Auto show season means it’s also the time when the Cars of the Year are awarded. Motor Trend is of course the best known. This year, the futuristic Chevy Bolt got the prize from MT as well the 2017 North American International Auto Show, and so we took a look on Craigslist to see how some past winners are faring these days.
1985: Volkswagen GTI
Love those Recaro seats.
1977: Chevrolet Caprice Classic
The downsized GM B-bodies rocketed to best-selling status with their more sensible size. Assembly quality was ’70s scattershot, but those that have survived have basic components that are tried and true and cheap to fix. So that means red ones like this still make fine daily drivers.
1980: Chevrolet Citation
We all know the Citation‘s sad story of pestilent unreliability, and that’s why it is increasingly poignant to find the few that remain. This wire-wheeled Club Coupe beckons with its jaunty curved beltline and wire wheel covers…
…while this rattle-canned hatchback strikes a different tone. “More looks than a red-headed stepchild.”
No door panel, but it still has the armrest. Makes us want it even more.
1981: Chrysler K-Cars (Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant)
Not a single 1981 Reliant popped up in this search, but a few Aries were still making the rounds. This collapsed coupe needs a little frame help, and its low 18K miles would seem to make it worth it.
This wagon has clearly worked hard for its owners. From $1,600 in the ad to $1,495 in the headline means the bottom price probably still hasn’t yet been found.
Funny how rumpled all those straight lines have become over time.
Seeing that thin steering wheel, the clock-radio wood and the hard-edged dash top reminds one that the K-Cars were Aspen/Volare replacements first and import fighters second. Still, they pulled Chrysler out of the government bailout muck.
1982: Chevrolet Camaro Z28
What a relief it must have been to enthusiasts to finally have a sporty car back in the award seat after a couple years of practical compacts. This Z28 is quite attractive with its so-early-’80s brown-on-tan color scheme, and the transplanted 350 V8 is almost enough to outweigh the lack of an automatic transmission.
Nice interior on that one too.
1974: Ford Mustang II
Another pony car COTY was a lesser Mustang. The Pinto-based Mustang II never got much respect, but those swoopy fender curves always fascinate.
1970: Ford Torino
This Torino is in fine fettle, as it should be for its price. It looks like many barrels of monkeys of fun.
Love these interior shots…
…although they do remind us how cramped those Torino/Montego interiors could be.
Tell us in the comments – which of these Cars of the Year would YOU want to drive?