Feb
06
1973 Pontiac Grand Prix

Returning 8.5 mpg, the Pontiac Grand Prix tied for 5th place on our list of the thirstiest cars of 1973.

When you hear the number 8 1/2,  there’s a decent chance your mind turns to a film by that name, directed by Italian surrealist Federico Fellini. Released in 1963, 8 1/2 is the story of a movie director who is slowly losing his grip on reality. Fellini’s fantasy-like treatment of the lead character’s confusion led to popular use of the term Felliniesque, used to describe a situation that seems unreal.

Especially Felliniesque, at least to this author, is the 8.5 observed mpg delivered by four of the vehicles on the list below. The real madness kicks in when you realize that four vehicles tested by Consumer Guide in 1973 actually returned less than 8.5 mpg, and none of the thirstiest 12 vehicles tested managed to hit 10 mpg.

Granted, 1973 was a terrible year for the auto industry when it came to engine performance. Automakers were struggling to keep power numbers in an acceptable range while dealing with new emissions standards and low-lead gasoline.

All of the fuel-economy numbers reported below are taken from Consumer Guide’s ’73 Auto Test magazine. Near as we can tell, reported fuel-economy numbers included a balance of city and highway driving, as well as performance testing.

That asterisk in the title denotes that Consumer Guide did not test every drivetrain variation of every vehicle available–so, a few even-thirstier vehicles may have escaped notice.

If your experience with any of these vehicles involved consuming more–or less–fuel than we’re showing here, tell us about it.

The 10 Fastest Cars of 1973*

 

Lincoln Continental: 7.0 MPG

1973 Lincoln Continental

1973 Lincoln Continental

Curb Weight: 5282 pounds

Engine: 460-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 212

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

 

Lincoln Continental Mark IV: 7.5 MPG

1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV

1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV

Curb Weight: 5134 pounds

Engine: 460-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 212

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

 

Cadillac Sedan DeVille: 7.5 MPG

1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

Curb Weight: 5026 pounds

Engine: 472-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 220

Axle Ratio: 2.93:1

 

Cadillac Eldorado: 8.0 MPG

1973 Cadillac Eldorado

1973 Cadillac Eldorado

Curb Weight: 5012 pounds

Engine: 500-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 235

Axle Ratio: 3.07:1

 

Ford LTD: 8.5 MPG

1973 Ford LTD

1973 Ford LTD

Curb Weight: 4178 pounds

Engine: 429-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 212

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

The 10 Slowest Cars of 1973*

 

Pontiac Grand Prix: 8.5 MPG

1973 Pontiac Grand Prix

1973 Pontiac Grand Prix

Curb Weight: 4188 pounds

Engine: 455-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 250

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

 

Ford Thunderbird: 8.5 MPG

1973 Ford Thunderbird

1973 Ford Thunderbird

Curb Weight: 4797 pounds

Engine: 429-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 212

Axle Ratio: 2.75:1

 

Oldsmobile Toronado: 8.5 MPG

1973 Oldsmobile Toronado

1973 Oldsmobile Toronado

Curb Weight: 4841 pounds

Engine: 455-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 250

Axle Ratio: 2.73:1

 

Chevrolet Caprice: 9.0 MPG

1973 Chevrolet Caprice

1973 Chevrolet Caprice

Curb Weight: 4271 pounds

Engine: 454-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 245

Axle Ratio: 2.73:1

 

Imperial LeBaron: 9.0 MPG

1973 Chrysler Imperial

1973 Imperial LeBaron

Curb Weight: 4909 pounds

Engine: 440-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 215

Axle Ratio: 3.23:1

 

Chevrolet Monte Carlo: 9.0 MPG

1973 Chevroler Monte Carlo

1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Curb Weight: 3883 pounds

Engine: 454-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 245

Axle Ratio: 2.73:1

 

Buick Riviera: 9.0 MPG

1973 Buick Riviera

1973 Buick Riviera

Curb Weight: 5111 pounds

Engine: 455-cubic-inch V8

Horsepower: 260

Axle Ratio: 2.93:1

0-60 Challenge: The Sporty Compacts of 1973

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