9 Cool 1970s European Sports Cars That Are Still Cheap (1 that’s priceless)
No matter what your considerations, all car enthusiasts will agree on one thing: Classic sports cars are beautiful. After the oil crisis in the USA and the increasing enforcement of exhaust gas laws worldwide, the era of engine tuning and turbocharging heralded in the late 1970s and 1980s. The iconic sports cars of the 1970s were exceptional for their styling – awkward, fearless, and timeless, which made them coveted collectibles and continues to be highly sought after today.
While America is home to muscle cars, Europe has certainly produced the most iconic sports cars in automotive history. With names like Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes Benz and others of such remarkable ancestry and caliber flexing their muscles in the 1970s, that period spawned many iconic sports cars that have since captured the imagination of the automotive world. Here are 9 cool European sports cars from the ’70s that are still cheap and priceless.
1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SL ($ 9,000)
The Mercedes Benz 450SL is a very important car in the history of European automobiles. It was one of the first European cars to be built with drastically reduced emissions and improved safety compared to its predecessor, the 280SL. Perhaps more importantly for auto enthusiasts, these results were achieved without exorbitant price increases. The 450SL is a timeless piece that is simply styled and has managed to stay classy over the decades.
The 450SL is equipped with a 4.5-liter V8 engine that develops 220 hp and accelerates the vehicle from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.8 seconds. With a top speed of 130 km / h, the 450 SL can hold its own against many modern sports cars both on the road and in our hearts without costing an arm and a leg.
1971 Lotus Elan (+2) ($ 15,000)
The Lotus Elan +2 was the upgraded version of the original Lotus Elan. While the Lotus Elan itself was an impressive competitor in the sports car scene of the 1970s, the +2 was a reworked extraordinary piece. The original Lotus Elan was a 2 seater coupe and the most obvious change to the +2 was the longer wheelbase due to the addition of two small rear seats (hence the “+2”).
The 120 hp of the +2 were supplied by a Lotus Twincam in-line 4-1.5 liter engine and a 4-speed gearbox, which was replaced by a 5-speed gearbox in the later + 2S version. The +2 looks great but is also a powerful car with a top speed of 120 mph and only takes about 8 seconds to get from sleep to 100 mph.
1972 BMW E3 3.0 ($ 18,000)
BMW’s reputation as a manufacturer of trustworthy sporty luxury saloon cars was resumed in 1968 with the E3 after a 5-year break in production for the segment.
Nicknamed the “New Six”, the E3 was a precursor to the incredible M-Series, which is much inspired by the former. The 1972 E3 has the BMW M60 inline 6 engine; This 2.5 liter engine develops 170 horsepower and a maximum torque of 156 lb-ft. With a top speed of 118 mph, the E3 can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph in just under 10 seconds.
1978 Porsche 928 ($ 8,000)
The Porsche 928 combines the agility and power of a sports car with the style and class of a luxury sedan. 1978 was the first Porsche 928 and is characterized by the lack of a spoiler. Optimized fuel consumption was the focus of the design of the 928, so weight-saving parts such as the doors, the front wing and the bonnet were made of aluminum instead of the steel that was common at the time.
The ’78 928 features a 4.5-liter V8 that develops 240 horsepower. It also features fold-out headlights and the lack of spoilers gives the vehicle a larger rear window view. The 928 drives well, is great fun to drive and this classic is still available for a modest price if you look closely.
Triumph Stag ($ 15,000)
The Triumph Stag was manufactured in the 1970s by Triumph Motor Company, a subsidiary of the British conglomerate Leyland. The stag’s incredible styling was created by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti and Harry Webster – a Triumph automotive engineer – who liked Michelotti’s design so much that he proposed it to the board and finalized it. The car’s impressive design wasn’t matched by engineering, however, as the deer had a reputation for being unreliable throughout its lifespan, largely due to recurring engine problems caused by overheating.
Nonetheless, this incredible looking car has gained a loyal following over the years and any working Triumph stag you come across now would most likely have received a lot of attention and rid it of most of the mechanical problems that plagued the original.
1976 Alfa Romeo Spider ($ 13,000)
If you want a properly styled car, give the job to the Italians. The Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo has been cultivating this tradition since 1910, and the Alfa Romeo Spider is proof of this. The Spider was solid on its own, but its popularity was further boosted by its takeover by some great celebrities like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and legendary former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali.
The Spider came with a 1.6-liter Twin Cam I4 engine with up to 132 hp in conjunction with a 5-speed manual transmission. The interior has been kept simple without exaggerating the gorgeous exterior, yet the Spider was desirable in its day and we dare to say it still is today.
1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Niki Lauda Special Edition ($ 20,000)
After winning the F1 season in 1977, legendary Austrian driver Niki Lauda ended his relationship with Ferrari and signed with Brabham-Alfa Romeo. In memory of this significant addition to its team, Alfa Romeo has developed a special edition of the Spider that bears the name of the legend itself – the Alfa Romeo Spider “Niki Lauda” Edition. Combining an already popular car with a respected motorsport legend was epic.
Only about 350 of the cars are said to be on the market today, which is going to be something special. The subtle difference between the special edition and the regular one is, among other things, a special badge, a badge with the edition number on the dashboard and a spoiler made of fiberglass.
1979 Porsche 924 ($ 9,500)
The Porsche 924 was developed by a partnership between Porsche and Volkswagen at a difficult time in the company’s history, which was caused by the slump in sales due to the oil crisis in the 1970s. The car is powered by an Audi engine, which intensifies the criticism of the fans who mockingly describe the 924 as “not a real Porsche”.
However, the P24 seems to have won over enthusiasts due to its undeniably fine design and reliability. It remains one of the cheapest Porsches on the market, but still with a lot of prestige.
Jaguar XJS ($ 11,000)
The Jaguar XJS was another car that received mixed reviews when it was released. The main complaint against the XJS was its unusual styling, which critics felt was too “square” at a time when flowing curves dominated car design. The XJS proved popular, however, as car enthusiasts saw its difference and looked over the surface to see the quality that lay beneath.
At a time when V12s were scarce in production vehicles, the XJS proudly carried one – a 5.3-liter Jaguar V12 with up to 242 horsepower. Unsurprisingly, the XJS has a top speed of 143 mph and can reach a speed of 60 mph in less than 8 seconds.
Priceless: Lamborghini Miura ($ 3,000,000)
Like most Lambourginis, the Miura is named after a bull – in this case a Spanish fighting bull. Its name, however, is nowhere near the most interesting thing about the Miura. At a time when Lamborghini was concentrating on high-performance grand tourers, three of the company’s engineers took on the challenge of developing a super sports car that could keep up with the best of its time. The design was presented to Ferruccio Lambougini personally and released for production.
The Miura claims the honor of bringing a new generation of supercars to market that can perform well beyond the imagination of most car enthusiasts of the time. It was the first mid-range car ever to be fitted with a 345 hp V12 engine. Unsurprisingly, the Miura was the fastest production car in the world when it was released, reaching speeds of up to 175 mph and taking just 6.7 seconds to go from rest to 100 mph. The legend of the Miura makes a car very difficult to acquire, and should you be lucky enough to find one for sale, be ready to part with over a million dollars to have it in your collection.
This list of sports cars that got it all wrong in the 1970s features some of the most respected brands in the industry.
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