What do we define as “best”? Vehicles that have achieved a real advance in terms of automotive engineering, design, capability, and/or public acceptance. Of course, we are always open to your comments, comebacks, challenges, etc.
Ford has built an extremely wide range of vehicles over its lifetime. While some have certainly bombed, the company has a pretty high success rate in terms of public appeal. And a number of its recent cars have set the pace for the competition.
More than 16,500,000 Model Ts, shown here, were built from 1908 to 1927. Called the Tin Lizzie, the T was America’s first affordable car and opened the country for travel. As Henry Ford said, “I will build a car for the great multitude.”
Introduced in 1927, the Model A became very popular and was sold in a great number of body styles. Price was $385 to $570, top speed was a little over 60 mph, and fuel economy a surprising 40 mpg.
In 1955, as a response to the new Corvette, came the Thunderbird. The archetype of the sporty “personal luxury car,” the first T-birds remain great classics, with brilliant styling and zip. Unfortunately, Ford made the car into a parody of itself after 1957.
Ford shocked the sports-car world in 1966 by winning the Le Mans race with a GT40. The car broke Ferrari’s string of six championships and finished 1-2-3. Subsequent versions of the GT40 were made streetable. One of these is pictured.
In the ’60s came the Cobras or, to be fair, the Shelby Cobras, especially the 1967 version with the 427 engine shown here (examples of which now command close to $1 million, if you can find one). Is it a Shelby, or is it a Ford? It’s both, of course, but Ford can take credit for the engine and drivetrain of one of the world’s fantastic sports cars.
After some lean years, we saw the emergence of the 1992 Taurus SHO (super high output). One CG owner wrote: “Screaming yamaha engine, 5spd manual, Police dont notice you, insurance and taxes are almost nothing. Although its rated at 220hp, and weighs 3300 lbs, you can still whoop a wrx, 9-3 viggen, 3 series….”
The 2010 Fusion Hybrid has won all kinds of awards because it’s fun to drive, has responsive handling, and is available in lots of configurations. Right now, this car is the state of the hybrid art, reasonably priced, and will give you 41 mpg city/36 highway.
The 2010 F-150, on the road since 1975, is the best-loved truck in America. There’s a lot of competition, but Ford seems to outdo its rivals in most departments. The F-Series has sold over 30,000,000 vehicles since its inception in 1948, making it the second-biggest seller of all time (the Corolla is first).
The 2011 Mustang is a real improvement. Now with much better handling and performance, the 2011 offers new powertrains to keep its competitors hopping. The GT version is even hotter.
Breaking news: The 2011 Ford Fiesta has outsold the VW Golf to become the best-selling car in Europe. There is a reason: It’s a very good small car now in its sixth generation, performs well, comes in a variety of configurations, starts at just $13,320, and is coming to the U.S. this summer.
Give us your candidates for the “10 Best” list of all-time great Fords.