1960s Muscle Cars
About Celebration of the 1960s: This four-part series looks back at the memorable highlights and trends that made up this exciting decade.
If you were fortunate enough to have lived in the 1960s you know all too well how amazing that decade was for the American automobile. The 1960s were the golden years for American auto manufacturers such as Chevy, Ford and Oldsmobile. With cheap gasoline and open roads, many Americans fell in love with muscle cars. Americans’ need for speed was met by such cars as the Camaro, the Mustang and the super charged Road Runner. These now classic cars remind us of an older time when people knew their neighbors and often left their doors unlocked while away from home.
4 Popular Cars of the Sixties
1964 Ford Mustang
It wouldn’t be the 1960s if you didn’t see a bright red Ford Mustang barreling down the many streets and highways of the United States. The Mustang is one of the most iconic muscle cars of the decade and any one serious about speed had to have one. First introduced in April of 1964, the Mustang was one of the first cars to be labeled a muscle car. Named after the P-51 Mustang fighter plane, this beautifully styled car was first introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair and has been popular ever since.
1966 Chevy Camaro
The year 1966 saw the birth of the Chevy Camaro. Released for the 1967 model year, the Camaro was General Motors’ answer to the Ford Mustang. Full of power, the Camaro could be purchased with a 230 cu in (3.8 L) engine up to the super charged 427 cu in (7.0 L) engine. This two door coupe was very stylish and became very popular with teenagers and could be found at many drive-in theaters around the country.
1968 Plymouth Road Runner
General Motors and the Ford Motor Company weren’t the only automakers to put their hats in the race. The Chrysler Corporation also built one of the most memorable of all muscle cars of the 1960s. Under their Plymouth label, Chrysler first released the Road Runner in 1968 after paying Warner Brothers $50,000 to use the name based on the popular Road Runner cartoon. Just like its cartoon counterpart, the Plymouth Road Runner was one fast car. The standard Road Runner has a powerful 383 CID (6.3 L) Roadrunner V8 engine. But for those who wanted more speed there was an option to upgrade to the 440 cu in (7.2 L) V8 model.
The 1960s was definitely the decade of the car but not all were muscle cars or American. Volkswagen was also a very popular automaker in the 1960s. From the Volkswagen Beatle that was first introduced in the United States in 1949 which later to become very popular in the 1960s, to the Volkswagen Bus which teenagers loved to take on road trips to the beach.
If you were lucky enough to have lived in the Sixties, we hope reading about these classic cars has brought back some fond memories. The 1960s had great cars, great music and summers that never seemed to end. If only we could transport ourselves back to this time of excitement. But just remembering these great times will surely bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Written by Don Waters, Jr.
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