I went into this post hoping to do what would be my first eBay find, but the extensive choices I came across made it posed a challenge. Did I want to go with a Broughamy crowd pleaser, or did I want to go with a Perrymobile? Well, the Omni GLH-S and Mazda RX2 which I found fall into the latter category and will be posted some other time, so for now, enjoy this host of six plush mid-seventies to early-eighties coupes.
We’ll begin alphabetically with this 1977 AMC Hornet two-door sedan. No, it’s not very Broughamy at all, but it still couldn’t escape the vinyl top. I don’t think this will rank very high as a CCer’s favorite, but I know there are a number of you who will prefer this example of Kenosha’s last new car platform. Located in Orange County, CA with about 63,000 miles, the Buy It Now price is listed at $4,500.
Even compared to the X-body Skylark, this Hornet, equipped with a straight-six and TorqueFlite, had a functional appeal the others are lacking, except perhaps for the Toyota. And as a Hornet, not an Eagle or Concord, it also has an obscurity which the Japanese car comes close to achieving but still misses.
With a split bench and A/C, it’s not too basic, and the three-spoke wheel is especially nice to look at, as are the side vents, the glove box latch and original radio. With that forward slanting dash and all that red vinyl, the whole experience may be a bit confining.
I do find the silver paint to be a great match for the interior color, though, and the whole car to be quite attractive in its simplicity. If the Hornet is too plain for you, however, there is this Buick Electra:
Listed in Derry, New Hampshire, the town which inspired Derry, Maine in Stephen King’s masterpiece, It, the sellers of this gigantic machine found it difficult to fit the entire car’s length in the frame of a single picture (or maybe they just didn’t try very hard). It’s got about 19,000 miles on it and from the looks of that third-taillamp, some of those were accrued during the latter half of the ’80s. Or perhaps the odometer rolled over once before, but I’m inclined to believe it wouldn’t have held up as well if that were the case.
Another clue to the car’s low mileage is the good condition of its seats. It’s not often I see actual leather in these cars, so this may be a particularly well-optioned example. I’d prefer a four-door hardtop, but such a car would actually have a degree of functionality which would negate the sheer excess of this machine. And who wants that?
There’s not a ton on this wraparound dash to suggest a high equipment level, but it’s a very nice design for the era. The climate controls to the left of the wheel emphasize the personal nature of the car, even though they were present on all body styles. In the days before dual climate controls, this kept the issue out of the passenger’s sight and mind.
If there’s any truth to reports that this generation of GM’s fullsizers’ interior materials were cheapened, this shot of the driver’s door panel is good confirmation. We can cut the car some slack if those 19,000 miles were driven over the course of many years, exposing the vinyl to regular wear and tear after ten or fifteen years of weathering. It’s a reminder that pristine old cars become fragile, making their use as a daily driver somewhat disrespectful. Still, if big block Buick power is what you want, then this car delivers well enough in 1972 tune, and if it’s too large a package for you, there’s always this Chicagoland 1973 Regal:
This baby blue baby behemoth on Rallye wheels is a more fun choice, but at about $20,000 with 6,000 miles on it, should definitely not be used as a daily. It’d be perfect in a movie, on the other hand, as long as it were treated well.
I’ve never been a Colonnade fan, but a car like this could convince me. The styling looks the most sane in this early Buick interpretation, without the bizarre sculpting at the bottoms of the doors or too much ornamentation of other sorts. And I’ve always loved those wheels. I can’t imagine how this car went over the year after it was sold, right as the fuel crisis struck. That could account for its fabulous condition, assuming it was mothballed and saved for later, by which time it had fallen out of fashion.
My impression is that this car may very well stay in the US once its sold, as American interpretations of sportiness aren’t as sought after overseas as the sort of excess displayed by the Electra. And, since this car isn’t especially iconic, it may be more desired by domestic fan boys. It’s not a GS trim car, so the combination of the top motor and more basic trim might reflect the sensibilities of pre-fuel crisis buyers who had every reason to say “yes” to big engines, with the proliferation emissions controls and cheap fuel. A test of the big block Regal in GS trim saw the quarter mile reached in 15.3 seconds, so by the standards of midsized cars in the early-mid ’70s, this was fast.
It was also pretty well equipped, with A/C and a full range of power assists. I wouldn’t say that the vinyl bench seat is at all ideal, but having two friends (or lovers) right next to you while doing a burnout should make anybody with a pulse smile.
You can also see what made these cars so popular and what made them seem like a sporty alternative. There’s moderate Brougham influence here, but its at least backed up by a wide variety of options features. Midsize coupes were where the action was, and looking at this car, you can see what fed GM’s delusions in thinking it’d be wise to launch the GM10 coupes before the sedans (in a very changed market).
But if this enormous midsize doesn’t appeal to you, there’s yet another Buick in the running:
Compared to the Regal, this tinsel-y 1976 Skylark Coupe is very Brougham-y. My parents owned a blue, stripper Disco Nova and my father always regretted choosing the 4.1 six. I’d continue to think these X-bodies were crap if my early lurkings on Curbside Classic hadn’t disabused me of that notion. There’s a Camaro underneath all that gingerbread, and potential for good handling, hinted at by those Rallye wheels.
This car, as we see here, uses a rather choked looking odd-fire 3.8 V6. It managed 110 horsepower when new, which, all things considered could be worse, but this car is still slow. GM was fortunate enough to have a solution, though:
a Landau top! At least in this car’s case, it complements a good level of equipment, with A/C, cloth upholstery and power assists.
Certainly a big improvement over dad’s Nova, and in reasonably restrained colors. For $4,000, and with 53,000 miles, this Los Angeles car wouldn’t be terrible to use as a daily.
It would be fun to swap in a 3.8 Turbo from a GNX or Firebird, which as a fuel-injected engine, would require somewhat extensive modification, but certainly wouldn’t be impossible. I’m no F-platform expert, but a good amount of Camaro/Firebird chassis bits probably also would fit, making the potential for big fun very real for a motivated owner.
If you’re tired of the Buicks, this 1981 Dodge Mirada is a great, somewhat appealing sample of Chrysler’s late ’70s dark years. Located in Buffalo, NY, priced at $3,850, and with 91,000 miles, this car has lasted well, considering how long cars of that era lasted in Western New York’s inhospitable climate. There’s nowhere worse in the US when it comes to destroying a car’s body.
These cars never sold well and thirty-three years later, remain unpopular. The last of pre-Iacocca Chrysler’s nice cars have a certain charm to them, and there are fewer buyers to compete with. The 318 in this car was refined and used until 2003, and my encounters with it the Grand Cherokee have been very positive. As with the Skylark, updating it to be powerhouse it later turned into would require a fair degree of work, but nothing impossible. Another option, depending on where one lives, would be to de-smog and aggressively tune it.
This one has proper buckets and a full console. While its generally modern ergonomics and unpopularity make it a more viable daily driver, it’s also less novel than the earlier cars, which means that, despite its rarity, whoever buys this might drive it into the ground. This really is one for the Mopar fans.
This Mirada has many shades of the K-car, and like the others–except for the Hornet–is generously spec’d.
For the time, this was modern looking, but buyers stayed away nonetheless, which puts the very basic approach to car building exhibited by the K and L-bodies into perspective. The sort of people who wanted a plush, somewhat sporty coupe were much better served by Japanese imports like this 1980 Toyota Celica Supra:
Whoever had the sense to keep this car preserved was wise. It wasn’t considered to have much historical significance until recently. With 55,000 miles on it, this rust-free California car currently resides in upstate New York like the Dodge, though at $7,000 it’s quite a bit more expensive.
Even though it’s the only car of these six with a liftback design, as a plush coupe with a big (compared to other imports) engine, it addresses a similar buyer demographic as some of the others. With fuel injection and an overhead cam, this 2.6 liter six was able to meet the (admittedly lowered) demand for performance using about half the displacement, and with such a clean, organized appearance under the hood, its greater sophistication is fully on display.
That positive impression extends to the interior, which is well ahead of the other cars listed here in terms of finish. But don’t let the engine and interior fool you: this car was designed in the American idiom and even styled–for the most part–in California. It was soft and slow, with only 110 horsepower, like the personal luxury coupes it was sometimes pitted against, and any illusions of performance were dispelled the moment your put your hands around that thin-rimmed steering wheel. Those four spokes serve a purpose, giving your index finger more places from which to use the overboosted steering.
But hey–gadgets and high quality are rewarding enough in their own right, as is mechanical refinement and convenience. No reason to miss rallye wheels with such nicely machined eight spokers as these. Back in the day, you’d certainly make a very good first impression in this car, and looking at it, I can picture a nice first or second date which would begin with a cruise through the suburbs on a warm night on the way to a David Cronenberg or Jon Carpenter feature at the local cinema.
And after so many fine evenings out, moving in with each other could be facilitated by this wonderful three-door design.
So what do you guys think? Would the pick of this bunch be the simple, honest Hornet? The bloated, gluttonous Electra? Perhaps the suave Celica Supra? I personally can’t decide, but I’m leaning toward the Regal. I can’t deny the allure of the big-block V8 and what we’re told is a capable platform. Stay tuned for more eBay finds.
1979 Toyota Celica Supra, 1970 AMC Hornet, 1977 Chevy Nova, 1973 Regal GS455, 1976 Buick Electra, 1980 Dodge Mirada
man, the front bumper on that ’73 Regal rivals the one on the ’74 Comet.
Yeah GM’s fornt bumpers on their ’73’s look like they had some kind of last minute panic attack when designing them. Subsequent years are much better (though still huge)
The first generation of energy absorbing bumpers have huge hydraulic rams behind them, they are almost the size of paint cans. Remember the idea was to have cars the same size and weight more or less “bounce” off of each other, so if your going to 5000lb cars “sumo wrestle” you need some hard core reinforcements.
If I could choose any car(s), I’d choose the AMC Hornet. It’s an American made car. It’s small enough to be fairly easy to drive. I’d prefer the Sportabout station wagon or the sedan.
I’d also go for the Dodge Mirada. I find it to be the most attractive looking of its time. It’s also rare.
I’d also go for the Toyota Celica Supra. I find its front end styling to be more attractive than that of the Celica of the same year.
+1 on all three. You channeled my answer exactly.
Same thoughts here.
Hmmm… Maybe the Mirada, as I have always found the body style quite attractive, even though the quality of the car, aside from perhaps the drivetrain, is questionable.
Plus, I could have some fun kit-bashing that quarter glass to open, at least part-way!
The Dodge Mirada was actually based from the stretched M-Body Dodge Diplomat and F-Bodied Dodge Aspen chassis. The reduction of size by 5 inches compared to its predecessor the Dodge Magnum weren’t all that significant except on the width department: 72.8″ for the Mirada and 77.0″ for the Magnum other than those, they were both nearly within the same size range.
I’d wondered aloud on another forum recently why Chrysler didn’t put the Mirada dash in the later Diplomat/Gran Fury/Fifth Avenue. It seemed to create more space, or at least the impression thereof, and felt a bit more upmarket and modern than the ’76 Volare-type dash the sedans were stuck with right up to ’89.
Those Miradas were great looking, especially if you could find a red one with a white interior. But everything about the dash was tinny and cheap looking and feeling, at least to someone like me who was used to a 300L. And you face that every time you drive the car.
I agree with you that a red Mirada with a white interior is the best combination. I owned one like that in the mid eighties for a couple years and had no problems with it. It was sporty and very comfortable. And, as I mentioned once before, was loaded with almost all the available options like leather and the factory CB radio. It’s what I’d have loved to have been able to buy brand new, but got a good one without too many miles only 5 years old. It was a 1980 CMX with the 318. Really kick myself for letting it go. Traded it in at a Dodge dealer for a like-new 1986 Shelby Charger in December of 1987. The sporty little Shelby Charger made the Mirada feel big, bulky and heavy, despite it being downsized and lighter than it’s predecessors.
I thought they were more shrunken down R-body Newport/NYorker/Grand Fury than Diplomat based, could be because of the dash, it’s almost identical to the short lived R-body dash. It made since to me that these were R-body based since there were no coupe versions of the full size sedans to begin with.
+1 for the Mirada.
For some reason it appeals to me the most out of all these cars.
+2 from me. My father’s second car was an ’81 Mirada, maroon/maroon ext/int, floor shifter but no T-tops or leather. Compared to his previous car, a ’75 Cordoba (not to mention his farm truck, a Slant-6 D100), it was positively sprightly and incredibly modern. Also lightyears ahead of mom’s Matador.
I’d HAVE to go with the Mirada..the only way it could be better, was if it had the early “gunsight” grille of the last 300, (another RARE find in this body style!) . Interestingly enough, it appears that someone failed to complete an eBay transaction, as this same car was advertised & allegedly sold a few months ago. 🙂
Count me as a Mirada fan,another car I never knew about.I’d also take the Toyota
The Buicks are all close but no cigar. I really dislike the 4 round headlights in their separate pods on the 74 full size Buicks, If it was a 1975 I’d take it. I’m not buying that it is a 19,000 mi car too much grime and such underneath the engine it looks about the same as my 75 Limited did with over 100K. This is fairly highly optioned though having the auto climate control and the leather.
The Regal doesn’t really do it for me either I prefer the 73 Century Luxus like I had the round parking lights look so much better than the rectangular ones. I’d prefer the white top, white bucket seat and console like the one I had and would gladly trade the 455 for a 350 powered model with those items. Don’t get me wrong I like the 455 but the 350 is enough for a cruiser and I’d rather have the items I’d look at and interact with inside the car when I’m driving it. It is a nicely preserved version though.
The Nova er I mean Skylark wouldn’t be so bad if it had the 350 and the power window are pretty rare but they just didn’t differentiate enough from the Nova for me to give it proper Buick.
The Hornet would make for a durable car but what good is durability on a car that you don’t want to drive.
If I had to choose one I’d probably have to go with the Electra, if you are going to get single digit MPG you might as well have it in a big car.
I agree, I like the Electra, the 1974 has one of my favorite dashes, it has the earlier wrap around 71-73 dash, but with the silver gauges, its a one year only look. In a Deuce though, I am actually more of a fan of the hardtop sedan for some reason, but that’s probably a clean 119K mile car and not a 19K mile car, the Regal needs whitewalls in the worst way, though I DO like the 455, so many of these are 350 cars.
+1 Electra for me as well. From this list I’ll excuse the bumpers.
The Electra has a real oddball combination of options, or lack thereof. Leather and climate control a/c, but an AM radio, no cruise and no power door locks. (from what I could gather from the additional photos on Ebay). Reminds me of my grandparents’ ’78 T-Bird with the deluxe interior package (split bench with dual center armrests done in a very high grade brown vinyl), power locks and a tilt wheel, but no power windows or cruise, AM radio and standard wheel covers. Wasn’t unusual during the days of a la carte options.
My favorite of the lot is the Regal. Even without the 455 it’s a rare bird as loaded as it is.
But it is missing some of the best options of the bunch, reclining buckets, console with the basket handle shifter and the rallye steering wheel to go with the rallye road wheels.
It’s also missing a rear sway bar, meaning no F41 suspension package to go with the 455. The $20 or so extra made a huge difference in how those cars handled. Based on my recollection I would argue that bucket seats were a much more common option on the Colonnade cars (especially Cutlasses) than power windows and locks.
One other thing that has to go on the Regal are those overdone exhaust tips. There’s more overhang there than the 5 mph bumpers!
That generation of Regal is the forgotten colonnade, but without buckets I’d pass. The Electra is swell, love the ’74’s front end, no upright neoclassic grille like the ’75’s but it’s huge and the plastic has discoloured, It would be down to the Mirada or Skylark for me.
Regal looks brand new and the 455 makes it a conversation piece. The motor still put out 225 some net HP, even with EGR, etc. Never compare gross HP ratings to net HP, they are another dimension altogether.
EGR doesn’t hurt power at all, it was the camshaft and low compression that took the fun away.
Interesting fact, when my buddy removed the EGR from his hot-rod Lincoln and it pinged like crazy even on 94 octane gas. When I told him to hook it back up, he was shocked it ran better.
What about one of these found at the local Mitsubishi dealer it has 11k kms on it and its like new inside and out.
In the mid seventies an uncle of mine had a similar looking Toyota coupe in exactly the same color. It had big rims with red hubcaps. My brother and I were always impressed when we saw it. My uncle was already an elderly man back then, so the whole combo was quite unique. Must have been a Corolla coupe, as I’m sure it wasn’t a Celica.
Must have been this one, the KE35.
Looks like what we got over here as the Plymouth Arrow.
Sorry, my vote is none of the above, because my favorite malaise era coupe is a VW Scirocco. If I had to choose form this list, either the Supra because I think it’s the best car or the Hornet because my grandfather had one.
…..Check out my 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S…The last year of the MKI
Residing now in Buffalo, NY…but spent most of its life in Fort Lauderdale..
Beautiful car. I remember how bright that silver color was, a bit on the bluish side. It may sound odd but it would look better to me with an Unleaded Fuel Only sticker above the gas cap.
It may be a coupe, and it may have been built during the Malaise Era, but it sure as hell ain’t a Malaise Era Coupe.
Not that you should feel bad for wanting one. Scirocco FTW.
I’ll keep this in mind for my next eBay find. Most of these aren’t exactly my taste, but I will say that ’70s and ’80s domestics have a real novelty value for me, since I was always around imports.
I had one and would pick it too but those cars just didn’t last even in friendly climates. Now take a look at that Skylark. Check out how nicely the trim and paint have held up in Perry’s close up of the B-pillar area. No sun damage even though though car is in LA and you can bet it has no rust. My Scirocco had fender rust at the three year old point.
The Skylark is my favorite domestic here. The size, wheels and detailing are just perfect, all of it high quality. It’s hard to believe that poor Hornet was expected to compete against the GM X-bodies. The ’77+ LeSabre coupes were also very nice cars that were built to last.
If the Buick was a ’71 or ’72 I’d be all over it, but it loses some of its appeal after the nose job mandated by the big bumpers. It’s still very close. But I think I’d have to go for the Mirada. Most attractive out of the whole bunch in my opinion, and I’ve always loved Miradas since I was young (one of my favorite Hot Wheels cars was the “Mirada Stocker”). Plus, as a non-pristine example, I wouldn’t feel bad giving the engine a makeover. That clean exterior would stay as-is (though I’d have to consider whether it looks better with or without whitewalls).
I agree with you on the Buick, Chris. As designed, before the bumper laws kicked in, I think those were the prettiest of the GM biggies from that era.
That Electra vindicates everything I have ever said about those interiors. My, how many different colors that interior has morphed into. And my favorite-ever door panels (not) that would crack on demand as the pull strap was coming detached. I am with some others, that car looks to have had more use than 19K. The 73 Regal, however, looks from here like the real deal.
The Mirada’s interior is disappointing, as it has turned nearly as many colors as the Electra’s has. FWIW, these came out as 1980 models and while they were mostly designed before Lido arrived in late 1978, they launched about a year into his tenure. Even with the sunlight-damagedf interior, I like it.
That Hornet also appeals to me, perhaps as much as any of these. Nice and simple, and if I have to have a silver car, give me the bright red interior to go with it.
The Mirada and Cordoba of this vintage are notorious for developing a crack near the interior door lock on their upper door panels. This car may be the first one I’ve seen without that crack.
A friend who has always liked these cars told me that a fellow Mopar club member sent away for NOS trim panels. He was fixing up a Mirada. When they arrived in the mail, they were cracked, too!
That Mirada would have probably been a hit had it come out around 1978, it has “sheer look” in spades. Both the 2nd gen Cordoba and Mirada were pretty good looking cars that were spoiled by the 80-82 recession and the stench of death that was surrounding Chrysler at the time.
Plus, you could have gotten T-tops on them, and that’s always a plus.
Or if it had debuted in 1983 after the oil shock/recession.
I am not sure if this is true as GM sold loads of G bodies of various iterations, and were in 1979 or so not seen as large cars at all. In fact the Mirada was marketed as a mid-size, economical coupe. The Mirada was just a warmed over Cordoba and the chassis was more than long in the tooth by this time. Going down the road it squeaked and groaned and generally felt gutless and floppy. A 305 Cutlass Supreme was a way better car and sold way better,too.
You know, I really SHOULD be voting for the Supra, but the mk1 just doesn’t do it for me like my mk2.
I know nothing about them, but I like the look of that Dodge Mirada, that would be my pick.
The overpriced ’73 Regal is me all over. What an odd array of options — 455, UM2 stereo, gauge package, defog, power windows and locks yet it has the full width bench seat.
I can attest how fast this car must be as I am trying to get back a very similar machine…a ’73 455 Regal in Willow Green with black vinyl top (since painted white) and shredded black cloth interior. “My” car has/was a power 60/40 split front bench, power windows, locks, tilt, and the same 14 inch Rally wheels…no clock or gauge package though.
The car next to it is a ’73 Century GS455 with white interior, floor shift, etc…another vehicle I’m trying to regain possession of *sigh*
I’d be hard-pressed to give the other cars above a second glance — the Electra interior color is well….never mind.
I’ll take the Marida over all of them. But then I’m a Mopar junkie. The only reason I’m not buying it is I have two already. A 81 CMX I bought new and a 80 that I bought a couple years ago. That and four other cars waiting their turn in the shop.
I agree, I’d pick the Mirada. Then the Regal and the Toyota.
Between the Cordoba, Imperial and Mirada, I thought the Mirada was the most stylish. I never favored the retro looks and bustleback design of the Imperial. While the 1980 Cordoba could never compare with the style of the original.
Someone in my neighborhood owned a slant six Mirada. The six didn’t suit these at all.
An 82 Imperial is one of cars waiting its turn in the shop. I’m not real crazy about their looks either but it came in a package deal so I’ll find something to do with it. I’m thinking a 3rd gen hemi will do the job.
My bid would be for the Regal. Super well equipped (would prefer the 350), great color combo. A decent handler and good performer. I’d add white walls to make it authentic to the era.
The color fade in the Electra is amazing, and the treatment of the rear side window was the worst year for any ’71 – ’76 Electra. Yuck. Those door pull straps were notorious for coming off on most A, B, and C bodies of that era. The fix was easy, pull off the door upper, pop a decorative cover off the interior ends of the straps, push through a new bolt backed with a washer, back the opposite side with a big fender washer, add a lock washer and nut. The way GM should have done it. I probably fixed a dozen of these for myself, family, and friends. Even the ’77 and up B cars were prone to this problem. The fix was always permanent.
I’ll hand it to the Toyota, the interior looks very well screwed together, even after all these years.
I’d go for the Hornet or the Miranda.
My pick would be the Regal, it is quite a beauty. First order of business for me would be to get the car some proper whitewall tires, it just seems unfinished to me. Then build up the engine a bit to give it some kick. There is nothing like the sound of a Big Block shaking the ground!!!
I’d probably spring for the Celica… Bet that Buick heads straight for Sweden!
That’s a VERY reasonable price for a Supra in that condition; I’ve seen them go for five figures more than once. That would be my pick of all these despite my having formerly owned a ’74 Electra and really wanting one again. The 1974-76 Electras are an example of a model that looks MUCH better in the 4-door configuration. That coupe roofline is just awkward. Also, that particular example has had way more use and wear than 19K. The listing has a couple of close-up pix of the vinyl top that show it is dry and cracking, and looks like it might have been painted once as a cheapo fix.
Hornet, yes! Just look at that luxurious simulated stitching on the plastic horn button. A bargain at that price, I’ll just fly out and drive it home.
AMC six and torque-command always, always made it home.
Man that malaise era was so much more diverse than this malaise era.
Mirada or Supra for me
+1 on the variety
Mirada, FTW!!! Im actually awaiting the arrival of the ‘gift of my own money’ ie: tax return. Ive always liked these cars, even though personal luxury isn’t really my thing. But Im a Mopar junkie, what can I say? That one is exceptionally clean and in nice shape, Id like to know what kind of magic/voodoo the owner is dabbling in to keep a car so nice in western NY. Its got some important goodies going for it: Decent color scheme, buckets/floor shift and a vinyl roof that matches the color of the car so you don’t really notice it has one. Its just too bad its not a CMX 360 with T-tops. But if it were anywhere close to my area, Id be on that like stink on a monkey! A de-smog and aggressive tune like mentioned before, get those ugly ass whitewalls as far away from it as legally possible and get some Keystone mags on that baby!
That Hornet looks like its just BEGGING for a worked over AMC 360 or 401, as well as some Cragar SS mags. I always liked the looks of these, theyre like an ‘alternative Nova’ or something.
I agree on those Buick rallye wheels. While they don’t really suit the flavor of Buicks in this era, a set of Kelsey Hayes wheels seems to un-brougham a GM car just right!
I’d do a 350 Chevy in the Hornet before I did a 360 / 401. Small AMC engine bay takes a SBC no problem and HP per dollar spent is way higher than an AMC V8.
So in a way they really are an alternative Nova..
Jeep 4.0 / FI. Almost a bolt-in swap and just about double the HP.
Well…Ive never liked the idea of swapping GM power in anything else American. Call me anal about it, but it is what it is. I think theres a certain satisfaction in making a total badass out of all AMC guts. Although, since AMC got swallowed up by Chrysler, a Magnum 360 would be A-OK with me…
I’d go for the Skylark if the owner was a little flexible on the price.
Some nice variety to choose from.
I like the Regal, specially the dashboard. The 455 is awesome too.
I also like the Hornet. Nice color combo and just plain nice and simple.
The Mirada, for some reason I don’t recall hearing about these, but I really like it. Looks a lot like the contemporary Imperial.
With no white walls and some black rims, it would look menacing at night.
What is that “Chromometer” at the top of the center dashboard?
The Supra is nice, but looks like a 280Zx 2+2. Not a huge fan of the elongated rear.
It’s in great shape though and I’d still take it.
The Electra and Skylark would be my last choices.
The Electra has obviously rolled that odo at least once or it really just fell apart once it felt the smogged air of the 21st century.
I like the cocoon like dashboard of these cars though.
The Skylark is in good shape, but I think a V8 would do wonders for the appeal.
Chronometer was fancy Chrysler speak for CLOCK. By this vintage they were actually digital.
Dodge Miranda dude… lets rip out the smog equipment, slap a 4-barrel on it, dual exhausts, find me a tight posi for the rear. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
You sir, are a man after my own gear-head! Ill see all those, and raise you a performance intake, ridiculous side pipes with Cherry Bombs, a California rake showing off 10″ wide mags out back, 7 inchers up front! Tint the windows good and dark and stick a Scorpions tape in the deck. Id roll that up to the Motley Crue/Alice Cooper concert this summer…guarantee theres a single lady with plenty of buttrockin to do who would love to ride shotgun! Yee HA!
Im kidding…..sorta….ok, not at all!
What’s your phone number?Great taste in cars and music
haha! Never been hit on sight unseen by a lady….especially who is herself sight unseen! From what feedback I get, my appearance would be like this: Take Richard Rawlings, Jacoby Shaddix (lead singer of papa roach), Rich from Hardcore Pawn and the Slim Jim guy…melt all those down into one dude and there ya go. The Scorps, ZZ Top and AC/DC are the bulk of my ’80s music collection. I delve into Led Zep, Hendrix, Rush, Budgie, and Pink Floyd a lot, and of course the early 90s grunge of my heyday. These days, Clutch stays in heavy rotation on my iPod too.
Perhaps even more amazing than the fact that the Mirada lasted more than five years in Buffalo is that it is apparently still running with the Lean Burn unit attached to the air cleaner housing. Those were trouble from day one.
Another thing I noticed on the Mirada was the factory installed trash bin on the passenger side floorboard. That had to be a very rare option.
Hmmmmm… decisions, decisions. I had a ’74 Hornet Sportabout many years ago, so I’ll take that one, several years after that I bought a ’74 Century Luxus coupe, so I’ll take that too. And throw in the Mirada just cuz.
The 455-4 of the Regal appeals, but gas is over $4 a gallon here, and there’s nothing like a low compression ratio and seven and a half liters of displacement to make it disappear. For that reason I’d take the Supra instead. It isn’t really a favorite of mine, particularly without a 5-speed, but I could at least afford to drive it to car gatherings in LA if I was so inclined.
My picks would be either the rarely equipped Mirada or the Skylark. That 318 in the Dodge could easily pick up some power and probably mileage with a proper 4 BBL intake and 4 BBL carb and some extra timing dialed in. The Buick would benefit from a newer even fire 231 swap out with 4 BBL intake and carb.
I have driven them all at one time or another and for me the decision is easy, mainly due to where I live, which is a congested nightmare or expensive fuel. For this reason it would be Supra for me, but also because the cars are just so darned good. Smooth and dependable with just fantastic interior quality. These cars sold of $10,000 or more in the late 1970’s which was two Impalas. They were impeccably well made.
The GM sleds of this era never did it for me. Unless you were burning down the Interstate in Idaho or Montana on a hot day with the a/c cranked, there is no reason for these cars. They are so freaking huge they are hard to drive. The guzzle gas at a prodigious rate and the interiors, never much to write home about, get shabby fast.
The Skylark is cool and more power is easy. There is lots of go fast stuff for even this generation and if you had more money than brains, a 3800 could be transferred in.
But at the end of the day, this is all supposing for me because I am not going to drive a car every day without airbags and ABS and I’ve no place to park a third vehicle.
Wear and tear aside, I like the Electra. Fullsize 2-door with a big block, in my favourite colour. Second for me would be the blue Regal. I like the body style well enough, it’s definitely well kept, and another 455 big block.
The Mirada would be in 3rd place. Too many ruler-straight lines on these for my liking, and a lean-burn 318 under the hood. A first gen Cordoba, preferably with a 400, would have beaten out the Buicks for me though.
It’s all academic of course. These cars are all too new to deserve a place in my garage.
I do love the 1973 Buick Regal. But, it’s a collector car you wouldn’t dare drive daily. And, I don’t plan to spend near that much on my next DD. So, as a Mopar guy, having previously owned a Mirada which I found to be a great car at the time, I could really go for the affordably priced Dodge.