The Cars of the 60s – book review
This history of cars manufactured and assembled in Australia during the 1960s, by Gavin Farmer, follows his Cars of the 50s book that we reviewed in 2022.
Following the boom times of the 50s, the 60s became a decade of consolidation challenges – some economic and some political. Ford challenged a dominant GM-Holden, followed by Chrysler.
This decade also saw the first efforts of several Japanese manufacturers, led by Datsun, who had quietly entered the Australian market.
In 1960, Holden’s FB range continued the GMH dominance, with a market share that rose as high as 50 percent, but it was soon under siege from the XK Ford Falcon that was released in September 1960. Two years later, Chrysler released the powerful and stylish R series Valiant.
The 60s saw the beginnings of Australia’s power wars, with the Ford Falcon GT sedan, Holden Monaro GTS coupe and Chrysler Pacer sedan.
The big market shift in Australia in the 60s was the emergence of the compact class of cars, epitomised by the Holden Torana. By 1968, Australian engineers developed it into a compact six-cylinder car that opened a new market segment that had been missed by its rivals.
The 1960s was a decade that witnessed car manufacturers around the world pushing technical and design boundaries like never before. Many established companies were floundering and failing as they were left behind in the dash to modernise and re-equip old factories.
In contrast, the Germans and Japanese had brand new factories, with the latest technology machinery that meant parts could be made better, faster and cheaper.
Today began back then, reckons Gavin Farmer.
The Cars of the 60s, New Holland Publishers, RRP $59.99, available from all good bookstores or online at www.au.newhollandpublishers.com.