Car Culture & Entertainment

Are the 1960s the Best Decade in Automotive History?

1968 Hemi Dart SS

The 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart Super Stock. In American muscle car terms, it doesn’t get much more ’60s than this dragstrip titan. (Image/Barrett-Jackson)

The decade of the 1960s gave us some of the most significant moments in American history.

It would be an understatement to say the same of the vehicles produced during the decade. The cars were unquestionably significant.

The 1960s gave us what are likely the best bang-for-your-buck performance vehicles in history. In 1960, the average new car cost $2,752. Pump gas cost about 31 cents per gallon.

To each his or her own, of course, but one might say each year got better than the next. Each year produced a steady diet of all-time classics, and that’s not counting the gorgeous imports from Europe and Japan.

In the ‘60s, people were getting weirder, the music was getting louder, the parties were getting wilder, and at the center of all of it was the automobile—from the Volkswagen Bus and Beetle to the AMC Rambler and Olds 442.

VW bus

The iconic ’60s-era Volkswagen bus. We’d tell you not to ask what people were actually doing in there, but we have a feeling you already know. (Image/Fine Art America)

The ’60s gave us the “split-window” Corvette, Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO, Hemi ‘Cuda, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Charger, Jaguar E-Type, Porsche 911, Toyota 2000GT—it’s difficult to wrap one’s head around. (And we only left a few kajillion gems off the list.)

For many classic car—and certainly all American muscle car—fans, the 1960s are unrivaled in terms of the sheer number of iconic collector vehicles produced throughout the decade.

1963 chevy corvette split-window

The 1963 split-window Corvette Sting Ray. Did you know that some people actually removed the window splitter intentionally? What a tragedy. (Image/The Fenomen of Travaller)

New-car sales records were broken in 1968, and again in 1969. The year 1969 is considered by many to be the greatest single automotive year in history, and you have to go off-script to argue against it.

The 1960s gave us the advent of American muscle, and likely introduced us to more beloved vehicles than any other single decade in history. But there are many, many, many things to consider beyond simply looking awesome and going fast for the least amount of money possible when determining which automotive decade is actually the best.

But you’ve got to admit—looking awesome and going fast aren’t such bad metrics to go on.

That’s why the 1960s form the Best Decade in Automotive History. Don’t you agree?

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

Here’s the ’69 Boss 429 Mustang. Bask in its glow. As if it was designed by God’s hand. Perhaps it was. (Image/Draccs)

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2 Comments

  1. Ty Gross. aka:: MOTORHEAD TY says:

    I definitely agree that the 1960’s did put the
    “Detroit Iron” over the top! Everything from the blue collar working dad’s car[i.e.]Ford Falcon,Plymouth Valiant, Chevy ll,etc, to the “Mom Bomb’s” small to huge “Station Wagons” and of course the Muscle Cars!
    The actual “Muscle Car” started in the mid 50’s,,,,The ” Fire Dome” Engine, Mopar’s Hemi’s(232/392cu.in) was available in most Mopar products (Chrysler,DeSoto,Dodge,Plymouth & Fargo [trucks]) I grew up in the 60’s,my Father was a mechanic,,, and I “Teethed” on wrenches. The 1960’s built the most bullet proof car’s (American) ever![with few exceptions,,,,, Corvair?] They should of left the automotive industry alone! Back then if you maintained your vehicle properly there was no reason that vehicles wouldn’t last 10~20 years. Just Look at the famous V.W. Beetle/Van( in my opinion,,, one of the greatest cars ever conceived). Unfortunately in this case,,,,History will not repeat itself.
    So if you are fortunate to have one of these golden oldies,,, cherish it and enjoy!!!!

    Later~~~~MOTORHEAD~Ty

  2. Pingback: The Best Decade in Automotive History is... - OnAllCylinders

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