How much did cars cost in the 60s?

Fiat 500
At £470, the Fiat 500 was the cheapest car you could buy in the UK in 1965

The cheapest car for sale in UK in 1965 was the Fiat 500. You could buy one for £470. There was even a sunroof included! In today's money that would have been £5,600. You would struggle to find a new car for that price in Britain today.

The most expensive cars were two Italian super-cars, the Ferrari 275LM and the Ferrari Superfast PF Coupé. The manufacturer's price for each car was £11,519. In today's money they would have cost £158,000.

An average house cost £3,400 in 1965. You could have bought three houses for the price of the Ferrari.

Most cars cost from £500 (£6,800 in today's money) for small cars such as the Mini and Ford Anglia, to around £1000 (£13,600) for the large Fords, Vauxhalls and Austins. Cars were much cheaper in the 1960s than today. Try finding a new BMW 5 series for £13,000.

This table shows a range of well-known cars and their prices in 1965.

Cost In today's money
Austin/Morris Mini £470 £6,400
Reliant 3 Wheeler £487 £6,700
Ford Anglia £492 £6,700
Hillman Imp £509 £7,000
Vauxhall Viva £538 £7,400
MG Midget £624 £8,500
Austin 1100 £644 £8,800
Volkswagen Beetle £650 £8,100
Triumph Spitfire £666 £9,100
Ford Cortina (four door) £668 £9,100
Hillman Minx £680 £9,300
Vauxhall Victor 101 £690 £9,400
Morris Oxford £782 £10,700
Austin 1800 £833 £11,400
MGB £855 £11,700
Ford Zephyr 6 £900 £12,300
Triumph TR4A £968 £13,200
Vauxhall Cresta £974 £13,000
Austin Westminster £998 £13,700
Humber Hawk £1,095 £15,000
Austin-Healey 3000 £1,107 £15,000
Rover 2000 £1,298 £18,000
Jaguar MkII 2.4 litre £1,389 £19,000
Jaguar E-Type £1,867 £25,000
Aston Martin DB5 £4,412 £60,000

Source:'Motor' week ending 16 October 1965, pages 180-82

Used cars

Used cars up to about five years old held their price well. For example a 1961 Austin Cambridge was offered for £390. The equivalent new car was £772.

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Ian Rivlin

(Some) People would have you believe that inflation, since the mid 60s,is only about "11 times". This is ridiculous. I was there!

My parents house bought in 1955 was £4400 - now it's worth about 100 times that amount. A Mars Bar was 6d (1/40th of 1£) now 3/4£ ie 30 times the original cost. Wage for a police sergeant 1962 was £1000, now about £40,000. A decent suit "off the peg" was £12-15, now £400. Cars are 30x the old price. A large loaf of bread was 9d, now £1-£1.50 ie,50-70x. Which ever way you cut it, the minimum indistinguishable had been an absolute minimum of 30x inflation. That £11,000 Ferrari equates to £330,000 in today's terms - exactly as you would expect to pay today for something similarly exotic.


Hi Ian, This is a very interesting analysis. On a broad average prices have risen 14x since 1965. But some things have gone up more than others and there are reasons from this. House prices have risen because it is much easier to get large mortgages than it was in the 1960s. Incomes have gone up more than prices. Prestige cars have gone up even more because there is more inequality than in the 1960s. Bread has gone up a lot because prices were fixed by the Government in the 1960s.

On the other hand many things cost a lot less. Televisions were very expensive in the 1960s. When colour came in a basic set was around £300 in 1960s money - c£4000 in today's money. A teenager's transistor radio would have been £3 or £4 - £40 to £50 in today's money.

Cars were much cheaper in the 1960s. They were more basic. But if cars had only gone up in price with inflation you would be able to buy a basic small car for about £7,000, e.g. a Ford Fiesta.
Billy Walker
Things seem to be cheaper nowadays.
It was written in January 2020. Bear in mind that these are not precise measurements. It's to give an idea of how prices have moved. Many things have got cheaper in real term since the 1960s. But cars are a major exception. Manufacturers have favoured features over price. Sometimes these features are necessary, such as improved safety. Some are not essential. The market has decided people can pay more for cars.
Ralph Proudcock
It's all well and good saying it's 'todays money' but the article doesn't say when it was written!
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