-created it.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I think this question needs to be approached from a decade by decade view as each decade brought a game changer in some level.

    50’s – Chevrolet small block; again thank you car gods..

    60’s – Mustang created an entire genre and sub genres.

    70’s – square body gm full size trucks. We are introduced to Japan and her capabilities.

    80’s – the usual taurus, mini van, i submit the Camry and accord became more mainstream which prepped for the..

    90’s – the Japanese take over the u.s car market for good. Notable bright spots for USDM include explorer, Jeep GC, the Kenworth Ram, the crew cab pick up as a family car

    00’s – four door wrangler, Lexus devouring their German competition GMT 900 platform tahoe, escalade, suburban, pony cars from the big 3 make big HP cool again

    20teens – tesla and the idea that an electric vehicle can be more than a niche segment

    2020’s – all things electric

    Many notables not mentioned or thought of that combined to get us where we are today

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “electric vehicle can be more than a niche segment”

      This has not been proven, in fact its nearly 2020 and its still a niche segment and will likely remain so.

      • 0 avatar
        TR4

        In 1900 electric vehicles comprised 38% of the market, hardly a niche.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_electric_vehicle

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        28..

        My apologies for the nomenclature used, in hindsight I should have used the term Hybrid to go along with pure electric. Toyota has more than demonstrated the market viability in the teens with the sales figures of their Prius and similar technology laden vehicles.
        Niche to me is the McClaren, NSX type segment.

        I can go a month without seeing a McClaren. I cant however go the grocery store without laying eyes on a Toyota hybrid or Tesla

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Both other markets and the automakers are showing us pretty emphatically that they expect electric not to stay niche for much longer.

        It’s all about battery costs. If we can lower battery costs enough that electrics are TCO-competitive, it’s game over. Everyone is talking nonstop about road trips, but that’s a tiny minority of driving, and for all the rest of it (yes, even enthusiastic driving) the electric is the superior product.

  • avatar
    TR4

    ’74 Mustang II. Yeah, I know it gets a lot of hate but it outsold all 68-73 model years. Even the 75-78s were still ahead of the 71-73s.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Great call. It’s unfair to look back on them with the current perception, they were exactly what was needed when they came out.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I’d argue that the Fox Body was the most influential Mustang. American muscle was on life support when that came out, though it really didn’t get decent until the 85 H.O. and the SVO

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The Mustang II sold because it had the Mustang name, which still had some prestige, but at a low price point and with a lower operating cost (better MPG). Not because it was a better, or even a good car.

      True enthusiasts held on to their pre 1973 rides.

      • 0 avatar
        TR4

        Actually, the ’74s were priced higher than the ’73s, even after accounting for inflation:

        https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/mustang-prices-through-the-years#1973

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @TR4;that is largely because the annual inflation rate at that time was over 11%. Prices for everything escalated wildly in those years.

          Though there is still little love for the ‘big’ mustangs, the Mustang II was originally commonly derided by petrol/gearheads.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    The Jaguar E Type changed the sports car segment forever in 1961. Beautiful, fast, technologically advanced -4 wheel disk brakes, all independent suspension and unibody construction were things that would not be seen on many cars until decades in the future, and best of all relatively affordable compared to other cars with it’s level of technology.
    Still desirable and highly sought after today.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Actually, the 1948 Jaguar XK120 had the bigger impact. It had curves, where previous sports cars, including the previous year Jaguars, were square boxes that would be at home in the early 1930s. The E-type was the ultimate minimalist shape. Unfortunately, sports cars today now have more scoops than an ice cream parlor, ruining the look.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would add the 58 Rambler American which even though it was a smaller version of the Nash changed the Big 3s opinions on the viability of making and selling a compact car in the US. The merger of Hudson and Nash which were both weak. The Rambler American was the first big seller for AMC during a recession in 1958 which cause car sales to plummet. Originally the American was a 2 door stripped model with few options.

    “The American went on sale late January 1958, with a minimum of marketing and promotion. It was available in two trims, a base Deluxe model priced at US$1,789 allowing AMC to claim the lowest-priced car made in America (adjusted only for inflation, equal to US$15,536 in 2018 dollars[9]) and as a Super trim version for $1,874 offering more “luxuries”.[10] The car was advertised as being the only small car with an automatic transmission.[11] All Americans were completely dipped in rust proofing.[11]

    The automotive press was positive to the reintroduced model. Tom McCahill wrote in Mechanix Illustrated, “There isn’t a better buy in the world today.” He continued, “The Rambler American … is an ideal-size small family car… It will give up to 30 miles on a gallon of gas (and more, with overdrive) and will outperform any imported sedan selling for under $2,000 except in the cornering department… It is by far the most rattle-and-squeak-free 1958 Detroit product I’ve driven-and I’ve driven them all!”[12]

    Reports by owners praised the car’s economy of operation, but ranked at the top its ease of handling.[13] A “workhorse” priced at under $2,000 “it doesn’t look as though every penny was pinched out of it”, but retains a “chic look”.[13] The American found 30,640 buyers during the abbreviated 1958 model year and helped Rambler become the only domestic make to post an increase in sales that year.” Wikipedia.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Two come to mind as having shaped the current automotive landscape.

    First, the first gen Explorer. This is the vehicle that killed the midsized car as the defacto choice for families. It is more than anything else responsible for the fact that pretty much any “family” vehicle nowadays does it’s best to look like a truck.

    Second, The 10th Gen F Series (97-04). This was the truck that pioneered the “Crew Cab with Short Bed” form factor that owns the road today. It was the first truck to be built with a thought towards being a primary mode of transportation for families.

    I’d give honorable mention to the Gen 1 Acura NSX for showing the world supercars could actually be reliable and shaping the current generation as well.

    You can hate on these all day (Well the first 2…if you hate the NSX you may be on the wrong forum), but they are the reason the automotive landscape is where it is today.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40.

    Don’t require to add anything else.

  • avatar
    B-BodyBuick84

    1982 A-body Century and Ciera, proved GM could make competent FWD cars that sold by the boatload. I’d also honestly say the Ford Fairmont- first of the fox body platform, and pretty much the sole reason Ford didn’t go bankrupt along with Chrysler in the 70’s.

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