National publications and the quality surveys of the day would disagree: Quality for a great deal of the domestic automakers was at a historical low back then. It's been well-documented and is also one of the primary reasons the Big 3 began a decades-long effort to recover from having earned that reputation.
Anecdotal "evidence" does not and will never cover for overall statistics and fact. So saying that "Imports" are bad means absolutely nothing, because that sort of statement isn't specific enough. Saying all "Domestics" were good is equally without merit.
That's right, "where" are the imports Toyota made? In the mid 70s with the government pushing their anti pollution, no lead fuel and cats. It was a new design period for automakers. Personally I was sorely disappointed. It was a very low period for America and performance. Yet tractor trailers and heavy weight vehicles were less restricted. America certainly went through some extremely tasteless colors, design etc, and even its disco period. I remember the mod orange shag and avocado and Coppertone appliances in homes; I think we took a vacation from taste.
Fortunately there are some outstanding vehicles today. Performance and great vehicles like Mustangs, Challengers, Camaros and Convertibles are back. I had one of the last ones in 75. My next new one I ordered in 1998. Interesting enough, even though the mid 70s was a low period for HP and fuel efficiency, look around. People are still driving some uninspired styling Delta 88s, Park Avenues and the like. There are people that have driven 200k miles and wish they could found more low mileage examples to replace them. I recall a mid 70s Newport having no issues. The mid size and larger cars with 350 V8 and up seemed to be the best buys. Few repairs with the V8s. The cars racked up high mileage effortlessly. The small econo models less so.
One only has to look out on the roads for clear evidence today. Some designs are dated, but you see them, not 70s Toyotas. Personally I am glad we are out of that period. There are some great drivetrains, minimal issues, and cars that are a blast to own and drive.
That's right, the low point of the 70's domestic autos was fuel mileage and performance.
Quality, styling and reliability on mid size and full size were just fine.
At 36 cents a gallon, I love the cars I chose. The early 70s especially. I had a couple worth more than a small home today! Wish I could have kept them all. Domestics that is.
I can't believe people are still arguing over cars that were built 30-40 years ago.
What cars? The debate is about the disappearance of the 70s Toyotas. Not really that long ago by the way. An entire decade of all models. Oh well...
The debate itself has gone on far longer than I care to keep track of, and whatever the subject, it is fruitless to resume arguing.
1970's Toyotas vanished because people didn't see the need to preserve them, and left them to rot. After blunders like the Chevy Vega, people were hoping that Japan would be handing them some kind of invincible machine.
It's not a matter of quality as much as habits of the time; who'd want to keep a slow little Japanese economy car going over the years? There's no pride to it, no style to flaunt, no V8 to show off, no one had the motivation to keep them in shape.
Hopefully that will ease this argument.
Is not the specific debate on 1971 Toyota ownership? Other than the original reviewer and myself, what can you add about the 1971 you owned, new or used? I have a distant memory of owning one, but how can you review a car you likely never drove, maintained, etc. What you bought 30-40 years later is not even relevant. How was the 71's braking, handling, reliability for openers? Most commenters on here have likely never even seen one, let alone owned any new in the 70s. Last thing I want to hear about is a 90s up review on a decades old vehicle.
I'm not praising/criticizing the car, I'm just speaking on how trends were at the time.
The problem here is that there are two grossly different sides to this "debate", which I maintain isn't a debate. One side of the argument makes a lot of non-statistical assumptions as to why there are less early 70's Toyotas out on the road. That side of the argument does so as some sort of attempt at trying to suggest that it's because those vintage Toyotas were not as good as their domestically producer counterparts.
The other side of the argument is based on pure mathematics, and as clearly and effectively pointed out, the total share of the US market owned by Toyota at that time was under 2%. The overwhelming majority were domestic cars. Thus the simple and irrefutable reason there are less vintage 70's Toyotas versus vintage domestic cars is simply because there are less of them - and by a huge margin - to start with. Thus it boils down to elementary math: Less of something + time = less overall surviving examples.
That's the answer. It's not because they were bad cars or that people didn't really like them. Otherwise none would have sold, and there wouldn't be any of them at all.
Oh - and if you want to see examples of people restoring, driving, and showing vintage Japanese cars, come on out to where I live. I just went to a car show last weekend, and there were plenty of Datsun 280Z's, Datsun 210 and 510's, as well as a few older Corollas. So yeah - people like these too, and they do restore them.
There was no V8 in a Vega, but yet they are very popular today as drag cars.
I don't see many Toyotas used for that.
We are not discussing Datsun (now Nissan). Even in the top half of the country, we see Datsuns.
If you saw a Corolla at a car show no less, that's fantastic.
Most of even the Z cars are rust buckets here. I had a new 2+2. The reason you see them is styling and mild performance. New they were quite expensive. You could buy a loaded one and be in the Corvette pricing. It cost more to insure than our Corvette. We wanted a back seat on one of our cars. Only fit for children. We see lots of them. Maybe if Toyota had T Tops and similar styling, there would be some to look at.
Without hitting car shows, I see elderly people driving the old domestics from even the 60s here. Many are under a carport or garaged. Many Chrysler slant 6 are here and larger that they use on weekends. I see Buicks, Olds, Fords and GMs. They are typically very plain models, and many are 4 doors. I have my sights on a stock 68 Cougar that I hope to get from an old lady that bought new. I also have tried to buy a 72 Chevelle 307 Convertible from another. It's ugly dark green, but is a convertible. Neither car is at shows. They are the proverbial one owner senior cars. My mother is at an assisted living place, and asks if any are for sale. The cars were built well with good steel. If kept under cover for most of their life, many examples are out there. Look in a church parking lot sometime.
If I buy either car mentioned, hopefully I will post a review on here. I doubt I am going to see any Toyotas from that era. Cars cost a lot to restore properly. You need cars with appeal to begin with. If they can be driven on the street or raced, it takes money. I see cars at shows way under the 2 percent number that are restored today.