Hooniverse Asks- What's History's Best Ford?

Yesterday, we considered which has been history’s greatest Chevrolet. And, while the bow tie brigade has had a dozen or more contenders plying America’s highways over the years, their competition over at the House of Henry has provided the World with some of the most memorable cars and trucks available for over 100 years.
The Model T, The flathead V8, Mustang, Escort, Cortina, Taurus, and of course  the thundering GT40s are but a few of the fillies in Ford’s stable. Each tells a tale, and every one is some way historically relevant.
Do you remember the first time you saw a Taurus? It was like it had arrived from an alternate universe, so different from the fox platform cars that filled their dealer lots at the time. It’s that kind of dramatic paradigm shift that has been the hallmark of Ford’s efforts over the entirety of the automotive age.
Ever driven a Model T?  It’s not like piloting a modern car in any sense, but it created a nation of motorists, and opened rural America to places and experiences outside of walking distance.
So many noteworthy cars have come from Henry’s legacy, and quite a few no so bright ideas as well. Remember the Edsel? That brand remains synonymous with failure even today, 50-some years later. Ford’s actuarial and legal departments allowed the Pinto to forever be besmirched by the reputation of imminent immolation due to their assertion that it would be more cost effective to absorb lawsuit costs than to recall millions of cars and apply an eleven dollar fix.
But even the greats have an off day, and while we note those less than stellar moments in the Blue Oval’s history, what we want to know is which of their shining lights burns brightest in your estimation.
So, remembering that Ford has touched tire to tarmac in just about every nation on Earth, and that they aren’t simply an American manufacturer, which of the hundreds of cars that have been branded with the Ford script is their greatest achievement? Which is history’s greatest Ford?
Image source: [classicfordmag.co.uk]

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  1. lilwillie Avatar

    F-150. The money maker and rock solid work truck.

    1. tiberiuswise Avatar

      That was my first thought. Without it Ford would surely not exist. I changed my mind because I thought the question was "What Ford Car." Idiot.

    2. Dr_Dangerously Avatar

      Second, I beat the hell out of my F150 and it still ran like a champ. The '88 was a solid truck, with the 5.0 motor it made it a fantastic truck to own.

    3. engineerd Avatar

      Good choice. The Ranger, while not exactly as big a seller recently as the F-150, is further proof that Ford knows how to do trucks right. I beat the crap out of a Ranger work truck one summer that had over 100k and dubious maintenance and it kept going without complaint. My own Ranger did whatever I asked it to without so much as a whine…until I needed to go up a steep grade. But it made it.

  2. tiberiuswise Avatar

    Mustang. Fun, cheap and practical. It invented a classification in a crowded market in a way that has not been eclipsed since. "True sports car" fans will hate on it for being too mainstream, eco weenies will hate on it for it's Shelby variants, ricers will hate on it for a lack of technology. They are all right. They all miss the point.

  3. Alff Avatar

    Gee, I wonder what Skaycog will pick.
    As for me, the Tin Lizzy is as iconic a vehicle as was ever made. If the question is, which Ford would you most like to drive regularly, I'll take a wooden shoebox.
    <img src="http://www.timelessimagesmi.com/49ford.256.jpg"&gt;

    1. skay¢og Avatar

      Yeah, I picked it. Imagine that. 😉

  4. Goingincirclez Avatar

    It simply HAS to be the GT/40.
    The original came from nowhere and spat in the face of Ferrari as it forged its own legend.
    The successor again came from nowhere within a company feeling the pinch of meandering purpose, to show the world it could still rock.
    Of course I equated yesterday's Chevy question to the everyman vehicle – a role Ford also has to play. Too many to list, and many of the greats have flaws in hindsight. But I'll give a nod to the Taurus, Escort, Ranger, Tempo, and F-150, as they collectively were "5 of the 10 best selling vehicles in America" for a long run in the early 90's – The last gasp of American greatness from within.

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      Stuff and nonsense. While I greatly admire the GT40, as any self-respecting motorsport fan should, it did not "come from nowhere". Ford bought a Lola Mk6 and threw a metric f#%k-ton of development money at Eric Broadley's basic design until they finally had a car that would win LeMans.
      The Lola Mk6
      <img src="http://www.lolaheritage.co.uk/history/images_story/mk6.jpg"&gt;
      You know who
      <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2655/3952755389_7503d0ac2a.jpg"&gt;

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I was going to say the exact same thing.
        As far as Ford throwing money around, I remember one of the Carrolls, Shelby or Smith talking about running out of GT-40 windshields at LeMans. Ford sent over another batch of windshields on a private 707, can't remember if it was chartered or just the company plane. Not regular air freight, the plane flew from Michigan to LeMans just for the windshields!

        1. muthalovin Avatar

          To quote the Kinks:
          She walked up to me
          and she asked me to dance
          I asked her her name
          and in a dark brown voice
          she said Lola
          L-O-L-A Lola
          la la la la Lola
          Well I'm not the world's
          most physical guy
          but when she squeezed me tight
          she nearly broke my spine
          oh my Lola
          la la la la Lola

    2. dmilligan Avatar

      I'll also say the GT40. It's beautiful, fast, the engines sound like sex and it ate Ferrari's lunch at LeMans, just to piss off Enzo. What more could you want?

  5. P161911 Avatar

    Hard to argue with the Model T. First truly mass produced car. No automaker in the world could even dream of having over half the cars on the road being a single model, the Model T holds that distinction. For a generation, a car was a Model T. Engines produced until 1941. The car that put America on wheels. Produced/assembled worldwide. If it wasn't for the Model T Henry Ford just might be know only as one of the guys that started Cadillac. Heck the Model T even brought us KingsFORD Charcoal (originally made from the left over bits of wood from Model T production).

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      I agree. The Model T changed the world. You can't get more significant than that.

    2. rocketrodeo Avatar

      Yep. The T is significant on SO many levels, and not just in automotive history.
      If you visit Detroit on an auto-themed visit, be sure and check out the Piquette Ave. Ford plant, the first ground-up Ford factory, where models N, R, S, and T were developed and built. Amazingly, it still stands in pretty much original condition, having spent most of the last century as a Studebaker warehouse and commercial laundry. Last I heard it was open first and third Saturdays of the month.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I know that they built several plants around the country to assemble the knocked down kits. There is one in Atlanta, not the old Hapevillle plant, but a plant off Ponce de Leon Ave. that has been converted into lofts and retail space. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company_A

  6. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Well this is my desktop picture, do I have to say more?
    <img src="http://picasaweb.google.com.br/lh/photo/rxL6CSHB20K8UmvO_xPTYg?feat=directlink"&gt;

  7. CaptainZeroCool Avatar

    They made a good Ford?
    Disclaimer: I own a 1969 F100

    1. RetroRCR Avatar

      What's History's Best Ford? When you are comparing Ford's with Ford's, dose it have to be good?
      Disclaimer: My first car was a Cortina. Have owned several other Fords as well:)

  8. James Avatar

    Lotus Cortina MkII.

  9. muthalovin Avatar

    All of 'em
    Its like my children, I cannot pick one. However, if push comes to shove, this one:
    <img src="http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/4153/sigpic7wk.jpg"&gt;

    1. RetroRCR Avatar

      On my wish list!

    1. jesse Avatar

      Barracuda was first.

  10. scroggzilla Avatar

    I'm sure my nominee is in here somewhere…..

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      Doesn't make it easier, but still keep to the Escort MK1 RS1600 (or RS2000)

  11. engineerd Avatar

    Ford wanted to buy Ferrari. Ferrari seemed wiling to sell to Ford. Then pulled out of the deal at the last minute which pissed off Henry Ford II something fierce. So, he decided to kill Ferrari in their own backyard, so to speak. Ferrari had been dominant in endurance racing and grand prix racing. So, it seemed like a natural place to slay the giant.
    And they did.
    After some growing pains, they took 1-2-3 at Le Mans in 1966.
    A GT40 took the victory for the next 3 years at Le Mans, showing the boys in Maranello that the 1-2-3 finish wasn't a fluke, but a way of life. It also put Ford high up on the list of great racing manufacturers. It took the monster we know as the Porsche 917 to unseat the GT40.
    <img src="http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-def/Ford-GT40-LeMans-Victory-1966.jpg"&gt;

  12. CptSevere Avatar

    The only Ford I've ever owned is my F100, and it's been the best vehicle I've ever had. Simple, reliable, and just a pleasure to have.
    Yeah, Ford has produced so many iconic vehicles that it's hard to choose one. As P161911 noted above, it all started with the Model T. Here's a good one: They helped win WWII by producing the Ford GPW, the good old Jeep. Willys of course designed it, but I'm pretty sure that Ford manufactured more Jeeps than Willys.

  13. NefariouKunk Avatar

    Good 'ol Ford. The early part of their story defined motoring in the US. They opened up a plant in Texas during the depression and my family repaid them by buying from them nearly exclusively. For decades we worked for Exxon or one of the companies that were incorporated and we got nothing but Fords as company cars.
    80s: F250, two Lincoln Town Cars (they count)
    90s: Taurus, Ranger, Focus, Mustang
    00s: Town Car and my Grandfather finally got a Caddie because he was in a wheel chair and that was the newest car he could find with a bench seat.
    We had a Suburban and a Honda thrown in the mix too. I rebelled with a Camaro and Eclipse mainly because I didn't want to get a Mustang lost in the driveway at parties since there are six of them among my friends.
    All that said, the Ranger was amazing to learn how to drive in. Very forgiving and I will always have a soft spot for them. The focus was surprisingly fun and it is best if I do not talk about what I did with my sisters Stang. Town Cars were great cruisers and perfect for dates but not versatile enough for me. I have a crush on this company and am super psyched at their response to recent events. I cannot wait to get back into one. I just cannot afford the new rides I am loving yet.
    But to try and answer the question at hand is hard. They nailed so many niches throughout the years. But the Model T gave the working man access and changed the economic landscape. My runner up is the RS200 because it is the antithesis of everything that usually makes Fords great. It is unreasonable, high maintenance, high strung and inaccessible to most of us … and it is still amazing!

  14. P161911 Avatar

    As I stated above the Model T was the best car for Ford and the time, but only one time in its history has Ford decided to build the absolute BEST car possible, not the fastest, not the one they could sell the most, but the BEST. That car was the 1956 Continental Mk II. It cost $10,000 in 1956, TWICE the price of a Cadillac. <img src="http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/resources/2007/12/mkiia.jpg"&gt; ” target=”_blank”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Mark_II

  15. Tomsk Avatar

    The all-American winnah:
    <img src="http://www.biggolddog.com/uploaded_images/GT40MKIV-777145.jpg&quot; width="987" height="469" />

  16. Reuven Avatar

    The model A. Ford's best, most durable car.

  17. mudmonster Avatar

    Ford Sierra Cosworth. One of the best rally cars during the late 80's.. http://www.ford-club-hannover.de/Ford_RS__XR___Co

  18. Maymar Avatar

    Obligatory snark:
    <img src="http://www.vivagoal.com/images/wallpapers/mazda-RX-8-4.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    *If this were a few years ago, the Jag E-Type, Aston Martin DB5, and Land Rover Series I/II would have also been possible nominations.
    From a more personal perspective, if I were still four, and my life's ambition was to be "the boss of Ford," my answer would have been the Aerostar (I was a weird kid). More recently, I fell in love with my oft-mentioned Escort – a $100 rust bucket that taught me to love handling and adding lightness, and was a pretty decent car for me too. Saved my life even.
    But from a rational perspective, I have to argue for the Model T, for many of the reasons argued here, and also that it helped jump-start hot-rodding (which I suppose leads naturally into the Ford Model A with Ford's first V8).

  19. skay¢og Avatar

    What's history's best Ford you ask? The Ford GT40 and Ford GT….hands down, without a doubt.
    <img src="http://media.il.edmunds-media.com/ford/gt/2006/fe/2006_ford_gt_oth_fe_10_717.jpg"&gt;

    1. engineerd Avatar

      My mind asplodes at the site of so many Ford GTs…especially that Gulf livery one.
      OK, it wasn't my mind that asploded, but sometimes I do think with that part.

      1. skay¢og Avatar

        I wonder how many there are. We can't see all of them.

    2. muthalovin Avatar

      Gulf livery GT = Sex On Wheels. Epic Pic, Yo!

  20. discontinuuity Avatar

    Ford Model B V8, specifically Bonnie and Clyde's 1933:
    <img src="http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h44/dixon-cannon/BonnieandClydeCar.jpg"&gt;

  21. WiPo Avatar

    Ford Focus RS … it's GREEN

  22. ptschett Avatar

    The one that makes me go weak in the knees and want to get out my checkbook is the '96-'97 Thunderbird, so I have to go with that. (This is based on my gushing praise of a beautiful, only-98,000 mile example at a local used-car lot tonight, which I would have got out my checkbook and bought regardless of asking price if it had only been a V8 car…)

  23. nofrillls Avatar

    There may be plenty cooler, but this one was the best:

  24. typhoon5000 Avatar

    The F-150 and Mustang are VERY good choices, but I have to say it was the 1959 F-250 because it was the first non-commercial factory 4×4 pickup truck. This really made it possible for anyone to get anywhere.
    [youtube wMET4PMzr-Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMET4PMzr-Q youtube]

  25. mix3d3m0ti0n5 Avatar

    '87/88 Cougar/Thunderbird. Always loved those cars (and being my first one has nothing to do with it). But what have I to say, I love all of the Cougars and Thunderbirds.

  26. matt Avatar

    The RS200 prepped for group B.