Ford has been in the car business for quite a considerable amount of time. Since their beginnings at the turn of the century, they've successfully not only manufactured cars, but revolutionized the industry, making mass production possible for the first time and putting a nation on wheels, they pushed the car to new levels with advancements, and even got involved with racing over the years, not only building credibility for their brand but generating a community, creating legendary race and rally cars that entire nation fell in love with. The competition of racing meant that every car brand pushed the envelope of performance.
Ford has had a huge influence on the motoring industry since its start, and naturally, over the years they've made a huge amount of cars, especially so when they turned their eyes to the world market, creating cars that catered to a whole new audience.
Because of this huge scale, there have been countless models made over the years that didn't find the most success, out-shadowed perhaps by other more popular models, or even if they did, have just been forgotten since then, enshrouded by time and a burgeoning industry that seems to be growing without end.
In any case, it's often that these cars were ahead of their time, or perfect for their time, and some were timeless, cars that were classics the day they came out, and still are. Gems from the history of Ford, let's take a look at 19 incredible Ford sports cars everyone forgot about.
19 1970 Ford Escort RS1600
The Ford Escort is a name that lasted for quite a long time and saw many different incarnations over its years of production, but not all Escort rides are the same, and this 1970 model is particularly special.
The Ford Escort RS1600 was dialed up, fast, and combined an awesomely simple car with an even more awesome engine, the very best from Ford and Cosworth. Pair the great weight distribution with a rear wheel drive setup, this is a serious driver's car from Ford, one that almost no one remembers this side of the pond.
18 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution
This Ford is maybe the most well known of the list, but it's a car seldom talked about anymore, sadly rarely mentioned or remembered in this day and age. It's a real shame, too, considering just how incredibly ground-breaking this car was and is.
Originally a group B rally car, Ford did put it into road production for the public to buy, though only 24 of them. That makes this car inordinately rare. Pair it with its magnificent performance and this car is truly special. With a 2.1 Liter turbocharged 4 cylinder good for 600 horsepower mounted in the middle and four-wheel drive, this car could keep up and outdo almost any supercar of its time.
17 1970 Ford Torino GT
When it comes to classic muscle cars built by Ford, the Mustang comes to mind primarily, and not necessarily the Torino. Successful at the time, it was quite an incredible car and did well for Ford. Yet these days it seems that most have forgotten this stellar ride.
It's a shame really because many think that this is the better car over the Mustang, it was undeniably one of the greats. With a sleek design, loads of standard features, and up to 360 horsepower, it had some serious muscle.
16 1999 Ford Racing Puma
This little unknown sports coupe has quite a dedicated following around it, people passionate for it and all that it stands for. With good reason, too, because while this car isn't famous, it really should be.
This car was designed by Ford's Rally specialist team, according to GT Planet, and while it didn't sell well, it has proven to be an incredible car through and through. The racing braking system is particularly notable, with the same stopping G-force as a Lamborghini Gallardo, and while it didn't have insane power, it made up for it in the incredible driving experience.
15 1983 Ford Fiesta XR2
While this little hatchback doesn't seem like much more than perhaps a knock off of the eminent Golf GTI made by Volkswagen, this diminutive Ford is actually a pretty zippy little car, and a forgotten classic.
The Ford Fiesta had f0und huge success over its life, but it took a bit for there to be a true sporty version, a bona fide hot hatch. And that's just what the XR2 proved to be, a fast and light hatchback that could be used in a rally as easily as it could be a daily driver.
14 1969 Ford Capri 1600 GT
Perhaps considered the golden age for Ford, the Capri 1600 GT is a spectacular car with some pretty great performance. It looks incredible, too, with desirable vintage styling and class. This was a highly successful endeavor from Ford, but these days it remains in the minds of few, by and large forgotten.
It's a rear wheel drive front-engined sports car coupe, a layout which almost instantly qualifies it as a great driver's car. According to Trade Unique Cars Australia, the original name of this was to be "The Colt," as an ode to this car being the son of the Mustang. Yeah, it was that good.
13 1972 Ford Maverick
The Ford Maverick is a wonderfully styled and effortlessly timeless muscle car to come from, surprisingly, the malaise era, the time when strict regulations limited the power of muscle cars to the point that they were virtually worthless.
Yet, this one shines out among the rest, not because it was more powerful, but because it was smaller, and while it had a low power output it was a well-loved name, and even outsold the Mustang in its first year. The tragedy is that it is almost entirely forgotten these days.
12 1984 Ford Mustang SVO
Many of the Mustangs that Ford produced during the '80s are often entirely forgotten or disregarded, and with good reason. The reign of badge engineering paired with the massive output of miserable consumerist garbage meant that the Mustang name lost almost all credibility.
But, not every ride was entirely worthless, the Mustang SVO was a decent muscle car, all things considered. Naturally, it was the fastest of the time, and the most expensive. It had a small engine for a Mustang, a turbocharged four, lending to its more European ethos, according to Jalopnik, and that among other things is what made it so special.
11 1986 Ford Merkur XR4Ti
This car is technically an iteration, an attempt by Ford to take a successful European formula and apply it to the US market. The attempt eventually proved to be pretty unsuccessful, but the car was anything but that.
The car had some differences in the engine, instead of six cylinders it had turbocharged four, which actually gave it more horsepower, a good thing considering it ended up being heavier due to safety regulations. It was an incredible car that didn't see the success it deserved, and it remains largely forgotten these days.
10 1997 Ford Falcon XR8 Ute
This car is Australian Ford through and through, where the Ute concept gained massive popularity and created a fascinating iteration of what essentially is a sports coupe with a truck bed. The Falcon XR8 Ute was a fast one, too.
The engine was a massive V8, making it more of a snarly muscle car, if anything, and it packed a serious punch. It seemed that with this era of great big engines all trace was forgotten, and while this is an excellent performance car from Ford, it's all but forgotten, especially now that the car industry in Australia is no more.
9 1995 Ford Probe GT
The '90s saw many Fords, countless amounts, actually, leave the production lines and into the world to be sold. Almost none of them were worth anything, as mass production was the name of the game, no quality, no joy, no soul, these cars were examples mindless consumerism at its finest.
But, there were a few Ford gems to come from the '90s, and the Ford Probe GT was just one of them. The Ford Probe was on its own a rather unimaginative and soulless creation, but the GT meant it had a 2.5 Liter V6 worth almost 170 horsepower. That made it at least a little bit interesting to drive.
8 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth
The Ford Sierra was a European model car that Ford produced with enormous success. It even led to the creation of an entirely new brand called Merkur, just to produce this car in the US and Canada.
But, the RS Cosworth was a particularly special version of the Sierra, one that deserves some seriously honorable mention due to its rally roots as a homologation car. The prices can vary depending on the state of the model, but they're one of the few cars that Ford used in rally races, making them awesome drivers cars.
7 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
By and large, the Ford Thunderbird saw some serious difficulties as it fell from the glorious heights of the muscle car pandemonium that had taken over all of the US and even other parts of the world. Since back then, there really hasn't been a Thunderbird worth anybody's money.
But, the Turbo Coupe was an exception and pretty unique sports car that most have forgotten about completely. It features a 2.3 Liter turbocharged four, producing a respectable 190 horsepower. Of course, there are better cars on this list, but if you've got a soft spot for massive coupes, then this is a forgotten classic.
6 2009 Ford Focus RS
While the Ford Focus is hardly a forgotten Ford namesake, most people don't realize, especially those native to and familiar with the US market, that Ford has been making a sporty version for quite a while now, a whole decade, in fact.
Just not in the US, not until just recently. The 2009 RS was available in Europe, and it was and is a seriously hot hatchback racer, according to Car and Driver, the best one that had yet to be offered. Maybe that's because it features 300 horsepower. It also is designed exceptionally well to handle all that power. It is a serious powerhouse and an awesome car many didn't realize was around.
5 1983 Ford Sierra XR4i
The Ford Sierra XR4i was a spectacular little car that proved itself to be an instant classic, but one that has been forgotten about as time has continued its march onwards. With revolutionary aerodynamics and a "whale tail" at the back, this car hooked the market after a little bit of convincing and marketing.
First introduced as a simple sedan, it wasn't long before Ford created a sporty version of it, which ended up being a very good choice indeed. The XR4i had 146 horsepower, manual gearbox, and rear wheel drive. How could it get any better than that?
4 1989 Ford Orion 1600E
The Ford Orion at its origin is a modest, affordable family car that proved to be successful due almost entirely to its practicality. Nearing the very end of its run, Ford wanted to spruce things up and send the model off in style, according to AROnline.
So was created the Orion 1600E, with upgrades in materials, sports seats, and a boost in power. Though it wasn't extraordinarily powerful, it was good fun, had good handling, and is a great example of a retro driver's car that really does deserve to be remembered.
3 1982 Ford Capri 2.8i
The Ford Capri 2.8i was a sporty little car that in many ways was an entirely unique creation, and a throwback to the '80s, and what Ford used to be, even then, and what it was capable of. This car is a great example of why it's so lamentable that Ford has discontinued virtually all cars to make only crossovers.
Rear wheel drive, front engined, coupe, it all adds up to create a car that by today's standards may not have insane power ( a respectable 160 hp), but has what many don't have: an incredible and thoroughly enjoyable driving experience.
2 2000 Ford SVT Contour
The turn of the century in the minds of many also marked a turn in the right direction for the motoring industry, where cars were finally starting to shed the chains and misery of the malaise era once and for all. The real performance was starting to return. But the 2000s was rife with some of the worst cars ever produced by car companies.
They weren't all bad, though for Ford most were, as this SVT Contour helps demonstrate. The Contour alone was a pretty bad car, with not an ounce of power, and cheap parts everywhere. The SVT was cheap, but it had power, enough to merit it making our list.
1 1983 Ford EXP
The Ford EXP was a quirky little coupe built by Ford in the '80s a time when Ford was struggling on the brink, yet still had a certain kind of personality, soul, creativity, and originality that really isn't seen these days in many car companies.
The EXP was Ford's first two-seater since 1957, according to The Truth About Cars, and it was a turning point, switching gears to light, sporty, efficient, versus the usual massive engined, heavy muscle cars from the prehistoric era just before the malaise. It wasn't exactly sporty, but it was extremely efficient and unique.
Sources: Top Gear, Motor 1, Which Car Australia & Classic Car Magazine