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Diego’s Friday AutoHunter Picks

American Cars of the 1960s


The Friday AutoHunter Picks theme this week is “American cars of the 1960s.” So, what’s a 1971 Plymouth doing here? I tend to think that though decades may count for 10 years, they don’t necessarily define eras. It’s not like the Atomic Age started in 1951, for example, and in the case of the Plymouth, it was created with a 1960s ethos.

So, presented to you for your enjoyment are four AutoHunter auctions that demonstrate the greatness of the era. Which is your favorite?

1971 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe
When new, the 1971 Barracuda was not praised. Most buff books felt the facelift with the cheese-grater grille and four headlights was not an improvement over the clean styling from 1970. And those fake front fender vents on the ‘Cuda? Totally unnecessary — ruins the clean design of the Barracuda! Don’t get me started on those obnoxious Billboard stripes. Humph!

Yet, my, how times have changed. Today, the 1971 Barracuda is the one to have, and this Gran Coupe is an unusual variant not often seen. As the luxurious Barracuda model, the Gran Coupe came with standard leather interior trim and was easily identified by its Argent tail panel (the Barracuda’s was body-colored, the ‘Cuda’s was black). The 1971 Gran Coupe is also surprisingly rare at 1,615 built. With a big-block 383 and Bahama Yellow paint, you can’t go wrong.

1970 Pontiac GTO
Are you a 1968-69 GTO guy/gal, or do you prefer the ’70? I myself cannot decide. I love the hidden headlights of the 1968-69 (when optioned), and the Carousel Red 1969 Judge is one of the signature cars of the era. On the other hand, Pontiac stylists did a very nice job making the same car look much sleeker in 1970 and, honestly, the restyled Judge does not come off as a lesser car to the ’69. Plus, finally the GTO was equipped with a rear sway bar.

There is a lot to like about this 1970 GTO. It’s painted Burgundy, which is among the rarest colors available for the GTO, and it’s equipped with the optional four-speed manual. Sign me up! There are few muscle cars that exhibit the mix of maturity and juvenile fun that this 1970 GTO offers.

1969 Buick Electra 225 Custom Convertible
There are few cars out of Detroit as majestic as the Great American Full-Size Automobile. Hop in, put it in Drive, and enjoy a car built for the interstate. Buicks were known as having desirable qualities to suit this purpose, and the 360-horsepower 430 enthusiastically reveled in that environment. The Custom trim level was common among Buicks in this time, which often signified a fancier interior.

This 1969 Electra 225 Custom convertible features everything you’d expect in a Buick of this caliber: automatic transmission, power windows, and air conditioning. Power bench seat with armrest means your marathon trip to Vegas will be absent of fear and loathing. Wire wheel covers add a dash of class because, after all, wouldn’t you rather have a Buick?

1968 Ford Mustang Sprint Hardtop
Few cars scream red/white/blue as much as the Ford Mustang. And fewer cars offered as many options and variations as the Mustang. In our current world of inflexible option packages, the a la carte list of options for the Mustang makes me yearn for the days before I was born. Even if Mustang hardtops are a dime a dozen, there’s enough special options and variations to keep things interesting.

Take this Mustang Sprint as Exhibit A. As part of a spring promotion dating back to 1966, the 1968 Sprint was available as Package A and Package B. The former was available for six-cylinders and V8s and included C-style stripes (standard on GTs), wheel lip moldings, full wheel covers, and pop-open gas cap; the latter was only available for V8s and used Style Steel wheels and GT lights in the grille. This Package B car is nothing fancy, but stylish!

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


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