The '60s saw the height of the Cold War which reached a fever pitch during the Cuban missile crisis. It also saw an explosion of different music genres. And how about the birth of the hippie movement? Yes, the '60s can be remembered for many things, but its cars stand out especially.
Perhaps one of the most important automotive innovation in this decade was the birth of the pony car, or the muscle car, as we affectionately know them today. Many people will dispute what the first muscle car in the world was and we're not going to get into a discussion about that.
But what we do know is that a certain model released by one of America's biggest brands in 1964 is perhaps the most iconic muscle car ever made. And today, its legacy lives on. Other brands soon followed and by the late 1960s, you weren't part of the young "in" crowd if you didn't have one of these speed demons.
But often forgotten were the many other excellent cars marketed during this decade, and today, many of them are highly sought after.
So let's see just how much you know about some of the greatest cars from the 1960's.
Other than the fact that it is the quintessential Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5 certainly is a classic! This luxury grand tourer was only produced between 1963 and 1965 with a little over 1,000 made. It was available as a hardtop and as a convertible.
The first generation of the GT40 won the prestigious Le Mans 24-hour endurance race for four straight years from 1966 to 1969. This included filling out the top three positions in 1966. Only 105 original models were produced.
The Batmobile in the 1960s Batman TV series was based off the Lincoln Futura, a concept car from 1955. Only one Lincoln Futura was ever built. The Batmobile itself was not this Futura but a replica with a fibreglass body. In 2013, it was sold for an astonishing $4.62 million at auction.
One of the most famous models of the Corvette is the Stingray, produced between 1963 and 1967. This classic had either a 2-speed automatic gearbox or 3-speed manual. It was powered by a range of engine options including small and big block V8’s.
This light commercial van was first produced by Ford in 1965 and remains an important model in their lineup to this day. In fact, over the years, Ford has sold over 8 million Transits. The vehicle is currently in its fourth generation.
A jet car... yes a jet car. Well, to be precise, a gas turbine. The Howmet TX was an experimental car powered by a gas turbine engine. It raced around the world, even at Le Mans in 1968, but was entirely unreliable.
The 323, also know as the Familia in Japan, was a small compact car marketed by Mazda for 40 years starting in 1963. All in all, the Familia included eight generations, each with a range of body styles including wagons, hatchbacks and sedans.
An entry-level Porsche between 1965 and 1969, the 912 is a variant of the 911. Initially, it even outsold its more famous sibling. Although it was not as powerful as the 911, it was incredibly fast.
The brainchild of Carroll Shelby, the Cobra first revved its engines in 1962. Shelby based the original car on a lightweight body that he imported from AC Cars in the United Kingdom, and bolted a Ford 260 engine to it. And the rest is history! In the years that followed, Shelby bolted even bigger engines to the AC frame, which brought about a car with nimble handling and lots, and lots of power.
Manufactured under licence by Yamaha, the 2000GT sports car was a model offered by Toyota between 1967 and 1970. Essentially, this was the first supercar built by a Japanese firm. The 2000GT was powered by a 2.0-liter, straight six engine, capable of producing 150 brake horsepower. Only 351 were built.
The Silver Shadow was first introduced by Rolls Royce in 1965. This was the first Rolls Royce model to use a unitary chassis and body during construction. It was offered in a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe and 2-door convertible. Just over 30,000 Silver Shadow's were produced.
In 1964 Ferrari gave John Surtees the chance to earn a rare feat. Already a 500cc motorcycle world champion on four occasions, Surtees drove the Ferrari 158 in the Championship and duly became World Champion. This feat is likely to never be repeated again.
Although the Alfa Romeo Spider had a production run from 1966 to 1993, it is the ’66 to ’69 models, the first generation, that are highly sought as classic cars. This version had three power plant options, either 1.3-liter, 1.5-liter or 1.8-liter.
Produced by the American Motors Corporation between 1968 and 1970, the AMX was a GT-style sports car. It featured a 2-door coupe-styled body and had six different engine options; all V8's of varying size. AMX's came with either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission.
The Dodge Adventurer was a version of the Dodge D-Series pickup and was marketed by Dodge from 1968 to 1971. By 1970, there were three Adventurer models for customers to choose from; the base model, the Sport and the SE.
Built between 1959 and 1967, the Austin Healey 3000 was powered by a 2.9-liter straight-6 engine. This two-door vehicle was available as a roadster or convertible and many 3000’s made their way to North America. In fact, in 1963, over 90% of the 3000’s produced actually ended up in the USA.
Introduced in 1962, the Avanti certainly looked different from other cars on the market. Studebaker pitched the Avanti as a high-performance four-passenger car. And its performance at the time was pretty special with the Avanti breaking close to 30 records during runs at the Bonnievale Salt Flats.
The first 4x4 Bronco hit the trails in 1966, and between that year and 1977, proved to be a more than a capable off-roader. Blessed with a turning circle of just 33.8 feet, thanks to a wheel-base of 92-inches, later models included a Ford V8 engine with incredible torque.
The BGT from MG was part of the BG range. It was produced from 1965 to 1980 and was powered by a 1.8-liter engine. The BGT was a fixed roof 2-door roadster.
Arguably the most iconic muscle car ever, the Mustang was first released in 1964. It proved to be one of the most popular debuts ever, and within a year sold 400,000 units quadrupling Ford’s sales estimates.
The Corvair's main claim to fame was that it was the only passenger car in the United States to be powered by an air-cooled, rear mounted engine. This changed the vehicles handling somewhat and led to controversy. The Corvair was produced between 1960 and 1969.
Marketed from 1965 to 1969, the BMW 2000 C was a two-door coupe and part of BMW's New Class series. It was powered by a 2.0-liter engine which produced around 100 brake horsepower. Just over 13,000 were produced during that five year period.
The Phantom V was a four-door limousine manufactured by Rolls-Royce from 1960 to 1968. 516 were made, all powered by a 6.2-liter Rolls Royce V8 engine. In terms of stately luxury, this was it and it's no surprise that world leaders, African dictators and royalty chose this vehicle.
Named after a town in France, the Calais was produced by Cadillac from 1965 to 1976. Although a full-sized luxury car, it was aimed at the entry-level market.
It’s probably never good to name a car after yourself and the Edsel, named after Henry Ford’s son, was a massive failure for the company. Ford lost $350 million on the car as it was simply too costly to produce, and no one bought it.
Available as a two-seat convertible and hardtop, the 3500 was built by the legendary manufacturer Maserati until 1964. This was a front-engine, rear-wheel drive car powered by a 3.5-liter straight-6 engine, which produced around 220 brake horsepower.
Introduced in 1962, the Jetfire from Oldsmobile used a water injection system. For this to work, owners had to top up with Turbo Rocket Fluid, essentially a mixture of water and alcohol. If they forgot, it affected the performance of the turbocharger and made the engine die. The Jetfire didn't last long.
In an effort to stop Ford's domination at Le Mans, in the late '60s Enzo Ferrari introduced the 330 P4 in 1967. It was a formidable race car, winning at Daytona as well as Monza. The GT40, however, had its number at Le Mans and continued its win streak.
This tiny sports car, with a 700cc engine, was marketed in Japan between 1965 and 1969. It was also one of the first cars to make use of a roof panel that could be lifted out. This was known as a Targa top. Around 3,400 were built.
The Camaro was first launched in 1967 as direct competition to the Ford Mustang. Early Camaro's were available as a 2-door hardtop or convertible. Later models offered a 7.0-liter V8.
A little over 500 of this sports touring car were produced by BMW from 1962 to 1965. The 3200 Coupe was essentially seen as a 2-door grand tourer and was powered by the first-ever V8 car engine produced by the company.
The Midget was produced by MG from 1961 to 1980 with four generations produced. A two-door roadster, the first generation was powered by a 948cc engine which increased to a 1.1-liters engine the following year. Over 25,000 of the first generation MG were produced.
The Charger was Dodge's first muscle car in the 1960s and entered the market as their answer to Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. That battle still continues to this day. The Charger is now in its seventh generation.
Not many people know this but Peugeot is actually over 200 years old. Their most popular car model, the 504, was produced between 1968 and 1983 and is the company's highest selling model to date.
Built between 1961 and 1967, the Catalina 2+2 was both the lightest and cheapest of all the Pontiac coupes and convertibles built in the 60s. If you wanted a full-sized performance vehicle back then, the 2+2 was a great option.