From the rumble of the Model T to the roar of the Mustang, Ford has made some pretty legendary cars. These are 16 Ford models that didn’t just meet the moment—they’ve made history.

Think you’re a true Ford fan? Then these are the models you should know:

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

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Talk about ambition: Ford dropped $20 million (that’s $214 million today) on developing the ’57 Skyliner’s retractable hard top. This mechanical marvel was a wiring wonderland, but it left you with almost no trunk space when down. Despite the high price tag, nearly 49,000 Skyliners found homes between ’57 and ’59.

1959 Ford Country Squire

Image Credit: ©Ford

Long before minivans and SUVs, the Country Squire was king of the road. Ford marketed these nine-passenger giants as the go-to for adventure. They even had a whole line of camping gear to match. With three rows of seats and that classic wood paneling (well, sort of wood), the ’59 Country Squire was a family road trip dream.

1932 Ford V-8

Image Credit: ©Ford

1932 was a game-changer for Ford. Enter the flathead V-8. This bad boy was a revolution, making V-8 power something the average Joe could afford. Over the next 21 years, Ford sold more V-8s than all its competitors combined. Talk about setting the bar.

1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria

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1956 brought us the four-door Fairlane Victoria, which – believe it or not – you could actually get in pink. The base engine, a 292 cubic inch V-8, cranked out 202 horses. And for those craving more power, there was the 312 with a Holley four-barrel carb, pushing 225 horsepower. That year also marked the switch to 12-volt systems across Ford’s lineup.

1949 Ford

Image Credit: ©Ford

Post-WWII, Ford dropped the ’49 model, and it’s a whole new world of car design. We’re talking slab sides, integrated fenders, chrome trim, and a nod to the aircraft style that’s about to take over the ’50s.

1965 Ford Transit

 

Image Credit: Kieran White from Manchester, EnglandCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ford Transit isn’t just any van; it’s a legend that’s been on the road since 1965. Known as “The Backbone of Britain,” this Ford classic is a workhorse beloved for its reliability in hauling everything from cargo to adventurers living the van life. With a 2.0 L engine delivering 73 horsepower and a top speed of 65 mph, it’s built for endurance, not speed. But there’s a wild side to the Transit story. In 1972, Ford unleashed the Transit “Supervan,” a racing variant with a GT40’s V-8 engine, capable of a staggering 150 mph.

1939 Lincoln Zephyr

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The Zephyr is like the cool kid of the 1930s. Designed by Ford’s fresh-faced Design Department, it’s all sleek, modern, and aerodynamic. The ’38 model had these cool dual grilles, but from ’39 to ’41, they switched it up with the vertical ‘waterfall’ design, making the Zephyr a straight-up American icon.

1939 Ford Cab Over Engine (COE) Truck

Image Credit: ©Ford

1939 was big news for Ford. They kick off the Mercury brand and drop a more powerful V-8 into the mix. This beast powers up all sorts of vehicles, including the stylish COE dump truck. Produced from ’38 to ’40, these oval grille models are now collector and customizer gold.

1946 Ford Super Deluxe Station Wagon

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World War II was raging, and Ford was prepping for whatever was coming with a big update in ’41. Production halted in ’42 and fired up again in ’45. The ’46 model is pretty much a ’42 with a few tweaks, but for the soldiers coming home, it’s a symbol of a bright, baby-filled, suburban future.

1961 Lincoln Continental

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The ’61 Continental broke the mold with its clean, authoritative design – a stark contrast to the flashy ’50s. Those famous ‘suicide’ doors weren’t just for show; they were a practical solution to a design problem. Plus, it was the first American car with a two-year, 24,000-mile warranty. Talk about standing behind your product.

1955 Ford Thunderbird

Image Credit: ©Ford

The ’55 Thunderbird isn’t just a car; it’s a legend. It wasn’t meant to be a sports car but a stylish cruiser. Every T-bird came with a V-8 and a snazzy painted fiberglass top. Plus, those dual exhausts exiting through the bumper guards? Pure class.

1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350H

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A Mustang list ain’t complete without a Shelby. The ’66 GT-350H was a race car you could rent – seriously, $17 a day and 17 cents a mile. There are tales of racers borrowing these beasts, swapping the engines for races, and then sneaking them back into the Hertz lot as if nothing happened.

2016 Ford GT No. 68

Image Credit: ©Ford

Fast forward to 2016, and Ford’s at it again at Le Mans, battling Ferrari with the reborn GT. Fifty years after their historic 1-2-3 finish, they clinch the GT class win. It’s not just a victory; it’s a repeat of history, proving Ford still has what it takes.

1966 Ford Bronco

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The ’66 Bronco hit the scene as a sturdy workhorse, complete with options for just about anything – snowplows, CB radios, you name it. It became a fan favorite fast and marked a huge moment in Ford’s history.

1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra

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The ’78 King Cobra brought back the V-8 to the Mustang after a short hiatus. Rebranded as a “5.0-liter” (but really a 4.9), it wasn’t a powerhouse by today’s standards, but it marked an important moment in Mustang history.

1984 Ford Bronco

Image Credit: ©Ford

Here’s a fun fact: the ’84 Bronco was the first vehicle with cupholders. Yep, those things we can’t live without today? Thank the ’84 Bronco for that little bit of everyday convenience.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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