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It was eye-catching to be a high school graduate driving a fancy car back in 1978. Do you still remember what vehicle sold most that year? If not, then sit tight and scroll down to check out the list. The results will be sure to blow your hair back.
As the fifth generation of the Cutlass, the car was shorter and had a more fuel-efficient engine than the previous model. Though 1978 saw its sales drop a little compared with the peak years, it still reached half a million. Having so many Cutlasses flooding the driveways, you were very likely to mistake another Cutlass for your car!
Once again, the Cutlass dominated the automobile market with remarkable sales of 518,160 units. Complete with a well-received diesel V8 engine and a unique gold-over-white paint, the mid-size car gained favor with the American middle classes in particular.
The Cutlass reigned supreme for the third year in a row though its sales declined to 470 thousand units or so. The model now looked more like a traditional sedan since GM had abandoned the trademark Aeroback design.
In 1981, the sales fell slightly. However, the Cutlass was still king of the hill for the fourth straight year. GM scrapped the 4-4-2 performance package that year, including a 4-barrel carburetor, a 4-speed transmission, and a dual exhaust.
Ford rolled out its original subcompact model the Escort as a replacement for the obsolete and dangerous Pinto in 1981. Boasting a low price and practical functions, only a year later, it toppled the mighty Cutlass, emerging as the best-selling car in America.
Perhaps you assumed the Cutlass had stepped out of the limelight. But wait, it staged a comeback in 1983! As a brand-new Cutlass family member, the Cutlass Supreme wrestled its throne back from the Ford Escort. However, it was to be its curtain call at the top of the sales charts.
To serve the changing needs of American customers, the Chevy Cavalier was released in 1982. That small car was designed to compete with imports, especially the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. In a mere two years, it ascended to the sales throne.
Chevrolet Cavalier again took the top spot in 1985. Having five body styles available, the V-6 Z24 models upgraded the traditional four-cylinder engine. Out of the coupe, sedan, hatchback, wagon, and convertible, which one do you prefer the most?
After its debut in model year 1982, the Chevrolet Celebrity had its moment in the sun with sales climbing to about 400 thousand in 1986. However, it had come to the end of a nine-year run. In 1990, its nameplate had to make way for the Lumina.
In 1987, five years after its first brief stint, the Escort achieved that milestone once again. It was undoubtedly the big year for the Ford division, as the Escort and the jelly bean-shaped Ford Taurus shared the sales podium.
Featuring 90 horsepower in the standard model and a beefed-up 110 horsepower in the GT, the Ford Escort beat out the Ford Taurus to take the throne for the second year in a row. Also, the base model Pony became available for the first time in 1988.
The Honda Accord remained a second-tier alternative since its debut in 1976, until it took the top billing in the last year of its third generation. Compared with its predecessors, the third-gen Accord offered three body styles: sedan, hatchback, and coupe.
The Honda Accord welcomed its fourth generation in a mid-size stature in 1990. Complete with a 2.2-liter engine which gave it 130 horsepower, the sales of the Accord reached more than 400,000 units, almost a 100,000-unit lead over the runner-up Ford Taurus.
The Accord maintained the top spot in domestic sales charts though its sales dipped slightly in 1991. The '91 model included a sport shift mode, allowing the driver to select gears on an automatic transmission manually.
Ford took the throne back from the Japanese Honda company when its Taurus became the best-selling passenger car in 1992. It was the first year of the second-gen Taurus, and Ford heavily trumpeted its win, paying no heed to critics who claimed that its sales was bolstered by fleet sales.
The Ford Taurus defended its title in 1993, way ahead of the Honda Accord to top the sales chart among passenger cars. The new model grew bigger and heavier, and it featured an automatic V6 which supplanted the previous four-cylinder manual transmission model. It also came with an improved radio that functioned as a trusty safety feature.
The Taurus extended its streak to three years with its outstandingly innovative safety feature. It featured a passenger-side airbag, making it the first mainstream sedan with dual front airbags.
In 1995, the SE package joined the Taurus line, and still the Ford Taurus topped all comers in sales, making it the best-selling passenger car for the fourth year in a row. Upgraded from the GE, the SE came with a center console, a rear spoiler, bucket seats, and a floor-mounted shifter.
The fourth generation of the Taurus was born in 1996, continuing its impressive winning streak to five years. It was redesigned with a brand-new look, with its upscale interior catching the eyes of many.
In 1997, the Ford Taurus was knocked off its perch by an import called the Toyota Camry. It was the first time Toyota had taken the throne as America's top-selling car. From now on, a dynasty would be reigned by the legendary nameplate kicked off.
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