Some of the world’s most beautifully designed cars came about during the 1960s. Compared to the cars of that day, the bulk of the vehicles around now look lackluster, boring, and don’t have near as much character — size up your car against any of the ones on this list and ask yourself which you’d rather have in your garage.
The 1960s was a high point in outstanding car design, and the era brought about many important changes in auto making. Not only did economy vehicles, muscle cars, and pony cars make their way onto the auto scene during this time, but a number of luxury models were developed that helped define the decade.
Here are ten of the top luxury cars of the 1960s.
1. 1961 Jaguar E-Type
The 1961 Jaguar E-type was part of the first series of the model’s road production. Previously, it had been a concept car that had two iterations, the E1A and E2A. This two door beauty had a 3.8 liter engine that produced 265 bph, and the car reached a top speed of 150 miles per hour. When auto lovers think of which luxury models epitomize the 60s, the Jaguar E-type often comes to mind.
2. 1961 Chrysler 300G Coupe
Take one look at the 1961 Chrysler 300G Coupe, and you may think it reflects the previous decade more than it does the 60s — you’d be correct. The flamboyant design and imposing tail fins on the car displayed a 50s aesthetic, but this model was a serious performer. It could reach up to 400 hp, depending on the options chosen, and its style was beyond cool.
3. 1962 Cadillac Coupe De Ville
One of the premiere status cars of the 1960s was the Cadillac Coupe De Ville — driving one signaled to any passersby that you had arrived in life and were doing well financially. The legendary car was packed with amenities that were rare for its day, such as a remote control radio, automatic dimming headlights, power seats, and air conditioning.
4. 1963 Buick Riviera
When Bill Mitchell, who was GM’s head designer, saw a Rolls Royce during a trip to Europe, he was inspired to create an American luxury car with elegance and sportiness — those two qualities were sorely lacking in American made cars at the time. The result was the 1963 Buick Riviera, which rightfully earned its place as one of the more stylish luxury cars 1960s.
5. 1963 Studebaker Avanti
Studebaker was one of America’s last independent car manufacturers in the 60s, and its legacy lived on in the Avanti decades after the brand folded. Small numbers of Avanti replicas were still being made and sold by car loving entrepreneurs until 2007. The original had a fiberglass body, convertible chassis, and a 289 Hawk engine. It was distinctive, stylish, and one of the most memorable luxury cars of the 1960s.
6. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Coupe
Aston Martin’s DB5 truly needs no introduction. It’s considered by many to be the dreamiest, most stunning Aston Martin ever created, and its popularity soared to new heights when it was featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger. Inside, the DB5 was equipped with many features that ensured a high level of performance, such as disc brakes, 15 inch wheels, superior camshafts, and a straight six engine that helped the car go from 0 to 60 mph in just over seven seconds — that’s very impressive for a car made during the 60s.
7. 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk
Many who look at old images of Studebaker cars today wonder how and why the brand went out of business. It definitely wasn’t because they couldn’t make cars that were safe, modern, or good looking. The design of many Studebaker cars rivaled the style of well noted European cars, and a great example of this is the Gran Turismo Hawk. This model had an impressive interior and exterior, and the Gran Turismo Hawk was said to have superior handling to most American cars of its day.
8. 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
Oldsmobile’s Toronado made its debut for the 1966 model year, and it easily grabbed everyone’s attention. The style of the car itself was notable and propelled it to the iconic status that it holds today, but this model also had some novel features and equipment. In addition to a 7.0 liter engine and three speed automatic transmission, the first generation Oldsmobile Toronado contained the brand’s Unitized Power package, which minimized the space taken up by its engine and transmission.
The car also contained a Quadrajet four barrel carburetor, flange gaskets designed to prevent leaks, and a ventilation system that reduced noise significantly. Its tires were specially designed by Firestone, had a sidewall that was stiffer than standard tires, sported a unique look, and was dubbed the Toronado-Front-Drive.
9. 1967 Maserati Quattroporte
During the 1960s, luxury car brand Maserati started to look more towards producing sophisticated, stylish cars for road use instead of brutal racers. In typical Maserati fashion, a number of gorgeous spiders and coupes were brought to market, and the masses were impressed. Then came the Quattroporte, the car maker’s first four door model. The Quattroporte was so popular that it’s still in production today.
It combined great looks and excellent styling with top performance and sheer power — its V8 engine could produce more than 250 bhp and is now held in esteem as one of the auto industry’s first super saloons. With a top speed of 158 mph, it was also the world’s fastest four door saloon of the era.
10. 1969 Lincoln Continental Sedan
The Lincoln Continental saved the Lincoln marquee from being shuttered by Ford during the 1960s. It was a hit with the public due to its styling, comfort, and awesome suicide doors, and the 1969 model was part of the line’s fourth generation. The four door sedan had a Ford 385 engine, and it cemented the Lincoln Continental’s place in pop culture history.