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Note: This article is reprinted from the October 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile
By Jack Stewart
Ramona and Mike Wilson knew that their 1973 Ford Gran Torino Sport fastback coupe was special when they bought it new. The Madison, North Carolina, couple liked it so much that they still have it 44 years later.
If you were even partially hip on current events in 1973, you likely recall the OPEC Oil Crisis.
We recently shared a list of Consumer Guide’s thirstiest gas guzzlers of 1973—you can check out that post here.
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.
This quote from Consumer Guide’s ’73 Auto Test magazine says almost everything you need to know about the performance potential of the vehicles discussed below:
As you may have taken note while reading our 10 Fastest Cars of 1973 post, ’73 was a fairly entertaining year for the editors of Consumer Guide. Not only did my predecessors have the opportunity to evaluate a DeTomaso Pantera, but that year’s docket also included a cadre of “mini buses” and sport-utility vehicles as well.
Our 1973 list of fastest cars is very different from our 1972 list. The primary reason for the disparity has to do with the variety of vehicles tested by Consumer Guide in the early Seventies.
The last-ever Oldsmobile lineup was kind of a mess. The long-lived brand featured for 2004 a pricey V8-powered sedan, an anonymous minivan cloned from other General Motor’s vans, and a thirsty SUV at a time when lighter, more efficient crossovers were taking hold.
If you were a drinking-age partygoer back in the early Seventies, 1973 was your year. First, the Bad Boys from Boston–Aerosmith–dropped their first album. Second, A Milwaukee brewer introduced what would become the official beverage of fraternities nationwide: Miller Lite.