Just as the 1960s were years of radical change, the cars of the decade were a monumental departure from anything that came before. Suddenly, legit performance was available to nearly everyone and styling was refined to such a degree that today’s car designers still draw inspiration from their grandfathers’ rides.
This list could go on forever, but there can only be 10 very best cars of the 1960s. Here you go.
10. Corvette Stingray
From the beauty that was the ’63 split window Corvette to the raw power of the 427 Stingray that could give even Cobras a run for their money, the Vette spent the decade pushing envelopes of style and performance while cementing its place in Americana.
The DB5 is fast and luxurious, and if you were taking a road trip from London to Monaco you couldn’t have picked a better car. Especially if you had the world’s most notorious criminals and all of SPECTRE out to kill you.
8. Lamborghini Miura
The first modern supercar. Mid-rear mounted V12. Celebrity owners that ran the gamut from the Rat Pack to Rod Stewart. The chassis was originally designed by Gian Paolo Dallara, who went on to form his own race car engineering company that still makes today’s Indycars.
7. Ferrari 250 GTO
Gran Turismo Omologato. Homologated for GT-class racing. Enzo didn’t care if he sold cars, because he just wanted to win on the race track…but in order to race in the FIA, he had to use a car that was in production. So he made the 250 GTO: a legit race car that happened to be sold to the public. Hey, there’s a reason these things continually set and reset the record for most expensive cars ever sold.
6. Porsche 911
What can you say about a car that was so close to perfect when it came out that it’s never had a single major redesign in the ensuing 50 years?
5. Ford GT40
A personal feud-slash-corporate grudge match between an American industrial heir and a self-made Italian playing out in France at over 200 mph? A car that won Le Mans four times in a row? What’s not to love.
4. Shelby Cobra
It’s one thing to call a car a “dreamcar,” but Carroll Shelby literally came up with the name for the Cobra in his sleep. Dropping an American V8 into a small British sports car was inspired, and the Cobra was instantly ingrained in car culture.
3. Mini Cooper
The Mini defined the 1960s as much as any car on this list. It’s tiny and economical, but more fun than you could realistically fit into the back of one. The Mini is probably the only car that could’ve possibly stolen the spotlight off the Miura’s classic opening scene in the Italian Job.
2. Jaguar E-Type
When the E-Type came out, it was one of the fastest cars money could buy, though it cost a fraction of some of the higher-end exotics. Its enduring legacy, though, is in those gorgeous lines. It was called “The most beautiful car ever made”…by Enzo Ferrari. Jaguar spent decades trying to recapture this car’s magic.
1. Ford Mustang
On paper, the Mustang was little more than a family car with a new body and a marketing plan to go after young professional women. Then it rewrote the record books for sales, changed the course of American culture, and transformed into a race-proven performance machine. Well played.