What Cars Made the Sixties Swing?
The 1960s was a decade of dramatic change. Gone were the grey, austere days of the 50s, blighted by the memory of war and rationing, and in their place followed the colourful, exuberant 60s. Chic, sharp and cool, the 60s was a golden era. Some of the cars it produced would become legends; others, best left tucked away in the annals of history. So which cars made the 60s truly swinging?
Alfa Romeo Duetto
Released in 1966, the Alfa Romeo was exquisite. Stunningly styled, it went through a number of evolutions during its celebrated life, the most significant the changing of its soft, rounded boat tail to a flatter Kamm tail. The car is best remembered for its iconic role in The Graduate (1967).
Following hot on the heels of the iconic Mini, the 1100 set a new standard for family cars. Boasting a far greater degree of sophistication that its predecessor, it featured wind-up windows, hydrolastic fluid suspension and styling by the legendary Italian design house Pininfarina. The Austin was an instant hit, and went on to claim the title of Britain’s best-selling car for an astonishing nine consecutive years.
The brainchild of Sir Alex Issigonis, the Mini was actually launched in 1959, but as the epitome of the 60s, it undoubtedly deserves its place on this list. From Twiggy to Mick Jagger to the Beatles, everyone in the 60s was dashing around town in this achingly cool little car. As if its celebrity endorsements weren’t enough, it had a whole lot of success on rallying racetracks around the globe, too.
E-Type Jaguar Roadster
The E-Type’s iconic design was born from the Jaguar race cars of the 50s. The E-Type was unveiled in 1961, at the Geneva Motor Show, and became an instant sensation. Outshining all of the other cars in its class, it was still priced at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. Capable of an authentic 150 mph, it was patronised by iconic stars including George Best and George Harrison.
The Fiat 124 was another little car with a huge following. Accomplished enough to steal the title of European Car of the Year in 1967, it was lauded by motoring enthusiasts for its coil suspension and innovative all round disc brakes. With coupe and Sypder versions, it was as versatile as they come. This little car famously provided the mighty Ferrari-engine Fiat Dino with its chassis, but is perhaps most famous for having its design and tooling bought by the Russians and transformed into the Lada.
The Rover P6 2000 was truly revolutionary, and when it launched in 1963, it made quite the stir. No motoring enthusiast or member of the public had ever seen anything like the beast which boasted an overhead cam engine, all round disc brakes and a truly radical shape. Marking the prototype for every compact executive saloon that followed, the Rover was the joy of British middle managers across the country.
Volkswagen Beetle Microbus
Big enough to pick up as many hitchhikers as you liked, there was no limit to the number of hippies you could pack into a Volkswagen Microbus. Underpowered, with a split windshield in your face that gave an eerie TV screen effect to oncoming traffic, the Microbus still proved to be popular, functional and reliable.
So there we have it, some of the greatest classics that were part of the 1960s counterculture movement. Which one is your favourite?
Classic Cars from the Seventies