Best of the 1960s: Cars Finally Get Fun!

November 16th, 2009

1964 Ford Mustang

Cars have graced our green Earth for over 100 years.

While some people will argue that cars have made our planet a little less green in that time, few will disagree with the fact that cars have made our existence on Earth much easier.

But it wasn’t until the 1960s that cars finally got fun.

All of you who fondly remember your ’55 Chevys and ’57 Thunderbirds can argue with me all you want, but I believe that the decade of the ’60s was the beginning of excitement in the auto world.

Specifically, the year was 1964 1/2. Of course, that’s when the Ford Mustang was introduced and then set the tone for the next 50 years of driving fun. The Mustang also inspired the Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger. (I know, the Plymouth Barracuda officially came to market before the Mustang, but I don’t count it because it was basically just a Plymouth Valiant until 1967.)

The Mustang/Camaro/Challenger trio was an unbeatable combo of automotive innovation and heart-racing fun that had never been seen before. Add in the Pontiac GTO, Plymouth Road Runner, Chevy Chevelle SS, Mercury Cougar, Oldsmobile Toronado, and more, and the 1960s go down in history as the decade that spurred a lifetime obsession for millions of junior high school kids. Kids who today are buying up 2009 and 2010 versions of the cars that started their love affair with the automobile.

No one in the ’60s gave a second thought to gas mileage, emission output, or carbon footprints… it was all about placing a big block V8 on a medium-size chassis and roaring onto the still-growing national highway system.

Of course that all changed in the 1970s, when a little something called the Clean Air Act combined forces with an OPEC oil embargo and instantly rendered muscle cars obsolete.

Even still, the legacy of the ’60s is still going strong, even as we near 50 years later.

Do you agree that cars finally got fun in the ’60s? What’s your favorite car from that decade?

-tgriffith

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  1. Jim Kelly
    January 5th, 2010 at 17:36 | #1

    My favorite car from the ’60s? There’s only one–the Jaguar E-type roadster. Everyone loved those V-8 Mustangs, but they couldn’t come close to running with that 6-cylinder jag. When the speedometer slipped past the century mark (and that didn’t take very long), the Mustangs were left howling far behind.

    I bought mine in the late 60′s and drove the hell out of it for over 18 years. Then, I sold it to a guy who had it professionally rebuilt as a show car. He gladly bought it for nearly three times what I had paid for it. So, it was not only the greatest “fun car” that I ever owned, it turned out to be the cheapest. (I actually made money just for owning it.)

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