You may not think that the 1960s was one of the best decades for the production of sports cars, but in reality, it was a pretty darn good time to be a car enthusiast. During the 1960s, everyone loved cars, and vehicle manufacturers weren’t concerned with market research when designing a new model. Instead, they focused on their passion and their ideas when creating sports cars.
Interestingly, sports cars manufactured in the 60s were free from the government regulations that arose during the 1970s. During the 1960s, there were almost no emission controls and basically no safety standards. This meant that sports cars were truly designed with a focus on performance qualities and ingenious design appearances.
Due to this, sports cars from that era are some of the most impressive vehicles ever to exist. They were also much improved from their 1940s and 1950s counterparts. No longer were sports cars boxy and lacking innovative qualities as 60s sports car manufacturers incorporated aerodynamic designs by implementing swooping curves.
On this list, we have featured 10 of the best 1960s sports cars that have managed to remain relevant despite the technological advancements present in the automobile industry today. Would you like to be impressed by a few of the most memorable 60s models that will likely have you eager to test drive one of them at least once during your lifetime? If so, you should have a look at the cars we have discussed.
1. 1966 Lamborghini Miura
The 1966 Lamborghini Miura is still to this day considered one of the most beautifully designed sports cars. This Italian model is often referred to as the original pin-up car, and the lean nose and large grille got it noticed amongst its competition.Previously the Miura models had full panel components, but the 1966 models possessed a wholly new and ingenious Italian manufacturing style.
Instead of full panel components, the 1966 models had two twin surfaces divided by a middle crease point. Essentially this sports car’s shape was split into pieces giving it a much sleeker appearance.Additionally, the 1966 Lamborghini Miura had a transverse-mounted quad-cam V12 engine capable of producing 262 pounds per foot of torque and 350 horsepower.
Although these engine specs were impressive, the vehicle did have trouble with handling calibration, braking strength, and aerodynamics. However, that didn’t stop it from being able to reach a top speed of 170 mph. Additionally, the 1966 Miura could reach 0 to 62 mph in approximately 6.5 seconds.
2. 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder
One of the rarest sports cars manufactured in the 60s was the 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder. Only 20 models of the Spyder were ever produced, making it incredibly sought after by car collectors. Interestingly the Maserati Ghibli Spyder was inspired by the Daytona Ferrari.
Although this sports car is an Italian design, it has an American muscle appearance which was unusual for the time. The 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder had flip-up headlights, a wide mouth radiator grill with a crown, and two rectangular air vents.
Unlike muscle cars, this model had a narrow hood with a small scoop near the end. One of the rare features of this vehicle is a small window upfront which wasn’t commonly seen with 1960s convertible cars.
Inside the 1969 Maserati Ghibli Spyder is a 4.9-liter V8 engine that was able to produce 330 horsepower. There is much mystery surrounding this sports car’s engine specifications and capabilities, however, it is known that the engine featured four vertical twin-choke Weber carburetors, a five-speed transmission, and was able to reach 154 mph. This grand tourer was actually the fastest available during 1969.
3. 1964 Porsche 911
Our list wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t include the iconic 1964 Porsche 911. Although this sports car was slower than its competition, it made up for it with its beautiful and elegant design. Interestingly, many might not know that this was not the original name of this vehicle. Before a legal dispute arose with Peugeot, the Porsche 911 was known as the Porsche 901.
During the 1960s, sports cars were much smaller than their modern counterparts. The 1964 Porsche 911 was incredibly small and light, yet it was one of the most aerodynamic models to be produced in the 60s. The rear-engine layout allowed this model to have a lower hood and attractive teardrop design. The car also came equipped with high-tech fog lights and Fuchs alloys.
Additionally, the interior was designed to be very neat yet spartan. It’s believed Porsche deliberately did this because they thought drivers wanted to have a stronger focus on driving the vehicle than on what it looked like. Although it featured a simple interior, quality materials and furnishings were used.
We mentioned earlier that the 1964 model was slower, but this does not mean it wasn’t powerful. It was equipped with a 2-liter V6 engine that could produce 158 horsepower, and it managed a maximum speed of roughly 125 miles per hour. Impressively it could reach 0 to 60 miles in around 8.5 seconds which is brilliant when considering its small stature.
4. 1964 Aston Martin DB5
Arguably one of the most well-known cars in the world is the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. This is thanks to the special effects expert John Stears who used the model for the James Bond film Goldfinger. The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is a luxury British grand tourer designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.
From 1963 until 1965, there were 1,059 Aston Martin DB5s in existence. It’s believed that as of 2020, there are only 25 units still in existence. This model is a two-door coupe convertible with a front engine and a rear-wheel drive.
Some of the standard equipment present on this vehicle included wool pile carpets, a magnesium alloy body, electric windows, reclining seats, twin fuel tanks, full leather trim, and even a fire extinguisher. The standard equipment is impressive, but the engine specs were the main attraction for this vehicle during the 1960s.
The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 had a 4-liter straight-six engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It was capable of producing 5500 RPMs, 288 pounds per foot of torque, and 282 horsepower. Additionally, this iconic vehicle could reach 0 to 60 mph in eight seconds and it had a top speed of 145 mph.
5. 1967 Ferrari 330 P4
The 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 is featured as one of the rarest cars in the world, with only one original model still in existence. It’s unlikely you’ll ever catch a glimpse of this ultra-rare sports race car, but you can learn more about what makes it one of the most memorable sports cars of the 1960s.
The 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 won the 1967 1000km Monza in one of the most unforgettable races in race history. This race was so memorable because two P4s entered the race, and they finished side by side.
Over the years, many sports car manufacturers have tried to emulate and design vehicles with the Ferrari 330 P4 in mind. Still, none have managed to produce a car quite as beautiful as the original.
This 1960s Ferrari possesses one of the most impressive engines on our list, made all the more impressive by its incredibly lightweight body coming in at 1,746 pounds. It’s equipped with a mid-engine layout and has a 4-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine with a five-speed manual transmission. Additionally, its rear-wheel-drive and can produce up to 385 pounds per foot of torque and 450 horsepower. Moreover, it has a tasty top speed of 210 mph.
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6. 1964 Ford GT40 MK
In the 1960s, Ford and Ferrari were rivals that were constantly trying to outdo one another. This rivalry was born out of a business deal that went wrong, which led to Ford swearing revenge. This revenge came in the form of the spectacular sports car, the 1964 Ford GTO MK1.
The 1964 Ford GTO MK1 took the world by storm and managed to beat Ferrari at its own game during the Le Man’s race event. In fact, the GTO MK1 was designed so well that it beat Ferrari models four years in a row between 1966 and 1969 at the 24 hours du Sarthe. To add fuel to the flames, Ford took all three spots on the podium at the first race event in 1966.
The MK1 has the traditional FordGT styling. It features a wedge-shaped front end, square headlights with aerodynamic plastic covers, a drop-off tail section, and a low slung 40.5” high roof. This model possessed a V8 engine that allowed it to reach 200 mph and produce 380 horsepower.
7. 1961 Jaguar E-type
One of the fastest sports cars to come out of the 1960s was the innovative 1961 Jaguar E-type. Surprisingly, despite what many believe, the body of the 1961 jaguar E-type is not a result of extensive wind tunnel tests. Instead, the body was manufactured based on a mathematical basis by Jaguars chief aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer.
The combination of the 1961 Jaguar E-type’s appearance, competitive pricing, and high-performance qualities made this sports car a true 1960s icon.Some notable features that distinguished this model from its competitors included its unitary construction, disc brakes, independent front and rear suspension, and rack and pinion steering.
Impressively these distinguishable features spurred industry-wide changes. This model is a two-door coupe that has a 3.8-liter inline-six engine. It can reach up to 150 mph, producing 265 horsepower, and reach 0 to 60 miles in 6.9 seconds.
There are a few more interesting facts about this car that few might not be aware of. For example, in 1960 Enzo Ferrari called the 1961 Jaguar E-type the most beautiful sports car ever made.
Additionally, “Sports Car International” placed this model at the top of their list for the top sports cars of the 1960s.Moreover, the 1961 Jaguar E-type has also appeared in the Austin Powers films and the television series Mad Men, making it a cultural icon.
8. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
In 1962 the Ferrari 250 GTO only cost $18,000 to purchase brand new, but in 2018 a prized mint condition second-hand model sold for a whopping $70 million. This price set a new record at the time and has helped it become one of the most sought-after 1960s sports cars.
In 2004 Sports Car International featured the 1962 Ferrari 250GTO eighth on its list of “Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.” Sports Car International also nominated it as the top sports car of all time. In contrast, Motor trend Classic appointed it as the “Greatest Ferrari of All Time,” and Popular Mechanics named this model the “Hottest Car of All Time.”
This model was built to compete against other similar models in Group 3 GT Racing. The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was built around an oval tube frame that incorporated A-arm front suspension Watts linkage, rear live axle, and disc brakes.
The engine inside this sports car was a race-proven Tipo 168/62. It possessed a 3-liter V12 engine with an alloy design that utilized a dry sump and six Weber carburetors. With this five-speed manual transmission engine, it was able to produce up to 296 horsepower and 7,500 rpm.
9. 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
One of the most unique sports cars from the 60s is the 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. Each one of the 18 models produced was designed to be curvaceous with no hard angles. The appearance, performance, and speed capabilities of the 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale have helped cement this sports car in history as one of the most legendary ever to be manufactured.
A unique feature of this model is the butterfly doors that opened upwards with the hinges located on the A-Pillar, which lends the vehicle a chic appearance. Interestingly, from the beltline upwards, the vehicle’s doors were made entirely of glass. Additionally, the original model was painted a luscious red, which was draped over exquisite gold rims.
Besides its uber-luxurious appearance, the 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale possessed some incredible engine specifications. This sports car had a 2-liter V8 engine capable of producing 152 pounds per foot of torque and 227 horsepower.
10. 1967 Toyota 2000GT
In 2020 a 1967 Toyota 2000GT sports car was sold for an astounding $912,500. Only 351 Toyota 2000GT’s were ever manufactured, accounting for the high price tag of the one sold in 2020. Curiously this model was initially designed by Yamaha for Nissan, but it was later picked up for production by Toyota when the companies decided against producing it.
Arguably the 1967 Toyota 2000GT revolutionized the automotive world’s view of the Japanese sports car market. Before this model went into production, Japanese sports cars were seen as practical imitative vehicles. The 1967 Toyota 2000GT demonstrated that Toyota was capable of producing sleek, high-performance sports cars that could rival European competitors.
Interestingly this Toyota sports car was modeled after the legendary Jaguar E-type. It was equipped with pop-up headlights, a small bumper, rosewood or walnut veneer dashboard inlays, and many other luxury touches.
The 1967 Toyota 2000GT featured a longitudinal mounted straight-six 2-liter engine. One could purchase this sports car with either a three-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission. With the manual transmission, the vehicle was able to produce 150 horsepower and reach a top speed of 137 mph.
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