Battista PininFarina and Bill Mitchell in Mitchell’s 1959 Sting Ray
I really shouldn’t be asking this question, as I don’t think I can answer it myself. But maybe you can.
I would have to go with the 1990s. A nice mix of function and form that has aged fairly well for the most part.
Is that the overlook hotel? Lol
I think in the modern plastic styling era the 90s is refreshingly simple and even elegant, particularly Japanese cars. But the headlight cataracts that this Camry suffers is the opposite of aging well, and is probably one of the worst long-term blights of modern car design.
It’s Timberline Lodge at 6,000 feet on Mt. Hood on Oregon, which was the exterior for the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”. The Overlook is really strange to those of us who know it, since the Overlook was far larger inside than Timberline.
Here’s a fun fact about that from the Wikipedia: “The Lodge requested that Kubrick not depict Room 217 (featured in the book) in The Shining, because future guests at the Lodge might be afraid to stay there, and a nonexistent room, 237, was substituted in the film. Contrary to the hotel’s expectations, Room 217 is requested more often than any other room at Timberline.”
I need to replace or repair those headlight assemblies this year since they are getting worse and are looking ugly. In this case though, they do add to the photo I think.
The car is in pretty good shape for being 20+ years old.
Perhaps you should source the ECE headlamps from Europe that have glass lens and don’t yellow over time. They’re expensive but vastly improvement over shitty American polycarbonate headlamps.
It took a while to appreciate them, but I like the 90’s too, though to me it’s more 1987-1997 or so. Simple, clean, functional designs with great visibility and few gimmicks. In many ways, a more modern take of the 1960’s, which is probably my favorite era.
Today’s cars remind me way too much of the late 1950’s, and not in a good way either.
The mighty fridge! BTW, lovely picture.
Toughie. I’m going to suggest 1960-1969. The chrome/tailfin era was ending (a little slower in Europe and Japan) and clean, linear designs without a lot of ornamentation became the order of the day. Any era that can produce this has to be good…
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Agreed 100%. Excellent choice for the photo.
Great question Paul. And I’d have to agree with tonyola.
To immediately go from widespread generally garish 1950s design to some of the cleanest automotive designs ever in the early 1960s, is stunning. Many early 60s designs were clean slate styling efforts. As automotive styling made a strong, fresh, and original break from the previous decade.
Whereas much of the design from other decades was more evolutionary from the previous era.
Yup. No question about it and the Miura is the perfect proof.
Definitely the 60s. Uninhibited design with “modern” proportions hits me hard. Those skinny bumpers were just one more thing to replace in a tiny accident, but they sure were pretty.
This is hard to answer unanimously but I genuinely think 1966-1976. This was the most diverse period, where every country had their own signature, every company had their own language, every model had it’s own look, and restyles were frequent and fresh. There was a sort of sci if space craft theme in a lot of designs from this period, rather than styled to look like rockets to just get into space earlier, and that let imaginations run wild(especially exotics, like the original countach). This was also the last time where aerodynamics was neither a priority or fully understood, and living in this clinical technological time it’s a refreshing approach to have no scientific shackles on four wheeled art.
Agree, but I’d further limit it from 1967-72. After that you get the big bumpers, and overdone broughams with too much applied tack and not enough care expended on the basic shape. I’ve always felt that if a car needs a lot of applied mouldings to look good, then the shape isn’t right and needs work.
And for one of my favourite designs of the period, the 1967-68 Camaro.
For American cars I mostly agree, though I still think there were some strong 73 designs(I actually like those very early Collonades, despite the bigger front bumpers) but in Europe there were what I consider great designs up to around 76 and actually beyond to about 1980. BMW E24, Porsche 928, Mercedes W126, etc.
In my opinion, the 50’s for Ammerican brands and the 80’s for European and Japanese brands.
The fifties, definitely. Some examples: Citroen DS, Fiat 500, Austin Mini, RR Silver Cloud, Ford Thunderbird (55), big GMs (59), etc. That era was an expression of the creativity unlimited
+1 The style of cars changed completely between 1950 and 1959. Really it changed a couple of times during the decade. We can debate the precise years forever.
I’d vote for the 1960s. So many beautiful cars from every manufacturer and every region, from the Buick Riviera to the Pagoda Mercedes SL to the Toyota 2000 GT.
1950-1980. Great photo.
50s to 70s. After that it got boring. Cars begann more and more look the same. No big difference between the manufacturers or even the country of origin.
I will be the contrarian. Like that ever happens. I will say 1930-39. In 1930 virtually every car was a pure machine. The urge to streamline the automobile took all kinds of wacky and wild turns, most of them unsuccessful. But by the mid 1930s the direction had been set by such disparate entrants as the Aerodynamic Hupp (Lowey) the Pierce Silver Arrow (Phil Wright) and the Chrysler Airflow (Chrysler Engineering). By 1939 everything that came after was a more-or-less foreseeable progression based on the “package” that became accepted by 1935 or 36.
If the total shape of everything after the 30s is not evident in something like the Airflow, it certainly was by the time Harley Earl finished the 1938 Buick Y job.
I’ll second your contrariness. I’d say it was during this period that automobile styling really came into its own. Of course, I’m partial to Art Deco and Moderne styling to begin with, but there was so much refinement in form and material that happened during this period.
I’d give the 1960s–early 1970s my runner-up vote due to the wave of trying a lot of different directions and doing so without them looking arbitrary, followed by the early 1990s, but mainly because styling was still restrained, and the mechanical bits had reached a decently high level of reliability and durability.
However, as I often see quoted on another blog, we are right now living in the golden age for muscle cars! (c:
JPC, while emotionally I can’t agree with your call, analytically I can understand it totally. The biggest amount of change in the shortest amount of time.
Thanks for the kind-of vote, Pete. 🙂 I would argue that in addition to a huge change, the biggest issue was what direction was that change heading. There were several attempts at Zeppelins on wheels and that sort of thing, because nobody had any idea what the next step was going to look like. Things like the Stout Scarab or the Dymaxion showed that there were some real possibilities that a modern streamlined car could end up like a small airplane on wheels or some such thing. It took some real talent (in my opinion, at least) to take this wide-open world of possibilities and adapt what folks knew into a form that was completely new yet somehow familiar. Everyone since has taken smaller steps, though certainly significant ones.
FWIW, there were definitely a lot of beautiful cars from the era that you cite.
I suggest the greatest car design era for anyone is the period of their childhood and adolescence.
I nominate 1957 to 1973, starting with the Forward Look (and Sputnik) and ending with the 5 mph bumper (and the last Apollo moonshot).
That era coincides with my childhood and adolescence, so I can’t tell the two apart.
From 1961 to 1973 – ushured in with the Jaguar E-Type and Lincoln Continental, and waived goodbye with the Mercedes S-Class and the GM Colonnades.
In between were the Avanti, GM Bubbletops, Stingray, Riviera, Toronado, Bullet Bird, Mustang, Cougar, Bronco, Charger, 911, 2002, 2.8CS, 230SL, Duetto, GTV, 365GTB, Dino, TR4, XJ6, Citroen SM, 2000GT, Cosmo, 240Z, hell, even the Amazon. So much to drool over that I’m sure I’m forgetting a few dozen others.
For me, that’s an easy answer: The true Classic Era, 1929-1942 (yeah, it’s stretched to 1948 for the Lincoln Continental), but especially 1929-1934 with one of two cars like the Duesenberg stretching it longer.
Cars have never looked that good since.
For sheer variety in design you make a good point. So many designers at so many body building firms doing individual cars or designs that might only be used for a handful. So many of the great designers/stylists got their start in those custom body companies during the classic era. In later eras the number of influential designers were fewer and their design would be stamped out thousands (if not millions) of times. Mass production does not make for bad design, but it does tend to squeeze variety out of the marketplace.
Body-on-frame construction made custom bodies possible. Efficiency, safety and just plain technology have made unit bodies the rule in the modern era, at least for cars. A small coachbuilder can’t do much with a unit bodied car, much less engineer and fabricate a unit body from scratch. (Not counting small space-framed sports cars like the Ariel Atom.)
Have any coachbuilders done a custom-bodied luxury car on a modern pickup chassis? I don’t mean a many-passenger limo, I’m thinking of a two or four passenger car like those of the Classic era.
“Have any coachbuilders done a custom-bodied luxury car on a modern pickup chassis?”
That’s what I’ve been thinking too. The Ford Expedition Max is just about perfect for this. 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes. And its 131.6″ wheelbase is right in the ballpark for classic pre-war 2-seaters. If the standard EcoBoost V6 isn’t prestigious enough, there is always the 800hp supercharged Coyote V8, which is quite an upgrade from the 320hp Duesenberg supercharged straight 8.
Syke, you nailed it. Cars have never looked that good since.
The 1930’s. So much variety. So much style. So much grace.
Circumstances are different now, so that era can never come back. But I defy anyone to look at a ’34 Packard or the ’36-’37 Cord and not be moved, in the sense of design.
For any era and for any carmaker, the best years are the years when survival requires something NEW that can be done CHEAPLY. The ’30s qualify for almost everyone.
Designers produce horrible atrocities when allowed free rein. Designers produce beauty when budget and technology are limited.
Impossible question, akin to eating one potato chip.
I’d have to break it down and have at least a handful of chips:
•Mid 1930s to 1942
•1955 – 1957
•1963 – 1972
•Mid to late 1980s, early 1990s (Japanese, Germans, FoMoCo)
•Mid 1990s (Chrysler, BMW, Audi)
I can find excellence & excrement in pretty much any period of design, but if I just look at US cars I think special note has to be made of 1955-1956. Has there been any other time where the ratio of good to bad was so positive?
Not universal, however.
For cars, I love the 60s…a 67 Eldo to me is the ultimate in looks. So menacing and elegant at the same time. Cars today don’t have that. Got the 63 Rivieras too. Bill Mitchell at this his finest!
Although new Cadillacs and Jags are really getting some style back. The new CT6 is stunning and has some of that old Caddy style.
For SUVs…I can’t think of an era that stands out overall. I just think the following:
GMT 900s are better looking than the new ones
For Land Rovers, I think 05-2013 look very sleek yet rugged. Newer is awesome too but a little bit too car like
The XJ is an icon of style. ZJ and WJ were my favorite Grand Cherokees, sleek and modern but yet not puffy. Love Liberties of all years but the KK era (08+) had a bland interior. The Commander was beautiful.
I don’t really pay attention to anything else!
Style-wise: 1955 thru 1972.
Functionality-wise: That would be now.
For me, the ten year period of 1966-75 is the greatest for styling. Secondarily 1955-59. The 66-75 period was highlighted by the original Charger, the 68-70 model, the full size Chevvies of the era, AMC brought out the innovative (!) Gremlin, GM the Vega, Ford the Pinto, the A-body Chrysler Dusters and Darts, the Camaros, the Mustangs, the 70-73 Cutlass, 73-74 Collonnades (except the Le Mans knife job) etc. I still remember being impressed by the full size Pontiac ads at the time of Expo 67 and their “wide track” designs. Each of these had their foibles, whether it was build quality, needing to go on diets when the fuel crisis hit, incomplete development cycles that brought aluminum engine blocks to the market before their design was mature, etc. To me, cars got to just be cars, optimized for their own performance without the burdens of the safety and pollution equipment and fuel economy that had to be imposed.
I liked the 55-59s for the 1955 Dodge and Plymouth models, the Tri-five Chevs, the 59 Batwing, the excess of the 58-59 Cadillacs, and the 59 Ford Galaxie. Also the 57 Plymouth. Somehow these cars of my childhood just struck a chord with me that the art of car design / styling was something to appreciate and enjoy.
From a design perspective and from that of overall engineering, today’s cars can do so much more than 50s-70s cars could ever dream of. A minivan of today can outperform cars of yesteryear from criteria of acceleration, handling, stopping distance, safety, and functionality (comparison study from the 2000s in Motor Trend).
AMC had some pretty cool concept stuff
For me, the ultimate sweet spot for automobile design was 1963 to 1967. There were definitely good looking cars before and after those years, but for some reason most cars from that era just looked “right”. Also, 1967 was the last year before government-mandated safety regs started dictating exterior and interior design to a greater degree.
The late-1950s for sure! While I can’t say they were the most appealing or beautiful, there was something very marvelous about the over-the-top, graceful, elegant, and glamorous late-1950s designs. Think fins.
Also, a LOL WRT the picture… I had been reading some political sites just before I clicked on this, and for a second I forgot where I was and thought it was Trump in the drivers side.
I’m so glad to be have CC as a respite from the craziness.
Actually, when I see a Vette like this one, I think Joe Biden…. no politics at all in the clip below… just a couple of car guys having some fun….
I agree with almost everything said above, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. So many great cars from so many eras. But….
Mark me down for mid 50’s to late 60’s as my personal favorite. Really a golden era when the art of car styling matured and there were no scientific or government restrictions effecting design.
For my taste, the early 60s style are the most beautiful and elegant such as 1962 Lincoln Continental that is sharp contrast to the 1950s Cadillacs. We can also see the fintrail Mercedes such beauty anyone will love. Moving on BMW E28 is a welldone saloon, Mercedes W123 is combined design and functionality in such harmony, 40 years after it was produced, it does not feel dated. The next cames Mercedes W124, style is so timeless, 20 years from now, it is still a beauty. Audis and VW design in 2000s are simple and yet beautiful. These designs should be studied by today’s car desingners rather than making the overtone body parts in today’s vehicle.
Just look at my nom de plume. I love the ’30s, to see those upright, separate-fendered and chromed headlamped old classics melt into pseudo aerodynamic teardroppers. No rules, just pure inventiveness by some and a lot of copycats who didn’t know what they were doing, but had to do something.
And the ’40s, that hollowed-out decade, when art deco turned into pure streamline, gradually eliminating the old wingline to form wider, pontoon-side bodies and horizontal grilles…
But then, the ’50s, starting with the final embers of traditional bodybuilding and ending with the weird American fin fad, causing some of the most remarkable and distinctive cars of the century.
Ah, but the ’60s and early ’70s…. The return of European styling (led by an impressive battalion of Italian designers) to prominence, toning down the excesses of the previous era…. The coming of age of a new carmaking culture in Japan and Europe somewhat offsetting the death of several key makers (Studebaker, Panhard, Borgward, Alvis…) – and the most excessively huge American cars ever built…
It stops there for me. Stuff that was around when I was a kid in the ’80s wasn’t usually very interesting to me, even back then. Too computerized. It’s a bit like music: once the synthesizers and drum machines took over, the soul went out the window.
For me, the best overall design period, from beginning to end is the 60s. When I look through my list of favorite cars, a lot of designs are from the 60s, and those are the cars I hold a rather strong admiration for.
For me though, when it comes to other decades, it’s more in increments than full years.
I would argue for the 50s, it was from 1955-58, that’s when cars looked of the time period without looking overwrought. There is a certain charm to them that can’t be captured.
I would also argue with the 70s there were two, first was 1970-72, although that’s more a continuation of the late 60s general themes than anything (which to me is the same case in most other years), and also 1976-78. That’s when you had the Downsized GM Cars, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, the Mark V, the re-styled Firebird, and even European cars like the BMW M1, first gen RX7, the E24, W123, and Lotus Esprit.
For the 90s, it was definitely from 90-95, BMW had arguably its best year in terms of styling. Honda had really good designs, there are even some American designs that managed to age well. After that, it just started to go down, and most 96-99 designs are either forgettable or hideous.
The 80s and the 2000s are just a blur to me. No period of extreme lows, but no period of extreme highs, just all around “Meh” decades.
(Crap, I just realized I called the RX7 a European Car. I can’t believe I made a mistake that dumb.)
Post WWII — 60s, hands down.
Pre WWII — easily the 30s.
Any era that produced this can’t be all bad …
Had Ford actually built this car I might agree with you. This is not a stock Mark V. The wheelbase has been extended, reducing the front overhang, and an extra fender vent added to make up the difference. This is the Mark V that they should have built.
I’m torn as well. The 30’s thru WWII produced some of the most beautiful designs ever to come out of America. Packard, Cadillac, early 30’s Imperials, the Duesy, the Cadillac 60 Special… I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. OK, I’m a huge fan of a ’35 Ford… Then there was the period from about 1961-1970. Beautiful cars were so common, it’d be hard to pick a “best” out of the group.
1965 to 1972 is IMO the greatest era of car designs and you couldn’t go wrong with the powertrains (especially from 1965 to 1970)
runner up’s are
late 1980’s to mid 1990’s
1957-60 (loved the chrome and finned era cars)
1961-1967, ’61 Continental, XKE and Thunderbird, ’62 Avanti, ’63 Mercedes 230SL, Rambler Ambassador/Classic, Corvette, Riviera and Grand Prix, ’64 GM intermediates (especially VistaCruiser and Sportwagon), ’65 Mustang, GM full size, ’67 Porsche 911, Corvair, Camaro and Firebird, and the list goes on.
The years 1955-64 come to mind for me. In Europe there was the DS, some great Pininfarina Peugeot/Fiat/BMC designs, the Mini, and the E-type. And in the US everything from the original Thunderbird, to the ‘Forward Look’ and the insane 1959 Cadillac, to the classic 1961 Continental, the Corvette Stingray, and the Mustang. A decade of exuberance, constant surprises and more than a few classics.
With the education provided by CC, I’m inclined to see the full sized 1965 cars (GM’s swollen hips and Ford’s brougham-ish LTD, handsome as they were at the time) as the start of a decline that lasted for at least another decade.
Like JP Cavanaugh, Syke, Tatra87, I take the classical Greek view. They viewed the progression of mankind as a descent from the golden era, and for me the thirties are that era for all the reasons JP & co stated. If nothing else, it produced the Bugatti Atlantic, probably the most valuable car in the world, and valuable quite rightly for the high art of the styling.
Our next pause on the descent from those high fireworks was 1960 to about 1973, again for reasons all given by others here.
After which, it sputtered, and is falling still with intermittent sparks, but I lost interest.
There are some ’50s designs that stand out for me: the ’55-’57 Thunderbird, with the ’57 perhaps being my favorite; the ’55 and ’56 Ford (I want to like the ’55 Chevy, but it looks just a bit too boxy for my taste. I think Ford nailed it with the ’55 and ’56.); the ’56 Cadillac Sedan de Ville 4-door hardtop; any ’57 Cadillac except the Eldorado; any of the ’57 or ’58 Chrysler products for their sleek audacity, and any Exner-designed Imperial. I have a lot of trouble with the ’59 and ’60 GM cars, except for the Chevrolet. It feels like most of the others have too many design elements fighting with each other, culminating in the absurd finniness of the Cadillacs (even the toned-down 1960 models). There’s also the thing about GM’s 1959 and 1960 pillared sedans bringing back rooflines from 1955 or so. It’s an odd effect at this distance from that time.
I think in 1962 (more so than in 1961) GM achieved a remarkable re-imagining of what cars could look like: lean, trim, no-nonsense styling not unlike 1960s contemporary furniture and appliances. (There’s a world of difference between 1950s contemporary and 1960s contemporary!) They carried this through 1964. Ford, too, was putting out trim, attractive, yet no-nonsense designs in the early 1960s, under the influence of the Lincoln and Thunderbird.
In 1965, it was as though GM, Ford, and Chrysler all had been working from clean sheets. All of them were stunning in different ways, and all of them had shed all kinds of stylistic baggage. Amazingly, they all held steady in 1966, with just minor facelifting. Those years, for me, are the peak. After that, the bloat increased, and the material quality slowly decreased, especially from GM.
60’s by far, started with de-finning and ended up pre box era. Some good designs lapped over from the 50’s (Jaguars, Rolls, tri-5’s) but the 60’s were good…..
I probably think more about individuals or studios… Earl, Buehrig, Jaray, Darrin, Gregorie, Chrysler Airflow….Pininfarina, Mitchell and several other GM people, Exner, Bracq, Giugiaro, and others: I may not like everything, but, more or less regardless of era, I think people respond to design that is well thought out or imaginative or that somehow shows something about the engineering or purpose of the car. That still happens now, look at a Tesla Model S, I think I might like the new NSX too. There have been bad periods for individual countries or marques, but always somebody else doing it right at those times. But yeah, give me… a supercharged FWD Cord!?!
I think modern 2010+ cars will not age well with their non-upgradeable infotainment systems. They will look like an old green screen mainframe that can only play pong. The squashed windows/high belt line will look goofy and function poorly years from now when their back up cameras cease working.
The honda HRV has a touch screen/plate/glass for the HVAC controls – its downright dangerous and very frustrating.
US – 60’s, EU – today, Japan – 90’s.
I have to say………………1955 to 1977. both style wise to engineering to horsepower it’s hard to say otherwise.
I think I’d go with the 60s. In particular the 1961 GM line. All 5 of them. After the low point of the 58, 59 cars, the 61s were a breath of fresh air.
1938 Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia – what did they have in mind when designing the 1963 Corvette?
1955-1970. I think the ’55 Chevy was the perfect car and the ’59 Chevy the first modern looking car–not counting the early 50s Studebaker Starlight Coupes. The ’55-’57 Thunderbird was so right words don’t do it justice. I think the audacity of Virgil Exner’s Forward Look vehicles raise them to the level of works of modern art, with the ’57 Plymouth being the best of the bunch. There are but two cars that own the entire decade of the 60s for me–the ’63 Corvette and the ’64 1/2 Mustang. Neither will ever, ever go out of style. Finally, the 13 year old kid in me fell in love with a 1970 Barracuda and never fell out of love with it. It’s my dream car to this day.
My personal favorite period of design is the 1960’s. There are many timeless cars produced around the world from 1960-1972.
1930-1939 was a time when styling became important, which led to great advancements.
1984-1994 was another good period especially in Japan.
“The best” is very difficult and complex to define. My favourite is much easier (and more defensible) to weigh in on, and that—whichever term they use—is what most commenters in this thread are doing.
My favourite would probably have to be the ’49ish to ’70ish timeframe; if you make me put a name on it I’d call it atomic-age design.
Let me join the party
First, the Fifties’ were, in my view a glorious victorious Snoopy Dance in the euphoria of the post WWII period, culminating with the wacky 1959 GM lines. They were like Ed Roth cartoons. I sometimes think about “best looking cars” year by year; here is my humble selection
1938 Buick Roadmaster and Limited
1947 Cadillac sedan
40s Packard Clipper
1949 GM line and Plymouth/Chrysler sedans and convertibles
1951-52 Olds Super 88
1953 Buick Roadmaster
1954 Mercury Buick Roadmaster
1955 Chevrolet Imperial Sedan/Limo Mercury
1959 Chevrolet (wacky but I love it)
1960 Studie Lark
1961 Buick Electra pillared sedan
1964 Buick Skylark
After that it is all a blur as to non-modern cars
Think I’d go the early 60s to the mid 70s, perhaps book ended with the Miura and Ferrari 308GTB.
A quick roll call, from Europe: Ferrari Dino, Jaguar XJ6, Fiat 124, Saab 99, Renault 16, 15 and 17, Citroen GS and CX, Mercedes-Benz Pagoda (just), Alfa Giulia GTV, Range Rover.
When I was growing up, I think that my favorite era was the ’50’s. As I’ve got older, though, by far, my favorite era is about ’63-’69. Some of these ideas were introduced a bit before ’63, but for some reason, ’63 seemed to be the year where things were really just rolling and where the execution seemed to be there (sans Turbo Jetfire, but that was a brilliant swing for the fences…..and ’63 was when Olds/ GM realized that this was just much too flawed to work):
–Ford Mustang and all of its best variants–IMHO–introduced in the Shelby, Boss 302, Mach 1, etc. The template for what Ford has had to live up to with the Mustang for 50+ years
–Corvair was getting more angular and sharpened its lines and was almost more of a Camaro before the Camaro really hit its stride. Plus, the Monzas and the turboed engines were much ahead of their time. It’s only in the last 10-15 years that the automakers have really got the grasp of how to turbo an engine properly
–Firebird/ Trans Am
–GTO (two generations of awesome designs!)
–Dodge Charger (more specifically, the ’68)
–63 to 67 Corvette Stingray (and the ’68 Mako Shark I really love)
–Falcon (the more well equipped/ optioned ones–289, wire wheels, etc looked better than the ones from the first few years)
–Olds Cutlass/ Hurst Olds
–Olds Turbo Jetfire
–Pontiac OHC 6 cylinder engine
–Roadrunner/ Belvedere/ GTX variants
–COPO cars/ engines
–Ford 427 cammer
–Studebaker Avanti (technically ’62, but it was ’63 when they pulled the plug and realized that buyers were not into the esoteric Euro styling and small engine/ lightweight car/ power to weight ratio aspects and wanted a big engine with big torque which is what the GTO delivered)
–Ferrari’s excellence (pick basically any car and it was a benchmark for what the American companies wanted to do)
–Mercury Cougar/ XR7 (“the gentleman’s musclecar”)
Not only that, but the engineering in the cars was head and shoulders above anything from 5-10 years before it, and something tells me that the pure excitement of that whole era is something that the industry is perpetually trying to re-capture and bottle up to sell. For me and my tastes, there’s nothing that even comes close to approaching the styling, advances in technology/ engineering, the muscle in the engines, and the spirit that anything could be achieved. The future of the automobile never shone brighter, even if some of the engineering is much cruder by today’s standards.
Also, it could be argued that this is where the truck really started to be perceived as more than just something to haul things around in, and really make a style statement. GM started to do that in the late 50’s, but I believe that the actual execution of it was in the 60’s (especially with the Corvair variants of vans and trucks, which never sold that well, but was an attempt to get buyers to perceive utility vehicles as more than just basic transportation for hauling things).
–289/ 427 Cobra. There’s a reason why this design sells lots of replicas.
The “greatest” as in most…50s. The best? 60s
I’m generally confining my opinion to American cars.
A wide gulf in eras for me: 1930-1949, Encompasses the change from “Classic to Modern”
1954-1969 for sheer variety of types,let alone styling.
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