Discovering the Iconic Motor Trend Car of the Year 1970

Welcome to the automotive time machine! Today, we are embarking on an exhilarating journey back to 1970, a year that witnessed the birth of an automobile legend. Buckle up and prepare yourself for a thrilling ride as we delve into the glorious past of motor trends and uncover the ultimate classic car that stole hearts, turned heads, and left an indelible mark in automotive history. Get ready to experience the sheer power, style, and innovation of the iconic Motor Trend Car of the Year 1970—a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate enthusiasts even after half a century.

Introduction to the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award

The Motor Trend Car of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious and highly coveted awards in the automotive industry. It has been recognizing excellence in cars for over 70 years, making it one of the oldest and most respected awards in the industry. Every year, a panel of expert judges from Motor Trend Magazine evaluates new vehicles based on various criteria such as design, performance, safety, technology, and value. The winner is then crowned the Car of the Year.

The history of this iconic award dates back to 1949, when Motor Trend’s editors wanted to recognize outstanding achievements in automotive design and engineering. The first car to win this award was Cadillac’s V8 luxury sedan, which set a high standard for future winners. Over the years, some legendary cars have been named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, including the Ford Mustang (1965), Chevrolet Corvette (1984), BMW 3 Series (1992), Tesla Model S (2013), and many more.

One unique aspect that sets Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award apart from other competitions is its rigorous evaluation process. Each year, during the September–October period, a team of experts spends weeks testing dozens of potential contenders on public roads and closed courses to thoroughly determine their strengths and weaknesses. The criteria used for judging are constantly evolving to keep up with changing market trends and consumer demands.

History of the 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year

The Motor Trend Car of the Year award has been a highly coveted honor in the automotive industry since its inception in 1949. Each year, Motor Trend magazine selects one car that it deems to be the most significant and influential in terms of design, performance, and overall impact on the industry. In 1970, this prestigious title was awarded to a particular vehicle that would become an iconic classic: the Pontiac Firebird.

The history of the 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year can be traced back to its roots in General Motors’ development of new models in the late 1960s. During this time, GM was looking for ways to compete with popular muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. They saw potential in rebranding their existing pony car, the Pontiac Tempest, into a more performance-oriented vehicle.

In 1967, GM introduced a prototype version of what would become known as the Firebird at auto shows across North America. It featured a sleek design with a long hood and short rear deck proportions—typical for American muscle cars at that time. The response from industry experts and consumers alike was overwhelmingly positive.

Features and Specifications of the 1970 Winning Car

The 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year, also known as the Ultimate Classic, is a highly coveted and iconic vehicle that holds a special place in automotive history. Its sleek design, powerful engine, and advanced features made it stand out from other cars of its time.

1. Design:
The 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year had an eye-catching design that was ahead of its time. It featured a long hood and short deck profile with smooth lines and contours that gave it a sporty and luxurious appearance. The car also had hidden headlamps, adding to its sleek and modern aesthetic.

2. Engine:
Under the hood, this winning car had a powerful V8 engine that produced an impressive 370 horsepower. This was more than enough to give drivers an exhilarating driving experience with fast acceleration and top-speed capabilities.

3. Transmission:
The 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year came equipped with either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission system. Both options were smooth and efficient, allowing for seamless gear shifts while driving.

4. Interior:
Step inside this classic car, and you’ll find a spacious cabin with comfortable seats upholstered in premium leather material. The dashboard was well-designed, with all controls easily accessible for the driver’s convenience. The car also featured air conditioning, power windows, and other luxury amenities that were not common in cars during that period.

5. Safety Features:
The 1970 winning car was also equipped with advanced safety features, including front disc brakes and a strong frame to protect passengers in case of collisions. It also had seat belts for all passengers, an important safety feature that was not yet mandatory in all cars at the time.

6. Performance:
The combination of the powerful engine, efficient transmission, and lightweight design made this car a high performer on the road. It could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and had a top speed of 130 mph.

7. Price:
In 1970, the Motor Trend Car of the Year was priced at around $6,000, which was considered expensive for a car during that time. However, its advanced features and performance capabilities made it worth every penny.

Overall, the 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year was a well-rounded vehicle with impressive features and specifications that set it apart from other cars of its time. Its timeless design and exceptional performance have made it a highly sought-after classic car among collectors today.

Impact and Legacy of the 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year

The Motor Trend Car of the Year award is one of the most prestigious and sought-after titles in the automotive industry. It is given to a vehicle that stands out from its competitors, setting new standards in terms of design, performance, and innovation. Over the years, many iconic cars have been awarded this title, but one particular year stands out: 1970.

The 1970 Motor Trend Car of the Year was a highly anticipated announcement among car enthusiasts and industry professionals alike. The winner was none other than the revolutionary Chevrolet Camaro. This iconic muscle car not only captured the hearts of millions but also left a lasting impact on the automotive world.

One of the key reasons behind the Camaro’s win was its bold redesign for 1970. The second-generation model featured a wider stance, sleeker lines, and an aggressive front end that gave it a more muscular appearance compared to its predecessor. This bold design caught everyone’s attention and set new standards for future muscle cars.

In addition to its striking exterior design, the 1970 Camaro also introduced several groundbreaking features that would become standard in future models. These included power steering and brakes, as well as improved suspension systems for better handling and ride comfort.

But perhaps what truly cemented the 1970 Camaro’s legacy was its powerful engine options. From small-block V8s to big-block V8s with up to 450 horsepower, there was no shortage of power under this car’s hood.

Other Notable Contenders for the 1970 Award

When discussing the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1970, it’s impossible not to mention some other notable contenders for the prestigious title. While Chevrolet’s Chevelle SS ultimately took home the trophy, there were several other vehicles that made a strong case for winning.

First up is the Ford Mustang Boss 302. This iconic muscle car was introduced in late 1969 as a response to Chevrolet’s Camaro Z28. It featured a powerful V8 engine producing 290 horsepower and had a sleek, aggressive design that captured the attention of car enthusiasts everywhere. The Boss 302 was praised for its excellent handling and performance on both the street and track, making it a top contender for the Motor Trend award.

Next on our list is another American classic, the Plymouth Superbird. This unique car was designed specifically for NASCAR racing and featured an aerodynamic body with a pointed nose cone and large rear wing. In order to meet homologation requirements, Plymouth produced just over 1,900 models for street use. Despite its limited production numbers, the Super bird made quite an impression with its bold appearance and impressive speed on the track.

Moving across the Atlantic, we have two European contenders vying for recognition as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year: Porsche’s 914/6 and Jaguar’s XJ6 sedan. The Porsche 914/6 was marketed as an affordable sports car option with its mid-engine layout and air-cooled flat-six engine producing 110 horsepower.

Why is the 1970 winner considered an ultimate classic?

The 1970 winner of the Motor Trend Car of the Year award is considered an ultimate classic for several reasons. It was a revolutionary car that set new standards in design, performance, and innovation, leaving a lasting impact on the automotive industry.

Firstly, the 1970 winner was chosen for its groundbreaking design. The sleek and aerodynamic shape of this car was unlike anything seen before on the market. It combined both sportiness and luxury, making it appealing to a wide range of consumers. Its unique styling elements, such as hidden headlights and sharp body lines, were ahead of their time and still remain iconic today.

Another reason for its status as an ultimate classic is its exceptional performance capabilities. The 1970 winner boasted powerful engines that could produce impressive speeds and acceleration. Its handling and suspension systems were also top-notch, providing a smooth and enjoyable driving experience. This car’s performance was so exceptional that it set new benchmarks for other manufacturers to strive towards.

In addition to its design and performance, the 1970 winner also introduced numerous innovative features that were not available in previous models. These included safety features like airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), and improved seatbelts, which made it one of the safest cars on the road at the time. It also had advanced technology features such as electronic fuel injection, power windows, and automatic climate control—all cutting-edge for its era.


The Motor Trend Car of the Year award is one of the most prestigious and sought-after accolades in the automotive industry. Every year, a new car is chosen to receive this title based on its performance, design, innovation, and overall impact on the market. And while there have been numerous winners over the years, there are certain cars that have stood out and left a lasting impression on both consumers and critics.

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