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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Definitive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985
Composed by Ming - with help from 87aero, MCGARRETT, EGG, 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 (or younger) GM fan might ask if there was anything worth noting from GM's performance stables during this time aside from the obvious pop-icons like "The Bandit" Trans Am. We decided to tackle this question, and hope you enjoy this flashback 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 ***anese 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.

This list is also 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 during these model years.

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 ***an 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. 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 Coupe LM1 350
1977 Camaro Z/28
1977 Vega GT
1977 Monza Mirage
1978 El Camino SS LM1 350/4-speed
1979 Monte Carlo V8
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
1981 Citation 660 Turbo +
1983 Malibu 9C1
1983 Monte Carlo SS
1984 Camaro Z/28 L69 H.O.
1985 Cavalier Z24 Hatchback
1985 Corvette TPI 350
1985 Camaro IROC-Z28
1985 X11 2.8 MPFI
1985 Monte Carlo SS Turbo

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
1984 Regal 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
1976 LeMans Enforcer
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 Trans Am 15th Anniversary Edition
1984 Sunbird GT Turbo
1985 Fiero 2.8L V6 GT Notchback
1985 Trans Am TPI LB9 V8

Cadillac



1985 Eldorado Touring Coupe

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 HZ GTS Sedan 308ci
1976 HX Monaro GTS 4-door
1977 HX Monaro Limited Edition Coupe
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)
 

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

wow .. this really shows that there were a few gems to be had even in the BLACK DAYS of the mid 70s to mid 80s....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: The Definintive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

MCGARRETT said:
What...no Cadillacs?
Really only had one suggested - but I've added Cadillac under Pontiac for ya. :)
 

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

Sorry I missed the original list, but in looking at this least I see the 85 Corvette included but no 85 Camaro Z-28. I can tell you I have a 85 Camaro Z-28 with the tpi engine and when it had 500 miles on it (break in) I raced a buddy's new 85 Corvette from a standing start and we drove head to head for about 7 miles flat out up to a 150 mph ( my speedo went around twice) he had a digital speedo that showed 146 mph when we finally let off and I was actually pulling him most of the way and I still had plenty of rpm left. I definitely think this car should be on the list. Thanks.
 

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

liking the list, I know on Forza there is more GM exposure, maybe the GT series is just paid off??? I know certain games DO feature certain brands more than others.

CObaltSScrazy
 

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

Wow, seeing some of the names on those lists brought back memories..... Including my first car... a 75 Chevy Monza 2+2 with a small block V8.
 

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

Aromanances said:
The forgot the 86/87 intercooled Buick Grand Nationals.
it goes up to 1985,
otherwise the grand-nation would be there for sure
 

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

what a cool article,
good work.
I think this list also highlights what cars can be considered classics from this period of time up til 85.

Does anyone know about this;
I didn't know the Oil Crisis happened as early as 1973,
I thought 1973/74 was when the govt introdruced all the stupid law changes that changed compression rotio's and hp and bumpers and other safety stuff that all put a stop to real muscle cars.
I thought the oil crisis was in the late 70's early 80's?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Re: The Definintive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

rmodys said:
No 1984 Monte Carlo SS?
Was it significantly different from the 1985 model? In our discussion thread, I thought we had concluded that they were the same except for bucket seats, though my memory could be off. Maybe there was some special option or package for 1985?

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).
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Re: The Definintive GM Performance Car List Part II: 1973-1985

NOVASSCR said:
Sorry I missed the original list, but in looking at this least I see the 85 Corvette included but no 85 Camaro Z-28. Thanks.
I'll be adding your suggestion along with any others that meet the basic guidelines I quoted in my last post. In other words, if it is significantly different than the 1984 Z28 Special Edition. Having every model year of every performance car isn't what I'm shooting for. But having unique models is.

EDIT: Answered my own question. 1985 introduced the IROC-Z28! :)

Also, if you guys know its unique, then I'll just cut & paste if you format your request like this:

1985 Camaro Z28

I prefer options be added to the end of the description, and even cosmetic packages are welcome if the basic model is different enough from other model years and models from other brands in that model year.
 

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

I've never heard of the 1984 Z28 Special Edition.
Are you talking about the H.O. Z28 w/ the 190 hp. L69 engine?

I would say the: '84 Z28 L69 w/ 5 speed and posi 3.73 gears definitely.
Also in '84 the back breaking suspension was toned down and handling actually inproved.

On your first list the '86 Z28 needs to be removed. The TPI engine was downrated to 190hp from 215hp in '85. The '86s are some of the worst performing 3rd gens.

I would also say '85 because that was the first year for the IROC and TPI.
TPI was groundbreaking and a great injection system.
 

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

Cool list. As I've said here before, even in its darkest days GM was never the uncompetitive wasteland that its critics, including most automotive journalists, like to portray. They've always had at least some desirable cars, and not just Corvettes.
 

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

ok.. What is a Malibu M80 ?

Also, the Turbo Monte Carlo SS must have been after market as all that the factory lists is a LG4 305 HO.
 

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

1984 Cavalier type 10 ?

They are joking right?

I thought it was a DEFINITIVE PERFORMANCE CAR list.

I had an 85 Cavalier type 10, it was no performance car.
 

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

FBODYRULES said:
what a cool article,
good work.
I think this list also highlights what cars can be considered classics from this period of time up til 85.
I agree - it's a really cool list, and should be considered a near-definitive guide of which GM cars should be considered collectibles (or potential future collectibles) from this era.
FBODYRULES said:
Does anyone know about this;
I didn't know the Oil Crisis happened as early as 1973,
I thought 1973/74 was when the govt introdruced all the stupid law changes that changed compression rotio's and hp and bumpers and other safety stuff that all put a stop to real muscle cars.
I thought the oil crisis was in the late 70's early 80's?
In response to the Israeli-Arab Yom Kippur war in 1973, and the support that the US and some Western European nations gave to Israel, OPEC stopped selling oil to the US. At the time, we only got 12% of our oil from Arab countries. The embargo lasted from August 1973 to April 1974.
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_embargo_crisis

Then there was a second oil crisis, in 1979, caused by the Iranian revolution, when oil exports briefly ceased and caused a disruption to the world oil supply, and energy traders bid up the price on speculation of further supply problems (hmm, sound familiar??)
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_energy_crisis
 

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

The turbo Monte was from 1979-1981 and wasnt an SS I think it could be had in any trim level. Kind of neat but not a great performer. None of those years mentioned were dark days for GM they sold tons of nice looking cars they wish they had those days back.
 
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