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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A black and white photo shows a 1932 Ford V8 from the side.

The 10 Most Famous Fords of All-Time

If you’ve been to your local Ford dealership recently, you’ve likely seen the 2021 lineup of cars, trucks, and SUVs. The newest fleet of Ford vehicles spans every budget and need, from the fuel-efficient Fusion and the powerful Mustang to the spacious Expedition and capable trucks like the Ranger and the F-150. With Ford continuously raising the standards of innovation, performance, and comfort on these newer models, we couldn’t help but wonder about the most famous Ford vehicles of all time. Aren’t you curious?

#1 Model T (1908)

The car that started it all, the Model T marks the birth of the Ford legacy with its debut in 1908. In the early 1900s, cars were considered a luxury that few could afford, but the Model T was meant to change that. Priced as low as $825, the Model T came equipped with a four-cylinder engine that delivered 22 horsepower and propelled the car up to 40 mph. It was a car designed for ordinary people and transformed the world over the next 19 years as Ford produced over 16 million models, marking the longest production of any vehicle until 1972 when the Volkswagen Beetle took the honor.

#2 Ford V8 (1932)

While the Model T launched the Ford legacy, Ford’s flathead Deuce launched the hotrod industry with its debut in 1932. Initially released as the Model 18 and later known as the Ford V8, the Deuce made history as the first mass-produced car with a V8 engine under the hood. The 3.6-liter V8 gave drivers their first taste of real power and delivered 65 horsepower, which was unheard of at the time and sealed the V8’s popularity in future Ford models.

#3 Lincoln Continental (1939)

Henry Ford gets credit for designing the Model T, but Henry’s oldest son, Edsel, gets credit for the 1939 Lincoln Continental. Lincoln is the luxury branch of Ford, so we feel that this milestone vehicle deserves a spot on our list. As Edsel Ford rose to prominence with his father’s company, he was inspired by vehicles in Europe that he dubbed “continental” in style with their distinctive rear-mounted spare tires, long hoods, and short trunks. Edsel envisioned his own version of a continental car and saw it come to life with the 1939 Lincoln Continental, aptly named for its Lincoln Zephyr body. With over 200 orders placed upon its debut, the Lincoln Continental signified the ultimate in worldly luxury.

#4 F-Series (1948)

Marking the beginning of a new era after World War II, the F-Series changed the truck market with its debut in 1948. Ford wanted to offer the most comfortable truck ever made and spent over a million dollars to design exactly that. The F-Series offered what quickly became known as the “Million Dollar Cab” that delivered living room style comfort to the driver and passenger. This launched a new trend in the truck industry that continues today on models like the F-150 King Ranch that offers the utmost in comfort and luxury.

#5 Thunderbird (1955)

Chevrolet released the Corvette in 1953 and immediately launched Ford into overdrive as engineers sought to develop a practical and stylish luxury car that would exceed everything the Corvette had to offer. By 1954, Ford started production of the Thunderbird, an icon of style and sophistication with a steel body, roll-up windows, a telescoping steering wheel, and a V8 engine. Offered only as a convertible with a removable fiberglass hardtop, the Thunderbird was an instant hit and easily outsold the Corvette to become the most popular and glamorous car on the road.

A black and white photo shows a 1964 Ford GT40 from the side.

#6 GT40 (1964)

Although Ford initially planned to work with Ferrari in the 1960s to build a racing car designed for major races like Le Mans, the partnership quickly ended and left Ford on its own in 1963. Within months, Ford formed the High Performance and Special Models Operation Unit that set out to work on what would eventually be known as the GT40. The GT40 was incredibly fast but struggled to endure until Carroll Shelby was invited to take over. With Shelby at the helm, the GT40 blossomed and started winning major races, including four consecutive Le Mans contests against Ferrari from 1966 to 1969. This is why many rank the GT40 as Ford’s greatest race car.

#7 Mustang (1965)

As Ford entered the racing scene, the automaker sought to attract younger drivers with the debut of the Mustang at the World’s Fair in 1964. Ford predicted 100,000 Mustangs would be sold in the first year, but their numbers were far from correct, with over 22,000 models sold on the first day. With Ford building its 10 millionth Mustang in 2018, it’s safe to say the Mustang remains a massive performer in the Ford lineup and continues to symbolize the birth of the classic pony car.

#8 Shelby 427 Cobra (1965)

Although the Thunderbird and the Mustang were excellent rivals for the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford wanted the honor of designing the most significant and iconic sports car in America. To do so, Ford enlisted the help of Carroll Shelby, who brokered a deal with England’s AC Ace to manufacture a lightweight chassis that would house Ford’s massive V8 engine. The partnership proved profitable as the Shelby 427 Cobra was born and delivered anywhere between 425 and 485 horsepower to drivers with a need for pure speed.

A blue 1986 Ford Taurus is shown from the front with a lake in the background after visiting a Ford dealership.

#9 Ford Taurus (1986)

The Ford Taurus may never be a collector car, but it certainly deserves a place among the most famous Ford vehicles because it not only paved the way for future sedans but it also saved Ford at a time when the automotive industry was tanking. With the Japanese proving their innovation in the 1980s, Ford and other American automakers struggled to keep up. Fortunately, Ford found the right answer at the right time with the debut of the 1986 Ford Taurus that offered responsive steering, outstanding performance, and impressive comfort, all of which were rare in the industry at the time.

#10 F-150 SVT Raptor (2009)

While we’ve already included the F-Series on our list, no list of the most famous Fords of all time is complete with the inclusion of the iconic SVT Raptor. Marking the twelfth generation of the F-Series, the SVT Raptor made its debut in 2009 and was in production until 2014. The Raptor was designed to tackle any terrain as Ford’s ultimate off-road warrior, complete with a rugged, long-travel suspension and Fox Shox Racing dampers. When paired with the beefy 5.4-liter V8 engine, the SVT delivered 320 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, only to be bettered by later models that came equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produced 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque. As Ford’s most profitable vehicle, it’s no wonder why Ford brought the Raptor back bigger than ever in 2021.

Ford’s American Icons

What’s your favorite Ford of all-time? While we’ve done our best to highlight the most famous Ford vehicles of all time, no list can ever truly reflect the legacy that Henry Ford started over a century ago. That legacy is simply something you have to experience for yourself, and the first step of doing that starts by visiting your local Ford dealership, where you’ll see Henry Ford’s living legacy firsthand.

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