Sep
12
1970 Buick Electra 225

1970 Buick Electra 225

We can talk all day about how much cars have changed over the past four decades. It’s easy to point at the demise of large sedans, the ever-growing popularity of SUVs and crossovers, and the rise of import brands. But, one of the most telling indicators of how much things have changed is the language we use to describe vehicles.

Today, we at Consumer Guide divide the market by body type (compact car, midsize crossover/SUV, large car, etc.). We also make the distinction between popularly priced vehicles and “premium” models. We use the term premium predictably, applying it to most luxury-brand vehicles and the occasional popular-brand vehicle that crosses into premium-price territory. The Toyota Land Cruiser is a good example of such a vehicle.

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We didn’t always look at things so simply. A quick review of the Consumer Guide: Auto ’70 buying guide exposes a more complicated system of categorizing the new-car product lineup.

Consumer Guide: Auto '70

The new-car market was very different in 1970, and Consumer Guide used different language to describe it.

First came the COMPACTS. Predictably, these were the smallest and most-affordable vehicles available that year. Included were:

  • AMC Hornet
  • Chevrolet Nova
  • Dodge Dart
  • Ford Falcon
  • Ford Maverick
  • Plymouth Duster
  • Plymouth Valiant

 

The SPORTY COMPACTS were the small cars with at least some semblance of sportiness:

  • AMC AMX
  • AMC Javelin
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Ford Mustang
  • Mercury Cougar
  • Plymouth Barracuda
  • Pontiac Firebird

 

Next came the INTERMEDIATES, a group we might now call midsize–take note of how many of these cars deserve the “sporty” prefix:

  • AMC Rebel
  • Buick Skylark
  • Chevrolet Chevelle
  • Dodge Charger
  • Dodge Coronet
  • Ford Torino
  • Mercury Cyclone
  • Mercury Montego
  • Oldsmobile F-85
  • Plymouth GTX
  • Plymouth Road Runner
  • Plymouth Satellite
  • Pontiac Tempest

 

Next up were the STANDARDS. At one time full-size cars were considered the norm, and until the first OPEC oil embargo, they garnered the bulk of U.S. sales:

  • AMC Ambassador
  • Chevrolet Caprice
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Ford Galaxie
  • Ford LTD
  • Plymouth Fury III

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Here’s where things get interesting. MEDIUM STANDARDS were the midsize and large cars that were a step up in content and market position relative to the “base” intermediates and standards, but they weren’t quite luxury vehicles:

  • Buick LeSabre
  • Buick Wildcat
  • Chrysler Newport
  • Dodge Monaco
  • Dodge Polara
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
  • Oldsmobile 88
  • Pontiac Catalina
  • Pontiac Executive
  • Mercury Marauder
  • Mercury Monterey

 

LUXURY STANDARDS were the vehicles that came just below the Cadillac/Lincoln line in terms of content and price:

  • Buick Electra
  • Chrysler 300
  • Chrysler New Yorker
  • Mercury Marquis
  • Oldsmobile 98
  • Pontiac Bonneville

 

PRESTIGE cars were the truly luxurious, top-of-the-heap flagships:

  • Cadillac DeVille
  • Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
  • Imperial Crown/LeBaron
  • Lincoln Continental

 

An interesting group of vehicles was the STANDARD PERSONALS class. These coupes came from a variety of manufacturers, but were all two-passenger oriented and relatively pricey. 

  • Buick Riviera
  • Cadillac Eldorado
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • Ford Thunderbird
  • Lincoln Mark III
  • Oldsmobile Toronado
  • Pontiac Grand Prix

 

Today a nearly non-existent segment, STATION WAGONS commanded enough of the new-car market in the early Seventies to merit a group of their own:

  • AMC Ambassador
  • Buick Estate Wagon
  • Chevrolet (multiple midsize)
  • Chevrolet (multiple large)
  • Chrysler Town & Country
  • Dodge Coronet
  • Dodge Polara
  • Dodge Monaco
  • Ford Falcon
  • Ford Torino
  • Ford (multiple large)
  • Mercury Montego
  • Mercury (multiple large)
  • Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
  • Plymouth Satellite
  • Plymouth Suburban
  • Pontiac (multiple large)

 

It’s worth noting that Auto ’70 made no mention of foreign vehicles. Likewise, no trucks then in production merited serious consideration as personal transportation.

Presented here for your consideration are all the 1970 models that comprised the Luxury Standard segment—the cars that came just short of being full-on luxury vehicles. If you’ve ever spent time with one of these big, cushy cruisers, please tell us about it.

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Buick Electra

1970 Buick Electra

1970 Buick Electra

Base Price Range: $4461 (base sedan) – $4802 (Custom convertible)

Overall Length (inches): 225

Curb Weight (pounds): 4500

Base Engine: 370-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

 

Chrysler 300

1970 Chrysler 300

1970 Chrysler 300

Base Price: $4234 (coupe) – $4580 (convertible)

Overall Length (inches): 225

Curb Weight (pounds): 4700

Base Engine: 350-horsepower 440-cubic-inch V8

 

Chrysler New Yorker

1970 Chrysler New Yorker

1970 Chrysler New Yorker

Base Price: $4630 (base sedan) – $4761 (hardtop sedan)

Overall Length (inches): 225

Curb Weight (pounds): 4700

Base Engine: 350-horsepower 440-cubic-inch V8

 

Mercury Marquis

1970 Mercury Marquis

1970 Mercury Marquis

Base Price: $4052 (base sedan) – $4500 (Brougham hardtop sedan)

Overall Length (inches): 224

Curb Weight (pounds): 4300

Base Engine: 320-horsepower 429-cubic-inch V8

 

Oldsmobile 98

1970 Oldsmobile 98

1970 Oldsmobile 98

Base Price: $4451 (Town Sedan) – $4951 (convertible)

Overall Length (inches): 225

Curb Weight (pounds): 4500

Base Engine: 365-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

 

Pontiac Bonneville

1970 Pontiac Bonneville

1970 Pontiac Bonneville

Base Price: $3832 (coupe) – $4004 (convertible)

Overall Length (inches): 224

Curb Weight (pounds): 4200

Base Engine: 360-horsepower 455-cubic-inch V8

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