There were a lot of big changes to the auto industry throughout the 1960s. This was the decade that gave us the muscle car, and it didn't just give us muscle cars — it powered into them like a beast, with every major manufacturer producing them. Cars were bigger and badder in form and function throughout the decade, while at the same time, a trend in the opposite direction began. The '60s were just as much about safety and fuel economy, and design changes really reflected this. Smaller and lighter cars were manufactured to be easier on gas and easier on the wallet. Likewise, new safety standards were implemented across the board to try to make driving less of a gamble for everyone involved.
Many of the iconic vehicles that began in the '60s like the Camaro, the Mustang, and the Corvette are still around to this day and still at the top of their class. You can't have any appreciation for auto history if you don't have an appreciation for what the '60s meant for auto manufacturing. And with that in mind, let's find out just how much you know about cars from the 1960s. Take the quiz and show your stuff!
Do you know which vehicle was banned from competing in Nascar events?
Dodge Charger Daytona
The Dodge Charger Daytona was a modified version of the Dodge Charger made specifically to compete in Nascar events. When it debuted in 1969, it won several races and was then banned along with the Mercury Cyclone, Ford Superbird and Ford Torino Talledega when Nascar limited all cars to engines smaller than 300 cubic inches.
Which of these cars debuted its third generation in 1961?
The Chevy Impala had been in production since 1958, but the 1961 production run started its third generation. It was a large, stylish car with a 409-horsepower engine that made it an absolute monster on the road.
Arguably no other car is as associated with the city of New York as this one. Do you recognize it?
Starting in 1961 the Checker Marathon was produced as both a passenger car for everyday folks, but, much more notably, it served as the yellow taxi everyone recognizes from New York City and did so for many decades.
Can you tell us which vehicle had a model named for a "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" comedy skit?
The Pontiac GTO introduced a new model for 1969 that was called "The Judge." A cool enough nickname, but it came from the comedy bit on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" in which Sammy Davis Jr. would introduce a series of jokes by repeating the line "here comes the judge."
The body of this car was made of fiberglass. What was it called?
The Studebaker Avanti only had one production year from 1962 to 1963 before the company closed up shop. The Avanti was actually a well-regarded car when it debuted, but in total less than 6,000 were ever produced.
Which car produced in 1964 is widely considered history's first muscle car?
The 1964 Pontiac GTO was the car that started the trend of all the major auto manufacturers producing muscle cars regularly, in a weird way competing with each other to make the most powerful car with each new model.
Do you know this car that usually just goes by a nickname?
The Plymouth Barracuda, often just called a 'Cuda, was a direct competitor of the Ford Mustang. In fact, it only had a two-week headstart on the Mustang. In 1967, it was outfitted with its legendary 426 Hemi engine.
Over 300,000 of these cars were produced in 1964. What is it?
The Ford Mustang hit big when it showed up in 1964. Word is that they sold 22,000 of them by the first weekend after it debuted, and in the first year, over 300,000 were sold. Their list price was only $2,368 back then, which, adjusted for inflation, is still only $19,600. The cheapest Mustang today is still about $26,000.
All previous models of this car were scrapped when it was redesigned in 1961. Do you know it?
Dodge Custom 880
The Lincoln Continental had been around since the 1940s, but some financial issues with designs in the late '50s caused the company to pretty much scrap everything and start new for the fourth generation in 1961.
Most people would consider this a grandpa car today. What was it called?
The Buick Riviera debuted in 1963 as a total redesign of an older vehicle that had the same name but didn't really look anything like the new version. This new design was meant to be a luxury car and, in 1963, that meant very big with a lot of attention to detail.
Can you name this car that Europeans loved but Americans seemed to hate?
The Renault 16 was a French car that was actually made from 1965 all the way until the 1980s. While it seemed to appeal to European drivers, when they tried to market it in the United States, it sold incredibly poorly.
Which of these was pretty much an icon of Britsh automaking in the '60s?
Aston Martin DB3
BMW Mark I
The Mini was a two-door economy car developed in response to the fuel crisis, the idea being you could get a lot more mileage out of something this small. The Mini Cooper, as some people call it, was a version specifically designed for racing.
What became standard in every U.S. car manufactured as of January 1, 1964?
January 1, 1964, was the date by which every new vehicle had to be sold with functional seat belts. Now over 50 years later, every car still has them, but not every state makes using one a requirement under the law, and a small number of people still refuse to buckle up.
Do you know what the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado had that was unheard of in previous cars?
The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car since 1937 that offered drivers front-wheel drive. The idea that a car could be pulled by its front wheels instead of pushed by its rear wheels was not something most people were down with.
Which car was made famous by the "Dukes of Hazzard"?
1968 Dodge Challenger
1969 Dodge Charger
Bo and Luke Duke drove a 1969 Dodge Charger called General Lee on "The Dukes of Hazzard," and they were not kind to that car. Word is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 were created for and destroyed during the production of the show. Only a handful of them still exist.
Nine body styles have been offered for this car over the years. Do you recognize it?
The Chevrolet Chevelle was first produced in 1964 and slowly grew into a bit of a muscle car by the late '60s. It was offered in numerous styles, including 2-door and 4-door hardtops and sedans, a 2-door convertible and a 4-door station wagon.
The look of this car barely ever changed, but they made over 78,000 small changes to it in its lifetime. What is it?
The VW Beetle was manufactured from 1938 to 2003 and looked almost exactly the same for its whole history. In the '60s, it received a number of substantial upgrades to the design, including engine improvements and those iconic headlamps.
This car was really hyped before its release and then dismissed as being rather ugly. Do you recognize it?
The Rambler Marlin was made by AMC, and even the company that produced it said they mostly launched it as a way to draw attention to other cars manufactured by AMC. To that end, it actually worked as the rollout for the Marlin drew a lot of buzz and got people into dealerships.
This car hasn't had any major design changes in over 50 years. What is it?
The Porsche 911 was first manufactured in 1963, and in all the time since then, barely anything has changed from a design standpoint. Many options have come and gone over the years, though, including a gas-burning heater from the '60s.
Which manufacturer gave us the Fury, which looked as angry as its name?
The Plymouth Fury was a strange, huge, angry-looking car complete with throwback 1950s fins and, in 1961 especially, a front end that looked like the car had come to life and was extremely unhappy with you.
Do you know which of these sported a 3.0-liter V12 engine?
Ferrari 250 GTO
One of the fastest cars in the world back in the '60s, the Ferrari 250 GTO was an absolute speed demon. It's also one of the rarest cars in the world today. One sold at auction in 2013 for $38 million.
This sportscar only had 108 horsepower in 1962. What was it called?
The Lotus Elan may not have had the massive horsepower of something like the Chevy Impala, but it compensated for it by offering superior handling and lighter weight overall. Less weight means fewer horses to pull it along, as it were.
What car went on sale for the first time September 29, 1966?
Chevy's answer to the Ford Mustang, the Camaro was a muscle car that sported a big block engine and a lot of options. It never actually surpassed the Mustang in terms of sales, but it's still a legend.
In 1964, the world was introduced to the Ford Mustang. Where did it debut?
The Detroit Auto Show
The World's Fair
It was the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York where the Mustang made its first official appearance in the world. That first model wasn't a super-fast beast of a vehicle, but it was a decently priced alternative to the Thunderbird.
The Citroen Ami was manufactured for nearly 20 years and, all things being equal, was considered one of the ugliest cars on the market back in 1961. It didn't sell all that well in its first year. Part of the problem was that, for the first six months, models on sale didn't even have back windows that could open.
Do you know which of these vehicles debuted in 1966?
BMW Mark IV
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
The Jensen Interceptor was not the most attractive car ever produced, but it had a powerful V8 engine and could pull out around 135 mph. This was actually the second Interceptor Jensen produced, having made another vehicle of the same name back in 1950.
Which of these cars was introduced in 1960 to replace Plymouths?
The Dodge Dart was Dodge's answer to the Plymouth, which had been lost due to restructuring in the Dodge dealer network. Dodge dealers no longer would be able to sell Plymouths, so the Dart was a lower-priced option rolled out fill the gap.
Do you know what the second generation of the Chevrolet Corvette was called?
Starting in 1963, the Chevrolet Corvette was produced as the Chevy Corvette Sting Ray. The Sting Ray was designed to be a smaller model than the previous generation and was available as either a coupe or a convertible.