1960 Ford Starliner is the most exciting Ford of a lifetime

While all of Ford's passenger cars were radically redesigned for 1960, the Starliner was Ford's new performance model and the focus of this vintage advertisement. Using frantic music and color video, it's clear Ford wanted everyone to know the 1960 Starliner was the car "for those who wanted the ultimate in performance".

Fords were totally redesigned for 1960 from the prior year's model, and whether you love the design or hate it, it is certainly memorable. At 81.5 inches wide the massive '60 Fords were the widest yet, more than an inch wider than the Lincolns of the same year. Even if the cars were huge, that didn't mean Ford was ready to concede any claims of performance.

While the 300 horsepower "Thunderbird Special V8" was available in any model for 1960, it was primarily marketed in the brand new Starliner. Automotive advertisements of the late '50s and early '60s weren't known for modesty, and this one is no exception. The "extra responsiveness" of the Thunderbird Special engine "makes the Starliner more fun to drive than any car you've ever driven before."


1960 was somewhat of an off year for car sales and Ford felt the effects just like the other companies. Although Ford managed to sell 68,461 Starliners that year, their total sales numbers were down significantly from 1959. Ford's passenger cars would face a more conservative redesign for the 1961 model year. Unfortunately, 1960 Fords have a fairly low survival rate, making it pretty hard to find any car from that year, let alone a Thunderbird Special equipped Starliner, to test out Ford's performance claims a few decades later.

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Ford got a lot of use out of the '60 body - but when they made the '60 Canadian Meteor, they must have been embarrassed to find the rear end styling was an inadvertent copy of the '60 Chevy Impala: