Ford is one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world, with the first vehicles being manufactured at the turn of the century, and production continuing nonstop since then. Not only continuing, either, but increasing, massively. Ford can be credited with many of the advancements in the technology behind assembly line production, and the mass production of vehicles that we see today on such a huge scale.
Since its genesis, Ford has created some of the world's greatest cars, and to be objective some of the worst, most soulless cars too. But, they've had quite a storied history, having made some of the greatest rally cars around, and weaving themselves into the fabric of racing history. One of the greatest cars to come from Ford's racing history is the Ford GT, a true legend, and a car that single handedly brought Ford a truly remarkable amount of wins.
Ford was also a huge contributor to one of the most iconic eras in US motoring history, that is the era of the muscle car, where a car was designed with only one thing in mind: raw power. Power and speed, and the biggest engine possible. The Mustang was born from this era, along with the Corvette, names that are legendary (though they've suffered irreparable amounts of harm since then). Ford is known as one of the most affordable brands out there. But that doesn't mean they're all slow. Let's take a look at 20 of the fastest cars Ford has made, that you can get for $12,000 or cheaper.
20 1992 Ford Mustang LX - $10,000
The Ford Mustang has seen countless iterations over the decades it has been in production, from the best muscle car of the time, to the worst desecration of a name imaginable, though despite the rise and fall of the Mustang, there have always been a few models that are exceptions, and exceptional.
Like this one, the 1992 Mustang LX, which had up to 225 horsepower and was overall a decent car. You can pick one up these days for just over $10,000, making it a pretty sweet find.
19 2013 Ford Mustang GT - $11,000
Since the turn of the century, Ford has really stepped up their game, and indeed the rest of the motoring industry, with fantastic leaps forward in performance and quality, and safety. In the US, sports cars are questionably cheap, even new, which means resale values are often quite good.
This 2o13 Mustang GT is just such an example, having been made only half a decade ago, packing some serious performance with a 5 Liter V8 pumping out 420 horsepower. The newer models also have decent handling. All of it, yours, for around $11,000.
18 1983 Ford Fiesta XR2 - $8,000
This is a car from Ford that many people might not recognize, or remember, but it's worthy of being on this list as any of the most iconic mentions. This little hot hatch from 1983 packed all kinds of goodness, wrapped up in a delightfully retro and stylish package.
The Ford First XR2 has a straight four banger underneath the hood, not hugely powerful, but with weight distribution, phenomenal handling, and total curb weight, this thing is an absolute joy, and a true driver's car if there ever was one. Pick one up for around only $8,000, or a completely pristine example for up to $15,000, if you're willing to spend the extra cash.
17 1993 Ford Probe GT - $3,000
The Ford Probe objectively wasn't one of the best cars out there, nor did it come from an era where Ford as a company had very many shining moments, if any at all. But, the Probe GT had power worth mentioning, and in terms of price, this is a pretty good steal for what you get.
Since you can find one of these for around a measly $3,000, the performance package all of a sudden seems a bit more appealing. The GT version packed a 2.5 Liter V6 producing 164 horsepower. With a solid engine like that, this car is well worth the price point.
16 2005 Ford Mustang GT Deluxe - $9,000
The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic names from Ford, and with good reason, as they've kind of always been around, for better or worse. By 2005, there were some iterations finally hitting the streets that were worth mentioning, even if only slightly.
The 2005 Mustang GT Deluxe was just one of these, with a significant performance boost to 300 horsepower from a massive V8. Since this car is over ten years old now, and was sold remarkably cheap new, it can be picked up for around $9,000. Pretty good, all things considered.
15 2013 Ford Fiesta ST - $11,500
The Ford Fiesta kind of took the world by surprise when it came out, seemingly out of nowhere there was this new hot hatch from Ford that did surprisingly well. They became widely popular and well acclaimed by most if not all, and with good reason.
The ST version packs a pretty significant wallop, with a turbocharged four cylinder producing 180 horsepower and some serious torque, paired with a six speed manual transmission, adding up to a whole lot of fun, and on the cheap side. Yours for around $11,500, if you can find one.
14 1984 Ford Mustang SVO - $12,000
Mustangs from the '80s are largely forgotten, mostly because the majority of them did not have anything worthwhile to speak of, and many people were disillusioned with the name entirely due to the dismal grasp of the malaise era, and the terrible cars it produced.
But the Mustang SVO from '84 was an exception, especially if you're looking for a fast car on a budget. Featuring a turbo inline 4 developing 175 horsepower, that's pretty good for the cars of the time, and more than enough to make you smile. The price will give you a grin, too, for around $12,000, a steal considering the classic it is quickly becoming.
13 1999 Ford SVT Contour - $5,000
The turn of the century and the dawn of the 2000s was perhaps one of the darkest times for Ford, where badge engineering and lifeless cars were plaguing the company in hoards. But, the occasional performance car did come into existence, and the SVT Contour is just such an example.
Good for almost 200 horsepower, this car was surprisingly powerful, and looked like its non-SVT counterparts, making it a great sleeper. For a taste of this power and some serious fun in a seriously inconspicuous ride, it'll only set you back around $5,000.
12 1982 Ford Capri 2.8i - $8,000
Another retro roller from the '80s, the Ford Era is this: the innovative Ford Capri 2.8i. With some pretty remarkable styling this car is a pretty great find if you're looking for some classic Ford speed that doesn't involve terrible handling and insane amount of power.
Though it does pack a good punch, from a 2.8 Liter V6 that produces 160 horsepower. It is rear wheel drive and manual, which means it is some serious fun to drive. Picking one of these up will only cost you between $8,000 to $11,000. Good price for a remarkable collector's vehicle.
11 2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra - $10,000
The Ford Mustang has many, many iterations, and this one is one of the most powerful, the SVT Cobra. While not remarkable perhaps by today's standards, it was top of the line for its time, and it still has some serious power, even in today's market.
390 horsepower, in fact, coming from a massive V8 engine. While it suffered from poor build quality and bad handling, when it comes to plain speed, this thing speaks fluently, and angrily. Pick one up for around $10,000.
10 1983 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - $5,000
The later decade muscle cars led to some familiar names and icons getting plastered on some seriously strange and unfamiliar cars. For example, this Thunderbird Turbo Coupe from 1983 seems more like an Oldsmobile than a sports car.
But, its got some serious punch, and it's a surprisingly solid car, too, bound to become a collector item over the next few years, perhaps even skyrocketing in value. A turbocharged inline 4 gave this car quite a bit of pep, but the way it maintains luxury with power makes it a surprising gem. Pick one up for around $5,000.
9 1994 Ford Mustang Saleen - $9,000
The Mustangs from the '90s are often overshadowed and forgotten by the newer facelift that proliferated in the early 2000s, but the Saleen edition of the Ford Mustang is a pretty remarkable car that's ignored at times.
It has a classic V8 engine pushing out 370 horsepower, and with a front engine, rear wheel drive layout, this is honestly a respectable muscle car. Finding one of these for sale and buying it will only set you back around $9,000.
8 2002 Ford Thunderbird - $10,000
While perhaps one of the ugliest cars ever created, and one of the biggest hits to a classic name maybe ever, if you're looking for pure power from Ford at a very cheap price, this thing delivers.
Despite its nigh bad looks, making you want to look away, what's underneath is pretty good. Boasting a big 3.9 Liter V8, the engine pushes out 252 horsepower, and that's a considerable amount. Especially because you can pick up one of these nowadays for around $10,000. Personally I'd never be caught dead in one, but to each his own.
7 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt - $12,000
The Mustang Bullitt is perhaps the next great classic muscle car, and to many the first one deserving of such a title in a very long time. A special edition, these cars are relatively speaking fairly unique, with special features and extra performance.
With a 4.6 Liter V8, a massive throaty machine pushing out 315 horsepower and some pretty respectable performance and handling. This special edition Mustang is up for grabs, and it'll set you back around $12K for a good one.
6 2003 Ford Focus RS - $11,000
The Ford Focus has been a stand up car formula for Ford for quite a long time now, having seen a number of iterations over the decades, as a hatchback, as a sedan, and as this, a performance vehicle.
The Focus RS is a hot hatch that arrived into the game and took people by surprise. It was good, really good and affordable. If you're looking for a hot hatch, this is a good one, featuring great handling and boasting a 212 horsepower engine. That's serious power for such a small car. Get one for around $11,000.
5 2011 Ford Mondeo 2.0 Ecoboost - $9,000
The Ford Mondeo is a model of car that by most standards is a drab, run of the mill, typical family sedan car that doesn't have much of anything remarkable in the way of performance.
But that's not actually the case with this model, the 2.0 EcoBoost. While EcoBoost sounds dreadfully boring, it's actually a pretty awesome thing from Ford, and it often means loads of power. This car has an impressive output of 240 horsepower, for an impressive price of around $9,000.
4 2005 Ford Mustang GT - $8,000
The Ford Mustang has some pretty sad and weak history, the base model being dragged through hopeless amounts of dirt, shame, lack of power, terrible performance, badge engineering, bad build quality, amongst many other things.
But, Ford has been at least kind enough to have regularly released high performance models of the Mustang that at least give a semblance of power and ferocity back to the namesake. The Mustang GT is a reasonable example of this, especially if you're on a budget. Pick up the V8 monster for around $8,000.
3 2007 Ford Mondeo ST - $4,000
The Ford Mondeo ST is a great sleeper car, if that's the kind of car you're shopping for and the reason you're looking at a Ford instead of virtually any other brand of performance car. The Mondeo looks like a plain old sedan, but it isn't.
This little blue rocket packs 222 brake horsepower, a significant amount for a cheap car that looks like it'll struggle to get to speed on the highway. It's a great price, too, setting you back around a nigh insignificant $4,000.
2 2010 Ford Taurus SHO - $10,000
The Ford Taurus is another surprising performance sedan that can be bought for quite cheap. The biggest advantage to buying one of these is that they are awesome sleeper cars, performance cars that go largely undetected by anyone.
The SHO produces 365 horsepower from an awesome V6 engine, naturally aspirated, and has some serious punch. No one will be any the wiser until you unleash the storm of power. Getting an older model of one these will run you around $10,000.
1 2013 Ford Mustang GT Convertible - $10,000
The Ford Mustang GT is the closest thing you can buy to the base model, which isn't worth anyone's time or money. With extra power and a performance package to match it, the GT has a fair amount of power, at least enough to garner the Mustang name.
It has 402 horsepower underneath the hood, and with a convertible like that you'll be rolling in relaxed style and raw power for a surprisingly good price, too. Buying a 2013 GT will set you back around $10,000, a steal for a smooth and powerful ride in the sunshine with the top down.
Sources: Net Car Show, Wheels Age & Hemmings