The Most Popular Cars of the 1960s (Pictures)

By CarsFellow 7 Min Read

Throughout the years, the auto industry’s evolution has birthed an array of incredible vehicles. From eco-friendly hybrids to powerful muscle cars and luxurious cruisers, there’s something for everyone. While the 1950s showcased iconic rides, let’s not overlook the classics from the swinging ’60s. This era boasted vehicles that captivated hearts with their timeless designs, legendary races, and historical impact. Indeed, the 1960s left an indelible mark on automotive history with its unforgettable lineup of cars.

1967 Shelby GT500

1967 Shelby GT500
Source: Collectingcars

Back in the groovy 60s, muscle cars set the trend that still rocks today. And one ride that ruled them all? The 1967 Shelby GT500, is a masterpiece by the legendary Carrol Shelby. This baby wasn’t just about looks; under the hood, it packed a punch with its V8 engine pumping out a wild 355 horses. People couldn’t get enough of it, calling it one of the greatest American cars ever made. And who could blame them? With that kind of power and style, it’s like driving a piece of American history down the road.

  • Series starter: The 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 marked the beginning of the GT500 line.
  • Film fame: A GT500, famously nicknamed “Eleanor,” starred in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), featuring a car theft ring on a mission to swipe 48 cars in one night.
  • Auction sensation: A GT500 fetched nearly half a million dollars at a Barrett-Jackson auction, showcasing its enduring allure among collectors.

1964 Aston Martin DB5

1964 Aston Martin DB5
Source: Werd

The Aston Martin DB5 is like the ultimate superstar car of its time, some say ever! And you know why? Because it’s James Bond’s ride of choice. Sure, the real-life version doesn’t come with those fancy spy gadgets like machine guns or an ejector seat, but it’s still a total head-turner. Even without all the bells and whistles, the DB5 is still a force to be reckoned with on the road. It’s got that timeless charm that just can’t be beat.

  • Power-packed: With a 4-liter engine, this car boasts an impressive 282hp.
  • Speed demon: Zooms from 0 to 60 mph in just 8.1 seconds.
  • Bond’s ride: James Bond famously drove the DB5 in Goldfinger (1964).
  • Movie magic: During filming, extra gadgets made the car heavier, requiring a backup for chase scenes.

1961 Lincoln Continental

1961 Lincoln Continental
Source: Blackhawkcollection

While it’s hard to shake off the tragic association with President Kennedy’s assassination, let’s not forget the 1961 Lincoln Continental’s own merits. This beauty was all about luxury, packing a punch with its V8 engine delivering 300hp and hitting a cool 120 mph. Plus, it had some fancy features like a padded dashboard, a sleek retractable rear window, and a nifty Continental spare tire kit, setting trends for luxury cars to come.

  • Image changer: The Continental transformed Lincoln’s reputation, becoming an iconic American car.
  • Presidential wheels: President Kennedy frequently used the 1961 Lincoln Continental for parades and motorcades, dubbed “X-100” by the Secret Service.
  • Unique features: Kennedy’s Continental boasted special additions like a hydraulic rear seat for parades, retractable steps for Secret Service agents, radiotelephones, and other exclusive features.
  • VIP status: With its presidential use and special features, the Continental was the epitome of luxury and security during Kennedy’s time in office.

1964 Ford GT40

1964 Ford GT40
Source: Wikimedia

The Ford GT40 holds a legendary status as the first American car to conquer the Le Mans race four times straight from 1966 to 1969. Its triumphs even inspired the blockbuster “Ford vs. Ferrari” (2019). Winning in 1966 marked Ford’s European victory after nearly half a century. Despite its racing fame, GT40s were rare on the streets, coveted by collectors worldwide. It’s not just a car; it’s a piece of racing history that captures the hearts of auto enthusiasts everywhere.

  • Powerhouse performance: With up to 485 horsepower, the Ford GT40 zoomed from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, boasting a top speed of 210 mph.
  • Transatlantic production: While the prototype originated in the UK, the Mk IV model was entirely crafted in America.
  • Legendary test driver: Renowned driver and designer Bruce McLaren was the first to test the GT40, adding to its prestigious legacy.

1964 Pontiac GTO

1964 Pontiac GTO
Source: Classiccars

The 1964 Pontiac GTO is hailed as the original “muscle car,” although it was marketed as a “fun-to-drive family car.” With its dual exhaust and a powerful 6.4L V8 engine churning out up to 348hp, it could hit 60 mph in under 6 seconds flat.

  • Award-winning: The GTO clinched Motor Trend’s prestigious Car of the Year Award in 1965.
  • Long production run: Pontiac produced the GTO from 1963 to 1974.
  • Surprising success: Initially forecasted to sell 5,000 units, the 1964 GTO surpassed expectations, with over 32,000 sold, becoming a major hit.

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle
Source: Collectingcars

You can’t miss the Volkswagen Beetle—it’s practically a symbol on wheels! Originally crafted for the German army during WWII, this bug-shaped beauty has captured hearts worldwide with its unique style. It’s a familiar sight on the roads, and for good reason. The original Beetle design holds the record for being the longest-running and most-produced car ever, with a staggering 21 million rolling off the assembly line between 1938 and 2003.

  • Historical roots: The Beetle’s journey began in 1938, with its initial production.
  • American expansion: Volkswagen responded to rising US demand in the 1960s by establishing its first North American manufacturing facility.
  • Iconic name: The New York Times newspaper bestowed the Beetle with its memorable moniker.
  • Last of its kind: The final original Beetle was manufactured in 2013 in Puebla, Mexico, and is now showcased at the AutoMuseum Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany, marking the end of an era.
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