The automotive landscape vastly changed during the 1970s, especially in America, and most automakers not only downsized but changed their philosophy and approach to building luxury models. Following the oil crisis and emissions control regulations that hit the automotive industry, automakers shifted to offering more comfort instead of power and performance.
Many of the luxury cars produced during that era, while packed with delightful and luxurious features, also came with steep price tags. But thankfully, nowadays, some models don’t require you to break the bank to have a taste of old-school luxury. Not only are these luxury models pocket-friendly, but also come in great condition and don’t cost an arm and a leg on maintenance. Let’s take a closer look at these insanely cheap luxury cars of the ’70s.
10 1970 Ford Thunderbird – $8,000
The Thunderbird was the pinnacle of luxury for Ford in the 70s, and it was targeted at buyers in need of a personal luxury vehicle with plenty of style. For a luxury vehicle, the performance of the 1970 Thunderbird was more than impressive, as it hits 60 mph in 7.7 seconds and boasts of a power rating of 360 horses.
Available in 2- or 4-door models, the styling of the 1970 T-bird was updated with the introduction of a big, bird’s beak-style center grille. The taillights also featured sequential turn signals. This two-door Thunderbird is up for grabs for just $8,000.
9 1971 Toyota Crown – $8,000
Upon its introduction in 1955, the Toyota Crown was the mainstream sedan in Japan before it was exported to the American market. To compete with rivals like the Nissan Cedric/Gloria, Honda Legend, and Mitsubishi Debonair, Toyota introduced larger, flashier coachwork and a 2.6-liter engine that cranks out 140 hp.
Whether you opt for the coupe, sedan, or wagon Crown, you can’t deny that they come with real swagger. For just $8,000, this neat 1971 Toyota Crown coupe can be yours.
8 1972 Buick Riviera – $12,000
Buick is perhaps General Motors’ most underrated brand, with Pontiac, Cadillac, and Chevrolet being at the center of attraction. With the cool features of the 1972 Buick Riviera, it’s sad that it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Merely taking a glance at the 1972 Riviera is enough for you to appreciate the car’s handsome Sweep Spear design.
The dashboard of the Riviera comes accented with imitation wood or a turned metal finish that displays luxury in a retro style. Under the hood of the 1972 Riviera is a 455 c.i. (7.4-liter) V8 engine that blasts out a healthy 250 horses and 375 lb-ft of peak torque. You can get a 1972 Riviera land yacht for just $12,000.
7 1972 Cadillac Eldorado – $12,999
The Cadillac Eldorado was a trendsetter in the personal luxury market segment back in the 70s. For 1971, Cadillac completely redesigned the Eldorado and reintroduced a convertible version to join the coupe. The 1972 coupe seen here is essentially identical to a 1971.
The spirited performance of the 1972 Eldorado came from the 500 c.i. (8.2-liter) V8 engine that makes 235 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. To reduce the effect of minor impacts, Cadillac introduced polyvinyl chloride bumper impact strips. Here is a 1972 Eldorado, which goes for just $12,999.
6 1975 Mitsubishi Debonair – $4,000
If you want a rare, vintage Japanese car for your classic collection, the 1975 Mitsubishi Debonair would make for a great addition. The word “debonair” means suave, courteous, and charming, terms which aptly qualify this four-door executive sedan.
The Debonair looks a bit like the Lincoln Continental and was designed to rival the Isuzu Bellel, Nissan Cedric, and Toyota Crown. The 2.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine puts out 128 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. This 1975 Debonair is up for sale for an asking price of just $4,000.
5 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – $5,000
The 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was elegantly crafted to depict opulence in its grandest form. This luxury sedan was, apart from the Series 75 limousine and sedan, Cadillac’s largest and most luxurious sedan. It was powered by a massive 500 c.i. (8.2-liter) V8 engine that pushes out 190 hp and 359 lb-ft of torque.
That was the largest engine built by Cadillac at the time, and a fuel-injected version was also available, with better fuel efficiency and smoother idle. The 1976 Fleetwood Brougham was the quintessential status symbol in America at the time, and today it can be yours for just $5,000.
4 1976 Cadillac Seville – $12,495
America set the luxury standard for the world, with the 1976 Cadillac Seville. Cadillac essentially debunked the myth that bigger means better in the American automotive industry, with the introduction of the Seville barely two years after the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. To achieve such a great feat in a small space of time, Cadillac engineers based the Seville on the Chevrolet Nova “X-body” platform. But make no mistake, the ultra-luxurious Seville bore little to no resemblance to its humble background.
Power to the 1976 Seville comes from a fuel-injected 5.7-liter (350 c.i.) V8 engine with an output of 180 hp and 275 lb-ft of peak torque. Cadillac built around 43,772 units of 1976 Seville, and you can get one today for roughly $12,495.
3 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D W123 – $7,536
Mercedes had more than just luxury in mind with the introduction of the 240D W123. The 240D is a diesel-powered four-door sedan that can last up to 250,000 miles, with proper maintenance. The naturally aspirated, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine makes just 71 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. Though it wasn’t fast, it delivered excellent fuel economy.
Considered one of the few bulletproof classics by Mercedes, the 240D W123 was well-built and reliable to the extent that it was usually shipped to developing nations for its incredible durability, fuel efficiency and low maintenance. This 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D W123 luxury car sets you back by $7,536.
2 1979 Lincoln Continental – $7,500
Not only is the Lincoln Continental designed to stay in style forever, but it’s also the benchmark for which other luxury cars are judged. This full-size luxury sedan (shown) or coupe offers enough comfort for six passengers with its long, 127-inch wheelbase.
This elegant land yacht gets its power from a 400 c.i. V8 engine with a power rating of 159 hp and 314 lb-ft of peak torque. Adding the 1979 Lincoln Continental to your classic luxury car collection sets you back by $7,500.
1 1979 Oldsmobile Toronado – $7,988
The 1979 Toronado marked the beginning of the third-generation Toronado, and Oldsmobile made a daring move to make it smaller and more expensive than previous years. But the elegant design and luxury features made that gamble pay off, with Oldsmobile selling over 50,000 units of the 1979 Toronado. This is almost double the sales figures of the 1978 model year.
When it comes to power, the 1979 Toronado features a standard 5.7-liter V8 engine with an output of 165 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The original retail price of the 1979 Oldsmobile Toronado was pegged at $10,112, which is roughly $36,000 at today’s rate. But here’s a clean 1979 Oldsmobile Toronado for just $7,988.
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