Summit-Racing-Super-Summit

Events like Summit Racing’s Super Summit draw huge crowds and a wide range of vehicles from every era of automotive history. Is it possible to consider any one decade the best? (Image/Summit Racing)

Last week, we started counting down (or up?) the decades from 1950 through today, making a case why each subsequent 10-year span could be considered the Best Decade in Automotive History.

And we wanted your thoughts.

Did you see style as the most important factor? Did going fast mean more to you than a comfortable ride? How about safety? Do you enjoy tinkering with carburetors, or love the reliability of modern EFI?

We used your comments and social media “likes” on each story to crown a winner. We’ll include some of the more noteworthy feedback for each decade below.

Here are the rankings of the seven post-war decades we considered based on your feedback, counting down in reverse order from the decade you considered least significant to the one you deemed the best decade in automotive history.

7. The 1980s

“The 1987 Mustang ran in the 14s out of the box, which is what most run-of-the-mill muscle cars ran in the 60s.” – Joe R.

“It was when more and more of the super cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini were showing up” – Dennis I.

“The 80s were important in that cars made a huge leap forward in terms of technology.” – Christian K.

6. The 2000s

“It’s when cars got power back.” – Bill C.

“The best of the best, and still getting better if you can leave nostalgia out of the equation.” – Zeppo J.

5. The 1970s

“Nothing will ever beat the early 70s for styling and ease of working on them.” – Brian B.

“It was definitely the best era in trucking.” – Jakob S.

“I loved the Colonnade-style GM cars. It wasn’t too hard to make them go fast either.” – Walter L.

“The 70s were the golden age for motorcycles.” – Curtis B.

“It was the best decade, you can actually work on the cars yourself.” – Grayson S.

4. The 1950s

“It’s what inspired me to want to be a car designer.” – Richard M.

“I say the 50s, I turned 16 in 58 and got my first car, a 1957 Ford.” – Larry S.

“The 50s brought the overhead valve V8, the first motor that produced as many HP as cubic inches (283).” – Tom C.

“The 50s had the most advances in styling and design.” – Ted E.

3. The 1990s

“The 90s killed it for style and performance.” – Trevor C.

“The most popular and iconic V8 ever to hit the market dropped, the LS.” – Andy H.

“The 90s were a great time. Massive economic boom, people were happy, cars were actually fun again.” – Kyle V.

“We had amazing concept machines, great engine designs, and even the bare bones economy cars were fantastic.” – Adam W.

“A good balance of technology and power.” – John M.

2. The 2010s

“Now is the time.” – Myk S. 

“Until the 2020s.” – Kit D.

“The muscle cars from the 2010s would outperform any from the 60s or 70s.” – Michael P.

“The best decade for performance cars is the one we’re in today.” – Thomas C.

1. The 1960s

“If you’re a muscle car enthusiast…this is where it all started.” – Mark J.

“Muscle was king. No replacement for displacement.” – Dennis S.

“The prime time for some iconic engines like the 440 and 427.” – Christina M.

“The 60s brought us the Mustang, Barracuda, Camaro, Chevelle, Road Runner, Dodge Daytona, and the Shelby Cobra.” – Brian T.

“A wide variety of different cars from the air cooled Corvair, the front-wheel-drive Tornado, the muscle cars and some great and diverse styling.” – @Bluephrog

Epilogue

We were surprised a bit by the results.

Sure, we knew the 1960s would probably come out on top, and certainly the current crop (2010s) of automobiles would warrant a podium finish.

But the 1990s played the underdog card—it had much more social media feedback than the 1950s and, just when someone would deride the 1990s, another commenter would rise to the decade’s defense.

The 1970s certainly got a lift from the early 70s muscle cars, and the 2000s perhaps got overshadowed by the this current decade.

Rounding out the bottom? The 1980s. Looks like there aren’t too many Chrysler Lebaron or Cadillac Cimmaron fans out there.

But in the words of Huey Lewis, the bard of the eighties, maybe it’s Hip to Be Square?

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or watching a 1972 Corvette overheat. An avid motorcyclist, he spends the rest of his time synchronizing carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.