9 Iconic 70s Cars Worth a Drive Down Memory Lane

With big bodies, big engines, and flashy designs, these 70s cars screamed cool. So grab your CB radios and get ready to drive down memory lane.

Published February 22, 2024

From pony and muscle cars to utility vehicles that still pound the pavement today, 70s cars have left an indelible mark on the automotive industry. Cruising has always been an American pastime (at least, since we could get behind the wheel), but performance and design were better than ever in the 1970s. So, grab your CB radios and get ready to drive down memory lane with some of the coolest cars from the 1970s.

Datsun 280z


Before Nissan was a mid-priced and economy car titan, they were ripping and roaring down U.S. highways as Datsun. In 1975, they debuted the Datsun 280z, which improved on the 260z with fuel injection and a 2.8L engine. This two-seater or coupe was sleek and stylish, riffing off the Porsche 911 body style from the same year. It was the everyman’s sports car for those who wanted a taste of luxury and elegance with a mildly powerful engine.

Ford Mustang Mach 1


From 1968 to 1978, you could grab the Ford Mustang Mach 1. Out of all the 1970s Ford Mustangs, this is the one that puts the pedal to the metal. Originally, the Mustang was a pony car, but the Mach 1 stepped up its sporty façade into a performance-driven vehicle everyone who had a need for speed wanted.

This muscle car had 300 horsepower and could tear up the highway in seconds. But, that iconic center-hood stripe really sold it as one of the preeminent cars of the 1970s.

Corvette Stingray


Chevrolet revamped their Corvette Stingray just in time for the decade that sent motorsports sky-high. Whether you went with the soft top or the hard top, small engine or big block, the Stingray was a majorly cool purchase in the 1970s. Featuring that iconic elongated nose and a 4-speed transmission, the Corvette Stingray was many boys' and girls' dream car.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am


Undoubtedly, the most coveted car to come out of the 1970s was the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Burt Reynolds was unstoppable behind the wheel of his Firebird in Smokey and the Bandit. He was at the top of his career in 1977 (just five years out of his Cosmopolitan centerfold controversy), and his jaw-dropping masculine energy sold that car to every person with a pulse.  

Volkwagen Beetle


The Love Bug’s 1969 release kick-started a massive Volkswagen Beetle movement. These classic buggies, with their round tops and impossibly small cabins, came in both a hard top and soft top configuration.

While you weren’t going to win any drag races with this one, you were going to absolutely impress your high school classmates in the parking lot. You just know the 70s Beetle had some special magic if it could endure the Ted Bundy murder machine of it all.

Related: 14 Kids' Shows From the 1970s That Put the Fab in Fabulous

Jeep Wagoneer


Today, we associate Jeep Wagoneers with Wyoming or Montana police forces, scaling their way through rugged terrain with a gun rack secured to the roof. But in the 1970s, the Jeep Wagoneer was all the rage. Sure, the Wagoneer had debuted in 1962, but by the 70s, it was a go-to SUV for middle America.

Before the Wagoneer, you had flatbed trucks, sedans, and sports cars. There really wasn’t an SUV-type car on the market, and Jeep slid into that slot with a comfortable and spacious option.

Dodge Charger


We can’t talk about hot cars from the 1970s without mentioning one of the most endearing cars of the decade — the Dodge Charger. Thanks to The Dukes of Hazard and their bright orange 69 Charger nicknamed General Lee, kids clamored for Chargers.

Teens wanted to slide like Bo Duke on the hood, and Charger sales outperformed many other American sports cars at the time. While its design feels a bit more dated than some of the others on this list, it’s sure to invoke a gripping sense of nostalgia for anyone growing up with evening television in the 1970s. 

Chevrolet K5 Blazer


While your older brother was lusting after the many muscle cars that were fighting for the top spot in the 1970s, your uncle was probably putting a down payment on the brand-spanking-new Chevy K5 Blazer. Much like the Jeep Wagoneer, the K5 Blazer was a sport-utility vehicle, and the smallest SUV in Chevy’s fleet. It had all the trappings of a truck and the spaciousness of a van.

The Blazer might seem understated when parked next to the Mustang Mach 1, but it was hugely popular with its target demographic — so popular, in fact, that it wasn’t retired until 1995.

Ford Country Squire Wagon


Now, when you think about cool 70s cars, station wagons don’t come to mind. But some of the best cars from the decade are ones that are still puttering around today. The greatest of these station wagons was Ford’s Country Squire Wagon. With wide wood paneling details and a squat frame, you could pile your entire Sunday school class into this long boy. Believe it or not, this specific model was one of the most tricked out of them all.

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To


Normally, we shy away from being overly nostalgic for our past. But these 70s cars just bring out the wistfulness buried deep inside. With big bodies, big engines, and flashy designs, 70s cars embodied cool. And sure, their steel bodies and lack of airbags were viciously lethal. But we can still dream about them, right?

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9 Iconic 70s Cars Worth a Drive Down Memory Lane