When it comes to legacy in the automobile industry, it’s difficult to think of one as pure, engaging and romantic as Henry Ford’s. 1903 was the birth year of the brand that would go on to gift motoring to a mass market, race alongside the all time greats such as Ferrari and perhaps most importantly where this blog is concerned; create some of the best cars of all time. Although it’s important Ford be given credit for the birth of the assembly line, and recognised for the way he treated his workers, this is all context behind the greater question we are asking today. What are the best Ford cars of all time? In no real particular order, let’s take a look.
1. Model T
Although we did say no particular order, we may as well start at the very beginning. The Model T revolutionised the automobile industry forever, one of many reasons it deserves a place on a list of the best Ford cars of all time. When the Model T was released in 1908, Ford designed it to be the world’s first truly accessible motor vehicle. It was the first car to ever be manufactured by the pioneering assembly line and had a 19 year production run. Affectionately nicknamed the “Tin Lizzie”, it was also known for its robust but simple nature, making it an easy car to fix if anything went wrong for owners. Quite simply, the Model T remains to this day one of the most influential vehicles ever made, and deserving of the moniker the “people’s car”. Bringing affordable car ownership to the world.
Glamour, sophistication, luxury. A far cry from the usual words you’d use to describe a Ford motor vehicle. But this of course was the company’s first serious step into luxury car territory, rivalling General Motors’ own beautiful luxury sports car the Corvette, which had been released only a few years earlier. The two vehicles would eventually take different routes, but the T-Bird remains one of the best Ford cars of all time for its initial impact and stylistic influence. The less said about later iterations and four seats, the better.
3. Focus RS
A sharp jolt forward in time, but the Focus RS is very deserving of a place on a list of the best Ford cars of all time. The original rally car staple was redesigned for the US market and given the RS treatment. In doing so, it became an all-wheel drive beast that helps turn its astonishing 350 horsepower into forward motion. The sleek modern design helps make it into a fine submission for this list too.
Henry Ford II had placed a Le Mans win at the top of his and the company’s agenda, resulting in a 10 day exhausting negotiation process to buy out rivals Ferrari which eventually broke down. Furious at the events and consequent snub from Italy, Ford II set out with British crew Lola and created the now legendary Ford GT40, based off the Lola MK6. The beautiful car went on to secure a 1-2-3 finish ahead of Porsche at the 1966 Le Mans, cementing the vehicles legendary status and deserved entry into this list of the best Ford cars of all time. You can own your own piece of Ford history celebrating the GT40 and other Ford legends in glorious print form, ready to be shown off wherever you desire.
You knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. No discussion of the best Ford cars of all time has any validity without the mention of the Mustang. And yet, this now American icon’s wild success was never promised. Originally released as a counter to the Chevy Corvair, it was just meant to be a sleeker version of the homely Falcon. A lightweight sports car that had been put together using pieces of other Ford vehicles to keep costs low. However, when it was released at the 1964 New York’s World Fair, the nation went crazy for it. An entire wave of specialised marketing and iconic appearances in Hollywood blockbusters Goldfinger and Bullitt went on to ensure the Mustang became one of the most well known and beloved cars to ever exist.
Short-lived, tragic and dangerous. Not a description you’d usually find on a list celebrating the “best” ford cars of all time. However, the RS200 deserves its spot here due to its experimental nature and mind-blowing numbers. This little beast produced 444 horses at 8,000 rpms and shot to 60 mph in the two-second range. That jaw dropping power was part of the reason the infamous Group B rally cars were banned. This particular model later was re-engineered in the Ghia spec road cars you see in public today.
7. Crown Victoria
An iconic vehicle made famous in the public service sector in particular. Used by NYC cabbies and US law enforcement alike, the Crown Vic had a reputation as one tough S.O.B. of a car. They were famously fitted with big V8 engines that were slightly underpowered, making it a bit of an oddball. However, its reputation amongst its many adopters spoke for itself. A true iconic car in American history and more than deserving of a sport on a list of the best Ford cars of all time.
8. F-Series Truck
Instantly one of the most recognisable vehicles on this list, probably because of the two major facts we’re about to lay down in the next sentence. The F-Series is the best selling truck in the US for 34 years, and even more incredibly, the best selling vehicle outright for 24. If that’s not worthy of a spot on a list celebrating the best ford cars of all time, we don’t know what is. What’s that I hear you say, it’s a truck, not a car? Now you’re just being unfair.
9. Taurus Sho
The Taurus Sho was about showing consumers a new side to Ford, one that would go on to be credited with saving the manufacturers place in the market. This is because at the time Japanese made home vehicles were becoming hot sellers in the U.S. It was fair to say in fact, that the mid 80s were troubling times for Ford, with the American car industry lagging behind the Japanese. To stop consumers in their droves going out to buy Honda accords, Ford released the new sleek looking Taurus, which was eventually updated to the high performance Sho. Suddenly, it was cool to buy American again.
10. Model B / V8
The Ford Model B is more well known as the V8, and the V8 deservedly has legendary status. If the original Model T was designed to make automobiles more accessible to the general market, then the V8 was meant for the consumer who wanted more. Bringing high power and sleek design to the masses. The V8 configuration had been available before now, but much in the way the Model T “put the world on wheels”, the V8 would kick-start a revolution in power and style that lasts until today.
11. Lincoln Continental
Perhaps the grandfather to a generation of “land yachts” that proved so popular in the American market, the Lincoln Continental will be instantly one of the most recognisable vehicles in this list. Originally Edsel Ford’s personal car, the vehicle was mass produced and became a V-12–powered coupe and convertible. A truly stunning and luxurious sight, etched into American culture forever. The Continental nameplate is still in use to this day, spanning ten generations of vehicles for over 80 years.
Having most of the list dedicated to Ford’s impact on American culture, how about a quick gear change? The Escort was a staple of Ford’s European operation. It was very simply designed and became a huge success in the United Kingdom in particular, where it turned into a top rally car and key performance icon. It also replaced the long running and well loved Ford Anglia, which was no mean feat. It was and still remains the widest manufactured Ford outside of the US, hitting two million models made in 1976, with 60% of them made in ol’ Blighty itself. The Escort is probably the most British-American automobile you’re likely to ever come across.
Not to be confused with the markedly less glamorous Galaxy’s from the European market, the Ford Galaxie was a powerful, front-engined rear wheel drive manufactured from 1959 to 1974. The name Galaxie was used as a way to leverage the growing interest around the Space Race, an ongoing competition in spaceflight dominance between the US and Russia. It was back down firmly on earth where the Galaxie’s heritage belonged though, with the popular car also seeing production in Australia and Brazil.
We hope you have enjoyed our down run of the best Ford cars of all time, even if we did cheat a bit and put a truck in here or there. (Please forgive us). Once you’re done forgiving, let us know what you think over on our three pillars of social media, twitter, fb and instagram. At Rear View Prints we are dedicated to exploring automobile culture and all its facets, particularly its celebration through the artwork available in our store. You can find beautiful prints and posters of the above cars and others here. If you don’t see anything you want, we encourage you to submit a commission which we can have especially designed for you. Next week we’ll be taking a look at some of the best supercars in the world, all in the final run up to our special series on F1 tracks from around the globe. We can’t wait to share with you, and we hope you’re equally as excited too. It’s been a humdinger of an F1 season so far, we hope we can provide some accompaniment to the on track entertainment. If you’re still not satisfied and are thirsting for more car content, check out how you can get 12 TOTALLY FREE wallpapers for your phone, tablet, desktop, laptop or whatever gadget you desire! Available below right now! See you next time.