The 60s were an interesting decade for cars. Only 15 years after the second World War, car manufacturers were still trying to make a statement in the world of automotives. Sports cars didn’t have much to talk about: the speeds were painfully sluggish, the designs were too boxy, and the performance was extremely questionable. But in a good way, this was the golden era for sports car. It saw the diversification of sports cars from Britain to other parts of Europe until they eventually broke the tide and made their way into other continents.
In that respect, coming up with this list was completely based on performance, speed, design, and influence. Of course, there were other great cars produced in this decade. While some have literally disappeared from memory, some are still talked about today. Some of the most influential companies include Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche, who were the dominant forces of that era. In fact, some of the supercars they produced went on to be featured in popular movies.
These are our top 10 sports cars of the 1960s.
With a V12 1929cc engine that could burst out 262 lb ft of torque and 350hp, the 1966 Miura is still considered one of the most beautifully designed car to date. The twin surfaces divided by a middle crease point would turn out to be the new manufacturing style for the Italian automotive, replacing the previous full-body panel components. Disintegrating the shape into more than two pieces proved to be ingenious.
A completely new, lean nose paved way for a large grille and the car instantly got the world’s attention. The first plan for a mid-engine in a sport-car came with its own share of obstacles, especially in terms of handling calibration and aerodynamics. Ultimately, the car had a certified top speed of 170mph, but critics worried about the little braking strength and the uncomfortable lift from the front side.
1960 Ferrari 250GT LWB
This sports car was the closest it came to reliving the memorable Spider from Ferris Bueller. The movie (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) uses a 250GT California SWB Spider, which was a watered down version of the LWB Competizione. The 250GT came with a 3-L V12 engine that could pump out 296hp. It could achieve a maximum speed of 145mph, mostly because of short gearing.
1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder
The Maserati Ghibli Spyder was inspired by the Daytona Ferrari, but is even rarer than the stunning fastback coupe. The model was produced in twenty copies only, and differed from the previous car in terms of visual appearance and lightness. Notable specs included a V8 4719 engine that could achieve 335hp, and a limited speed of 154mph – the best speed in the world for a luxurious grand tourer at that time.
1963 Porsche 911
This elegant beauty of a Porsche model was owned by Steve McQueen himself. It introduced the light chrome fender trims in the U.S market and also featured Fuchs alloys as well as what were considered high tech fog lamps in the 60s. However, its top speed (125mph) was a little slower than some of its peers. It included a 2-L V6 engine that could spit 158hp, which was a significant boost from the previous 128. It could also sprint from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds, which was quite impressive in that light package.
1964 Aston Martin DB5
Sir Paul McCartney from the Beatles grabbed this Aston Martin masterpiece a few weeks after being recognized at Johnny Carson’s Late Night, where they were officially introduced to the U.S. The interior of the original car was leather, which was delicately perched and adorned with musical notes from the company in his honor. There was a record player as well for listening to tunes on the go. The performance was brilliant too, as it could sprint from 0 to 60mph in 7.5 seconds and achieve a max speed of 143mph.
Toyota 2000GT (1967-1970)
Toyota is known for mass production of cars, a characteristic efficiency most automotive manufacturers are still trying to emulate. The 2000GT was the Japanese’ first attempt at assembling a front mid-engined car. Interestingly, Sean Connery was supposed to ride the 2000GT during his “You Only Live Twice” tour to Japan. As it turned out, Mr. Connery was too tall (above 6′) to fit in the car. Toyota retrieved the model, removed the roof, and created a convertible out of it with sufficient headroom. The car used a 2-L and then a 2.3-L that could deliver 150hp. However, it came with a relaxed pace, accelerating from 0 to 60 in 12 seconds.
1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
The Ferrari 365 GTB was the Miura’s top competitor. The lamps were completely hidden on the nose, and the shutters were said to enhance its top speed potential. It was powered by a 4.4L V12 engine that helped it accelerate from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. It could achieve 352hp and a top speed of 174mph.
1963 Shelby Cobra
Introduced in 1963, the Shelby Cobra introduced a new, ultra compact design, and was a result of a desire to win Le Mans by Ford. The Cobra could easily achieve 500hp with its 7-L V8 engine and sprint from 0-60 in 4 seconds. It also had a top speed of 165mph.
1964 Ford GT40
Although not technically a production super-car, the GT40 was the definition of 1960 metal. Integrated with a 4.7L, 4.9-L and later a 7-L V8 engine, the Ford GT40 could reach a top speed of 135mph on Le Mans track. Without the chicanes, it was rumored that the car could very well reach 230mph top speed. It had an acceleration of 0-60 in 4 seconds, thanks to its massive engine. After beating Ferrari 4 years in a row (between 1966 and 1969), Ferrari had to withdraw its factory teams until 1972.
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
The GTB/4 made its debut at the 1966 Paris motor show and became an instant sensational with sports car fanatics, particularly in the U.S. Considered one the most attractive Ferrari berlinettas of all time, this model was built by Scaglietti, featuring a new body work. Like the revolutionary 250GTO, the model was adorned by big, circular headlamps integrated below the bulging plastic caps. The new wheels came with big, 3-spoke center nut while the side mirror was blended into the front fender.