A Guide to 1973 Cars

From luxury sedans to trusty pickups, these are the best 1973 cars.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
While the BMW Bavaria might have been the best car of 1973, the luxurious Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 4.5 certainly put up some stiff competition. 
The early 1970s was a great time for iconic cars that have since become classics. That era brought us instantly-recognizable cars like the
Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL
and the record-breaking
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7
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. We’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on some of the best cars 1973 had to offer drivers. Let’s take a look.
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The best cars of 1973

First, a little disclaimer—you won’t find any SUVs on this list! The 1984
Jeep Cherokee
is widely considered to be the first-ever SUV, so you won’t find any used SUVs older than that. With that out of the way, here are five of the best cars from 1973, from luxury sedans and sports cars to pickups and family-friendly cruisers. 

The best car of 1973: 1973 BMW Baravia 3.0

KBB fair market range: N/A
Powertrain: 2.5-liter I-6 engine with a three-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
More commonly referred to as the
E3 by automotive aficionados, the 1973 BMW Bavaria 3.0 featured a 176-horsepower M50 I-6 engine that could reach top speeds of 124 mph—not bad for 1973. Produced from 1968 to 1977, BMW called the car the ‘Bavaria’ to remind American buyers that they were a German brand and not ‘British Motor Works,’ as many believed.
In a 1973 comparison test, Road & Track called the Bavaria a “sensationally good buy” when compared to rival brands like
. While there’s no Kelley Blue Book fair market range for the 1973 BMW Bavaria—they’ve only rated cars as old as 1992—the sedan would have set you back between $7,500 and $10,000 in 1973. 

The best luxury car of 1973: Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 4.5

KBB fair market range: N/A
Powertrain: 4.5-liter V-8 engine with a three-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
This powerful 230-horsepower luxury sedan is widely considered to be among Mercedes-Benz’s most iconic models of all time. The 1973 4.5, alongside the older 6.3 and 6.9 models, are all highly sought after as collectible classic cars because they are the last of Mercedes’ hand-built S-class series. The model has been heavily featured in American film, television, and even books. 
300 SEL 4.5
is particularly special because it was only manufactured in the United States. The model could kick from zero to 60 mph in as little as 9.6 seconds and tear through a quarter mile in just over 17 seconds. The 300 SEL 4.5 also boasted excellent handling courtesy of its touring suspension, air springs, and stabilizer bar. 

The best family car of 1973: Mitsubishi Lancer A70

KBB fair market range: N/A
Powertrain: 1.2-liter, 1.4-liter, or 1.6-liter I-4 engine with a 4 or 5-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
Boasting the tagline ‘King of Cars,’ the 1973 Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 GSR is commonly regarded as the true beginning of
automotive legacy. Debuting in February of 1973, the Lancer made a name for itself at Australia’s Southern Cross Rally race later that year, taking the first four positions. The Lancer went on to race at the Safari Rally in Kenya as well. 
Lancer A70
sedan, on the other hand, was a successful family car—and has been for the last 50 years! With four distinct body-type options as well as the choice between a 1.2, 1.4, or 1.6-liter engine, the Lancer A70 is also known as the Dodge Colt in the United States. 

The best sports car of 1973: Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7

KBB fair market range: N/A
Powertrain: 2.7-liter V-6 engine with a five-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
Debuting at the 1972 Paris Motor Show, the
Porsche 911 Carrera RS
was the fastest production 911 at the time, with a max speed of 155 mph. Its powerful V-6 engine boasted 210 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque that could rocket the sports car from zero to 60 mph in as little as 5.6 seconds. 
Supercars.net lists the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera as one of the top 10 best Porsche models ever made. Fitted with flared wheel arches, the Carrera offers more road contact and additional traction than most models. Alongside a lightweight design—the Carrera only weighs 2,150 lbs—the Porsche RS easily kept up with competitor makes like Ferrari and DeTomaso.

The best truck of 1973: Chevrolet C/K Series

KBB fair market range: N/A
Powertrain: I-6 and V-8 engines ranging from 4.1 to 7.3-liters with a three-or-four-speed transmission, either automatic or manual
What makes it special: 
The 1973 Chevrolet C/K marked the introduction of the pickup’s third generation. Marketed as both a
and a
model, the C/K is the third-longest produced American pickup after the Dodge D/W-series and the
Jeep Gladiator
. The ‘73 C/K introduced a four-door crew cab pickup option—previously only two-door models had been produced.
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What cars came out in 1973? 

In addition to the car’s we’ve listed above, there were plenty of ground-breaking models that made their debut in 1973. Let’s take a closer look at some of them in the table below.
Vehicle type
Base engine
5.7-liter V-8 engine
260 horsepower
Chrysler VJ Valiant
3.5-liter I-6 engine
302 horsepower
Ford Falcon
3.3-liter I-6 engine
130 horsepower
Mazda 929
1.8-liter I-4 engine
82 horsepower
Mitsubishi Lancer
1.2-liter I-4 engine
55 horsepower
Nissan Violet
1.4-liter I-4 engine
99 horsepower
Toyota Starlet
1.0-liter I-4 engine
74 horsepower
1.6-liter I-4 engine
59 horsepower
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How to save money on used car insurance

Thinking about buying one of the amazing cars we listed? Good news! It generally costs less money to
insure a used car
than a new one. This is mainly because older car parts tend to be cheaper, making the cost to repair them less expensive. Insurance companies are aware of the lower financial risk of used cars and reflect that in lower insurance premiums. 
You can benefit from even lower insurance rates if you
drop full coverage insurance
for a car that doesn’t necessarily need it, like an older or collectible car. If you’re not sure where to start with switching up your insurance coverage, Jerry is here to help. 
As a licensed insurance broker and the only car insurance comparison shopping super app,
makes it easier than ever to change your insurance, or even find a brand new policy, in minutes. Just download the app, enter your information, and you’re well on your way to saving money on insuring the vintage car of your dreams!


1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
was the most popular car of 1973, according to Reader’s Digest.
With a maximum speed of 170 mph, the Lamborghini Miura SV was the fastest car in the world from 1966 to 1973.
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