Automotive News

7 Greatest Performance Cars of the 1970s

When the rising wedge line was introduced in the late 1960s by vehicles such as the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo, the traditional design of automobiles took a radical turn. The new-look was both cool and futuristic. Though a handful of Italian exotics were the first to embrace the new design, it quickly caught on throughout the next decade. Every company that produced a vehicle was trying to outdo both rival and predecessor in terms of speed, performance, and design. With the bold designs and high performance the following cars had, it’s easy to see why they have become some of the most highly coveted cars today.

1. 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder

It’s easy to understand why this Scaglietti creation that combines Pininfarina design and Ferrari engineering is one of the most sought-after Ferraris of all time. The Spyder featured slight angulations on its exterior along with Plexiglas headlights. It also came with pop-up headlights intended to meet USA regulations. The Daytona Spyder had a 4.4-liter V12 engine that could hit an impressive top speed of 170 miles per hour.

2. 1974 Lamborghini Countach

Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971, the Lamborghini Countach featured a unique design highlighted by two ultra-low seats and scissor doors that swung up and forward when opened. The scissor doors went on to become standard in all Lamborghini models.

The exterior was made up of aluminum alloy that was incorporated onto a tubular space-frame leather-weight chassis. It first came fitted with a 5.0-liter V12 engine which produced 440 hp. However, the engine caused reliability issues due to its tendency to overheat. It was replaced by the Bizzarrini-designed 3929cc V12 engine.

3. 1973 Datsun 240z

Datsun has been known to incorporate independent suspensions, overhead cam engines, and disc brakes into fairly affordable and remarkably conceived cars. The Datsun 240z was no different. Similar to all Datsun models, the car had a flat torque curve. It was fitted with a powerful 2.4-liter single overhead cam six which made 151 hp at 5600rpm.

4. 1975 Maserati Khamsin

The Khamsin was the first design Bertone did for Maserati. The car had a powerful 4.9-liter V8 engine that had 320 hp and allowed the Maserati Khamsin hit a top speed upwards of 150 miles per hour. Other components included in the vehicle were similar to those found in the Citroen SM since, at the time, Maserati was owned by Citroen.

5. 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda

The popular wedge design was not exclusive to two-seater cars. In the 1970s, William Townes, Aston Martin’s designer, applied a similar style to a larger luxury sedan. The Lagonda was low, long, very pointy, and one of the wildest four-door sedans ever made.

The car’s exterior was not the only breakthrough; the Aston Martin Lagonda also became the first vehicle to make use of a digital dashboard. On top of that, the 5.3-liter V8 280 hp engine allowed it to hit speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.

6. 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

This was the first supercar to be produced by Lamborghini, receiving a hero’s welcome when it made its debut at the Geneva Salon in 1966. The Miura was unique. Its engine was mounted behind the passenger compartment. With a performance matching the car’s impressive looks, the Lamborghini Miura SV became a pioneer of the petrol-powered generation.

7. 1978 BMW M1

The debut of the BMW M1 caused a stir. This high-performance coupe was the first model to be built by the BMW Motorsport GmbH. Introduced as part of the ProCar series, the M1 featured a 3.5-liter straight-6 engine. The purchasable road version had a power unit longitudinally mounted in front of the back axle that produced 277 hp.