1960s Classic Cars

In the 1960s, the United States battled with overseas manufacturers for market share, and models introduced in this era ranged from compact cars to muscle cars. Learn about hundreds of cars from the 1960s.


Just a few months after the first Firebirds went to customers, developers were busy with the next generation. This time, The 1970s Pontiac Firebird would not accept Chevrolet's leftovers. Learn more about the Pontiac Firebirds of the 1970's.

Designed in seclusion, the Avanti (the Italian word for "forward") was a styling sensation that gave Studebaker President Sherwood Egbert a brief shining moment before the company discontinued the line.

Mustang not only gained a facelift in 1969, but also its own hot versions, the Mach 1 and Boss 302/429. Tradition demanded that Shelby Mustangs, including the 1969 Shelby GT-350 and GT-500 be somewhat faster, but it wasn't going to be easy.

Mustang put on weight and inches for 1967, and the Shelby followed suit. To keep the car's weight down and its appearance distinctive, Shelby designers created a custom fiberglass front end to complement the production Mustang's longer bonnet.

The original '65 Shelby GT-350 was probably as close to a street-legal racing car as was ever offered by an American company. The brains behind the brawn? A Texas chicken farmer turned Ferrari race car driver named Carroll Shelby.

"Plymouth is out to win you over," said the ads, and they didn't lie. With a re-vamped Barracuda, a transformed Valiant and a solid line of Belvederes, Plymouth jumped back in the game in a major way.

It's amazing what steady cultivating can do -- with a few interim changes, Plymouth's disappointing 1962 "standards" roared back with the 1968-1969 Plymouth Sport Satellite and GTX. These models soon sold more than a quarter-million copies.

Even in the late '60s, the Rambler SC/Rambler stood out as one wild ride. Its looks screamed performance and its mechanicals backed that up.

The 1962-1964 Plymouth Sport Furys weren't nearly as bad as they're usually portrayed. Despite their flaws, the long-hood/short-deck proportions were drawn years before we'd ever heard of "ponycars."

The 1967 Pontiac Firebird Sprint came onto the automotive scene a little later than Chevrolet's Camaro, but when the Firebird arrived, it came on strong. Learn more about the 1967 Pontiac Firebird Sprint in this article.

Being first is relatively easy; staying first isn't. Pontiac may have created the muscle car in 1964 with the GTO, but the company had to work hard to match proliferating competitors. Pontiac struck back with the fully redesigned 1968-1969 Pontiac GTO & Judge.

The 1968 Pontiac Firebird 350-cid HO V-8 engine, with high-performance camshaft, better exhaust-gas scavenging, and revised carburetion, delivered 320 horsepower, 35 more than its 326-cid predecessor. Learn more about the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 350 in this article.

The 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint Convertible proved high-performance and folding tops could go hand in hand. Learn more about this muscle car in this article.

Had GM division chief John DeLorean gotten his way, the Firebird would've been a low-cost sister to the Corvette. But the market couldn't support two sports car models, so DeLorean had to settle for a "Pontiacized" version of Chevy's four-seat Camaro.

The 1964-1965 Pontiac GTO was a great idea just waiting to be born. That it happened at Pontiac speaks volumes about the division's marketing savvy in the '60s, as well as its ability to zoom in on public taste.

By 1962, Plymouth found that it needed to regroup -- and to resize -- its Sport Fury and VIP models to keep up with Ford and Chevrolet. By the mid-1960s, a new design team took Plymouths back into the mainstream -- with a vengeance.

From 1965 to '67, the Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite and GTX received an A+ for performance with help from a new Hemi V-8. These models even made their mark in NASCAR and stock-car racing.

Plymouth's Barracuda may have taken a few design tricks from GM, but the new notchback coupe and convertible body styles complemented the classic fastback to create an unmistakable new line.

After three successful years, the 1965-1968 Pontiac Grand Prix declined in both sales and design. But if more glitter and gadgets were evident, so was more power that enabled performance to remain respectable.

1969 saw brand-new designs from each of the "Low-Price Three." But Plymouth proved to have the biggest of the big car overhauls, hoping to wow consumers and get them to "Look What Plymouth's Up To Now."

The first Pontiac Grand Prix resembled a dressed-up Catalina hardtop coupe with buckets-and-console interior, but the result was striking and sold well.

Plymouth probably wishes it had a car like the 1963-1966 Plymouth Valiant Signet today -- this model was a solid performer throughout it's production run and helped the company maintain its sales figures.

Chrome and tailfins were out, bucket seats, mag-style wheels, center consoles, and floor shifters were in -- and just about everybody had them. With the 1964-1967 Pontiac Catalina 2+2, Pontiac achieved a combination of power, road-holding, and fine styling superior to any other big Pontiac.

The 1962-1968 Pontiac Grand Prix was created to compete with the highly successful Ford Thunderbird. The Grand Prix was hyped as the personally styled car with the power personality. Learn more about this classic muscle car.

The 1960 Studebaker Lark was a huge success and almost tripled overall sales for Studebaker. In V-8 form it sold for $2,756. The 259 V-8 engine could hurl the Lark sedan from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds. Learn more about this classic compact.

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