In 1969, a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am started at $4,366 and a gallon of gas was 39 cents. Here’s a look back at some other bits of automotive trivia—and some amazing prices—from a bygone age.
1933: Franklin Roosevelt was in The White House and Richard Hollingshead opened the first movie Drive-In in Camden, New Jersey. The Depression was at its peak with unemployment at 25 percent. A gallon of gas cost 10 cents and a Plymouth 6-Car cost $445.
1946: Gas was 21 cents per gallon, minimum wage was 40 cents per hour, and the average income in the United States hovered around $3,150 per year. Automotive factories had only recently switched back to making cars after years of World War II production of military vehicles and tanks. A Buick Roadmaster Sedan started at $1,822. Price for a Chevrolet Fleetmaster: $1,280.
1958: Toyota and Datsun cars went on sale in the United States the year Elvis Presley joined the army. Cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette ($3,631), the Nash Metropolitan ($1,626), Chrysler New Yorker ($4,347), Ford Edsel Corsiar ($3,346) and Oldsmobile Super 88 ($2,958) went for prices that today would be considered a steal.
1969: The year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Sesame Street and Monty Python’s Flying Circus made their television debuts, a Toyota Corona sold for $1,950, a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was $4,438 and gas was 35 cents per gallon.
1980: With American car makers reeling from the recession and foreign competition, two of the most popular cars in recent memory—the Camaro Coupe ($7,571) and the Pontiac Trans Am ($7,179)—were taking a backseat to more fuel efficient, subcompact models. A Datsun 210 sedan cost $4,516, a Toyota Celica around $5,964 and the national average for a gallon of gas was $1.19.
1990: With home prices averaging around $123,000, the Ford Mustang Convertible was moderately priced at around $14,289. Gas cost $1.34 per gallon and imports like the Toyota Camry sold for around $9,989.