June 27, 2024 | Sarah Ng

The 25 Best Cars Of The 1960s


A Decade Filled With Gorgeous Cars

When you think of the 1960s, which car comes to mind? Is it James Bond's Aston Martin or the extremely popular Mini? Or perhaps the Mercedes Benz 600?

Here are the 25 best cars from the 1960s.

1960S-Cars-Msn

Jaguar E-Type

The Jaguar E-Type was one of the most gorgeous vehicles of the 1960s. It had its grand reveal at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, claiming to reach speeds of 150 mph.

Close Up Photo of Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 Litre 1961DeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

BMC Mini

Though its birth year was technically 1059, the British Motor Corporation Mini ultimately became associated with the 1960s.

After the Suez Crisis, bubble cars and 1.0 litre cars became all the rage. Alec Issignonis became responsible for creating what the BMC chief called a "proper small car." The Mini quickly became BMC's best-selling model.

Close Up Photo of a white 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.DeFacto, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

Rover P6

The Rover P6 won the European Car of the Year award in 1964, even surpassing the Mercedez-Benz 600. Its fresh styling was in opposition to the very conservative look of the P4. In 1968, the implementation of the 3500 V8 helped enhance the P6's performance.

Close Up Photo of gray Rover P6 parked in front of a building.Anidaat, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

MGB

Compared to the MGA, the MGB was just better in every way. Not only was it more powerful, but it also offered more space and higher speed. Globally, it became the best-selling sports car.

Some of its commendable features included front disc brakes, rear-wheel drive, and an excellent suspension system.

Close Up Photo of Green MG MGB Open Roadster 1969DeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Lamborghini Miura

From 1966 to 1973, the Italian car company Lamborghini produced the sports car, the Lamborghini Miura. At the 1965 Turin Motor Show, the car absolutely wowed audiences. Three years later, the Miura S hit the roads—surpassing the former model in luxury and power. Then, in 1971, the company followed it up with the Miura SV.

Close Up Photo of Yellow 1967 Lamborghini Miura displayed on a show.Ralf Roletschek, Wikimedia Commons

Jaguar MkII

Unveiled in 1959, the Jaguar Mkll was a classic saloon car from the 1960s that was fast to boot, with a top speed of 125 mph. However, in a rather dark twist, because of its capabilities, it became a popular vehicle with bank robbers and getaway drivers. 

The Jaguar Mkll also became a familiar sight in the British drama Inspector Morse.

Close Up Photo of Jaguar 3.4 Mk2, registered 1963Arpingstone, Wikimedia Commons

AC Cobra

Produced by the British company AC Cars, the AC Cobra had a Ford V8 engine and was sold in America as the AC Shelby Cobra and the Shelby Cobra.

At its peak, it only took 4.2 seconds for the Cobra to hit 60 mph, with a top speed of 165 mph.

Close Up Photo of a Person Driving a Green AC Shelby Cobra.Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Porsche 911

The real beginnings of the Porsche 911 go back to 1963's 901. However, the French automaker Peugeot opposed the use of a three-digit number with a zero in the middle, arguing that they had the rights to such numbers. Ferdinand Porsche had no choice but to change things up, resulting in 1964's Porsche 911.

Close Up Photo of  Yellow 1964 Porsche 911Pat Durkin, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Ford Mustang

Beginning in 1964, the Ford Mustang really shook things up. It ushered in the era of the "pony car." The car came out of the desire to create a sports car that didn't exceed 180 inches, could seat four people, weighed less than 2,500 lbs, and sold for less than $2,500.

The Ford Mustang was a success right out of the gates, selling 22,000 units on the first day.

Close Up Photo of Red 1964 Ford Mustang.SG2012, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chevrolet Corvette

There's a reason some have pointed to the 1960s as the golden era of the Covette. In 1963, the Sting Ray really helped solidify its identity. It has become known as "America's sports car."

A white 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at an auto show in Southold.Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr

Renault 4

The Renault 4 was an economy car that came out in 1961. Though marketed as a wagon, it was actually the world's first hatchback to be mass-produced. It came out at just the right time and was produced for the next 33 years, thanks to its success.

Close Up Photo of white 1961–1967 Renault 4.Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Aston Martin DB5

The Aston Martin DB5 was a big star in Goldfinger, a 1964 James Bond movie. Its connection to the celebrity world catapulted it to heights the DB4 and DB6 just couldn't reach. In fact, its popularity caused Aston Martin to produce the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation.

One of the Aston Martin DB5s used in the James Bond Skyfall film.DeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Ford Escort

1968's Ford Escort was the answer to Ford's need for a fresher model, especially in lieu of the declining Anglia. It was marketed as "the small car that isn't."

The four initial models were Super, De Luxe, GT, and Super 1300cc.

Close Up Photo of White 1968 Ford Escort 1100 DeluxeRiley, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Lotus Elan

Lotus Cars produced the Lotus Elan, a rear-wheel drive vehicle that had its first run between 1962 and 1975. Down the road, it would produce a second series with the same name between 1989 and 1995—but it was a front-wheel drive vehicle.

Close Up Photo of Red 1963 Lotus Elan 1600 S1.dave_7, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

When the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow first came out in 1965, it was most likely the greatest car on earth—at least when it came to its technology. It had amazing features: split-level airconditioning, electric seats, and hydropneumatic rear suspension. It also had a V8 engine.

Close Up Photo of 1968 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.SG2012, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Saab 96

The Saab 96 replaced the Saab 93 and was produced from 1960 to 1980 by the Swedish automobile company Saab. Its initial features included a two-stroke, three-cylinder engine, four-passenger seating, and aerodynamic two-door bodywork.

The Saab 96 was also a winning rally car for the Swedish driver Erik Carlsson, who won many rallies throughout the 1960s.

Close Up Photo of Blue 1964 Saab 96.Andrew Bone, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Mercedes-Benz 600

The Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) was a very luxurious car. First unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show, it would have several famous owners, including Elizabeth Taylor, Aristotle Onassis, and Elvis Presley.

Close Up Photo of (1963-1978) Mercedes-Benz 600 displayed on a show.Stahlkocher, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

NSU Ro80

The NSU Ro80 was 1968's European Car of the Year, and it seemed like it would have a promising future—but there was just one problem.

There were issues with its twin rotary engine, which resulted in warranty claims. Unfortunately, this dragged NSU down. Facing bankruptcy, it had to join Audi, and the NSU name eventually vanished altogether.

Close Up Photo of Red NSU Ro 80Lothar Spurzem, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Alpine A110

Beginning in 1963, the Alpine A110's greatest strength was its lightness. It went on to become the winning car at several rallying events. It was initially made as a berlinette (sports coupé) and eventually as a cabriolet (convertible).

Close Up Photo of Blue 1963 Alpine M63 displayed at Antwerp Classic Salonpeterolthof, Flickr

BMC 1100/1300

Though the Mini outshone the BMC 1100 and 1300, that still didn't stop it from becoming one of Britain's best-selling cars for most of the 1960s. It had front-wheel drive, Hydrolastic suspension, front disc brakes, and ample space.

Close Up Photo of white 1968 Morris 1100 Mk.Cars Down Under, Flickr 

BMW 02 Series

The German automaker BMW produced the BMW 02 Series from 1966 to 1977. These were well-made, light, and stylish—and became the starting point for what would one day evolve into today's BMW saloon.

Close Up Photo of 1966 BMW 02 Series 1600-2Biso, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Alfa Romeo Spider

The Alfa Romeo Spider was launched in 1966 and is undoubtedly one of the most easily recognized sports cars. After all, it did enjoy the spotlight in the 1967 film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman.

Close Up Photo of Green 1966 Alfa Romeo Spidercreative labs, Flickr

Mercedes-Benz SL

The Mercedes-Benz SL had to shine in its own way, especially after the success of the 300 SL. Created by Fredrich Geiger and Paul Bracq, this car is undoubtedly one of the most attractive vehicles of the 1960s.

Mercedes-Benz 280 SL Automatic (1969)AlfvanBeem, Wikimedia Commons

Ford Capri

The Brits loved the Ford Capri, and it was designed to be the European version of the Ford Mustang. Though smaller than the Mustang, the Capri was actually more spacious—a mid-size coupé.

Close Up Photo of 1969 Ford Capri Gt 2.0 FrontVauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons


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