Ever wondered what your car horoscope is?
Editor’s note: You might notice today’s installment isn’t Western astrology. But don’t worry, it’s coming.
Cars can be iconic pieces of history, capturing the style and nuance of the year they were made. When it comes to the decade you were born, finding out the best-selling car is a snapshot of your own childhood, too! Each car that topped the best-selling list from the 1960s to the 2000s reflects the decade it was produced and carries a certain sense of nostalgia along with it.
The 1960s might have been groovy, man, but their top-selling cars weren’t Volkswagen buses. If the 60s remind you of the Chevy Impala‘s Batmobile-style fins and Jetson’s inspired accent stripes, then you’re right on the money. More than a million Impalas were sold in 1965 alone, making it the decade’s iconic ride. If you were born in the 60s, odds are that you’ve ridden in the backseat of an Impala at least once in your life (and probably without a car seat!).
The Impala was still popular in the 70s, but it was nudged out of the most popular spot by the Oldsmobile Cutlass. The Cutlass and Cutlass Supreme came in only three models, including a sweet convertible. But it didn’t skyrocket to a best seller overnight; its low price, redesigned, cleaner lines, and variety of luxury interior appointments (including double-padded vinyl seats and burled elm appliques) gave the Cutlass the family-friendly boost it needed to become America’s best-selling vehicle. As a 70s baby, it’s likely you grew up coveting the sweet Cutlass Supreme convertibles you saw driving by as you rode in the back of your dad’s Cutlass.
The Ford Escort was the smallest and slowest car to become a bestseller, and it marked a dramatic change in styling from the big, bold vehicles of the 60s and 70s. The Escort was the first fully front-wheel drive car to become a bestseller, and it was billed as the ultimate commuter and family car. Long gone were the pronounced fenders and headlamps of decades prior, as buyers made their desire for more family-friendly cars known (four doors, please!). Kids in the 80s grew up coveting Bimmers, but probably threw their Esprit bags into the back of an Escort instead.
The Ford Taurus captured the best-selling spot through most of the 1990s. Hailed as a “joy to drive” by Consumer Reports, it was the ultimate family car: safe, reliable, and budget-friendly. It launched with a driver-side airbag in 1990 and by 1994 all Taurus models came standard with passenger side airbags as well. The Taurus came in a variety of body styles, including the hatchback sedan you probably remember from soccer practice and school camping trips. There was nothing sexy about the Taurus, but it ranked high in safety and reliability, making it a popular choice for families.
The Toyota Camry was the ubiquitous car from 1997 all the way through 2007; it topped the best-seller lists for a decade straight (except for 2001 when Honda burst their bubble with the Accord), and it’s pretty likely that you and everyone you know has ridden in one at least once. The Camry was popular for good reason: it’s was safe and reliable, and boasted smooth, compact lines. Still, the Camry was the most expensive best-seller ever, reflecting a move away from extreme budget consciousness in favor of perceived value and reliability. If you grew up riding in a Camry, your parents probably buckled you into a carseat and didn’t even let you drive on their laps sometimes. Safety first for 2000 babies!