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Sedans and Sporty Coupes

Clean, smooth lines and hot-rod performance options were the big trends in 1960s America, as car stylists reacted against the excessive fins and chrome of the previous decade. American carmakers finally found their sports-car niche with the Ford-inspired, compact, and affordable “pony cars.” “Coke bottle” styling was to be seen right across the marketplace and, before long, around the world.

Buick Riviera, 1963


Engine6,571 cc,V8
Top speed120 mph (193 km/h)

One of the cleanest examples of the “Coke bottle” styling that swept across the industry in the 1960s was on the long, low, lithe, luxury 1963 Buick Riviera.

Buick Skylark, 1961


Engine3,528 cc, V8
Top speed105 mph (169 km/h)

Buick introduced the Skylark sport coupe to wide acclaim. With its clean, low lines, Buick finally abandoned the fins of the 1950s for a popular new look.

Plymouth Barracuda, 1964


Engine4,473 cc, V8
Top speed106 mph (171 km/h)

Plymouth struggled in the 1960s until the Barracuda heralded a remarkable recovery-yet it never came close to the sales success of Ford’s Mustang rival.

Chrysler 300F, 1960


Engine6,768 cc, V8
Top speed120 mph (193 km/h)

The 300 Series “Letter cars” were Chrysler’s most powerful machines: The 1960’s F went to monocoque construction and ram-tuned induction, but forgot to chop the fins.

Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, 1962


Engine4,736 cc, V8
Top speed110 mph (177 km/h)

Packard’s takeover in 1954 did not help Studebaker for long; it struggled, closing in 1966. The Hawk boosted sales briefly in 1962.

Ford Thunderbird Landau, 1964


Engine6,392 cc, V8
Top speed118 mph (190 km/h)

The year Ford launched the Mustang, the Thunderbird also received a total new look, with a longer hood, shorter roof, and power bulge. Sales went up by 50 percent.

Chevrolet Corvair Monza, 1965


Engine2,687 cc, flat-six
Top speed90 mph (145 km/h)

The compact Corvair with its rear-mounted aluminum engine was too revolutionary for most Americans and was criticized by Ralph Nader; but enthusiasts loved it.

Chevrolet Camaro 327, 1967


Engine5,359 cc, V8
Top speed122 mph (196 km/h)

It took Chevrolet three years to respond to Ford’s Mustang, but when it came, the Camaro offered a great range of performance packages in a smooth, attractive body.

Pontiac Tempest GTO, 1966


Engine6,375 cc, V8
Top speed122 mph (196 km/h)

The Tempest compact helped make Pontiac the third best-selling U.S. marque of the 1960s, and the GTO confirmed its performance credentials: It was a real hot rod.

Mercury Cougar, 1967


Engine4,727 cc, V8
Top speed112 mph (180 km/h)

Mercury entered the “pony car” market in 1967, pitting parent Ford against the Chevrolet Camaro. Handsome styling ensured it caught on, selling 150,000 in its first year.

Dodge Charger R/T, 1968


Engine5,211 cc, V8
Top speed113 mph (182 km/h)

”Dodge Fever” arrived with the restyle for 1968 as the marque saw record sales, helped by the new, super-smooth “Coke bottle” styled Charger V8.

Mercury Cyclone, 1968


Engine4,949 cc, V8
Top speed115 mph (185 km/h)

The Cyclone was Mercury’s macho Grand Tourer model from 1964, given “Coke bottle” styling from 1966 that looked best on the most popular Fastback Coupe body.


It is a quote. The Definitive Visual History Of The Automobile 2011

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