If you’re a committed Second Daily reader, then you know we publish our first piece of the day at 7:55am EST.  Today is no ordinary day though for us Americans…today our moon passes directly in front of the sun for what will be a celestial eclipsing event fit for the decades.  The last time the U.S. experienced such a thing was February 26, 1979 (cover photo making sense now?).  Here in the deep south, we should be in total darkness at approximately 1:30 pm…so for you lucky few reading early, you got in just before any major technological meltdowns, alien visitations, animal kingdom coups, or any other prevailing theories on how today may turn out.

Eclipse phases and the path of totality across the United States during the solar eclipse. (NASA)

Approximately 38 years ago, as we were preparing for total darkness on coincidentally a Monday as well, we were playing Space Invaders and Sea Wolf II on our Atari 2600, the Deerhunter was still playing in theaters and George Hamilton was a vampire in Love at First Bite.  Herman Wouk kept us busy with War and Remembrance…and TV was at the pinnacle of its entertainment pyramid with the likes of Different Strokes, Mork & Mindy, Taxi, the Love Boat, and Fantasy Island just to name a few.  Those were the days.

Meanwhile, up in Ann Arbor Michigan at Car & Driver headquarters, they were sharing with us the latest on which radar detectors were the best, pitting the Grand Am against the 528i, ripping a first gen RX-7 to 184mph on the salt flats and giving props to the 69hp 1500cc Fiat Strada.  Before we lose our eyesight to photic retinopathy from staring at the sun through overpriced counterfeit eclipse glasses, let’s take a little trip down memory lane shall we?

Back when we were not yet out of the throws of the gas crisis, and the small hatches were blowing up the EPA gas ratings


Buick was just getting started with forced induction…little did we know what was to come a few years later with the GNX


Sadly these would be some of the last advertisements for the now iconic IH Scout


Back when seeing a Porsche 935 in a magazine was a real thing


The second gen Z28 (the slash Z/28 was dropped) would come back in 1977 as a half-year model introduction. 5.7L?  Certainly no gas crisis to see here!


Back when Mustangs still had solid live rear axles…(there’s a joke in there)


White spoked wheels and white-letter tires were just getting warmed up…here’s to you over-sized gradient fading decals.


The 924 turbo cost 5x over the cover child Fiat Strada in 1979 … that’s $67k in today’s dollars.  Still cheap for a Porsche, especially what the 924 turbo represented.


Before there was LaFerrari, there was Le Car.


Back when radar detectors looked like Ham radios and weighed as much as a pig


184mph in a first-gen RX-7?! Props to the rotary engine!


And finally…back when smoking was only “dangerous to your health” … 

Those were the days…hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.  Send us your memories, and stay safe out there

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Great article. I started subscribing to Car and Driver a year later, in 1980, when I was 16 years old. Still have my subscription today. It’s funny to look through these articles. For example, in 1979, the Escort radar detector apparently had not yet been invented. I bought one not too long after this though, so they must’ve come out shortly after this article.