In the beginning, Ford had very little interest in flash or selection, and the idea of “Legendary Performance Fords” wasn’t even a concept but today you can find modern performance vehicles at almost every Ford dealership. For Mr. Ford, it was all about delivering a straight-to-the-point vehicle the average American could buy. After all, one of Henry Ford’s most famous lines is “you can have any color Model T you’d like, as long as it’s black.” That kind of thinking doesn’t inspire confidence in terms of high-end performance vehicles. However, the Ford Motor Company didn’t maintain this ideology for long (and even Henry himself eventually backed down to the “just black” idea).
Now, Ford did dabble in the world of racing, even winning a race back in 1901, but the company didn’t truly dive into the world of competitive racing until the late 1960s (you can catch a movie on this very time period starting November 15, 2019, with the release ofFord v Ferrari).
1963 Ford Galaxie 427
During the 1960s, American automakers needed to one-up each other in the muscle car game. It wasn’t enough to have just one muscle car and call it good. Companies needed to have options. And this is one. It has a massive trunk, which is very much a 1960s feature, and it also had a massive 425ci V8 engine up front. With measurables including 425 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, this is the kind of car that purrs when you turn on the ignition.
1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
Much of this list is going to have “Mustang” in the title somewhere. However, Ford has made more than Mustangs with performance muscle under the hood. For this particular model, Ford partnered up with Detroit Steel and Tubing to build the car around the 427 V8. Unlike other cars of the time where the car design came first, and the engine came second, the vehicle design here essentially played second fiddle (not that anyone’s complaining about the look of this beauty).
Of course, Ford and Detroit Steel and Tubing only put out 100 of these. Outside of the massive hood lift and air vents along with the side doors, people you pull up to may not realize just how powerful this car is. But with the engine capable of putting out 425 horsepower, it’s a car that will always turn heads.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
The Shelby models tend to receive most of the attention, but you know the Mustang means business whenever you see a Boss on the road. The 1969 model of the Boss 429 is one of the most desired Mustangs ever produced (only 857 were ever released), and as the name suggests, it features a 429ci V8 engine.
If you were to look up the numbers given by Ford, you’d find the engine was designed for 375 horsepower. But thanks to the improved air intake hood scoop (which only adds to the aggressive look of the car) and several other improvements, the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss is realistically closer to the 500 mark.
If you happen on this car for an affordable price, buy it on the spot. A well-maintained offering has nabbed over half a million dollars on auction.
1993 Ford SV Mustang Cobra R
It’s worth mentioning this 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra R because it kicked off the company’s new Special Vehicle Team. Basically, every other performance car out of the company is because of this department.
In the early 90s, American muscle cars had started to flounder. The Camaro and Firebird models were spitting image replicas of one another, and the Dodge Challenger had fallen by the wayside. Ford wanted to reclaim some of this lost luster and released the 1993 Ford SV Mustang Cobra R, which featured a 302ci V8 engine that could produce 235 horsepower (no small feat for the size of the car at the time).
While street-legal, Ford did make this more geared toward as a track car (it’s one of the few Mustang models without a backseat). It’s not the fastest Mustang of the bunch (in fact, when comparing this with other models on the list, it will have the most pedestrian numbers), but if you want a piece of Ford history, this 1993 Ford truly marks the beginning of a new era.
2006 Ford GT
The Ford GT might be the most beautiful Ford car produced in the last half-century. It absolutely is a head-turner, and there’s just nothing else like it made in the United States. You could stack it up against any Italian performance car, and this offering would deliver. The definitive hood scoops and the downward turned nose are its signature features (outside of the performance, of course), and it’s the kind of car that makes people drool when you pull up in it.
Now, the Ford GT is heavily based on the 1960s offering. This initial GT uses a 5.4L V8 engine that produces 550 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. With a top speed of 205 miles per hour and the ability to hit 60 in 3.3 seconds, the 2006 Ford GT launched a new era of legendary performance Fords.
2011 Shelby GT350
Ford put out this Shelby Mustang as a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the very first Shelby to come off the assembly line. Of course, this particular Shelby has a few tricks up its sleeve, including the 5.0L Coyote V8 engine that churned out 525 horsepower. It could also go from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds and hit the quarter-mile in 12 seconds.
2013 Ford Mustang Shelby 1000 S/C
There’s nothing dainty about this particular Ford Mustang Shelby. In fact, it is one of the most powerful (and affordable) vehicles Ford has ever put out. This 5.8L V8 supercharged engine tips the scales at 1,200 horsepower. If you wanted a vehicle capable of putting out that kind of horsepower anywhere else, you’d need to spend ten times the price. And who knows, if you look around, you might find a Ford dealer that is showing off this bad boy. Because if you were to own it, you would absolutely show it off.
2017 Ford Shelby F-150 Super Snake
When discussing Ford performance vehicles, it is necessary to slip a Ford F-150 into the mix. The F-150 has been the best selling vehicle in the States for decades, and there have been a number of performance trucks out there. The Ford Raptor is one of the most desired trucks on the market in terms of performance, but this option takes it to the next level. The V8 in this vehicle can churn out 750 horsepower and features all the Shelby trim and badges. Plus, as only 150 were ever made, it’s not only a head-turner, but it’s an extremely limited edition.
2017 Ford GT
Ford decided to update its 2006 Ford GT with this offering. Many of the body styling features are the same (some of the scoops are smoothed out, but it very much is a GT). This particular model actually uses a smaller engine, which is something Ford has been tinkering with as of late. However, this 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is able to rip out 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, all while hitting the 60 MPH mark in just 2.8 seconds.