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      Car History: Car History Year 1978
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:13:57 UTC by Cars
      Cars Facelifts were very much in vogue this year, along with changes of model names. Some manufacturers introduced new names on what were basically revamped versions of '77 models, while others brought back old names from the past. It was all part of an attempt to persuade the buying public that what they were looking at was something totally different from last year's model and, in most cases, it worked pretty well. Otherwise, the status quo remained very much as before. Chevrolet's production fell slightly, while Ford's increased, though not enough to topple Chevy from the number one position in the sales charts.

    It was Ford's 75th Anniversary and they marked the event by introducing Diamond Jubilee editions of the Lincoln Mark V and Thunderbird. More pleasing to investors was the announcement of record profits in the first half of the year. The compact Fairmont was a newcomer to replace the ailing Maverick and sold extremely well, equaling the figures of the Mustang's first year. In addition, the Fiesta was shipped in from Europe to compete in the subcompact sector. However, Ford didn't enjoy a trouble-free '78 - there were recalls for more than 4 million vehicles (including the infamous problem with exploding gas tanks on the Pinto), which damaged the company's reputation. And in June, Henry Ford II fired company president Lee lacocca, which indirectly set in motion the resurgence of Chrysler after lacocca took over the helm of that troubled organization in November. Over at Chevrolet, the second generation Camaro had received its third - and final -facelift, featuring a new grille and taillights with soft, integrated bumpers in the body color. The nose-job worked, and Camaro sales leapt to over 272,000 (up from 218,000 in '77), which was very encouraging, especially as this reworking was only an interim measure pending the arrival of a completely new model in 1982. Part of the Camaro's success was down to its ever-increasing list of optional extras, which included numerous choices of wheels and tires, power-assistance on almost everything and even a variety of radios. But probably the most important option included in '78 was the T-top with removable glass roof panels, at a cost of $625. The Z28 Camaro had reappeared in '77 (having been dropped in 1974), but the 1978 version obviously caught the imagination of enthusiasts as sales multiplied more than threefold. The revised Z28 featured a hood scoop with a pointed throat highlighted black, functional louvers behind the front wheel arches, a rear spoiler and special graphics. Engine was a 350 cu.in. V8 with a four-barrel carb and dual exhaust that would put out 170 horsepower as sold in California, but 5-10bhp more in other states. Californian Z28s could also only be purchased with an automatic transmission, but a stick-shift was available elsewhere. AMC were still down at the bottom of the ladder in 12th place but, thanks to their Jeep subsidiary, did better than expected. Of the four AMC model lines, three were virtually unchanged, while the compact Hornet was turned into a more luxurious car called the Concord. It became AMC's best seller of the year but the rest of the range continued to decline and the company began negotiations with French auto-maker Renault with a view to arranging a co-operation deal. This agreement would culminate in Renault becoming a major stockholder in AMC by the end of 1979. One thing that affected all manufacturers in 1978 was the implementation of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations that specified each company should achieve a set fuel economy figure across its entire model range. The standard set in '78 was 18 miles per gallon, with a target of 27.5 mpg to be reached in ten years time. Specification CHEVROLET CAMARRO Z-28 Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 350 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0 x 3.48 ins. Horsepower 170 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,500 Ibs Price $5,170 Produced 14,349     Specification CHEVROLET CORVETTE SILVER ANNIVERSARY Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 350 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0x3.48 ins. Horsepower 210 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,401 Ibs Price $10,000 Produced 2,500     Specification AMC CONCORD V8 Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 304 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.75 x 3.44 ins. Horsepower 120 Body styles 2 door sedan;4 door sedan: Hatchback coupe; Station wagon No. of seats 4/5 Weight (lbs) 3,262 Ibs-3,366 Ibs Price $3,999 - $4,299 Produced 6,541     Specification FORD MUSTANG KING COBRA Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0x3.0 ins. Horsepower 139 Body styles Fastback coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,000 Ibs Price $4,500 Produced -  
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