10 Most Reliable 70s Sports Cars You Can Afford

The 1970s were not a good time for anyone in the global automotive industry. The oil crisis had hit everyone, and cars that had been all the rage for power and performance just a few years ago were now looked down upon for their gas mileage as if it were water. As such, a demand for more economical and efficient cars with smaller displacements began to increase. To make matters worse, new emissions restrictions led to some ‘sporty’ cars that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.



Although this era had such dark times, some automakers never lost their creativity and engineering savvy and released some real gems in the 70s. It was a time when European and Japanese automakers were capitalizing on the American automotive situation, creating some of their best work. Of course, today, looking back at some of the greatest cars from these automotive giants also means looking at them with incredible price, because they have become classics (being half a century would do that to a car). Also, when buying a half-century-old vehicle, reliability is crucial. So here are some sports cars since the 70s that you won’t have to sell a limb to buy, and they’ll also remain reliable once you bring them up your alley.


ten Toyota Celica 1st Generation ($21,000)

Toyota, the Japanese giant, was in a bit of a rush to export a sport-compact coupe to American shores since Nissan had enjoyed such success with the 240Z. So came the Celica, and although it looked like a smaller Mustang from the late ’60s, it had remarkable power for its time, running on a 1.6L inline-4 or 2 .2 L.

It was also lighter, which translated into great handling and even more performance than what the brochure read. Being a Toyota, the first generation Celica has remained a solid option over the years and has become a reliable option for young enthusiasts and collectors. Well-preserved first generation models of the Celica can easily cost around $20,000.


9 1979 MG MGB ($15,000)

MG’s MGB was the epitome of the “British Roadster” when it was released in the 1960s and was a hugely successful car from the British automaker. It has sold over half a million units combined, over its entire life cycle. The MGB resonated with enthusiasts due to its great handling, beautiful styling and outstanding performance for its day.

Luckily, 1970s models are still quite affordable today, as they were even when they first came out, and these models sell for close to $15,000, and if you’re a young enthusiast looking to turn heads and feel the wind in your hair, the MGB shouldn’t let you down. Owners who have stuck with the MGB since picking it up back in the day happily praise its longevity, noting how well it only requires quick service to keep it running.

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8 1973 Lotus Europa ($25,000)

Lotus showed the world one of the first mid-engined sports cars in the form of the Europa. It was the second generation of this car that really wowed consumers after improving the styling of the car, between the years 1968 and 1970. With fully independent suspension and a lightweight fiberglass body, the Europa was a fantastic car.

Additionally, the 1971-75 Europa models were powered by Lotus-Ford’s 1600 twin cam engine, which was and remains an extremely reliable engine, and produced either 105 or 126 bhp, and considering the car’s weight of 1600 lbs. , it was a plot. These latest model Europas are available for around $25,000 and are a bargain for anyone looking to deck out their driveway with 70s style.


seven Fiat X1/9 ($21,000)

The Fiat X1/9 was affectionately called “Baby Ferrari”, and it’s a beautifully shaped car from the 1970s. Made by the designer behind the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Lancia Stratos. Its removable T-roof, pop-up headlights and mid-engine layout have all contributed to its iconic status over the years.

Due to its low weight and short wheelbase, the 1.3L or 1.5L inline-4, the car was incredibly fun to drive, and when properly and proactively maintained, the Fiat X1/ 9 will definitely last quite a long time, and the best part about it is that it still costs around $12,000.

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6 Mercedes-Benz R107 SL/SLC ($10,000)

In 1972, Mercedes introduced the R107 in coupe and convertible form, which drew heavily on styling cues from the Pagode 280SL it replaced. The German automaker offered the R107 SL in several engine options and with either an inline-six or a V8.

The car had big shoes to fill, and it did it brilliantly, combining style, comfort and power. While being a little heavy, the car lost in agility, but handled superbly for its size, being a GT car. Due to the car’s popularity, prices have remained low and prices range from $10,000 to $15,000. Like any old car almost half a century old, the car, when properly maintained, and the good part is that no engine, in any tune or displacement, has been in the way during the lifetime of the R107.


5 1976 Datsun 280Z ($20,000)

Datsun, now part of Nissan, announced its arrival to the world with the 240Z. In fact, the Z car is revered as having solely started the Japanese import craze that took over North America. Although these cars lacked the direct power and displacement of American muscle cars, they proved to be just as fast and even much better handled due to their lightness.

In the mid-1970s, the 280Z succeeded the 260Z and featured a larger 2.8L inline-6 ​​engine that produced 170 horsepower and fuel injection. For one, the price of the 240Z continues to skyrocket, clean 280Zs can still be taken home for less than $20,000.

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4 1976 Lancia Fulvia ($23,500)

1963 was one of Lancia’s last as an independent car manufacturer. The Fulvia, originally marketed and marketed as a sedan, housed an innovative V4 engine that transmitted power to the front wheels. It was an incredibly fun sports car, thanks to its nimble handling, which also translated into victory in the 1972 International Rally Championship.

Prices for previous Lancia Fulvia models have steadily increased, but the latest 3 Series models can still be found for less than $25,000, with the V4 being an extremely reliable power unit.


3 BMW 1974 2002 ($26,000)

BMW certainly has a reputation for driver’s cars. Where it is the 3 Series today, in the 20th century, the 2002 was considered one of the best driving cars. Upon release, it received rave reviews from critics for its peppy engine and excellent handling. Practical and sporty, the car developed 130 hp, and for its weight it was a nimble and fast car.

The 2002 housed a fuel injected engine that sent power to the rear wheels, and so the 2002 became a phenomenal success. Its touring and turbo models have all skyrocketed in price, but the base 2002 BMW model can still be found relatively cheaply. We even managed to find a 2002Tii model for just $26,000, which, given the car’s heritage, is a bargain.

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2 Mercedes-Benz 450SL ($10,000)

The Mercedes-Benz 450SL is a crucial car in European automotive history. It boasted drastically reduced emissions and improved safety features, and most importantly, it managed to remain affordable and timeless. The 450SL, in its day, was incredibly fast for a cruiser, and its German engineering showed through in its handling.

Late 1970s models can be found even for $10,000, which is just as good as it gets for this handsome icon with Silver Arrows. Always capable of turning heads wherever it goes, the 450SL also remains a dependable vehicle, so consider this one if you plan on cruising the coast sitting in a classic.


1 1978 Porsche 928 ($9,000)

A 4.5-liter V8 producing 230 horsepower in 1978 sounds like a dream, which is exactly what the Porsche 928 was. A remarkable blend of a nimble and enthusiastic sports car with class, the 928 arrived on the scene and immediately started turning heads (and brochures). Besides its strong horsepower figures, the car also had improved fuel economy at the time.

Over the years the 928 may have gotten a bad reputation for reliability, but these problems were almost always caused by bad owners who managed to defer maintenance even on a classic car like the Porsche 928. Something else that might even make you more eager to bring one home is its cheap price.

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