The 1960s was a time of great change. This was the time of the Civil Rights Movement, a time when President Kennedy was assassinated, a time when the Vietnam War began, and all of this was just in America. The United States was drawn into the worldwide spotlight. This was also a time of great change in the automotive industry. Fresh new cars were introduced with sleek styles and brand-new markets were dreamed up: muscle cars, pony cars, personal luxury vehicles… None of those existed before the ‘60s.
There are a few cars that came about in the ‘60s that are iconic in more than just the car world—cars that even non-car people would recognize—like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette. Some of these cars were made famous by appearing in films, like the Lamborgini Miura, the Aston Martin DB5, and the Toyota 2000GT. Others were made famous by appearing in races across the world, and winning them. New engines were being introduced; new designs were made; competition in the automotive world soared.
This was an explosive and exciting time for the car industry. Hundreds of car designs were shown, but many of them died out without making a blip on the radar. Only a select few can really be considered “cars that defined an era.” We think we’ve thought up and put to paper 10 such cars—cars that defined the ‘60s in one way or another, and here they are.
The Mini was one of the first tiny cars that gained huge popularity throughout the ‘60s. The car was designed by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), and was considered an icon of 1960s British pop culture. As much as any other car on this list, the Mini defined the era in question. The car had a space-saving transverse engine and front-wheel drive layout, so that almost 80% of the interior could be used for passengers and luggage. This concept influenced a generation of carmakers, too.