Mar
02
1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Introduced at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, the Bugatti Chiron will race to 60 mph from a dead stop in a claimed 2.5 seconds. My 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco was, according to Road & Track magazine, good for 10.1 seconds in the same sprint. And while my car consumed four times the time to cover the same ground, I take some comfort in the fact that I paid $6600 for the car in 1988, comfortably less than the Chiron’s $2.6 million asking.

The 0-60 discussion isn’t as loud as it was 20 years ago. The most likely reason for this is that even the slowest of today’s new cars is up to the task of merging and passing. If you lived through the Eighties, you know that wasn’t always the case.

The “malaise” as it is commonly known—the automotive era of diminished power and generally lackluster performance—kicked in 1972. Blame more stringent emissions regulations and low-lead gas if you like, but everyone had to know performance lovers were living on borrowed time.

Presented here are the personal-luxury cars of 1972—as reported in Consumer Guide: Auto Test ‘72—complete with their Consumer Guide-observed 0-60 times. If you remember driving one of these hefty haulers, do tell us about it. There is nothing like these cars on the market today.

The 12 Fastest Cars of 1983*

 

Ford Thunderbird: 11.8 Seconds

1972 Ford Thunderbird

1972 Ford Thunderbird

Weight: 4601

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

Tested Engine: 212-horsepower 429-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: Standard, A 460-inch V8 was available for $76

 

Pontiac Grand Prix: 12.0 Seconds

1972 Pontiac Grand Prix

1972 Pontiac Grand Prix

Weight: 4330

Axle Ratio: 3.08:1

Tested Engine: 220-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: $57, A 400-inch V8 was standard

 

Lincoln Mark IV: 12.1 Seconds

1972 Lincoln Mark IV

1972 Lincoln Mark IV

Weight: 4956

Axle Ratio: 2.80:1

Tested Engine: 212-horsepower 460-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: Standard

 

Cadillac Eldorado: 12.6 Seconds

1972 Cadillac Eldorado

1972 Cadillac Eldorado

Weight: 4840

Axle Ratio: 3:07:1

Tested Engine: 235-horsepower 500-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: Standard

 

Oldsmobile Toronado: 12.6 Seconds

1972 Oldsmobile Toronado

1972 Oldsmobile Toronado

Weight: 4660

Axle Ratio: 2.73:1

Tested Engine: 250-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: Standard

 

Buick Riviera: 12.7 Seconds

1972 Buick Riviera

1972 Buick Riviera

Weight: 4497

Axle Ratio: 2.93:1

Tested Engine: 230-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: Standard

 

Chevrolet Monte Carlo: 12.8 Seconds

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Weight: 3496

Axle Ratio: 2.73:1

Tested Engine: 240-horsepower 402-cubic-inch V8

Engine Cost: $142, A 350-inch V8 was standard (a 454-inch V8 was also available for $261)

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1981*

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