A time of experimentation, technical innovation and safety development. The 1970s proved to be the beginning of motoring as we know it today.
It was not a good period for manufacturers. The 1970s were characterized by the development of awareness of the dangers of driving and the shift to increasingly compact cars
Fuel crisis spurred engine downsizing
High fuel prices led to U.S. government pressure on auto manufacturers to make new cars more economical. For this reason, the United States began to reduce engine capacity. Although today it sounds at least comical, because engines from the fuel crisis, instead of having 6 liters of capacity and more, had 2-3 liters less capacity. At that time, turbine and electric engines were also experimented with to be more economical and in the long run replace piston engines
The crisis also caused the slow popularization of compact cars. Because gas station fuel prices were high, people began to shift to smaller, more economical cars that burned less fuel. In America, cars like the AMC Pacer and the Ford Pinto began to be produced. This is why the VW Beetle became very popular, which, while not as comfortable as American cars, was cheap and economical
The seventies were also the time of the birth of automotive legends. We probably don’t have to tell anyone what a VW Passat or Golf looks like. It was then that these models began to conquer the market, and as we know today, the whole world loved them.
The end of the sham
The 1970s is also a very important period for Japan, which began to change its image. Until now, these cars were associated with poor materials, failure and poor assembly quality. Japan, wanting to compete for the driver on the international stage, had to improve the quality of their products. They did it in the best possible way. It was from this period that Japanese products gained the reputation for trouble-free performance and great quality that we still know today
Cars from Japan were so good that they took over more and more of the market. This didn’t sit well with Americans in particular, who allowed cars from Japan to be burned on the street on the grounds that an American should buy domestic products. However, this did not have a very good effect
An example of the abysmal quality of American cars is the Ford Pinto, which virtually always burst into flames when hit in the rear. Ford had poorly designed the rear end of the vehicle, and because of this, the fuel tank would leak during an accident, resulting in a fire that was difficult to extinguish. After analyzing the design errors, Ford decided that it would be cheaper to compensate accident victims than to improve the design. The car was not improved until the end of production.
In the 1970s, attention began to turn to safety. In 1978, Mercedes first introduced ABS as an option. They also began to offer the first airbags and systems to inform people if their seatbelts were unfastened
In America, a law was introduced that said every car sold in the US had to have bumpers with shock absorbers. These reduced the damage to the car during minor crashes.
The 1970s was undoubtedly an interesting and groundbreaking period in the automotive world.