The Ford Motor Company was founded way back in 1903, with General Motors coming up five years later in 1908. That being said, Ford got some tough competition from GM and later Chrysler at every step of the way, sometimes ending up being more of a follower than a leader. And while Pontiac was the leader in muscle cars, Ford soon launched its own trusted label of muscle cars that rocked the market.
This full-size Ford came into being in 1958 and dominated the car bazaar till 1974 in the States. In 1962, the Ford Galaxie rolled out of the production lines carrying a Thunderbird 6.6-liter High-Performance V8 powerplant jetting out a massive 385 horsepower and torque of 440 ft-lb.
This high-performance V8 mill was exclusively available in the Galaxie. The following year in 1963, Ford replaced the 6.6-liter mill with a bigger and better 7.0-liter V8 so that the Galaxie could lock horns with its rivals on the NASCAR tracks. This 7.0-liter engine was rated at 425 horsepower and could whip a dust constellation on the tracks.
1968 was the beginning of a new era for the Fairline Torino as Ford wanted to ready this car for the NASCAR tracks. This Mustang-like fastback came with a good choice of engines – a 4.7-liter, 5.0-liter, and 6.3-liter V8s. However, the ones with either the 7-liter Cobra Jets or the C6 automatics were the heroes. Only 600 of these were ever sold and only 193 had a solid 3.91 rear axle ratio.
And they had a very distinctive 428 (cubic inches) badging on each front bender. This 7.0-liter motor was the most potent engine available with Ford that time and the Fairlane Torino GT smashed through NASCAR rather successfully.
The 1973 Ford Falcon XB was sold between 1973 and 1976 in the Australian market by Ford’s Australian subsidiary. And only 949 XB GT Coupes were ever produced during this period. The XB GT came armed with a standard 5.75-liter Cleveland mill that was capable of pumping out 300 horsepower and 380 ft-lb of torque.
This third-generation Falcon is also dubbed as a performance legend in the world of muscle cars. And what made it more famous was its screen presence in the Mad Max flicks and Eric Bana’s popular documentary Love The Beast, known as the second-highest-grossing documentary in the history of Australian cinema.
The T-Bird started its journey in 1955 when Ford decided to create a new market for luxury cars in the global car bazaar. Interestingly, it outsold its arch-rival, the Corvette in its debut year. The T-Bird nameplate lived for eleven generations till 2005 and came in several body configurations throughout its entire journey. But the one that we’re talking about here is its third-generation 1962 avatar: the M-Code T-Bird.
This was the improved version of the 6.3-liter V8 and was armed with three two-barrel Holley carburetors that could together pulse out 340 horsepower. Only 200 of these were ever produced and they are rare finds for car collectors.
The Ford Talladega debuted in 1969 and as the name suggests was meant for the tracks of Talladega Superspeedway that had also debuted the very same year. This muscle car was ambitiously pegged against the likes of Dodge Charger 500, the Charger Daytona, and the Plymouth Superbird – all of them were the Ford Talladega’s primary rivals.
This was Ford’s answer to the NASCAR’s aero wars. These muscled Fords were armed with 7.0-liter Cobra Jet and a C6 automatic with a column shifter to take on to the challenge. Often dubbed as a “showroom race car” by many fans, the Talladega is, in fact, every car collector’s dream.
This muscle car arrived in the car bazaar in 1967 and it won the Motor Trend’s COTY (Car Of The Year) award on its debut. The Mercury division of Ford sold this nameplate for more than three decades. The Cougar shared its engine with the Ford Mustang but it was larger and had a longer wheelbase. The 1968 Cougar GT-E came with two engine options – a 7.0-liter V8 or the same displacement Cobra Jet.
In toto, only 357 Cougar GT-E were ever produced – 357 with the V8 and 57 with Cobra Jet. The ones with the 335-horsepower 7.0-liter Cobra Jet mills are priceless and ran like the wind in their heydays.
This was the era of muscle cars and the Detroit Three were all up against each other to prove their mettle. The Camaro-Mustang rivalry had taken a new shape in the late sixties. It was all about NASCAR, Trans-Am, and drag-racing – an ideal place for these auto giants to flex their muscles. And the Mustang Boss 302 was meant for the same racing world, or rather, aimed to rule it. Not subtle about either!
The Boss 302 was Ford’s bet for the SCCA Trans-Am Championship for the year 1969 and 1970. It raced alongside Pontiac Firebirds, Camaros, and AMC Javelins in the 1970 edition. This muscle car carried a 4.9-liter small-block V8 powerplant belting out 294 horsepower and 290 ft-lb of torque.
To say that the Mustang reinvents itself continuously would be bang on, and that’s what happened when the Mustang decided to when it went ahead of the Shelby Mustang GT350 and made a Shelby Mustang GT350R. Frankly, even the GT350 is one badass Mustang that could leave many biting the dust.
The GT350R could then be described as the most track-ready street-legal Mustang ever considering they took everything off the car including the air conditioning, rear seats, the music system – and put in carbon fiber wheels. The same 5.2-liter V8 makes the GT350R go 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, and the GT350 lags at 4.1-4.2 seconds. All the difference needed to win or lose a race.
1968 was the time when Mustang was getting its ass kicked by the Camaro, Firebird, and even the Barracuda. But a Mustang is a Mustang, and the Camaro, despite its introductory speech of being a beast that ate Mustangs, hasn’t quite been able to chomp the Mustang off the road.
So in 1968, the Mustang countered the Chevy Big-Block with its 7.0-liter V8 with larger valve heads and a racer’s version of the intake manifold. This was mated to the four-barrel Holley carburetor that shot up the output to 410 horses, but Ford officially stated it to be good for 335 horsepower lest the insurance agents had a field day.
The Mustang itself is a powerhouse which is pretty obvious from its name – think Mustang and a free-roaming stallion comes to mind, with muscles gleaming as it canters down dusty fields. And that is exactly what the Ford Mustang does – whips up dust as it often leaves better cars behind.
The 1965 Mustang Shelby GT350 was another beautiful and serious piece of engineering. The 1965-66 Shelby Mustang GT350 was also dubbed the Cobra and were lightweight cars fitted with a 4.7-liter Windsor V8 engine, good for 271 horsepower. Modified with a Holley carburetor, the horses went up to 306 with a 329 ft-lb torque, with serious racing capability. This was as muscle as muscle could get!