Once upon a time, auto manufacturers were the purveyors of dream cars, like the Desoto Adventurer,

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1957 Desoto Adventurer

the Cadillac Eldorado,

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1957 Cadillac Eldorado

amazing muscle cars like the Pontiac GTO,

1965 Pontiac GTO

And the vaunted Dodge Hemi Charger.

1968 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi
1968 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi

Well, kiddies – this isn’t about any of the above cars.

By the early 70’s, insurance regulations, along with the infamous Gas Crisis, Department of Transportation safety regulations and Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations managed to suck the joy out of just about every vehicle platform offered for sale in the United States.  Factor in Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements, and much of what was sold between 1972 and 1992 can best be described as….

It’s a Yugo.  Does the year really matter?

Penalty boxes.  In the course of 15 years, we’d gone from 500 cubic inch pieces of rolling art

1967 Cadillac Eldorado

To something which has often been described as a badge-engineered shitbox on wheels.

1982 Cadillac Cimarron.  Ick.

These cars were embarrassing at the time.

In the rearview mirror that is life, however – they’re not without their charm.  They’re fun to poke fun at, and…they can be fun to drive in their own way.  With all the constraints placed on engineers and designers at the time, it’s a wonder they were able to produce anything capable of moving down the road under its own power.    In spite of this, some spectacular cars were designed and produced in the era.

1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V.

As a result, Malaise-era vehicles are some of the most affordable (and in some instances, undervalued) cars in the old car hobby.  Good driveable, rust free examples can be had at the time of this writing for less than $2000.  Translated into 1970’s currency, these are the modern equivlaent of a $500 transportation special!

So sit back, relax and enjoy a soft, lethargic trip down memory lane!