Vintage R&T Feature: 10 Best Cars For a Changing World 1975

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Car and Driver started its 10Best list in 1983, but Road and Track had been doing something similarly for some time earlier, although not regularly. Their first 10 Best Cars For A Changing World was in 1971, and this is the second one, from 1975. And the the world was changing indeed. The first energy crisis (1973-1974) was the single biggest shock to the automobile industry, and unleashed a wave of efficiency improvements (and regulation) that is still at work today. And emission controls, safety regulations and 5 mph bumpers all compounded the challenges that the manufacturers scrambled to meet.

So with this update for 1975, R&T set out to find the 10 best cars that managed these changes with the highest degree of driver satisfaction intact, keeping in mind that for this publication that meant the criteria were performance, handling, engine response, ride, noise, comfort, space, luggage capacity, brakes, fuel economy, maneuverability, quality, reliability, and esthetics. Are you surprised that not one domestic car made the list?

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Well, one domestic rated a Special mention, the AMC Pacer. But they did that with a caveat: that they rather expected AMC to follow through with hints dropped by them that the Pacer would continue to be developed, with FWD and a more suitable powerplant. Fat chance of that happening.