The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

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Thread: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

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    GMI Staff Member Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    This is the "Workboard" for a list like the one created for 1986-2006, and as suggested by 87Aero, this will be a "post muscle era" list that goes up until the 1986-Present list begins. That would be 1973-1985. The Time that GM Fans Forgot.

    The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985
    Composed by Ming - with the help of GMI Members 87aero, MCGARRETT, EGG, Staff Member T-Type, & More!
    www.GMinsidenews.com

    The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part I: 1986-200x

    1973-1985 The Forgotten Years of GM Performance

    With the 1973 Oil Crisis, Disco Vans, dramatic downsizing of cars and horsepower, and the generally accepted "End of the Muscle Car Era", the casual GM fan might ask if there was anything worth noting from GM's performance stables aside from the obvious pop-icons like "The Bandit" Trans Am. We decided to tackle this question, and hope you enjoy this flashback to the past as much as we did!

    This is the second in a series of lists that cover performance cars of note from GM within a certain timeframe. Initially the list grew out of a concern of mine that Japanese and European cars seemed to dominate video games such as Gran Turismo with an array of choices in several car classes for cars produced in the last two to three decades. GM's offerings in such games were (and still are) often limited to muscle cars from the 1960's and mostly Camaros and Corvettes since, with a smattering of concept cars that never made it to production. Most conspicuous is the dead gap of virtually no other performance-trim cars from GM from the 1970's until 2000. This has only recently begun to change in respect to newer cars like the Cobalt, GTO and some Cadillacs getting in to games, but the 1970-2000 GM cars (aside from 'Vettes and Camaros) remain mostly lost to the past.

    Since then, the original list evolved and expanded, and it just became a great place to have a "one glance" look at some of the best and most unique performance trim cars from GM. At the urging of GMI Member 87Aero, I took on the "post muscle" era of GM cars, another time period that some GM fans seem to think is better left forgotten.

    This list is an attempt to expand the conciousness of what was "GM Performance", and I'd like to include your suggestions, including GM's close-to-stock racing efforts, and "tuner house" developed models.

    It's also a challenge to the gaming industry, Hollywood, and GM's own Marketing & PR people to not forget these cars to the mists of time. Even the not-so-famous and not-so-powerful models. After all, if such "beasts" as the 1972 Honda Life Step Van, or 1985 Honda TODAY can make it into the mega-selling game Gran Turismo 4, surely the capable and sporty (if not rip-snorting) Chevrolet Spirit of America Vega Coupe, or the Buick Nighthawk deserve to pop up as obscure vehicle choices in some game somewhere, someday? When presented with 10 or more in-game cars from Toyota from the 1980's and virtually nothing from GM, what will young minds conclude? My guess? That GM had nothing to offer back then, and has always been a one-trick 1960's muscle car pony, thus the hype about the return of the Camaro. Last but not least, one must not forget that Japan Domestic Market cars like the Nissan Skyline and the 1980's Corolla Trueno Sprinter AE86 only became household names for GenY largely because of exposure from video games and anime.

    Well, I think this list and the FIRST LIST prove that GM has had far more than Camarovette going for it from the early 70's to 2000. And I hope you'll agree!

    Note:While "definitive" it is by no means "complete". Please feel free to suggest more, but keep in mind I am not trying to "fill out" the list with every possible variation and model year of a particular car. It's more of a short and sweet list of the hot stuff from GM. The original idea of this list was to not have much redundancy among model years (little change between years) and between brands (rebadges), and no concept cars or trucks (to be covered in other lists). If you have something very different from what's listed here, though, by all means let us know! There are a few brands below that could use some more models to flesh them out. I'll update it over time with your suggestions as they fit. See the original discussion that built this list HERE.

    Enough talk, on to the Cars!

    Chevrolet



    1973 Monte Carlo 454
    1973 Scuncio Chevrolet Vega +
    1973 Yenko Stinger Vega
    1973 Chevelle SS
    1974 Vega Coupe w/ Spirit of America Package
    1974 Nova Hatchback Coupe w/ Spirit of America Package
    1974 454 Baldwin Motion Super Vega +
    1974 Impala 454 V8 w/ Spirit of America Package
    1974 Cosworth Vega +
    1974 Chevelle Laguna S3
    1974 Camaro Z/28 w/ D88 stripes
    1975 Corvette Convertible
    1976 Cosworth Vega 5 speed +
    1976 Allan Moffat Monza IMSA GT-Class *
    1976 Camaro LT Rally Sport
    1976 Chevette Rally 1.6
    1977 Nova Rally
    1977 Camaro Z/28
    1977 Vega GT
    1977 Monza Mirage
    1979 Monte Carlo V8
    1979 Nova SS
    1979 Monza Spyder
    1979 Malibu M80 +
    1980 Monte Carlo Turbo
    1980 Camaro Z/28
    1980 Monte Carlo Sport Coupe w/Turbo
    1981 X11
    1982 Z/28 Indy 500 Pace Car
    Citation 660 Turbo +
    1983 Malibu 9C1
    1983 Monte Carlo SS
    1984 Cavalier Type 10
    1984 Camaro Z/28 Special Edition
    1985 Cavalier Z24 Hatchback
    1985 Corvette
    1985 X11 2.8 MPFI
    1985 Monte Carlo SS

    Buick:



    1973 Century GS
    1977 Nighthawk
    1978 Regal Sport Coupe
    1979 LeSabre Sport Coupe
    1979 Century Turbo Coupe
    1979 Riviera S-Type
    1982 Grand National w/Turbo option
    1983 T-Type
    1984 Grand National T-Type
    1985 Riviera T-Type


    Oldsmobile:



    1973 Cutlass 4-4-2
    1979 Cutlass Hurst/Olds 350 W-30 +
    1980 Ken Snyder Racing Starfire GT Solo II "G" Stock *
    1980 Cutlass Calais 4-4-2 W-30
    1983 Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary +

    Pontiac:



    1973 Trans Am SD
    1973 Grand Am 455
    1973 GTO
    1974 Firebird Formula SD
    1974 Ventura GTO
    1975 Grandville 455
    1977 Trans Am W72
    1977 Cam Am W72 400
    1977 Special Edition Trans Am L78 400
    1979 Phoenix LJ Coupe
    1980 Trans Am Turbo
    1980 Grand Am Coupe
    1981 Trans Am H.O. 5.0 litre
    1981 Trans Am "Bandit" 462 V8
    1983 Trans Am Daytona 500 Pace Car 5-SPD
    1983 6000 STE
    1984 Fiero
    1984 Sunbird GT Turbo
    1985 Fiero 2.8L V6 GT Notchback
    1985 Trans Am TPI LB9 V8


    Holden



    1973 HQ Monaro GTS 308ci/350ci Coupe
    1974 HJ Monaro GTS 308ci Sedan
    1973 LJ Torana GTR-XU1 "Bathurst Edition"
    1973 HQ GTS Monaro 350 Chevy V8 Coupe
    1974 LH Torana SLR-5000 'L34' 308ci
    1975 LJ Torana GTR-XU1 202ci
    1976 HX LE Coupe / HZ GTS Sedan 308ci
    1977 HX LE Monaro
    1977 LX Torana SS 'A9X' 308ci
    1979 Peter Brock A9X Torana (Bathurst Winner) *
    1980 HDT VC Commodore SL/E 308ci + +
    1982 HDT VH Commodore Group 3 308ci +
    1983 Gemini TG S/LX
    1984 VK Commodore 5.0L
    1985 VK Commodore HDT Brock SS group A +


    Opel



    1973 GT
    1973 Bitter CD +
    1974 Gianni Mussato GT Gruppe 4 *
    1977 Manta Irmscher 2800
    1982 Manta GT/E
    1984 Manta I 240
    1984 Manta GSI Exklusiv
    1985 Manta i300
    1985 Bitter SC Coupe +


    Vauxhall



    1973 HP Firenza
    1974 Gerry Marshall DTV Firenza *
    1975 Heikki Haaksiala Magnum Rally Coupé *
    1976 Magnum Sportshatch
    1978 Risto Virtanen Chevette Rally 2300 HS *
    1980 Chevette HSR


    -------------------------------------
    Notes:

    Some cars in the list link to images of the cars. Feel free to suggest more for those that don't have links, or replacements for dead links.
    RED indicates car in photo
    * Denotes race car, not production car
    + Denotes "Aftermarket Tuner" or "Factory Tuned" car with Aftermarket 3rd party Support

    Watch this list for changes!



    Things to be covered in other lists:

    1. Trucks.
    3. CONCEPT CARS. They were cool, but GM didn't build 'em for us, so we shouldn't reward GM for not putting its money where its concepts were.
    4. Race cars that have almost nothing in common with production cars aside from the name, and aren't even based on the platform of that car, or use a different base engine. (2006 "Monte Carlo" in NASCAR, for instance)
    Last edited by Ming; 01-23-2007 at 04:39 PM.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Also, I've opened up the "GMI Performance Car Photoshoot" to cars from this era now that we're starting a list, so feel free to add them here if you spot one and grab a photo! The Great GMI Performance Car Photo Shoot
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Tough list to put together....


    Chevrolet-Plenty, even as the hp and compression numbers dropped,there still were several performance oriented Chevrolets.

    Corvettes- pretty much all of them were still quick, remember that the big block was still available through 1974, and the L82 cars were also quite fun.
    Camaro Z28's
    Chevelle-1973 was the last year for a Chevelle SS and it still was available with a 454. After that, the Chevelle Lagunas carried on in the SS spirit, though they were not as powerull.
    Monza-Though not equiped with very powerfull engines, stuffing a V8 into a small RWD coupe does qualify as an attempt to make a performance car.
    Vega-1974 Cosworth Vega.

    Cadillac-Not much in the way of performance, though you could include the the 1982-1985 Eldorado Touring Coupe as one of the first Cadillacs that made handling a priority, they are pretty rare today, blacked out trim, serious aluminum wheels and bucket seats, I assume that by performance list we are not just going to include cars that haul arse in just a straight line?

    I'll think of a few more...
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    Tough list to put together....

    I assume that by performance list we are not just going to include cars that haul arse in just a straight line?

    I'll think of a few more...
    Awesome, looking forward to your input!

    Not just straight line at all. See the variety here: The Definitive GM Performance Car List 1986-2006

    If possible, suggest a good year with something special in this style format for the cars you'd like to see:

    Pontiac:

    1986 Grand Prix 2+2 NASCAR Edition AeroCoupe
    1987 Firebird Formula WS6
    1987 Fiero GT

    Chevrolet:

    1988 Peerless IMSA Beretta GTU *
    1988 Beretta GTU
    1988 Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette +
    1990 Beretta GTZ

    * Denotes race car, not production car
    + Denotes "Aftermarket Tuner" or "Factory Tuned" car with Aftermarket 3rd party Support

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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    Chevrolet-Plenty, even as the hp and compression numbers dropped,there still were several performance oriented Chevrolets.

    Corvettes- pretty much all of them were still quick, remember that the big block was still available through 1974, and the L82 cars were also quite fun.
    Camaro Z28's
    Chevelle-1973 was the last year for a Chevelle SS and it still was available with a 454. After that, the Chevelle Lagunas carried on in the SS spirit, though they were not as powerull.
    Monza-Though not equiped with very powerfull engines, stuffing a V8 into a small RWD coupe does qualify as an attempt to make a performance car.
    Vega-1974 Cosworth Vega.
    You forgot the FWD performance Chevrolets: '81-'85 Citation X-11 and '85 Z24.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    Chevelle-1973 was the last year for a Chevelle SS and it still was available with a 454. After that, the Chevelle Lagunas carried on in the SS spirit, though they were not as powerull.
    Monza-Though not equiped with very powerfull engines, stuffing a V8 into a small RWD coupe does qualify as an attempt to make a performance car.

    I absolutely loved the Laguna Type S3 Chevelles, and the 454 was around till '75

    Buick Century Gran Sports had a Stage I option through '74, and I believe they were pretty fast for the day.

    Personally, I'm a big '75 to '79 Nova fan, with my favorite being a '77 Rally Sport.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    How could I have not mentioned the X-11, I really like them, darn work always getting in the way of goofing off.

    1984 and up Camaro Z28's and IROC's
    1984-85 Corvette
    1983 and up Monte Carlo SS's
    1980-81 Monte Carlo Sport Coupe w/Turbo (bet ya never seen one of those before!)
    1973-1979 Nova SS and Nova Rally's-(and any other Novas equipped with the Nova 9C1 police car suspension and V8's)
    1983 Malibu 9C1-The last BOF intermediate police package vehicle from GM.


    I'll think of some Pontiacs next...
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    1983-1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. The SC with a turbo wasn't a performance car in any way.

    El Camino SS was around in the early '80s, right?

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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    How could I have not mentioned the X-11, I really like them, darn work always getting in the way of goofing off.

    1984 and up Camaro Z28's and IROC's
    1984-85 Corvette
    1983 and up Monte Carlo SS's
    1980-81 Monte Carlo Sport Coupe w/Turbo (bet ya never seen one of those before!)
    1973-1979 Nova SS and Nova Rally's-(and any other Novas equipped with the Nova 9C1 police car suspension and V8's)
    1983 Malibu 9C1-The last BOF intermediate police package vehicle from GM.


    I'll think of some Pontiacs next...
    I was going to mention any of the 9C1s.

    I'll get started on the Pontiacs - 1977 Pontiac Can-Am with the T/A6.6
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Instead of a range, could you guys suggest what you consider to be the "best" model year of any particular car? For instance, a trim level or package that made one MY more special than another, like the 2004 Grand Prix GTP w/Comp G.

    That's in the case that there is one. If there was never any special trim package (or even cosmetic "show" package - like the Buick "Nighthawk") then probably best to stick with the debut model year.

    Of course, the multiple model years have pretty big differences between them, then we can list all of the relevant changes - such as how I listed the 2004 GTO, and the 2005 GTO with sufficiently different engines to warrant it.
    Last edited by Ming; 11-15-2006 at 04:04 PM.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    I can't believe no one has mentioned this yet:

    1974 Pontiac Trans Am SD - the last hurrah from the musclecar era.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    The 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-4-2, I always thought those cars were pretty cool. Too bad for all that HP decrease during those years. Hurst/Olds made good company. 1974,1975, 1979, 1983, and 1984
    Last edited by SS4EVER; 11-15-2006 at 04:50 PM.
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    1983-1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. The SC with a turbo wasn't a performance car in any way.

    El Camino SS was around in the early '80s, right?

    Actually there was no such thing as a factory ElCamino SS in the 80's, there was a company that modified ElCaminos with Monte Carlo SS noses and badged them as ElCamino SS's.

    We will have to differ on the Turbo Monte Carlo, though not a pavement pounder it was equiped with the turbocharged Buick 3.8 V6, although it was the lower hp carburated versions, it was still decent performing car for the time.


    I can't believe no one has mentioned this yet:

    1974 Pontiac Trans Am SD - the last hurrah from the musclecar era.

    Well, I had not covered Pontiac yet....


    1973-1974 SD equipped Firebird Trans Ams and Formulas
    1977-1979 W72 equipped Firebird Trans Ams and Formulas
    1977 Pontiac Cam Am's with the W72 400
    1973-1975 Pontiac Grand Am
    1973-1974 Pontiac GTO
    1984-1988 Pontiac Fiero(especially the 2.8 V6 Formula and GT versions)
    1984-1985 Pontiac Sunbird GT Turbo (No?.....think about this, a 421 equipped Pontiac 2+2 and a 1.8 litre Sunbird GT Turbo clock the same times 0-60, 7.9 seconds)
    1980-1981 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo(better on paper than in real life)
    1982-1985 Pontiac Trans Am (especially the H.O. 5.0 litre and earlier tuned port fuel injected models)
    1983-1985 Pontiac 6000 STE
    1978-1980 Pontiac Grand Am


    Next.... Oldsmobile
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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    Actually there was no such thing as a factory ElCamino SS in the 80's, there was a company that modified ElCaminos with Monte Carlo SS noses and badged them as ElCamino SS's.
    Ah, so it's El Camino SS+?
    Quote Originally Posted by MCGARRETT
    We will have to differ on the Turbo Monte Carlo, though not a pavement pounder it was equiped with the turbocharged Buick 3.8 V6, although it was the lower hp carburated versions, it was still decent performing car for the time.
    Still not a performance car.

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    Re: The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

    In the latest Hemmings Muscle Machines they had a '81-'85 Riviera T-Type(before they downsized it). It has the same motor as the GN and 0-60 was around 10 seconds...not great but for the time it was fast for a big luxury coupe.
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