QOTD: What New 1977 Car Would You Have Bought?


We’ve wrapped up our week reviewing Motor Trend’s coverage of the new 1977 domestic cars.  So now it’s time for you to choose: imagine if you were buying a new car in 1977, what would you have picked?  One of the new downsized models from GM?  Would a personal luxury coupe have captured your fancy?  A traditional “Big American Car”?  Or would you have motored away in something smaller?


As for me, let me start by saying that I was 10-years-old in 1977 and an emerging hard-core car nut.  At that time, there was one car that I really, really wanted–yep, a 1977 Firebird Trans Am.  My buddies and I thought Trans Ams were just the coolest cars and we were crazy for them, “Screaming Chickens” and all.  Remember, we were Malaise-era kids, so our automotive expectations were much lower.  Cars like the Camaro and Firebird were about as good as it got in terms of available “muscle.”  I was certain that I would be a Trans Am driver (nope, never ever happened).  But if it had… my pick would have basically been like the Smokey and the Bandit car, a black/gold Trans Am with a black interior and the real Pontiac 400 V8.  I can just see the younger version of me beaming as I grasped the padded Formula steering wheel, gazed at my instruments housed in their “machine turned aluminum” trim panel and looked out over the long, sculpted hood…

The other cars I was infatuated with as a kid were the new downsized GM full-sized cars.  These really were a big deal at the time, and generated a lot of buzz.  They felt so new and smart, and it was very exciting to spot the first ones as they appeared on the streets.  My Pop got a 1977 Caprice Classic sedan as a company car in January 1977, and I was absolutely crazy about it (as were my buddies–hard to imagine 10-year-old boys excited about a family sedan today…).  So now, as a rational adult (most of the time at least), I would have to answer this week’s QOTD by selecting a downsized full-sized car from GM.  But which one?

That is a hard question for me, because I genuinely love all of the GM full-sized cars from 1977, and would happily have owned any of them.  So I’m going to cheat a bit with my answer…


For a B-Body sedan, my choice would be the Caprice.  I’d want it to be very similar to the one my Pop had, Dark Blue-Green Metallic with no vinyl top, sport mirrors and sport wheel covers, Chevy 350 4V V8, F41 suspension and loaded with options.  Unlike Pop’s car, which had vinyl seats, “my” Caprice would have come with the more upscale Special Custom velour interior in saddle tan.


For a B-Body Coupe, I would have a Pontiac Bonneville.  Make mine Nautilus Blue, with body-colored Rally II wheels, sport mirrors and no vinyl top.  Inside would be blue velour, with all the toys, including the Rally gauge cluster and built-in AM/FM CB radio.  Power would come from a genuine Pontiac 400 4V V8, and handling would come courtesy of the Rally RTS package.  This beauty would put personal luxury intermediates to shame!


For a B-Body wagon, my pick would be the Oldsmobile Customer Cruiser.  Please give me that distinctive Olds woodgrain treatment (I love the way it wraps over the wheel arches), and since these woodgrain-trimmed wagons often seemed to come in some shade of tan or brown, I’d stick with the Light Buckskin as shown on the car pictured above.  In fact, that’s exactly what my Custom Cruiser would look like, down to the tan vinyl interior and cornering lights.  Under hood you’d find the Olds-made 403 4V V8 and inside would be every comfort and convenience feature Oldsmobile had on offer (including AM/FM Stereo with 8-track stereo tape player), all the better to keep the kiddies entertained and the parents relatively stress free.


Moving on the C-Body, my choice for the larger sedan would be the Buick Electra 225.  While lighter colors and earth tones were all the rage in 1977, I’d have gone in a slightly different direction: my Electra would have been Black with a Black vinyl roof and a red interior.  Though I am usually a top-trim-level person, in this case I’d stick with the base car for my red interior–the Limited and Park Avenue velours in red would be a bit “much” for my tastes, then or now.  However, I am staying true to form on the options front–I’d add everything I could, and my Electra 225 would roll on Buick’s beautiful chrome Road Wheels.  Powering my black beauty would be a Buick-built 350 4V V8.


For the C-Body 2-door, I’d definitely want to bring home a Cadillac Coupe DeVille.  Since it’s a Cadillac, I’d go positively berserk with options: Astroroof, wire wheel covers, Firemist paint (make mine Cerulean Blue with a matching Cabriolet vinyl roof), Cadillac 425 V8 with Electronic Fuel Injection, 50/50 power adjustable and reclining seats in Antique Light Blue leather, plus anything that could illuminate, be power-operated or work automatically would be specified for my Coupe DeVille.  Take that, Continental Mark V!

So those are my (ample) choices for 1977?  What are yours?