Fuel crisis and moon landings (1970-1979)
From an automotive viewpoint, the 1970s was dominated by the fuel crisis that engulfed the first half of the decade, and the uncertain motoring outlook that ensued.
Although the early 1970s would see some iconic high-performance, wedge-shaped “supercars” come to life, large-engined mass-market cars suffered, out of favor for their fuel thirst and their harmful impact on the environment.
While alternative fuels, electricity in particular, were hot topics, the real progress was made in the Far East, where Japan’s output of automobiles was thrifty, efficient, and affordable. They may have been scorned in Europe and the US to begin with, but Japanese cars were also well-made, forcing Western rivals to up their game or—as some discovered—face oblivion.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. New model designs were increasingly attractive and well equipped while, on the world’s race tracks, lateral thinking produced giant steps in aerodynamics. Engineers even developed a car that could be driven on the Moon.