A Guide to 1977 Cars

From downsized land yachts to the new Ford F-150, these are the best cars of 1977.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
The fully redesigned Chevrolet Caprice Classic was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year and the best-selling car of the year, but 1977 also ushered in over 30 years of Ford’s dominance on the pickup truck scene. 
1977 was a year to remember—Star Wars hit the big screen, Apple Computer Inc. was established, and the Ford F-Series became the best-selling truck in the US for the first of 34 consecutive years. Each of these events would become more influential than we ever could’ve known, but at the time, it was just life.
Helping you head a little further down memory lane—
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The best cars of 1977

From luxury sedans and sports cars to SUVs and pickups, these seven vehicles are the automotive heroes of 1977. 

The best car of 1977: Chevrolet Caprice Classic

Original MSRP: $5,307
Powertrain: 4.7-liter straight six engine w/three-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
GM made a huge gamble leading up to the 1977 release of the fully redesigned
Caprice Classic
—they sank $600 million into a program dubbed Project 77 aimed at downsizing the massive land yacht to create the most changed full-size Chevy to date. It paid off.
The 1977 Chevy Caprice became the number one selling car in the US and was named Motor Trend’s car of the year. Responding to buyers’ desire for better fuel economy, the smaller, lighter Caprice Classic also ran on a smaller engine for best-in-class fuel economy that didn’t sacrifice performance. In fact, the new Caprice performed better in speed trials than its V8-powered predecessors.

The best luxury car of 1977: Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

Original MSRP: $11,546
Powertrain: 7.0-liter V8 w/three-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
1977 marked
Cadillac’s
75th anniversary, and they celebrated with a fully redesigned lineup of deVilles, including the now-classic Coupe. The
1977 Caddy Brougham
was lauded as the next generation of luxury car designed for the contemporary changing world. From its Seville-inspired body to its plush interior that could be appointed with the buyer’s choice of seven shades of Florentine velour or Dover cloth or outfitted in supple, natural-grain leather, the Brougham was pure elegance.

The best SUV of 1977: Jeep (AMC) Cherokee 

Original MSRP: $5,673
Powertrain: AMC I6 or V8 engines w/four-speed manual transmission or three-speed automatic
What makes it special: 
The term “sport utility vehicle” was first used in the 1974
Jeep Cherokee
brochure, and they set the standard for the work-horse truck/comfortable road warrior combo for several years after—1977 included. For this model year, the already-popular Cherokee added a four-door option, making the utility-focused vehicle much more family-friendly, but it also added the Chief trim that featured larger fenders and wider axles, allowing for larger tires to be fitted for increased off-road capability

The best luxury SUV of 1977: Chevrolet Suburban

Original MSRP: $5,248 
Powertrain: 4.1-liter I6, 5.0-liter V8, or 6.6-liter V8 engine w/three- or four-speed manual or automatic transmission
What makes it special:
In its seventh generation, the
Chevrolet Suburban
became a four-door vehicle, further solidifying its reputation as a utility-based vehicle with sedan-quality options and appointments. The idea of a “luxury” SUV wasn’t yet a thing in 1977, so the Suburban is luxurious by way of comfort and convenience options—you know, like air conditioning—simply unheard of in other utes.
The 1977 Suburban didn’t just have air conditioning, though—it had front and rear air conditioning. But wait, there’s more! Hidden under the third seat was a heater for added passenger comfort in the colder months, and the exterior featured step-plates for easier access.

The best family car of 1977: Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

Original MSRP: $5,923
Powertrain: 5.7-liter V8 or 6.6-liter V8 engine w/three- or four-speed automatic 
What makes it special: 
The
Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
was treated to the same downsizing redesign as the rest of the GM lineup for the 1977 model year. The redesign significantly shrunk the body’s dimensions without sacrificing much-needed interior cabin space. In fact, the third-row, rear-facing seat made its return, allowing for 8-passenger seating. Better yet, the vinyl interior allowed kids to spill food and drinks to their hearts’ content.

The best sports car of 1977: C3 Corvette 

Original MSRP: $8,647
Powertrain: 5.7-liter V8 engine w/four-speed manual or 3-range automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
The
1977 Chevrolet Corvette
shared most of its engine and chassis components with the earlier C2, but the body and interior were fully redesigned. Still laboring under output restrictions enforced during the oil crisis, and the power-decreasing effects of catalytic converters, the Corvette wasn’t as powerful as European options, but its low starting price made it much more “gettable.” 
The ‘77 ‘Vette’s largest available engine was the L-82 that produced a mere 210 horses but achieved a top speed of 132 mph.

The best truck of 1977: Ford F-150

Original MSRP: $4,913
Powertrain: 4.9-liter I6 or 5.0- or 5.8-liter V8 w/three-speed manual or automatic or 4-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
The
Ford F-150
debuted in 1975 and has since gone on to become the best-selling truck ever. For its sixth generation, the F-Series as a whole was given significant changes and upgrades, including a larger cabin, improved heating and air, and a
SuperCab
option.  
Appearance packages took into consideration the increased popularity of cruising with Pinstriping Packages and a Custom Decor Group to make your truck stand out around town.

What cars came out in 1977? 

1977 brought with it some of the most influential innovations of the 20th century when it came to movies, computers, and, yes, even cars. Check out the table below to see a few more of the great models that debuted in 1977.
Model
Vehicle type
Engine
Original MSRP
Notes
BMW 725
Midsize luxury sedan
2.5-liter M30 I6 w/four- or five-speed manual or three- or four-speed automatic transmission
$12,495
Debut model in the new 7 Series
Datsun 810
Midsize sedan or station wagon
2.3-liter I6 w/four-speed manual transmission
$5,499
Modeled on the four-cylinder Datsun Bluebird
Dodge Diplomat
Midsize sedan or station wagon
3.7-liter I6 or 5.2-liter Lean Burn V8 w/four-speed manual or three-speed automatic
$4,943
The Diplomat name was originally used on a Dodge 2-door hardtop in the early 1950s
Dodge Omni
Subcompact car
1.7-liter I4 w/four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission
$5,221
Also marketed as the Plymouth Horizon
Ford LTD II
Full size sedan or station wagon
4.9- or 5.8-liter Windsor V8 w/three-speed automatic transmission
$4,528
Discontinued after only three model years
Lincoln Versailles
Midsize luxury sedan
4.9- or 5.8-liter Windsor V8 w/three-speed automatic transmission
$11,500
Replaced the Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia
Panther 6
6-wheel convertible
8.2-liter Cadillac V8 w/three-speed automatic transmission
$52,000
Only two Panther 6s were ever built, both of which still exist.
Pontiac Phantom
Fastback 2-seat concept car
Drivetrain never installed
Never went into production
Codenamed “Madame X” by GM executives
Porsche 928
Luxury sedan
4.5-liter V8 w/five-speed dog-leg manual or three-or four-speed automatic transmission
$25,500
Originally designed to replace the iconic 911
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FAQs

Not only was it Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, but the Chevy Caprice Classic was also the most popular and best selling car of 1977.
With a top speed of 183 mph and 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds, the Porsche 935 Martini Group 5 Turbo was the fastest car of 1977.
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