The 1979 model year brought several major improvements to the Mustang range. First, they presented a new model featuring a modern design, updated chassis, and wider track. Second, they introduced an interesting performance version called the Cobra.
Although not as powerful or crazy as those Cobra Jets of before, the 1979 Cobra featured a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 140 HP. And although this was pathetic even by the standards of the day, it was a step in the right direction. In fact, it helped the American performance market finally start to recover.
The SV-1 was the brainchild of automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin. He produced just 3,000 of them in Canada from 1974 to 1975. But for a short while, they marketed the SV-1 as the best, most advanced American sports car. But as soon as the first cars started rolling down the assembly line, it was clear the SV-1 was not as good as drivers anticipated it would be.
The idea was to produce a safe and fast sports car as the name SV-1, which stood for Safety Vehicle One, suggested. Bricklin designed the car with big bumpers, warning sensors, and power Gullwing doors. Although it didn’t have any cigarette lighters, it had an integrated roll cage and lots of other things. Unfortunately, all those extras made it heavy and not agile. The power came from a 360 AMC V8 engine, which wasn’t powerful. Even though the company later turned to the 351 Ford V8, it still couldn’t deliver any real performance numbers.
The Pontiac Fiero was the most advanced American production model according to the standards of the day. The customers were hyped by the appearance of the Fiero with its cool and modern design. Thanks to the advanced technology, the initial response was more than good.
It was a bold move for Pontiac to introduce such a compact, rear-wheel-drive car with the engine behind the driver. But then they paired it up with a five-speed manual transaxle gearbox. However, one of the Fiero’s main problems was that it was too slow. With just 93 HP and a 0 to 60 mph time of over 10 seconds, it was painfully slow.