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Why 1967 may have been the pinnacle for the automobile


#1

It was a very good year, a very good year for cars of every kind. And most of us didn’t even notice. We were having too much fun in our cars to realize that everything about cars was about to change.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/03/15/1967-the-pinnacle-for-the-automobile

#2

Exactly correct. I have for decades told all who would listen that 1967 was the peak year. In addition to those mentioned, we had terrific Ferraris, we had beautiful 3 liter F1 cars, and prototypes like the Porsche 907 (which gave Porsche its first major international victory at Daytona in early '68). It was also the best VW year, a 1500cc Beetle with early style bumpers. In 1968 we began to feel the wrath of safety and pollution regulation. It was all downhill from there.


#3

Not as sporty, but definitely defining of 1967 was the redesigned Cadillac Eldorado. With hidden head lamps and knife blade rear lights, it looked elegant and cutting edge from any angle.


#4

That is why I keep my Mineral Blue 1967 MGB. It cannot be replaced.


#5

Oh the memories! I grew up in Dearborn, MI and watched 11 of my neighbors drive home new Mustangs the day it was introduced. I recently sold a 1968 triple-black Cadillac convertible with 28K miles. It too was the last of many things & first of a few: Last Caddy with no headrests, first with side-marker lights. Last with ventilators/windwings, first with hidden windshield wipers. Normally Cadillac got things before anyone else at GM, but these were the days of DeLorean, and because he was making bank over at Pontiac, that division got hidden windshield wipers before Cadillac, in 1967, along with collapsable steering columns. Anyone remember the ad standing in front of the '67 Pontiac looking over the hood to the windshield with the words, “Where are the windshield wipers?” Back to the '68 - full metal grill & bumper, seats worthy of a livingroom sofa. Not a cupholder to be found - but the car had 3 cigarette lighters! Last year for dash ignition, first year for amber turn signal lamps. Huge armrest in front, none in back. No storage except for the glovebox, nor did this car have any sort of storage in the doors, seats, armrests or back of the seats. Beautiful car, an era never to be seen again.


#6

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times by now, but your reference to “The Graduate” and the Alfa being unreliable is misplaced. In the movie Hoffman specifcally noted that the car ran out of gas. So have fun, watch it again; a great movie!


#7

As always, PJ is entertaining to read and spot on with his comments.6


#8

Funny how it worked out. My favorite Corvette, Firebird, GTO, Mustang all were '67s.

But then the Charger hit its stride in '68. Things really did not get dark until '71. In '73, the lights really went out.


#9

Everyone loves the '68-'69 Chargers, and you still see a few around either restored or restomod. But seeing a rare fastback '66-'67 Charger is a real head turner! Just never see them anymore, so in my book they are really the pinnacle Charger!

PS: I’m in the process of starting a restoration of my '67 and could use some help, resources, advice, etc :slight_smile:


#10

Of course he didn’t mention the 67 VW bus of which I have 2. 1967, first year of 12 volt, last year of the split front windows and original body design. Indestructible. Not much more to say really but worth a mention.


#11

It is amazing what our great federal government can do when they put their collective minds to work. 1967 will never be again; for all of us that were lucky enough to have lived in that era hang on to those wonderful memories. I had a '67 fastback that was lime green and I loved that Mustang. The 2013 Boss 302 is a great car but it just lacks the mystique of the raw power of 60’s Life goes on.
RW Clark


#12

Mr. O’Rourke -
I just wanted to commend you on your article. Few are the articles that I devour like this one, having been a very young boy in `67, but old enough to have been bitten by the car enthusiast bug. I came of age in college in the C3’s last year. And, now own a concours grade copy that I drive, and drive…with the main hazzard being the pain in my face at the end of each drive. Smiling muscles get sore. In those days, the OE enthusiast cars were “that good” as you state.

Thank you for the history, nostalgia, facts and passion you put in this wonderful article. It went noticed. Nice job, sir!

Please, keep them coming!

Dave V.


#13

Wonderful nostalgia. I bought my Series I E-type on May 10, 1967 with every cent that I had. Almost 51 years later, I am still in love with it and fondly remember the greatest era in automobiles. stephencrane67


#14

Great writing and great story. I was not old enough to drive till the mid seventies but that meant that I and most of my high school parking lot were full of these cars. I have owned modified and road raced two 67’ Camaro’s, three firebird’s and four mustang fastbacks since my teens. Loved the mustangs so much I recently had to sell my Shelby but have a modified 67’ fully loaded fastback with a shaker hood 428 scj set up. it even came with the rare grilled taillight panels. Also have a 67’ RS/SS 396 Camaro, a 427 3x2 corvette roadster and an ERA 66’ 427 cobra. The cobra 427 still looked and acted the same in 67’ so I do not feel like it is cheating. I remember going to church in Lodi California November, 1966 and everyone running out to see a parishioners new car like it was a movie star. It was a very bright blue 67’ Firebird. It just cruised by and you would have thought it was the Elvis or the Beatles everyone was so in awe.


#15

I was a sophomore in college in 1967 and working on cars before I was 16. 1967 was definitely the pinnacle year. Sure there were bright spots in the 1968 - 70 years but by far most were a compromise! The climb started in 1949 and each year the climb was higher and quicker than the previous year. 1968 started the trend downward and by 1972 in was a free fall to the Dark Age the automobile industry. It was not until the 90’s until we saw a major positive direction in the automotive industry. Surely there were some innovative vehicles in the 70’s and 80’s but the vast majority (99%)were vehicles to be ashamed of. It cracks me up that those vehicles have now become collectible but the majority of the people that now own them were not old enough ( or alive) to buy them when they were new. People that could buy them new are told to walk home, don’t want to walk home or they are taking a dirt nap.


#16

Corvette L88 was rated at 430hp, much milder tri-power L71 was rated rated at 435hp…


#17

My automotive “coming of age” story involves a Bimini blue 1967 Toronado. I was 12 and lost interest in girls for the summer. I even passed on a few pickup baseball games just to help wash her. Growing up with an endless string of family station wagons, this car spoke not only to me, but remains my mother’s favorite car. Her eyes still glass over speaking of the car. With the solid thud of the closed door, she was transformed into a movie starlet.

That fall I rediscovered girls. In 1970, much to mom’s dismay, we replaced the Toro with an AMC Javelin SST. Bittersweet orange, 360 4 speed Go Pack, black leather and an indash 8 track. My love of cars turned to lust. The Javelin is reason enough for me to proclaim 1970 as the pinnacle year for cars, but there are many other reasons. Annual sheet metal and drivetrain revisions from 1967 to 1970 proves that automotive engineers and designers were at the top of their game. Clean lines, horsepower and torque put America at the top of the automotive heap.


#18

Mineral Blue was one of the great MG colors. I always wanted a Mineral Blue MGA Twin Cam Coupe. Once I had a shot at one, but by the time I figured out how to afford it, someone from The Netherlands had a deposit on it. The color also looked great on Bs and GTs.

You were smart to keep your '67 B. They truly were the pinnacle for that model.


#19

I had both a 1967 and 1968 Firebird, the 67 was a HO400 and the 68 a RSIII. The 67 was more fun on the street and the 68 was a lot more fun at the track.

I think 67,68 and 69 were the great years. After 73 the creature comforts were more important and actually made the cars more fun to drive.


#20

Love your comments. But one correction. Amber turn signal-parking lights were a requirement starting in 1963.