The 1970s proved to be a decade of tumultuous change for the automobile industry in the United States. Caught first in the economic turmoil of high interest rates, high inflation, and price control and then in the energy crises of 1973-1974 and 1979, the automobile industry bore the brunt of the changes brought upon the U.S. economy. In addition to the domestic economic situation, U.S. automakers also faced a changed international market, with more competition from foreign manufacturers. The decade started badly with a paralyzing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) during 1970. As a result production at the four major automakers - General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and AMC reduced by over one million vehicles, 10 percent below 1969 figures.
In addition to the strike, automakers were faced with a buying public that was increasingly resistant to price increases and high interest rates. While the going was tough for local manufacturers, foreign carmakers managed to sell one hundred thousand more cars in the United States during 1970 than they had in 1969. The import market share rose from 11.4 percent to 14 percent, almost all of the increase due to the increasing popularity of small, inexpensive cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle and the Toyota Corolla. Domestic makers countered with small-car models of their own, with the AMC Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega, and Ford Pinto leading the way in 1971. Another response by the Big Four U.S. automakers was to streamline their catalogue, and the number of different models offered by the domestic manufacturers shrank in the 1971 model year from 37 to 331, the lowest number since 1962.
Always looking for a way to stretch research and development dollars, American Motors used the Hornet platform and body shell to create one of the first American-built subcompacts — the AMC Gremlin, which arrived in the spring of 1970. The Gremlin went on to become American Motors' best-selling passenger car with well over 700,000 units sold before the end of production in 1978.
In 1970, GMC introduced its version of the Chev K5 Blazer, called the Jimmy, which lasted until the 1992 GMC Yukon. Both were based on the short wheelbase trucks and were available with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Blazer's long wheelbase relative (with an integrated rear body, and doors for 2nd row passengers) was known as the Chevrolet Suburban.
All full-sized Pontiacs, including Catalinas, received a new Grand Prix-like V-nose grille for 1970 along with 'horns ports' on a facelifted front end and new taillights mounted in the rear bumper. Catalina sedans and coupes now came standard with a smaller 255-horsepower 350 cubic-inch Pontiac V8 as standard equipment with optional engines including the previously-standard 400 two-barrel rated at 265 and 290 horsepower (still standard on convertibles and Safari wagons), a 330-horsepower 400 four-barrel and a two versions of the new 455 cubic-inch V8 rated at 360 horsepower (270 kW) or 370 horses with the "HO" option.
As in past years, a three-speed manual transmission with column shift was standard equipment, but most cars were equipped with the optional three-speed Turbo Hydramatic. Also offered for 1970, but seldom ordered, was a two-speed automatic transmission (basically a Chevrolet Powerglide) that was available with the 350 V8.
1970 Scrambler 6 Wheeler. It's not really a car, and it's not really a boat - but it's a lot of fun for the owner.
It's the Action-Age "Scrambler"
The "Scrambler" was launched in 1970 as a six-wheel all-terrain fun vehicle - and was mcnufactured by Action Age Inc. The Scrambler underwent an intensive testing programme before release and, as described by Action-Age was "the highest refinement" in off-the-road mobility. Ideal for hunters, sportsmen and families funning the Scrambler was designed to operate in snow, sand, water or on rough terrain. It was powered by a lightweight aluminium air-cooled 4-cycle Briggs and Stratton engine. Speeds ranged up to 25 mph on land and 2 mph when used as an amphibian vehicle. With a load capacity of 500 lb. the Scrambler could comfortably seat three adults or up to five youngsters in its tandem bucket seats. The vehicle's rugged body was made of fibreglass reinforced plastic and was available in red, black, white or yellow moulded-in colors, or any combination of these colors. All six wheels were powered by a chain and sprocket drive train through a variable speed automatic torque converter. Patented Scrambler overload clutches were at each wheel eliminating sheer pins and guarding against drive component damage. The Scrambler pivots in its own length, rather than steering in a conventional manner. This breakthrough in manoeuvrability was accomplished by a steering wheel that actuated hydraulically controlled disc clutches. Moving the steering wheel to the right disengaged, then braked all three right wheels while the left wheels powered the vehicle, and vice versa. Other mechanical features included a foot pedal accelerator, a three-way control that functioned as an engine "kill" switch, choke and fuel shutoff; foot pedal operated hydraulic braking system, and dash-mounted standard ignition switch. The Scrambler was equipped with shock-absorbing 11x20 Scrambler Ultra Flex tyres with spring steel load transfer system, sealed beam headlights, and a two-gallon fuel tank which permitted approximately four hours of continuous operation. The Scrambler's design incorporated an unusually low centre of gravity in its 54 1/8 in. wheelbase for even weight distribution. The lower centre of gravity also meant that passengers sat lower and enjoyed greater protection from the vehicle's sturdy fibreglass body. A polyethylene abrasion shield on the bottom of the vehicle, providing extra protection in the roughest terrain, was an added construction feature. The steering wheel also gave the driver a more natural and stable position than similar vehicles which are steered by levers.