The Most Popular Cars of the Last 50 Years in Photos
The tastes of American vehicle buyers have evolved throughout time, but it appears that generations of drivers prioritize style, quality, and value for money.
Washington Newsday has compiled a list of the best-selling autos for each year since 1971.
The Ford F Series was left off the list due to the brand’s complete dominance, as it has been the best-selling overall vehicle in the United States for nearly 40 years.
While the United States’ auto market is second only to China in terms of size, it leads the world in XL vehicles such as SUVs and trucks.
Kevin Roberts, CarGurus’ Director of Industry Analytics, believes that swings in car model popularity reflect broader movements in demand.
“A examination of the top selling automobiles of yesteryear gives a record of recognized, as well as forgotten nameplates; while also demonstrating the segment’s erosion over the previous decade as American customers’ preference has changed from cars to crossovers,” he told Washington Newsday.
Take a peek at the list…
Chrysler New Yorker, 1971
The New Yorker was the first four-door sedan from Chrysler to include ventless front doors and a hardtop roof. It was a hit, selling more over a million units in 1971, making it the last automobile to do so in a single year.
VW Beetle, 1972
Despite stiff competition from the all-new Chevrolet Vega, the VW Beetle sold more than half a million cars in the United States in 1972.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1973
The 1973 Monte Carlo was named “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend because of its superior handling and numerous advancements.
1974: Ford Pinto
Launched four years earlier to counter the success of small imported models, the Ford Pinto is the best-selling American model in 1974.
1975 – 1976: Oldsmobile Cutlass
Sales of the Cutlass reportedly grew by 20 percent from the previous year and heralded a new era of success for the Oldsmobile Cutlass.
The Cutlass line soon became Oldsmobile’s biggest seller, accounting for 43 percent of the division’s total volume by the mid-1970s.
1977: Chevrolet Impala/Caprice
The 1977 full-size Chevy coupe was initially available as a Caprice Classic or as an Impala and they proved staggeringly popular among the public.
1978 – 1981: Oldsmobile Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass started out as a unibody. This is a brief summary.