These are the best cars Ford has ever made
Here are the 15 best Fords ever, according to me
The famously paraphrased quote “you can have it in any colour you want as long as it’s black” is ascribed to one Henry Ford, a remarkable man that founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
You can, of course, still buy black painted Fords today, but the sheer depth and breadth of Ford’s contemporary offerings, not just in colours but product too, is in stark contrast to the rigid selection of choice implied by that quote. In reality Ford was anything but limited in its thinking. As a pioneer of the mass production of automobiles, it's the company that brought the freedom of motoring to millions.
And along the way, the Blue Oval, as it’s affectionately called by dint of its distinctive ovoid logo, gave us not one, two or several great cars, but frankly a glittering motorised hall of fame that’s too extensive to ever be contained within just one DriveTribe post.
Nonetheless, it’s still fun to try, so here are 15 of the greatest Fords ever. Above and beyond that, for the inevitably inadvertent omissions, there remains the comment section for you to enter your own suggestions.
15. Ford Model T
It’s the car that democratised automotive transport. The Model T, A.K.A Tin Lizzie, mobilised the masses, and between 1908 and 1927 the company churned out 15 million Ts and created the modern car industry as we know it. Unsurprisingly it was once voted the most influential car of the 20th century.
14. Ford Model B V8 1932
If the T got people motoring, the B got people excited. It's most commonly revered for introducing the "Ford V-8" bringing performance to the many and it signals that from the very beginning Ford was about more than just mobility. The B with its distinctive Flathead V8 is still popular today as the basis for custom hot rods. The two-door was known as the Deuce Coupe and immortalised in the 1963 Beach Boys song "Little Deuce Coupe" and the classic 1973 street racing movie "American Graffiti".
13. Ford Transit Van
As much as Ford is renowned for getting us moving, it deserves equal credit for moving our stuff. In America the Ford E-Series is a much-respected workhorse, whilst 70s examples again lend themselves to extensive customisation. In the rest of the world, however, it was the transit that ascended to fabled status in the area of commercial vehicles. It remains on a mantle with the first (1965) and second (1977) gens still to be found the world over in places as far flung as Rawalpindi in Pakistan and... Essex.
12. Ford Crown Victoria
"Unlimited technology from the whole universe, and we cruise around in a Ford P.O.S." is Will Smith's unflattering comment in the brilliant first Men in Black movie from 1997. Of course the 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria was anything but a P.O.S. especially when you press the red button. Which you should never do. Ever. Since the 1980s up to the mid-2010s these were a constant feature on the roadscape of America, particularly as police cruisers and taxis which underscores how rugged and reliable they were.
11. Ford Thunderbird
If nothing else the name alone wins this car a place on this list. The first-gen car from 1955 remains the most recognisable and desirable, although it continued through ten iterations until the late '90s. It was briefly rebooted in 2002 with a quirky but cool retro-styled version actually based on the same platform as the Jaguar S-Type (Ford owned Jaguar at the time). Conceived as a rival to the Corvette, where the Chevrolet focussed on sportiness, the Thunderbird was all about comfort.
10. Ford Bronco
The Bronco's return next year is hotly anticipated after a hiatus of 24 years. It'll be interesting to see how it fares against the modern Jeep Wrangler, reigniting a rivalry that dates back to the original Bronco of 1965. The first car (built till 1977) had its own chassis (although later models were based on Ford F-Series platforms) and was particularly successful in long-distance off-road endurance competition such as the Baja 1000.
9. Ford F-150
Talking of the Ford F-Series, the contemporary version simply defines the whole leisure pick-up truck genre. It is not only the world's best-selling truck, but is also the best-selling vehicle in America and the second best-seller in the world (second to the Toyota Corolla). Two are sold every minute; Ford simply can't build them fast enough. But it can sure make them fast - step forward the F-150 Raptor. C'mon, who doesn't want one of those?
8. Ford Capri
Whilst America got the Ford Mustang, Europe got the Ford Capri. Designed by some of the same people that worked on the Mustang, underpinned with Mk2 Cortina components and racking up 1.9 million sales, it even ended up back in the States as the Mercury Capri. Starring roles in UK police drama series 'The Professionals' secured its place as one of the most desirable coupes of the '70s and '80s.
7. Ford RS200
An incredible mid-engined mini-supercar-style rally-bred sports car that should have been a latter-day Lancia Stratos, but never quite fulfilled its potential as its kind was deemed too dangerous and banned from the World Rally Championship – the principle objective for which it had been conceived. It remains one of those 'what could have been...' moments.
6. Ford Cortina Lotus
Ford is masterful at taking the mundane and turning it into the momentous. Even if that means acquiring a little assistance such as in the case of commissioning Lotus to turn the Mk 1 Ford Cortina into a racing icon carving out its name on trophies both in the touring car and rallying arenas. It's now a much sought-after and valuable collectible classic.
5. Ford Fiesta ST
A mainstay of Ford's supermini offering, earlier generations offered popular and much-loved XR2 and RS models which undoubtedly would deserve a place on this list, however the current generation Fiesta ST is so well conceived and executed, strong enough to steal hot hatch mantles even from within the Ford stable, that it deserves to sit here on its own. Quick enough for most, brilliant fun to drive and great value for money.
4. Ford Sapphire Cosworth
It's the stuff of urban myth, the uninsurable performance saloon that would be tea-leafed the moment you took your eyes off it, and next seen on a police video car chase driven by the baddies. Over 13,000 of the 150mph saloon were sold, but if you can find one today, it's worthwhile investment – and not so likely to be stolen anymore. Its sibling, the Sierra RS Cosworth, equally deserves a place on this list and is even rarer and visually more iconic.
3. Ford Escort RS Cosworth
But the real Ford Cosworth to lust after is the bewinged Escort RS Cosworth. In 1992 it replaced the Sierra and Sapphire Cosworths and with 224bhp on offer managed a slightly lower top speed at 232kph, due to drag from that spectacular back spoiler, but quicker acceleration, dispatching 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds. A potent rally car it's place on this podium is well deserved, even though it was a difficult shout to select this over an illustrious array of beloved performance Escorts such the Mexico, RS1600 and RS2000 as well as the '80s boy-racer special, the XR3i. Plus hat-tips to contemporary equivalents, the Focus RS and ST models.
2. Ford GT40
It's the stuff of myth and legend – when Ford went to war with Ferrari and the battlefield was Le Mans. Ford won. The rest is history and an Oscar-winning movie ('Ford V Ferrari' AKA 'Le Mans 66' a must-watch for all petrolheads). Famously 40-inches high (hence the numeral in the name) it is Ford's original and most storied supercar, and almost took first place on this list.
1. Ford Mustang
The most movie appearances, the most social media posts, the most rubber burnt and the world's best-selling sports car, especially now that it's widely available in Europe (in 2016 it outsold the Porsche 911 in Germany!). It is the King of Cool and the ultimate muscle car that reaches across generations – from the pioneering 1965 original to the latest edition, serving up a veritable feast of flavours from Shelby to SVT Cobra to Roush to the current Bullitt edition.