The Best Ford Sports Cars History
Ford sports car History
Ford sports car history, including the iconic Mustang and Thunderbird, is the story of motoring for the ordinary man.
It was Ford, with the Model T, that set the world on wheels, and for almost a century since then they have provided motoring for millions. Along the way, they’ve built some memorable classics.
The Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford had a personal mission in life, and that was to bring affordable motoring to the ordinary person. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams with the Model T, selling over 15 million between 1908 and 1927. Economies of scale, simple design and Ford’s use of the moving assembly line let him massively reduce prices during the life of the car.
The Model T was used for everything it was possible to use a car for, including a sports car. Hot-up aftermarket parts were made for it, sports bodies could be bought from independent manufacturers and of course, there were homemade sports bodies put on the Tin Lizzie chassis.
The Model T was obsolete by 1927 and on its last legs sales-wise. The Model A took its place for four years when Ford’s next big one for hot-rudders came out – the legendary flat-head V-8 with 221 cu in and 65 bhp. It powered Ford cars to wins in the 1936 and 1938 Monte Carlo races and was used by Ford until 1954 when a new overhead-valve V-8 was built.
The Classic Thunderbird was Ford’s first true two-seater sports car for many years. It came out in 1955 as Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Corvette. The Thunderbird was a beauty with crisp and restrained styling and it was a great success. Over 16,000 were built in 1955 compared to sales of only 700 Corvettes that year.
The classic sporty two-seater lasted just 3 years, though the Thunderbird name lived on in bigger heavier cars with little sportiness about them.
Ford dealers wanted another two-seater to sell. What they got in 1964 was a four-seat sports car that was an instant hit. It wasn’t just Ford history that was made back then, it was motoring history.
The Ford Mustang came in 3 body styles, notchback coupe, fastback, and convertible and they all looked great. Sales took off with 22,000 cars ordered the first day and 418,000 sold the first year. The Mustang was the first pony car and it set the formula. Options made the car. You could buy anything from a mild 6 cylinder with fantastic good looks to the muscular 7 liters 360 bhp Shelby GT 500 of 1968. The Cobra Jet of 1971 gave even more power.
Like the Thunderbird, the classic good looking Mustang only lasted a few years. 1969 saw a bigger, heavier car that had lost its youthful beauty.
Both the Thunderbird and the Mustang took advantage of Ford’s family car line-up, using components from existing cars. Using parts made in a high volume kept prices down to an affordable level.
There are two galleries of Ford history-making cars for you to enjoy. The 1967 Mustang Gallery has ten photos of a pretty 1967 coupe showing interior and engine pictures as well as the outside. The Classic Mustang Gallery has five photos of classic Mustangs at the 2003 Noosa Historic Racing Car Hill Climb in Queensland, Australia, and five pictures of Mustangs taken at a car show.