The 5 Most Popular Cars of the 1970’s
Updated September 29, 2013
The 1970s was a classic decade for cars and a time when car ownership began to be accessible to the average Joe. Supercars and muscle cars that had been developed from the 1960s onwards were now everywhere and still at the kinds of prices that meant they were available to everyone. As the 1970s came to an end, with petrol shortages having affected car sales and usage, and car prices having risen enormously, there was less opportunity for just anyone to own the kinds of cars available to everyone at the start of the decade. Looking back at the most popular cars of the 1970s is a great way to celebrate that decade of automobile excellence, even if some of the most popular models weren’t the most powerful or cool…
Ford dominated the market during the 1970s and the Ford Escort was beaten to the top UK sales in that decade only by the Ford Cortina. The Escort started out as a two door car and was developed two years after its release into a four door and aimed at the family market. A rally version of the car was also built and was highly successful, one of the most triumphant rally cars of all time. Escorts at this time were built at Halewood in England and have since remained a quintessential British car, driven by everyone from tracksuited chavs to Lady Diana Spencer.
Sales of the mini were high during the 1970s, possibly due to the success of the 1969 film The Italian Job in which three energetic minis were used to complete a heist. The mini was designed as an economy car and has been voted the second most influential car of the 20th century. Whilst the first mini was released in 1959, the iconic little car is still manufactured today although in a slightly different format to its earlier incarnations.
The Morris Marina was an enormously popular car throughout the 1970s, receiving a number of facelifts and even at one point being converted into a motor caravan! The Marina had a conventional and old fashioned design and was intended mostly to appeal to company and corporate feet buyers. It has recently achieved fame once again by being regularly smashed to pieces on the TV auto show Top Gear, usually by having a piano dropped on it!
The Austin Allegro remained popular throughout the 1970s as a small family car economically priced and easily to use. 642,350 of the little cars were sold during the decade of its lifespan and it dominated the small car family space during this time. These cars have been subject to plenty of ridicule over the years (as have most of the cars from that decade) but have now become a 1970s motoring icon.
The Ford Cortina was the top selling car in the UK for nine out of the ten years of the 1970s and was designed by Ford to be its mass market car, aimed mostly at families. There were five generations of Ford Cortinas, all of which sold more than a million models and the four models released during the 1970s went through some considerable change during the decade. At the start of the 1970s the Mk II was a boxy compact little car, practical and great for families, which then evolved into the longer, slightly sleeker Mk III, with its extended front bonnet. The Mks IV and V were much more conventional looking cars, returning back towards the more boxy shape and also introducing an estate version.
These 5 most popular cars of the 1970s have had something of a varied history and not all have made it through to the modern motoring market. However, they’ve all been key in providing the blueprint for the contemporary cars we all now drive and we arguably wouldn’t have the comfort and convenience we do today without them.
John is a writer for National UK, a car and van hire company with a wide choice of vehicles for hire in UK and Worldwide.
Categories: Gear Grinding