Ford has always been an innovative automaker, creating the first mass-produced and affordable passenger car known as the Model T and sparking an automotive revolution. There have been many Fords that were way ahead of their time, and quite a few that were blunders. But, the company continues to innovate and create new cars that really define what innovation has become. The automaker did have a rocky period during the eighties and nineties, as did the rest of the domestic automakers due to new competition from foreign brands such as Toyota and Honda. Nevertheless, the brand has managed to prevail and remain as a household name.
Some of the most innovative Ford models are cars that you see every single day, still on the road; vehicles like the Taurus, Mustang, and even the F-Series truck are still very common. Then, the company innovated with their Lincoln brand as well, introducing the first domestic luxury SUV since the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, in the Navigator. The big and beautiful Navigator was responsible for bringing us the Cadillac Escalade, and a whole slew of new mainstream luxury SUVs that might not have otherwise been offered. Ford stands by innovation, and their cars in the past few decades have come a long way from the lackluster quality of yesteryear.
Taking a look back through the history books it's hard not to recognize Ford's contributions to the automotive market, and it looks like they will continue to find ways to innovate for the foreseeable future.
30 1964 GT40
Even though the modern Ford GT40 pushes the envelope for design and functionality, the original 1964 GT40 was a true testament to the brand's innovation and ability to develop a one of a kind vehicle that was amazing on the track.
To find an original 1964 GT40 is a challenge, to say the least, but the model remains a highly coveted choice for Ford collectors everywhere who want to experience the one of a kind functionality and performance that the supercar offers, while still remaining true to the brand's image.
29 Shelby 427 Cobra
There is no denying that the Shelby 427 Cobra is one of the most well-known vehicles on the road, and the relationship between Carroll Shelby and Ford is a long-standing one, to say the least. The Shelby products are constantly a step above the average performance brands that are on the market. The Shelby Cobra was a lightweight roadster, and one of the most powerful and low-key performance cars to have ever been released.
We like everything about the Shelby 427 Cobra, and the car was way ahead of its time.
28 1982 Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang went through a couple of periods of disdain, during which the domestic automakers were hit hard by new fuel economy and emissions rules. The 1982 model was the introduction of one of the most popular Mustang models to ever roam the earth, known as the Fox body.
This one of a kind Mustang was also the birth of the 5.0, which remains one of the most popular Mustang models to this day. We love everything about the 1982 Mustang, and it really managed to define what the brand was.
27 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
When the Ford F-150 Lightning was discontinued there was a void that was left in the Ford pickup truck lineup, and thus the company designed the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The truck was everything that the Lightning was not, from offering a full extended cab to the one of a kind lifted the suspension, which makes the truck more than capable at going off-road.
The Raptor is a one of a kind truck that manages to differentiate the barrier between an ordinary pickup truck and adds a level of coolness.
26 Ford GT
Perhaps known as one of the most influential supercars in the world, the Ford GT is a blend of performance and design that really pushed the boundaries for design and what a supercar could become. The current incarnation of the Ford GT carries on this tradition of performance and design, going for a traditional blend of driving characteristics and a lightweight driving design that is above average in every sense of the world.
The current Ford GT is such an inclusive vehicle that you will have to be on a waiting list to get one.
25 1953 Ford F-100
The modern pickup truck has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a farm vehicle, and there was one brand that really pushed the pickup truck class to the next level, and that was the Ford F-Series brand.
The 1953 Ford F-100 was the beginning of creating a new modern pickup, from the one of a kind interior design that was actually comfortable for a change to the stylish exterior and the unique paint colors which gave the truck an above average look that really attracted consumers.
24 1949 Ford Custom
There have been countless stylish two-door models that have been released over the past sixty years in the automotive world, and one that really pushed the boundaries for the design was the 1949 Ford Custom.
This unique two-door model was known for its long swooping lines and lower roofline, which made the model look extremely unique when compared to other two-doors that were on the market at the time. The 1949 Ford Custom ended up being a great seller for the Ford Motor Company, and the model remains a popular hot rod.
23 1948 Ford F-Series
Originally credited as being the truck that sparked the pickup truck revolution, the original 1948 Ford F-Series was a groundbreaking pickup truck that took the traditional farm tool to the next level.
We like that the 1948 Ford F-Series offered a great blend of V8 power as well as the more refined exterior; both of which combined to offer a one of a kind design that was ahead of its time in every aspect. Not to mention the fact that the 1948 Ford F-Series was a step ahead of the other pickup trucks that were on the market.
22 1964/1964.5/1965 Ford Mustang
What we have right here is the car that sparked the Pony Car revolution that we still have to this day, showing the world what a lightweight car with a V8 packed into it could do.
The Ford Mustang was known for being a one of a kind vehicle that came in a two-door and convertible form, and this is also the car that was responsible for birthing the Chevrolet Camaro because GM was in a scramble to compete with Ford's hot-selling Mustang model.
21 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Similar to the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Thunderbird was a step above the average big domestic sedan or two-door. The model was built as a traditional cruiser, which combined a sporty driving experience with a good deal of standard features, which made driving a more pleasurable time, such as air conditioning and power steering.
All in all the original Ford Thunderbird was one of the most revolutionary two-door models to hit the road, and the car stands as a legendary choice to this day.
20 1932 Ford V-8
When it comes to original V8 model vehicles, the Ford V-8 was one of the most innovative cars to roll off of the assembly line. With the original vehicle offering a style similar to other four-doors at the time, Ford had to innovate with a one of a kind engine that was ahead of the curve.
The 1932 Ford V-8 remains one of the rarest and most coveted classic cars to have a Ford badge on it. Finding an original 1932 Ford V-8 can be a challenge, but if you manage to own one you will own a piece of automotive history.
19 Mercury Cougar
Similar to how the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird were corporate twins at the time when the Pony Car became mainstream, the Mercury Cougar and Ford Mustang are corporate twins as well, offering a distinctive blend of luxury and performance similar to how the GM Combo did.
The Mercury Cougar offered a good blend of luxury that many Pony cars at the time didn’t, and coupled with the one of a kind V8 engine the Cougar still managed to provide a good amount of performance.
18 Ford F150 Lightning
The truck that set the stage for all future performance trucks, including the Raptor, the Ford F-150 Lightning was a well built and downright fun pickup truck model that offered a superior blend of performance and styling that made for a great choice.
We liked how the original Lightning offered a supercharged engine and a one of a kind body colored paint job, and the next generation carried on this one of a kind design theory with a more modern truck that has been featured in movies and all kinds of media.
17 Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco created the full-size SUV that we see today, offering a stylish package that combined a roomy interior with a rugged exterior that was well designed enough to take the Bronco just about anywhere off-road. The Bronco has been revolutionary in many aspects, and the model became even more infamous when OJ Simpson took it on his slow speed police chase through the streets of Los Angeles.
The Ford Bronco will go down as one of the most iconic full-size SUV models on the road, and we like everything that it offers.
16 1967 Lotus 49 Ford-Cosworth
Developed as a partnership between Ford and Lotus, the 49 Cosworth is a blend of performance and innovation that had not been seen on the racing circuit at this time.
Lotus was already known for designing one of a kind sports cars that pushed the envelope for design, and Ford had already set out to master the pony car market with their Mustang model. Thus, the brands together created a one of a kind sports car that really pushed the boundaries for design and function.
15 1961 Lincoln Continental
Breaking the boundaries for design and functionality, the 1961 Lincoln Continental is a one of a kind luxury car that was designed by Ford to help the Lincoln brand compete with Cadillac on a whole new level.
The Continental added a whole bevy of new and innovative features to the automaker's lineup, and this is what helped to propel the brand to be one of the most prominent luxury names of the seventies and eighties. The continental was a one of a kind luxury car that really showed how the automaker was capable of innovation.
14 1939 Lincoln Continental
Even way before the sixties, the 1939 Lincoln Continental was a vehicle that was way ahead of its time, and we loved everything that the Continental did for a vehicle industry that was just growing at the time. The Lincoln brand has always been an innovator in terms of design and functionality, which is half of what has made the brand have the longevity that it has had in the last fifty years.
We like everything about the 1939 Lincoln Continental, and the well-made car was definitely ahead of its time.
13 1969 Ford Capri
Although the Mercury Capri is the most well-known model to use the nameplate, the Ford Capri was actually the first model to adopt the Capri product name. The Ford Capri was ahead of its time for quite a few reasons, with the first reason being its sporty design; it also had a one of a kind interior that was definitely ahead of its time.
Although the Mustang was the leading Pony car at the time, the Ford Capri was definitely a sporty alternative, to say the least.
12 1965 Ford Galaxie and LTD
Passenger cars used to be confined to large four-door sedans during the sixties, seventies, and even in the eighties. These were the cars that consumers chose for their family car, and the 1965 Ford Galaxie and LTD was one of the innovators when it came to a full-size four-door sedan.
We loved everything about the Ford Galaxie, which combined a one of a kind style with the notable exterior functions that make for a winning combination of style and substance that stands true to this day.
11 1939 Ford Anglia
Another popular Ford model and one that really set a revolution for the company in terms of design is the 1939 Ford Anglia, which is a well known and quite unique model that managed to blend a one of a kind design with an even more iconic set of features.
The 1939 Ford Anglia was known for having a style that pushed the barriers of what a passenger car should look like, and the driving characteristics were far ahead of the curve in terms of what passenger cars at the time were offering.
10 1968 Ford Escort
For many of us, when we think of the Escort we think of the Ford Economy car of the eighties and nineties that became one of the most prominent sellers for the brand. Taking a cue from other automakers at the time, the Ford Escort is known for being one of the most influential and efficient cars on the market. But the 1968 Ford Escort also pushed the boundaries of design (with a one of a kind design) which is what continued to propel the Escort brand into the future, which made it one of the most well-known brands.
9 1986 Ford Taurus
The eighties were a troubling time for Ford, as the company was being outsold by Chrysler with their massively popular K-Cars, and thus Ford set out to design a new revolutionary family sedan that would take the world by storm.
The 1986 Ford Taurus and its corporate cousin the Mercury Sable, ended up being some of the best selling cars of the decade and are generally credited with saving the Ford Motor Company, by offering one of the most revolutionary products that had been made during this time.
8 Ford Model T
When it comes to a car that is universally known around the world, the Ford Model T was the first mass-produced consumer car to hit the roads. What made the Ford Model T so unique was the fact that the car was designed in every aspect to be an affordable choice for consumers, not to mention the production process which was far ahead of its time at this point.
Everything about the Model T was a unique choice, and the model remains a popular choice for a collector's car to this day.
7 Lincoln Navigator
When the Lincoln brand was struggling during the nineties to attract younger buyers, Ford had to act fast and figure out what they were going to do. The Lincoln Navigator was released as one of the first domestic-based full-size luxury SUVs and the model became an instant hit.
The first thing that we noticed about the Navigator was the fact that it pushed the barriers for the Lincoln brand which had never sold a truck, and the model proved to be a good gamble for the company and remains in the lineup to this day.
6 Ford Taurus SHO
Ford was one of the original automakers to create a domestic sports sedan, and that notable model was the Ford Taurus SHO. This one of a kind sedan was notable for infusing a supercharged V6 engine into an otherwise well-known family sedan, and this created a notable product that was both well known and world-renowned.
The Ford Taurus SHO was created as a show car that would show the world that Ford still had it when it came to performance, and the model has remained a well-known option to this day.
5 Ford Contour SVT
Released during the nineties as another variation of the Taurus SHO, the Ford Contour SVT was another supercharged sedan that Ford managed to release onto the open market. The Ford Contour SVT was a superior blend of performance and luxury, and although the car was quite undersized at the time for the vehicle class that it was in, the model remains a popular choice on the aftermarket community to this day.
The Ford Contour SVT is a powerful and extremely well-built sedan, and the engine was among the most well designed at the time.
4 Ford Focus SVT
Another well known Ford model is the Focus SVT, which was sold during the 2000s at a time when factory performance compacts were making their return. The Ford Focus SVT was available in a few different trim levels, and the model ended up being a superior choice for consumers who didn’t want to spring for the Mazda Protege 5 or another well known compact model that would have been a popular choice at the time.
We like what the Focus SVT has to offer, and we can only assume that the car will go down as a legend.
3 Ford Pinto
Believe it or not, the Ford Pinto was quite an innovative car, and there is more than one reason for this. The model was among the most gas efficient and affordable Ford models to ever hit the road, and although the car had some controversy surrounding it due to gas tank explosions, the Ford Pinto is still a one of a kind choice for a car that was definitely ahead of its time and offered one of the more fuel-efficient options for the domestic market (that the other automakers had to catch up to).
2 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer was released at a time when the only real midsize SUV offering was the Jeep Cherokee and the Chevrolet Blazer, and the Ford Explorer offered a more mainstream package that was easy to drive and offered a much more luxurious interior.
The later models of the Ford Explorer offered V8 power, which managed to propel the small SUV even further ahead of its competition and has managed to make the Ford Explorer one of the best selling mid-size SUV models of all time.
1 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Released during the energy crisis, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid was a compact SUV that took fuel efficiency to a whole new level. Ford was ahead of the curve in designing a fuel-efficient hybrid system, and this made the Mariner one of the hottest selling vehicles during the energy debacle of the late 2000s.
The Mariner Hybrid managed to combine all of the luxury features that you would expect from a Mercury model, and added it to an affordably priced package that remains a popular used car choice as well.
Sources: Hot Rod, Truckin”, Motor Trend