Looking back at American history, it’s worth saying that the 1960s were a time of changes accompanied by a range of prominent events. Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights movement, President J.F. Kennedy was assassinated, the Beatles and Elvis hit the world’s music scene, and, finally, man landed on the moon.
The 1960s US automobile industry observed three leading companies dominating both the domestic and international markets: Ford Chrysler, General Motors, and American Motors. This is when the desire to occupy and control the global market led to the creation of some of the most beautiful automobiles ever made.
Every single year during the 1960s was rich for new cars, and getting familiar with the whole list can take you weeks. This pushed us to create this top 10 list of the most beautiful cars associated with every year, because we believe that these amazing retro cars are worth the attention of every modern driver.
1960 Dodge Polara
Presented in 1960, the Dodge Polara was claimed as the first-class full-sized Dodge automobile competing with the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Chevrolet Impala. The car had a 122-inch wheelbase and was offered as a 2-door convertible, 2-door hardtop, 4-door hardtop sedan, 4-door hardtop station wagon, and conventional 4-door sedan.
Polara was one of the top models in the line-up, with quality interior cloth and trim treatments.
1961 Pontiac Tempest
The 1961 Pontiac Tempest was highly praised by road testers for its innovation and packaging. They enjoyed its comfortable size, ride quality, and power. Consumers accepted the car with open arms, and a total of 100,783 Tempests were produced.
The developers combined a rear-mounted trans axle and front-mounted engine, what gave the car well-balanced weight distribution. This, together a with a four-wheel independent suspension, made the Pontiac Tempest one of the most agile cars of that time.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
The Ferrari 250 GTO is a grand tour car produced by Ferrari between 1962 and 1964. It deserves the title of a truly unique vehicle as only 36 of them were ever manufactured. Series 1 features 33 cars with 1962 – 63 bodywork, while Series 2 features 3 more cars with 1964 bodywork. Rare and speedy, Ferrari 250 GTO was powered by a Tipo 168/62 Colombo V12 engine that produced 296 HP.
Its interior was pretty minimalistic and conformed to the car’s racing purposes: no carpeting, speedometer, or headliner and the seats were draped with a cloth. It still looks gorgeous and luxurious, even now. There’s no surprise that the Ferrari 250 GT was endorsed by periodicals such as Sports Car International, Motor Trend Classic, and Popular Mechanics and included in the world cars top list.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
Produced in the second generation of the Corvette series, this car is also known as Chevrolet Corvette (C2) and is a true American classic. Its was equipped with a front engine, rear-wheel drive, two comfortable seats, and a fiberglass body, featuring no electronic details.
The complete absence of computerized systems allowed the driver to feel the car’s pure response and stay fully connected with the driving experience.
By the way, Chevrolet produced only 199 Z-06 Corvettes in 1963 and reserved them for racing. In addition, six of them were specially manufactured for Le Mans racing.
1964 Aston Martin DB5
No need to introduce this well-known car, James Bond already took care of that. The DB5 was produced by Aston Martin and appeared on the screen in 1964 for the first time in the James Bond film, Goldfinger.
This was a supreme grand touring car that combined performance and luxury. Different from the film model equipped with super-gadgets, the standard DB5 fitting included electric windows, reclining seats, leather cabin trim, wool pile carpets, chrome wire wheels, twin fuel tanks, an oil cooler, and a fire extinguisher.
1965 Buick Riviera
The first-generation 1965 Riviera was a truly successful personal luxury car endorsed by the American automotive society. Their total sales comprised about 112,244, as they were well received by both consumers and critics.
The car got positive assessment from Jaguar’s founder and designer Sir William Lyons and Sergio Pininfarina, a well-known Italian automobile designer. Also, renowned industrial designer Raymond Loewy described Riviera as the most beautiful American production car.
1966 Ford Falcon
The 1966 Falcon is a third generation, six passenger compact car with a front-engine and rear-wheel drive. It was offered in seven different options: two-door and four-door sedan, two-door and four-door station wagon, two-door hardtop, convertible, sedan and as the Ranchero pickup.
The car was based on a shortened Fairlane platform and produced 105HP, except for the sports coupe and wagons which produced 120HP. Standard for all model engines, a three-speed manual transmission was adapted in all Falcons.
Also noteworthy: the 1966 Falcon was used in the Trans-Am series.
1967 Shelby GT500
Beloved by collectors, the 1967 Shelby GT500 was truly special. 1967 was the final year that Shelbys were manufactured at the original Shelby American facility in California.
With its supercharged ROUSH Performance 5.0L Ti-VCT “Coyote” DOHC V8 engine, the GT500 became one of the most powerful mustangs ever made, producing 600HP. The driveline featured 8.8 33-spline rear axles.
1968 Ford Mustang
The 1968 model was the first Mustang with front and rear side markers and shoulder belts. It featured a two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel and was claimed to be safer than previous models.
It was equipped with a new 302 V-8 engine able to put out 230HP. In addition, 1968 was the year when Ford released their first Cobra Jet Mustang and California Special (GT/CS) Mustang.
1969 Dodge Charger
A mid-size Charger produced by Dodge from 1966-78 was based on the Chrysler B platform. The 1969 model year, however, delivered few modifications.
The exterior had a new grille with a center divider and longitudinal taillight, and a new trim line (SE) was added. The SE added leather details to the front seats, chrome rocker moldings, a wood grain steering wheel, and wood grain inserts to the instrument panel.
An interesting fact: The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985) featured an orange 1969 Dodge Charger named “The General Lee.”