Two of the most important things that make a car manufacturer succeed are its cars, and how well they sell. Henry Ford dreamed of a car for the masses, one that was in every American house, and today, it’s clear that his dream came true. The innovation of the Ford Motor Company, and its early success, especially when compared to the other two of the Detroit Three, made it the huge success and the automotive leader that it is today. For a company that is 119 years old, there is no denying that even Ford has faltered many times, creating cars that should have never come off the line.
However, there are certain cars that Ford created that had huge significance for the automotive world at large. Not only did these cars become the most important ones in the history of the Ford Motor Company, but they also became an indelible part of motor history at large. Ford is one of the biggest automobile giants of the world, and here are the 10 most important cars they made that got them where they are today.
Table of Contents
10/10 Ford Thunderbird (1955-1997)
The Ford Thunderbird is a nameplate anyone across America would immediately recognize. Over 11 generations in the market, the Thunderbird has become an extremely popular car, before its sad downfall towards the end. Ford birthed the Thunderbird in 1955 to match and compete with the Chevy Corvette.
This was the first glamorous car to come from Ford, and while it later took a different path of more luxury and less power, the first generation of the Thunderbird, over three years, sold over 53,000 units.
9/10 Ford Escort (1968-2004)
The Ford Escort is one of the most important cars in Ford’s history that cemented its presence as a capable and beloved manufacturer overseas. While the American consumer found it rather dull, Europeans surely lapped up the Escort, and it shows through in the 18 million units of the Ford Escort sold in its lifetime.
This was a simple, straightforward car. The engine at the front sent power to the rear, and it could certainly be credited for making Ford as British as it is American. Even today, the Ford Escort is a formidable rally car and an iconic performance car.
8/10 Ford Crown Victoria (1991-2011)
Any sedan that completes 20 years is worthy of respect, and that is even more so the case when it comes to the Crown Victoria.
Ford made and sold almost 1.5 million units of the Crown Victoria, and it remains one of the most important cars in all of America, seeing how it usually comes in yellow or with sirens blazing. The Crown Victoria is also a serious sleeper car that comes with a V8 under the hood.
7/10 Ford Custom (1949-1972)
Ford created an automotive icon after the end of the second World War. In the wake of WWII prosperity, the 1949 Ford Custom came onto the scene and became an immensely popular choice. Its envelope body, to this day, is considered a prime example of modern engineering.
The Ford Custom was undeniably the most popular family car through the entirety of the 50s. With its sleek styling, the Ford Custom managed to tuck everything in, and even more importantly, it set the blueprint for the entire American automotive industry for over three decades to follow.
6/10 Ford Taurus (1986-2019)
The Ford Taurus exemplifies precisely what classic American cars were all about. The Taurus was sturdy and dependable, and the special SHO models, which stood for Super High Output, provided loads of power.
However, the launch of the Taurus was particularly important to the Ford Motor Company, seeing how they were struggling financially in the mid-80s. The entire American industry was failing, thanks to Japanese makers, but then came the Taurus. American consumers finally came back to buying American cars, and the Taurus saved Ford from bankruptcy.
5/10 Ford Explorer (1990-Present)
The Ford Explorer became the quintessential family SUV for American consumers throughout the ‘90s. Sure, it might not be the absolute best-selling vehicle out there, but to this day, the SUV has sold over 7.6 million units.
Now, SUVs are more popular than ever before, which means only positive things for the Explorer. To have evolved and still be around today is a great feat for an SUV like the Ford Explorer, and Ford has clearly used the Explorer formula in their smaller crossovers and SUVs as well.
4/10 Ford Model T (1908-1927)
The Ford Model T is the vehicle that started it all. This is the car that made Henry Ford famous, and it was the first affordable and mass-produced vehicle to come off the Ford assembly line.
With a whopping 16.5 million units sold between 1908 and 1927, the Ford Model T is hands down the most influential car of the 20th century. Truly, the modern auto world wouldn’t have been the same without the Ford Model T, and its four-cylinder basic engine.
3/10 Ford F-150 (1975-Present)
The Ford F-Series debuted in 1948 and was the first truly post-WW2 design from the company. More comfortable, usable, and versatile than any other pickup truck that came before, the F-Series became the most iconic truck in American automotive history.
The Ford F-150, which debuted in 1975, has become almost synonymous with America’s workforce, and over the years, the truck has evolved and become luxurious, safe, and fast. There’s an F-150 for every need, and even an electric Lightning F-150, which goes to show just how incredibly successful and popular the F-150 has been for the Ford Motor Company.
2/10 Ford GT40 (1966-1969)
The Ford GT40 was born out of a contest between Ford and Ferrari. Ford had decided to make its own racer to beat Ferrari at their own game, especially in the 24 Hours of Le Mans competition. Ford mixed European chassis components with American V8 units, and the result was the greatest American race car of all time.
With support from racing and automotive greats like Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, the GT40 managed not only to take the fight to Ferrari but also beat them for three years straight at LeMans.
1/10 Ford Mustang (1964-Present)
A car that creates its own class is historic and formidable. Many would consider the Ford Mustang to be the best Ford car ever produced. Quintessentially American, the Mustang has had power, muscle, and an iconic look that sets it apart and makes it an indelible part of global automotive history.
Ford launched the muscle wars of the ‘60s with the Mustang in 1964, and theirs was the blueprint and template for other car-makers to follow. Over seven generations, the Mustang has remained the king of the hill in the muscle and pony car segments, the Ford Mustang is simply the most important, historic, and iconic car the Ford Motor Company ever produced.