THE Swingin’ Sixties to the Love Generation (1960-1979) is the second episode of Shannons Insurance’s four-part End of an Era video series, which pays tribute to the Aussie car industry. Part Two of the series covers the halcyon days from 1960 to 1979.
This is arguably the most important era for classic street machiners, and Part Two includes some of the most iconic cars to come out of Australia. Starting with the introduction of the venerable Ford Falcon in 1960, it details Holden’s struggle to compete, on paper at least, with the fast-look Falcon and actually-fast Chrysler Valiant with its upright, formal FB/EK models that were visually straight out of the previous decade.
Read next: Holden FB/EK history
The launch of the XR Falcon in late 1966, with optional V8 power, and the Falcon GT that soon followed, truly ignited the Aussie muscle car race. No discussion about Australian V8s would be complete without Bathurst getting a deserved and lengthy mention, with plenty of examples of our industry’s ‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ mantra. For those who like their classics smaller or rarer, Datsun, Toyota, Peugeot, Renault, Mini and Volkswagen all get a minute or two, as does America’s red-headed stepchild, Rambler/AMC.
For some, this will be the ultimate in the four-part series, as it contains all the good stuff we love: Falcon GTHO Phase III, Monaro GTS, Torana SL/R 5000 L34/A9X and the Valiant Charger E49. Homologation specials aside, favourites like the XP Falcon, HQ Kingswood and Leyland P76 are all detailed, with enough contextual focus on the political and social stresses that made our industry what it was.
As the 70s closed, taking with it Australia’s first muscle car renaissance, this End of an Era episode signs off with the gratuitous and titillating panel van era. The Big Three’s offerings all cop some screen time, as do the microvans such as the Escort Sundowner and Gemini Gypsy.
As with the first The End of an Era episode, there’s a heap of informed experts sharing their insights, and piles upon piles of classic archival footage of our favourite machines in their prime. It runs longer than Part One but never drags on, so kick your kids off the YouTube and get some Aussie automotive culture into them!