The pitch has been signed off and production will begin soon on a new summer blockbuster comedy. Taking place in late 1976, three college misfits spend their winter break setting off for Las Vegas to see off America’s bicentennial and to welcome 1977 with a week of debauchery and gambling.
The producers have a specific type of vehicle in mind for the boys:
An American “compact” or “subcompact” from 1974-1976 (trim year). (If you don’t have an American brand in your lore to work with, don’t worry. Just get the style right and you’re good.)
They figure this type of car should fit the misfit personalities of the main characters perfectly, and these types of cars tend to have an inherent comedy in their appearance.
The two most important factors here will be style and historical accuracy. I want a vehicle that captures the essence of these example vehicles as similarly as possible; crap-tastic tech and all. Cheesy 70s graphics and styling cues are highly recommended.
There are two direction you can go here. For an American “subcompact.” I’d expect a wheelbase of 2.4-2.6m, and an overall length of 4.1-4.5m. They should be 2 door coupes, 3 door hatchbacks, or 3 door short wagons. I expect these on a monocoque chassis.
Ford Pinto/Mercury Bobcat
Chevrolet Vega/Pontiac Astre
Ford Mustang II
Chevy Monza/Oldsmobile Starfire/Buick Skyhawk
The other option would be an American “Compact.” These would have a wheelbase of 2.6-2.8m, and an overall length of 4.6-5.2m. These can be 2 door coupes, 3 door hatchbacks, 4 door sedans, or a 5 door wagon/hatch. Should seat 5 or 6. The example vehicles are monocoque chassis as well, but a ladder frame is acceptable here as well if you choose to use one.
Chevy Nova/Pontiac Ventura/Buick Apollo/Oldsmobile Omega
Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant/Plymouth Duster
For all entries, I am serious about looking for low-tech period correctness. It is the most important factor in this challenge. RWD with solid rear axles. Rear coils are acceptable, but rear leafs were the norm. Disc brakes would only be found on higher trimmed and larger engines cars. No engines should have fuel injection, or more than 2 valves per cylinder. OHC is acceptable on inline engines, but pushrod was still the norm. V engines should definitely be pushrod. Engines should run on 91 RON and should have 2-way cats. Transmissions should be 3 or 4 speed manuals or 3 speed automatics. Please do some research; I’ve tried to cover here some of the things I expect I will see if I don’t specify, but if you aren’t sure about something, start googling, or if you really can’t find something, ask me, but I will be vague in my response as I don’t want to completely tell you what to build.
Just as important is the vehicle’s appearance. Really try to capture the mid 70s. The compacts are fairly traditional in appearance, but the subcompacts are more quirky, and you can take more liberties when designing one of those. And with either type, I wanna see realistically big impact bumpers. The aesthetic is a primary deciding factor in this competition. Don’t feel the need to go after just the BROWN malaise aesthetic; keep in mind other forms of cheesy 70s trims like faux performance packages, cross-promotional trims, and bicentennial themed trims.
Beyond these factors, I’m looking for factors that the buyer of one of these cars would have cared about at the time. Cheap price, cheap running costs, driveability, reliability, comfort, and fuel economy. But don’t get lost in the sauce chasing stats; these cars will by their nature score poorly, and I would rather see a realistic car than something with good stats that’s less realistic.
Submissions are now open! The deadline will be Noon EDT, Friday, June 26. Please name your model TMCC7 - yourusername
Please use radial tires. Although many of these vehicles would have had bias-plys, Automation’s limitations on bias-ply tire sizes can be a hindrance, so in the sake of simplicity and fairness, just stick to radials.