Eoin’s recent article reminded me of other cars launched in 1975. Does anyone remember the Foden NC? But who can forget the Peugeot 604 and Ferrari 308GTB/GS?
The Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch twins emerged into the depths of the Malaise Era in the US, as did the AMC Pacer. The Lancia Montecarlo also turned up, more by accident than design as it was intended to be a Fiat. Had it been a Fiat doubtless its birth year might have been ’74 or ’73. Lancia needed time to add a grille and check the brakes were very dangerous.
Renault, Peugeot and Volvo were joined at the hips at this time due to their involvement in the Douvrin V6 that powered their entrants in 1975: the Renault 30, the 604 and the Volvo 264. The Rolls Royce Camargue also arrived and has been the subject of debate ever since (not unlike the Jaguar XJ-S).
Perhaps the most significant of the cars was VW’s Polo, an entrant in the then-new class of superminis. It was not a little dull but very thrifty and quite convincing. LJK Setright admired it and went so far as to have a fuel economy race with another motoring writer (and he won). If we look at the rest of the cars, they left little trace or weren’t very relevant to begin with: Camargue, Ferrari and Foden NC (I expect a lot of angry Foden fans will write in now to complain) or unsuccessful: the Renault and Peugeot. Or downright hazardous: Lancia Montecarlo.
And there’s the XJ-S which stands rusting to one side of all of these. Sort of succesful, despite it all; half-admired; remembered in a certain kind of skewed way and gifted with a cultural association with improbable dramas and divorced Liverpudlian comedians (Alexei Sayle as Bobby Chariot) or this.
So, the Volkswagen Polo is (according to me) the DTW car of the year 1975 for its laying of foundations supporting four decades of commercial success.
The official car of the year 1975 was the Citroen CX (and the following year the Simca 1307).