The 1960s was a great time for motoring and it lead to some of the most iconic cars – with many still a major influence of the supercars of today.Across Europe the modern sports car emerged, while over the pond the US were focusing on muscle cars that demanded attention.
In the UK, the government introduced the 70 mph speed limit that remains in place, while the legal issue of drink driving emerged for the first time, with a public campaign warning motorists of the danger of consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
So what do you think are the most important cars of the 1960s? Do you agree with our top selection? If not, why not leave a comment telling us what we have missed?
Built on the back of the successful VW Beetle and Porsche 365, the Porsche 911 has been around for 50 years and has managed to remain cool through the decades despite the design only being updated five times in that time.
It remains the bestselling car for Porsche and since 1964, all Porsche 911s have been manufactured at Porsche’s factory in Stuttgart, Germany.
Nowadays, Porsche builds 16 versions of the Porsche 911, including the impressive 911 GT3, which boasts a 435 horsepower engine.
The Jaguar E-type was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961 and was regarded as the most beautiful car of the time. It oozed sophistication and gained a celebrity following very quickly – it was also helped by its attractive price tag, which was around half of the Aston Martin DB4.
Underneath its good looks, the car was at the forefront of design with independent rear suspension and all-round disc brakes – virtually unheard of in the 1960s.
The E-Type was in production for 14 years and more than 70,000 of the cars were sold during that time.
The Chevrolet Corvette is widely regarded as the ultimate American muscle car and seven generations later, it remains a popular car for US car fans.
Designers of the early Corvettes took a large risk by making the car out of fibreglass – a material that at the time was regarded as fragile and dangerous, but is now a key part of muscle car innovation.
However, owning a 1960s Corvette may be a dream for the average petrol head as they tend to attract rather shocking prices. Last year, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 sold for a staggering $3.85 million as it was one of only 20 1967 Chevy Corvette L88s produced and the only one painted red.
Ford launches its Cortina in 1962 in an attempt to capture the ongoing demand for family-sized cars. Named after an Italian ski resort, the car was developed with budget operating costs in mind. However, Ford quickly set about developing models capable of good performances on the track.
The Cortina Super boasted a 60 bhp five-bearing 1498cc engine, while in 1963 the Cortina GT was launched red with a 78 bhp tuned version of the 1498cc and offered lowered suspension.
One of the most sought after 1960s Cortinas is the Cortina 1600E. Launched at the 1967 Paris Motor Show, the car had a sports steering wheel, the Lotus Cortina’s lowered suspension and a deluxe luxury walnut trim.
The Italian Job did a great job of making the Mini Copper cool in the 1960s and it was an iconic pin-up for the Swinging Sixties. All four of The Beatles owned Minis and Autocar and Motor Magazine have both named the Mini Cooper as “the greatest car of all time”.
More than five million of the Classic Mini cars were built before production stopped in 2000. In 1961, the Morris Minor Mini became the first UK car to sell more than one million. It has since been reborn as the updated MINI, but many true Mini fans believe it has none of the charming characteristics of the original.
All in all, the 1960s was a key period in worldwide motoring history and the influence of the decade remains clear on today’s motoring scene.
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