If you’re interested in cars, you surely know that the 1960s are well regarded as something of a heyday of the automobile. The muscle car era was in full force, with incredible competition producing some truly amazing cars that are still fondly remembered today — the Split Window Chevrolet Corvette, the Camaro, the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and of course the Ford Mustang.
The 1960s also gave us some amazing European vehicles: the famed "Pagoda" Mercedes-Benz SL, the most collectible Ferrari models in existence, and some of the humble beginnings of BMW and Volkswagen. We all loved the 1960s — and I think they’ve returned, at least a little bit.
The return of the 1960s, in my view, was the early- to mid-2000s. I haven’t really tried to pinpoint the exact years I’m referring to, but I think someday, we’ll look back on this era as another major peak in the history of the automobile, with truly amazing cars that probably won’t be replicated for years to come — if ever, given the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Exactly what cars am I talking about? Well, we had the death of the manual transmission in this era — so I’m referring to stick shift exotic cars like the Lamborghini Muricelago, the Porsche Carrera GT, the Ford GT, and the last few 3-pedal Ferrari models like the F430 and 575. We also had big, screaming, naturally-aspirated or supercharged engines — cars like the aforementioned few, plus the Ferrari Enzo, the Mercedes SLR, and many others.
And those were just the exotics. This was also the era of some icons that everyone loved: the Ford Panther platform was still in production, giving us the Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Town Car. We also saw the rise of the Chrysler 300C. And this was BMW’s finest era, too — the one that gave us the E39 M5, the Z8, the M Coupe, and many other highly popular BMW models that are starting to appreciate in value, even though they aren’t even 20 years old yet.
Indeed, this was a special time in the car world — and it came just before the arrival of electric and hybrid cars that seems poised to change how cars exist. Admittedly, I think this change is largely a positive one: electric cars are simpler, they’re more environmentally friendly, and in many cases, they can be faster than their gas-powered counterparts. But they aren’t the screaming, exciting, stick-shift gas-powered cars that really reached their high water mark in that special era at the beginning of the 2000s.
MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Video | The Hummer H1 Alpha Is the Ultimate $200,000 Off-Roader
Video | Here’s Why the 2020 BMW 750i Is an Ultra-Luxury Sedan
Autotrader Find: Shockingly Good Lamborghini Diablo Replica