Sunday, June 26, 2022

Automotif CCCXIII...

In 1973, OPEC announced an oil embargo directed at the nations that had supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The effects on the U.S. economy were harsh.
"The average US retail price of a gallon of regular gasoline rose 43% from 38.5¢ in May 1973 to 55.1¢ in June 1974. State governments asked citizens not to put up Christmas lights. Oregon banned Christmas and commercial lighting altogether. Politicians called for a national gasoline rationing program. Nixon asked gasoline retailers to voluntarily not sell gasoline on Saturday nights or Sundays; 90% of gas station owners complied, which produced long lines of motorists wanting to fill up their cars while they still could."
The effects on Detroit would trigger the first big round of downsizing and boost sales of compacts, as people suddenly had a reason to avoid "gas guzzlers".

Sales of one model weren't much affected, though...

Despite the embargo and the subsequent gas crisis, Chevrolet sold over 300,000 1974 Monte Carlos, up from the previous record sales year of '73 that saw almost 250,000 cross the curb.

The base engine was a 145bhp 2-bbl 350, and you could get a 400 in either 150bhp 2-bbl or 180bhp 4-bbl flavors, or splurge for a 235bhp 4-bbl 454 V-8.

The muscle car era was over... or at least in an intermission ...and Americans would spend the Decade of Disco enamored with the plush boulevardiers known as "Personal Luxury Coupes".