Contributed by David Galassi, Catalogs.com Info Guru
Gear heads and retro fanatics agree: the big cars of 1960 to 1975 were head turners.
For many from the generation that preceded the Gen-X’ers, these cars were the first and coveted rides of adulthood. Worth saving a year’s worth of paychecks or doing extra chores to take dad’s care for a spin, these cars define “cool.”
10. 1964 Buick Riviera
Cutting edge for GM the model 4747 with a stock V8, 425 CID and could run the quarter in 16.0 seconds flat. The look was over the top “cool.” Rear fenders with razor contours and front fenders that actually integrated with the vertical grill work. Frameless windows and offering full power, this model stayed a top eye catcher from 63-75.
9. 1969 Olds Toronado
The 69 Toro extended the rear body to balance the long front end which trademarked the Toronado and Caddy Eldorado. The only Oldsmobile front wheel drive car had GM place a 400hp 455 V8 power plant under the long hood. A vinyl roof trim option made it appeal to older hip crowd.
8. 1969 Continental Mark 3
Lincoln reused the Mark III logo and name from the late 50’s and came up with a style and look that mirrored aviation styling. All of the Marks from 1958-1960 reinvented themselves from 69-79. The 1958 Mark III did not excite the masses, but the current version of the revitalized Mark III did. Lincoln took a Rolls Royce grill and slammed it against the front of the Mark. Hide-away head lamps shadowed the grill with front marker and turn signal lights sitting on top of the front fenders. The rear had the standard “Continental Kit” hump and integrated tail lights. The instrument cluster was space age and styled a “Cartier” clock. The 460 V-8 brought torque and power to the rear wheels. The use of climate control and numerous vacuum controls added to the new tech Mark.
7. 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage 1
Known as the GS 455, this muscle car was sleek and stylish while producing some major horse power. A stock 4 barrel carb and a limited slip differential made it “street fast”. It was easy to smoke the bia ply tires with the turbo 400 “matic”. The extremely expensive Stage 1 was very rare indeed. It was listed as being faster than a Chrysler Hemi of its time. It is listed as one of the 50 fastest muscle cars. This beauty was tested to have trap speeds of over 105 mph. Never in two-tone, this car was a sleeper until you were the one left at the light.
6. 1964 Chevy II Nova 100-400
To outsell the Ford Falcon, Chevrolet came out with this little gem. Available in 4 and 6 cylinder models dealer upgrades to a V-8 became very popular with street and drag racers alike. So much could be done with the styling and performance of this 110-inch wheelbase lightweight beauty that it went on to be the godfather of the NOVA in the 70s. To this day body off restorations still take place with so many options for Nova parts to customize this car that it will always remain a top listed car of its time.
5. 1976 Monte Carlo
Sporting the new “rectangular head lamps’ this Chevy was a “cool cat” to cruise around in. A true coupe, the body lines and two-toned paint turned heads and the interior, with its “neat” instrument cluster and rosewood trim made it very appealing to everyone. Add a vinyl landeau and cloth interior and it becomes a “Playboy’s” ride. The 400 CID V-8 with 4 barrel carburation and Turbo Hydromatic tranny gave power to the two door. It is a grandaddy to all Monte Carlos thru the year 2007.
4. 1972 Cadillac Eldorado
Always neck-and-neck with the Rivera and the Marks, this front wheel drive car has its own style and unique look. Available in a convertible, fender skirted, model made the Eldo “groovy”. A fixed opera window was stock in the hardtops. The dashboard instruments were a mirror of the Lincoln Mark III as space age. Add padder vinyl tops, chrome “41 Goddess” hood ornaments, in dash 8-track and a set of Vogues and you were ready to cruise Rodeo Drive, 5th Ave or Miami Beach.
3. 1969 Ford Ranchero
This Cowboy Cadillac from Ford was as cool as cool could get. Fast from the factory with Ford’s 351 Cleveland and light in the back made it faster than its long wheel base looked. Drop a few sand bags over the rear axle to hook up a little better. The roomy interior matched the Ford LTD style as well as the dash and cluster. With various paint options, mag wheels and a animal sound system, this two seater was a “Trick Pony.”
2. 1969 Super Bee
The Super Bee was based on the B body style Chrysler gave its midsized cars. The Dodge Coronet, Roadrunner and Charger were somewhat comparable in cost and made the Super Bee the affordable muscle car. Until you added the options. (Like a Hemi that raised the cost by 35%.)The 400 CID engine was fast enough for most and the Hurst Competition Plus shifter over a Mopar A-833 trans added the race rush gear heads wanted. The instrument cluster was race-look driven as well. The car was made cool by the Bumble Bee tail stripe marking and the Super Bee chrome emblems and neat grill work. Most popular in Yellow and Black, it was a Bee with a sting!
1. 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 XL
This Ford full-size offered a sleek style and slick fast comfort. The XL was set to give the driver vinyl bucket seats (Two Tone), Deco side panels and a center console shifter. The two round tail lights and larger chrome grill added to the two-tone paint options. As the car driven most by “Perry Mason” as a convertible in black, it gained popularity with young and old drivers alike. The Big-block 427 V-8 with dual 4 barrel carbs gave punch and thunder to this dream boat. Many a T-bird driver made the leap over to the XL 500. It drips with cool class that makes this ride the #1 coolest car of the time period.
Any of these classic cool rides from 1960 to 1975, when fully restored, are still head turners. Ask any one with remembers the time period before disco, and car talk will spin its way to these beauties of style, attitude and real road power.