The Beach Boys were considered the kings of the car songs with the ode to the early 60's Chevy Impala with the big block 409, The 1932 Ford Little Deuce Coupe, a drag race between a 1963 327 fuel injected Corvette Sting Ray and a race built Dodge with the 413 engine (Shut Down) but my favorite was Don't Worry Baby, the song about a girl assuring her boyfriend that he's probably not going to end up as an organ donor after a drag race.
In the same era there was Jan & Dean, with a similar style to The Beach Boys who even shared some of Brian Wilson's songs (Surf City). The duo had odes to the drag strip Drag City (before it meant a transvestite parade), a motorhead grandma terrorizing Colorado Blvd in Pasadena (no, it wasn't Sheldon's "mee-maw") and a narrative of a race between a Corvette and Jaguar XKE that ends in a fatal crash on the same curve on Sunset Blvd that killed James Dean;
The music industry cashed in with plenty of one hit wonders cranking out odes to their favorite machines like Little GTO by Ronnie & The Daytonas
The Beatles put out a pretty good car song too;
By 1966 the youth music scene had moved on from metal and horsepower to peace and love and it's pretty hard to write a catchy song about a VW Bus. But peace and love would later turn to ennui and disillusionment leading to the nostalgia era from 1972 to 1976 where Baby Boomers longed for a return to the lost innocence of the Elvis years. Old groups reunited to play to packed venues with songs of surfing and racing to forget about Vietnam, Watergate, runaway inflation, and the awful cars rusting in dealer lots in the dreadful 70s.
The 70s were the genesis also of the Rockabilly and country rock sounds featuring car heavy songs like Charlie Daniels' Uneasy Rider, Steve Earle's Copperhead Road, and Commander Cody's footstompin' Hot Rod Lincoln
Heavy Metal got into the act with Deep Purple's Highway Star and Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' With Disaster
In 1975, an act came on the national scene singing of cars not from the beaches of Southern California, but the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band entered the scene with an ode to drag racing on Highway 9 in Born to Run, laments of lost days of cruising and hanging out on a summer night in Jungleland and the young weekend drag racer and his wife 3 years later with Racing in the Street
Unfortunately for gearheads, Bruce left the car songs behind to remold himself as a guido version of Woody Guthrie and it was the last hurrah of the true car song. Nevertheless, the internet is forever and Youtube is just a click away anytime we want to hear it in remastered digital dolby sound
"Tach it up, tach it up, buddy gonna shut you down!"