I adore 70ís supercars but I guess its a generational thing. I grew up reading articles penned by Doug Blain, Mel Nichols, Ian Fraser, Peter Robinson, Gavin Green etc. During the eighties, I avidly read and collected a UK publication called ďSupercar ClassicsĒ every month from 1983 until its sad demise in 1991. I suspect other regulars to this website did likewise.
For me, the best 3 supercars of the 1970ís were the Lamborghini Countach LP400, the Ferrari 246 Dino/ 308 GTB and the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7. On further reflection, I think the Lancia Stratos should be included too.Let me explain.
The Lamborghini Countach LP 400 is the definitive 70ís supercar-in fact one could argue its the first true supercar and maybe, the definitive supercar of all time. When we hear the word ďsupercarĒ, its the Countachís shape that instantly springs to mind-every supercar since the Countach has itís DNA-think F-40,Cizeta,XJ220,EB110,F1,Enzo,Veyron. Sure, the Miura SV and Boxer 365/512 were more beautiful but both were fundamentally flawed by their mechanical packaging which deeply comprised their driving dynamics, the former with its transverse engine(and which no subsequent supercar of merit has followed, Cizeta excepted) and the later with its flat 12 mounted above the gearbox. Not that the Countach is without serious flaws itself. Dreadful visibility, poor accommodation and a raised crankshaft from its radical gearbox made extracting itís full performance potential difficult and blunted itís sharp driving dynamics for some drivers. The moderns score over the Countach by using technology to overcome the weaknesses inherent in the supercar format. Nonetheless, the Counatchís greatness lies in laying down the template for all subsequent supercars.
The Dino 246 and 308 GTB score by being supremely balanced and beautiful. Sure, a few junior supercars handled better with a proper north/south mid engine (think Esprit, BMW M1, Pantera), others went harder (think Pantera GT5, Porsche 911 SC, 930 turbo) and some offered better accommodation (think 911/928, Maserati Merak, BMW 635 CSi) but none equalled the Dino 246/308 with their blend of beauty,charisma and accessible performance. For me, the only weakness with the 308 is that it is forever associated with that TV series Magnum P.I, which has dulled the impact that the 308 GTB had on the motoring world in the 1970ís.
The Porsche 911 RS 2.7 is the perfect example of taking a flawed package and making it flawless. Here is car that still exists to this day in the form of 997 GT3. The original 2.7 RS has it all-iconic shape, charismatic engine, involving handling, peerless racing pedigree, reliability and ease of use. No wonder itís so sort after. Iím no 911 fan but I respect this car deeply. In fact, I respect all 911ís but this car is truly special.
Lastly, a special mention must be given to the Lancia Stratos. The first Supercar Classics magazine I ever bought was the Winter 1985 issue, which had the Stratos on its front cover but bought by me for the Maserati Khamsin featured in the back. Like the 911 RS, Iíve never fell inlove with the Stratos but its another 70ís supercar I DEEPLY respect. This is a car with one of the VERY best Gandini shapes, a brilliant engine, super responsive handling and the first proper supercar to win (nay, dominate) rallys. In fact, it was the first car designed specially designed to win rallys and fully deserved it triple championships in 75,76,and 77. Gandini and Dallara were a potent combination during the sixties and seventies.The fact that the Stratos isnít my all-time favourite but should be says more about me than the car.
All supercars are about emotion in motion but for me, the thing I love about 70ís and 80ís supercars is that emotion was the primary factor in their design with engineering a close second whereas today, its the other way round. Which is better? Well, thats a matter of personal preference. Neither way is better and thatís what makes the supercar/exotic car world an interesting place.