What Were the 5 Coolest Cars of the 1960s?

The 1960s represented a burst of creativity and style throughout music, literature, cinema, and theater. With the culture in full swing, automakers were achieving unforgettably cool cars in this decade, too. What were the coolest cars of the 1960s? We’ve picked five of our favorites.

The 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

Making its way stateside after World War II, the original VW Beetle wasn’t just cool, it was wildly influential, changing the course of automotive history by offering a stylish alternative to the bulky and angular American motors that had ruled the day. Perhaps no Beetle captured people’s hearts quite like the ’63 model. That’s the one we know better as Herbie the Love Bug, sentient star of the silver screen. That character made such an impact on the culture of the ’60s that you can find replica Herbies to this day.

The 1964 Chevy Impala

With forever-fair weather to enjoy and miles of suburban sprawl to drive through, southern California has a titanic love affair with the automobile. Perhaps no model captured the hearts of the Southland like the ’64 Impala, the car that formed the basis for the iconic low rider. Working with its already low chassis and sleek body, gearheads loved further modifying the Impala into something even cooler with hydraulics and other aftermarket flairs. You can still find ’64 Impalas looking as cool as ever today.

The 1964 Aston Martin DB5

Heading across the pond, we find another one of the five coolest cars of the 1960s. How could a British car be in contention at a time when the United States’ auto industry was firing on all cylinders? Three simple words: “Bond. James Bond.” The Aston Martin DB5 was 007’s car of choice, making its debut in the classic Bond installment Goldfinger. The film may have been a little campy, but the DB5 was nothing but pure cool.

The 1969 Pontiac GTO

Pontiac came to the fore in the 1960s as the muscle-car specialist in the General Motors family. They did it on the back of the GTO, the grand-touring racer that classic car aficionados believe achieved perfection in the final year of the decade. The ’69 GTO featured the sleek and streamlined design that characterized 1960s muscle cars, often coming in eye-catching metallic hues that were groundbreaking for their time.

The 1969 Datsun 240Z

Today, Japanese cars are just as prevalent on American roads as domestic ones, and in many respects, we have Datsun to thank for changing the game. Doing business internationally as Nissan today, Datsun proved to American audiences that being lightweight and fuel-efficient didn’t mean you couldn’t drive without style. Slim and simple, the 240Z had charms that even the most patriotic motorheads couldn’t ignore. Datsun made Detroit’s Big Three stop being complacent and step up their game—and that’s cool.

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