During the Sixties, West Germany dominated the domestic and European market, with Volkswagen still leading the way. Volkswagen's sales were still being driven by their Type 1, best known as the Beetle, although they had a few other models on offer.

These were the K3 and K4 medium-sized saloon/estate/coupe series, the iconic K2 minibus, and an updated version of the Karmann Ghia coupe.

As the European economies began to recover, and even more so when imports from other countries in Western Europe, the UK and even the Far East began to become increasingly available, demand for cars produced in West Germany remained very stable with the choice of vehicles available to the public increasing and covering a broader spectrum.

Other manufacturers that began to appear or re-appear during the Sixties were NSU and Opel, while BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche continued to thrive, operating at the top end of the market.

The French car industry throughout the Sixties was dominated by the Gallic version of the " big three." Citroen, Renault and Peugeot with Simca lagging well behind.

Although the French economy was getting stronger all the time, the domestic demand was for hard-working and practical family saloons, such as the Peugeot 404, Renault Dauphine and the Simca 1300/1500 range of saloons estates and coupes.

French cars were renowned for their interior comfort and a lot less for the smoothness of their ride.

The only genuinely iconic luxury car produced in France in the Sixties was Citroen's DS 21, still ahead of its time, despite being introduced in the mid-Fifties. The DS series remained in production until the mid-Seventies, selling six hundred thousand models.

In Italy, Fiat were the market leaders with the production to match. The Fiat group covered the entire market spectrum with a range of models running from the 500 mini-compact to the top of the range 1800/2100 saloon/coupe estate series.

Doing an excellent job of covering the up-market sector were Alfa Romeo and Lancia. One of the most iconic European cars of the Sixties was the Alfa Romeo Spider, a zippy open-topped roadster that was as well priced as it was sleek.


The Spider was a big hit in the US, especially on the West Coast, due to the car featuring strongly in the hit film of the late Sixties " The Graduate" starring Dustin Hoffman.

Despite the commercial and critical success of the Spider ,it was at the very top of the spectrum that Italian luxury sports cars had established an unsurpassable reputation.

Inspired by the success of Ferrari in the Fifties, by the Sixties, Lamborghini and Maserati had established their own foothold, and were beginning to take their share of the market.

Such was their image that when anyone with the financial wherewithal to acquire a high-performance, beautifully styled sports car, anywhere throughout the World, would think Italian.

Glamourous was not generally the image of the two Swedish members of the European car manufacturing community, Saab and Volvo, with the possible exception of the P1800 from Volvo. the vehicle of choice for Englsh iconic TV hero, Roger Moore. The Swedes strengthened their hold on the market during the Sixties, enhancing their reputation by producing robust and reliable vehicles that not only looked the part but could hold their own in the toughest of conditions.