Ever since CAR magazine printed its first issue way back in 1957, proper road-testing has been an integral part of our procedure. Why? Well it provides readers with the opportunity to see what each car can do in real-world conditions (as opposed to what manufacturers claim).
In the old days, we collected the 0-100 km/h data using a classic stopwatch, which means it’s likely that some of these early figures won’t be as quite accurate as those produced by our GPS-equipped devices today. Still, the figures of yesteryear are realistic enough for comparison and make for rather interesting reading.
Below, we have listed the five fastest cars we tested during the 1970s (click here for the equivalent list from the ’60s). The numbers are pretty impressive for the era, but naturally nowhere near what we would have seen had we had access to cars such as the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer and Porsche 911 Turbo 3,3.
Chevrolet SS Coupe V8: 8,8 seconds (January 1972)
The Aussies might know this one as the Holden Monaro GTS. The Chevy SS made use of a hefty 5,0-litre V8 that delivered 153 kW and 426 N.m of torque to its rear wheels. Brakes on this musclecar were not as great, as it achieved an average time of 4,67 seconds from 100-0 km/h.
Fiat 131 2000 Racing: 8,5 seconds (January 1979)
Seeing a Fiat on this list may seem surprising, but any proper petrolhead from the ’70s will know that the 131 was a serious performance car, especially in the Group 4 Rally championships. This 2000 Racing was a South African special with a twin-cam 2,0-litre engine delivering 96 kW. A local forum suggests that of the 16 that were produced, only nine examples remain.
BMW 3000-S: 8,5 seconds (July 1972)
Internationally known as the 3.0 S, the BMW New Six sedan won the hearts of the CAR editorial team thanks to its impressive performance and refinement, despite its R8 000 pricetag. Its 3,0-litre straight-six engine was able to churn out 127 kW and 254 N.m of torque, giving it a top speed of 200 km/h.
Ford Fairmont GT Auto 7,2 seconds (January 1970)
The ’70s seemed to be the decade of the Aussies. The Fairmont (known internationally as the Falcon) was famous for instilling fear into many drivers, thanks to its 5,8-litre Cleveland V8, which was good for 188 kW and 515 N.m of torque. The Fairlane was only assembled in Australia and Port Elizabeth.
Ford Capri Perana V8: 6,7 seconds (January 1971)
We mentioned not having access to a Countach or a 911 Turbo, but even if we did, they would have struggled against the likes of the Perana. Basil Green Motors gave the Capri some life by squeezing a 210 kW 5,0-litre Windsor V8 into the engine bay, but this also had some detrimental effects on handling…