In July 1974, Motor Trend's staff selected 15 cars to vie for the Car of the Year and Golden Wheel Award honors.
Chevrolet Monza V-8
Lotus Elite II
Dodge Colt GT
Plymouth Valiant Brougham
Chevrolet Malibu Four-Door
Ford Pinto V-6 Wagon
AMC Hornet Hatchback
Lincoln Town Car
Fiat X 1/9
Mercedes-Benz 450 SE
These cars were then judged by a panel of 25 distinguished members of the automotive press. They selected the nominees for five Achievement Awards and the Car of the Year.
The Achievement categories were: Engineering, Styling, Safety, Economy, Value. Five Achievement Panels selected the winner in each specific achievement category.
Car of the Year was picked by a sixth panel combined with a Consumer Panel (MT Readers) from five nominees, not from the achievement winners.
Motor Trend, September 1974: Golden Wheels Awards
The Contenders for 1975
on the Monza V-8:
"One look at the latest offering from Chevy and styling is an obvious consideration. The totally revised floor pan, suspension system, and torque-arm stabilizer create a new generation of Vega. The all-new 262 cubic-inch (4.3 Liter) V-8 engine combines response with economy. Extensive remodeling of interior improves excellent packaging of the predecessor Vega. Obvious categories are engineering, value, styling."
Motor Trend, March 1975: Announcing Motor Trend's 1975 Golden Wheels Awards
The Award Winners for '75 Are -
Engineering: Mercedes-Benz 450SE
"..although each contender for the engineering award - Monza, Mazda RX-4, and Mercedes-Benz 450 SE - featured examples of engineering excellence, the Mercedes stood out as a vehicle exemplifying unique accomplishment in all facets of engineering."
Value: Ford Granada
"..the contest was a close one with each contender - Monza, Nova and Granada - vieing for the award. They criticized one car because it was ...saddled with the past of being a little economy car. The Granada prevailed because the panel determined that it held a definite advantage in the area of public preference (and) therefore would have an advantage at resale."
Styling: Fiat X 1/9
"..To judge the nominees for the styling award - Monza, Granada and Fiat X 1/9 was difficult as each of the cars was a real winner in its particular area."
"We felt it (the X 1/9) made the most of what it intended to be."
Safety: Mercedes-Benz 450SE
"..All the contenders - Lincoln Town Car, Ford Granada, and Mercedes-Benz reveled praiseworthy safety features, the panel reported, but in terms of concept and availability of a myriad of safety-related features they chose the Mercedes-Benz 450 SE saying,"
"Overall the Mercedes seemed to have more extras for safety and ease of operational control."
Economy: Honda Civic
"..The three cars in contention - Dodge Colt GT, VW Dasher and Honda Civic - presented formidable qualifications in areas of MPG, operational costs, servicability, and maintainance. the Civic possessed what the panel felt were the highest marks in a large enough combination of areas to merit the Economy award."
Car of the Year: Chevrolet Monza V-8
"..The five Car of the Year finalists - Mercedes-Benz 450 SE, Ford Granada, Chevy Nova LN, VW Dasher, and the Chevy Monza were thoroughly wrung out by 13 people from two panels. The Monza emerged victorious as the 1975 Car of the Year from this crucible of expertise."
Motor Trend, April 1975: Golden Wheels Awards Program
A Parting Look
"...In the past, the Motor Trend Car of the Year was selected by the editorial staff, or at least by a combination vote of editors and guest expert panelists.
But for 1975, Motor Trend invited to share in the judging a wide cross section of members of the national motor press, experts from areas of industry not associated with the manufacture or distribution of motor vehicles, and last - 10 of our readers who would compose the consumer panel.
Parameters were divided into five areas of achievement common to all vehicles, regardless of function: engineering, styling, safety, economy and value. To be sure, the Car of the Year would remain. And, as always, it would be that automobile which, in the opinion of the judges (the panels), represented the best possible amalgamation of the five achievement areas..."
CAR OF THE YEAR: Chevrolet Monza 2+2 V-8
"While the Monza did not clearly stand first in any areas of judgement, our panel concluded that the V-8 Monza exemplified the best balance of all the judgement factors."
Chevrolet Monza - Chevy Vega Wiki
Permanent Link to this Blog Post: