Apr
18
Performance Car Ads from the Malaise Era

1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300

The American auto industry’s “Malaise Era” is generally defined as the 1973 through 1984 model years, and it was by and large a bummer for car enthusiasts. A confluence of several sobering factors—more-stringent emission standards, the introduction of low-lead gasoline, and rising auto-insurance rates—rather suddenly put the kibosh on horsepower, and as a result, on fun.

Automakers didn’t stop selling fun, however—they just didn’t have much to back up said claims. What was really being retailed, instead of genuine performance, was the look of performance (which is still kind of fun).

Every car shown in our gallery of ads below made do with less than 200 horsepower. There isn’t car pictured here that could cover the quarter mile in less than fourteen seconds. Still, they all look pretty cool, and that’s something.

I know what these cars are, yet I would gladly own any of them—especially that 1977 Nova Rally.

Speaking of the more-show-than-go-era, I’ve included an 1987 Celebrity Eurosport VR ad, even though it technically arrived after the Malaise Era. The VR’s flashy body-styling add-ons are, at least in spirit, the stuff of malaise.

So, which looks best to you? The relatively classy Cordoba, the sticker-laden 442, or… ? Tell us about your picks in the comment section below.

10 Reasons You Might Not Be a Car Guy

More Show than Go: Performance Car Ads from the Malaise Era

 

1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Type S-3

1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S-3

1975 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Type S-3

5 Coolest Cars of the Malaise Era

 

1976 Dodge Aspen R/T

1976 Dodge Aspen RT

1976 Dodge Aspen R/T

Malaise Muscle: 1976-1980 Dodge Aspen R/T and Plymouth Volaré Road Runner

 

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442

Model-Year Madness! 10 Classic Coupe Ads From 1973

1977 Chevrolet Nova Rally

1977 Chevrolet Rally Nova

1977 Chevrolet Nova Rally

NOVA(S): The GM Compacts of 1975

 

1977 Oldsmobile Omega SX

1977 Oldsmobile Omega SX

1977 Oldsmobile Omega SX

Einspritzung Madness! A Gallery of Classic Car Ads Featuring Fuel Injection

 

1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300

1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300

1979 Chrysler Cordoba 300

Review Flashback! 1975 Chevrolet Chaparral

 

1979 Dodge Magnum XE

1979 Dodge Magnum XE

1979 Dodge Magnum XE

The 12 Slowest Cars of 1983*

 

1980 Chevrolet Monza Spyder

1980 Chevrolet Monza Spyder

1980 Chevrolet Monza Spyder

 Favorite Car Ads: 1968 Dodge Charger

 

1980 Ford Mustang Cobra

1980 Ford Mustang

1980 Ford Mustang Cobra (foreground)

Favorite Car Ads: 1976 Ford Mustang II

 

1987 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport VR

1987 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport VR

1987 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport VR

Performance Car Ads from the Malaise Era Gallery

Click below for enlarged images

Performance Car Ads from the Malaise Era

Bucking a Trend: The Round-Headlamp Cars of 1979

Performance Car Ads from the Malaise Era

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