Jul
21
1972 Chevrolet Vega Hatchback

The 1972 Chevrolet Vega was only the third cheapest American car available in 1972. The hatchback model shown here listed for $100 more than the 2-door “sedan” shown below.

A buddy of mine and I used to play a game called “Full Retail Fun.” The game was simple enough, we grabbed a recent copy of  Consumer Guide® and tried to build to most expensive cars possible by tallying the prices of every available option.

Consumer Guide Auto Test '72

All prices presented below are as reported in Consumer Guide Auto Test ’72

Given that we were young and given to being amused by things sensational, it never crossed our minds to build the cheapest car possible. I am making amends for that now.

Here please find the five cheapest American cars you could buy in 1972. To keep things Spartan, the only options we looked at were an AM radio and automatic transmission.

All prices come from the 1972 Consumer Guide® Auto Test ’72, which includes an awesome note before the pricing section regarding Richard Nixon relaxing his price controls.

Why 1972? Most because car prices were about to start rising at a pretty fast pace, leaving ’72 as a sort of “good old days” price reference point. Note: All of the images below depict the vehicles with optional equipment. Your sub-$2500 special would not have looked so spiffy.

Cost of a 2013 Pinto: $17,375

 

 

Ford Pinto

Base engine: 122-inch 4-cylinder (86 horsepower)

1972 Ford Pinto

1972 Ford Pinto

 

 

2-door “sedan” $1931
Automatic transmission 170
AM radio 60
  $2161

 

 

AMC Gremlin

Base engine: 232-inch 6-cylinder (100 horsepower)

1972 AMC Gremlin

1972 AMC Gremlin

 

 

2-door “sedan” $1999
Automatic transmission 200
AM radio 66
$2265

 

 

Chevrolet Vega

Base engine: 140-inch 4-cylinder (90 horsepower)

1972 Chevrolet Vega

1972 Chevrolet Vega

 

 

2-door “sedan” $2031
Automatic transmission 193
AM radio 59
$2283

 

 

Ford Maverick

Base engine: 170-inch 6-cylinder (82 horsepower)

1972 Ford Maverick

1972 Ford Maverick

 

 

2-door “sedan” $2158
Automatic transmission 178
AM radio 60
$2396

 

 

Mercury Comet

Base engine: 170-inch 6-cylinder (82 horsepower)

1972 Mercury Comet

1972 Mercury Comet

 

 

2-door “sedan” $2194
Automatic transmission 178
AM radio 60
$2432

 

 

AMC Hornet SST

Base engine: 232-inch 6-cylinder (100 horsepower)

1972 AMC Hornet SST

1972 AMC Hornet SST

 

 

2-door “sedan” $2177
Automatic transmission 200
AM radio 66
$2443

 

 

Plymouth Valiant Duster “Six”

Base engine: 225-inch 6-cylinder (110 horsepower)

1972 Plymouth Duster

1972 Plymouth Duster

 

 

2-door coupe $2260
Automatic transmission 178
AM radio 60
$2498

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