In 76 I had a Lincoln Continental Mark, in 78 I had a Corvette Anniversary edition.
I doubt I could buy any car made today that had the crashworthyness of the Lincoln.
Just go on to Youtube and look for any of the many old vs. new crash test videos. Sure, the older car tends to take less damage (though not always, some of those older chassis designs crumpled in horrific ways), but it clearly passes that damage on to the fleshy meatbags inside when that happens.
Here's a slightly later model Continental Sedan to demonstrate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uddZRY_WVw), those behaved pretty much like any other larger cars of the era in a crash.
If you only care about the car being cheap to fix, yeah the old cars win, but if you care about reducing injuries to the people in the car the new cars have it by miles.
To get the performance of the Vette would cost me 6 times what that car went for.
A '78 Corvette had a base price of $9351, and the optional L-82 motor added $525. If you actually mean the package with the silver special anniversary paint that's another $779 in mandatory options. To put it simply we're definitely talking about a $10-12k car in 1978 dollars. In 2016 dollars that'd be close to $37,000.
That car with its 220 HP pushing 3500ish pounds through a four speed stick, depending on source, took around 6.5 seconds to get to 60 MPH, ran the quarter mile in around 15.3 seconds at around 95 MPH, and topped out around 130 MPH, give or take margin of error.
My current car, a Mk7.5 Ford Fiesta ST (aka ST180 in some markets) with 200HP pulling 2700 lbs through a six speed stick, does 6.7 seconds to 60 MPH, quarter mile in 15.2 at 93 MPH, and tops out around 140 MPH. You can go to any Ford dealer and have one out the door for $21-23k, or a bit over half the inflation-adjusted value of your Corvette, and the performance is close enough at the drag strip that driver error with the stick shift is likely to be more of a factor than anything else for either vehicle. I'd be willing to bet anything that the Fiesta would run circles around the Corvette around a track with turns as well simply because '70s American cars were never exactly known for their handling.
If we instead take the comparison up to the equivalent price range, the upper $30k range will easily put you in to a Mustang GT Performance Pack or a Camaro SS, both of which offer mid-400 horsepower ratings pushing about 3600 lbs and both will get you in to the 4 second 0-60 range and low 13 (or even high 12) second quarter miles at over 110 MPH. If we bring used cars in to the equation that kind of money will easily get a C6 Corvette Z06 with a 500 horsepower LS7 engine, which is an absolute beast of a car that will hold its own with a lot of proper supercars.
So no, you wouldn't have to spend six times as much. You would barely even have to spend more than half as much. If you wanted to spend even the same amount you'd be in to an entirely different world of performance.
By modern standards pretty much nothing older than the late '80s is really fast.