List: Our Top Ten Favorite Fast Fords

By Seyth Miersma

January 26, 2010

Ford

Ford GT40- One of the most successful single racing vehicles of all time, utterly uncompromising as a road car (ok, so they added a little luggage space in the MKIII car), and at least in the argument for the most beautiful coupe, ever. So yeah, it makes our Fave Fast Fords list. The modern knockoff it inspired wasn’t bad, either.

Ford

Ford Contour SVT - For the most of the last two decades of the Twentieth Century, Ford kept its finest small cars over in Europe. The SVT Contour was one very notable exception. Ford only sold around 11,000 of the hot compact sedans from 1998 to 2000, but owners who took the leap got a sweet-handling, quick-shifting sleeper that totally transcended the bulk of the mediocre Contour range.

Ford

Ford RS200- Another product of Ford’s efforts to go rally racing throughout the years, the RS200 was essentially a Group B car for the road. Even with the just the standard 250 horsepower (output was rumored to range as high as 800+ horsepower for the racing car) being churned out of its 1.8-liter turbo motor, the flyweight RS200 was spectacularly fast. It also boasted AWD grip and athletic handling that could only be born of competition breeding.

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Ford Taurus SHO - Created as the result of a failed project (Ford’s stillborn mid-engine competitor for the Pontiac Fiero), the Taurus SHO mated a lovely, high-revving Yamaha engine with a sedan body that had become utterly ubiquitous in the U.S.

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Ford Escort RS Cosworth - Americans who grew up in the 1980s and 90s might cringe at the sound of the Escort name, but the European RS Cosworth was undoubtedly one of the most ferocious Fast Fords, ever. Rally champion and street-legal terror, the Cossie was brutally fast on nearly any surface. Best wing ever? We think so.

Ford

Ford Mustang - 5.0, Boss 302, GT500. Tuned by Roush, Saleen, and, of course, Shelby. The Ford Mustang has been an institution on the sports car scene since its introduction in 1964. As is the case with so many of the Fast Fords, Mustang has always provided serious muscle for not a lot of money—putting a high performance car into the reach of millions of happy buyers. Not without its flaws, but which of the world’s great volume cars isn’t? (We couldn’t pick just one to highlight, but we can say we’ve always had a soft spot for that 302 above.)

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Ford Falcon XR6 - Though the Falcon nameplate in America died out in 1970, the model has been continually evolved, built, and sold for 50 years in Australia (for total sales of over 3 million). Though the range has featured its fair share of powerful V-8 engines throughout the years, it’s the 4.0-liter, turbocharged I-6 in the XR6 that has always seemed the best performance car.

1932

1932 Ford Coupe (Model B) - Not overtly sporting, great handling, or fast in standard production form, Ford’s ’32 coupe nevertheless become the sire of the Hot Rod culture in the U.S. Early racers found the ’32 Ford coupe body simple to lighten, and the V-8 engine easy to coax more power from. It’s ability to wear flames without looking silly helps its rep, too.

Ford

Ford GT - Not as cool as the car it’s based on (how could it be?), the Ford GT is nonetheless one of the finest sports cars to ever wear the Blue Oval. The 205 mph supercar was an absolute performance steal with an original sticker price of about $140K—and some buyers were even lucky enough to pay that. We usually don’t go in for the “straight copy” version of heritage design, but when the car is this good we’ll bite.

Ford

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor - Ok, we admit to just having gotten out of this one (in the WR office this week), so we might be a little smitten. But the truth of the Raptor is this; not one other vehicle on our list of Fast Fords, many of them objectively much faster than the big orange F-150, can match the Raptor’s speed and grace off-road. Built to be a sort of off-the-shelf Baja racer, the Raptor is capable of triple-digit speeds over broken ground—fully able to climb, crest, or crush most of what falls in its merciless path.

Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford 1932 Ford Ford

Since just after Henry went racing in 1901, Ford Motor Company has had a long and rich history of building some pretty fast machines. What’s more (and better), many of these Fast Fords have been well within the reach of the common man, meaning a lot more driving fun for everyone.

In sorting through our list of favorites, we narrowed down the field somewhat by choosing only road cars and excluding the pure racers. (Of course, some of these “road cars” are pretty close to the racetrack, as you’ll see.) Still, it’s no easy task to sort through more than 100 years of product. We’re sure that a few of you will have something to say about the Fords that are notable by their omission. Make sure to tell us which car(s) you would have added to your list, in comments. 
 

+ WR Video: 2011 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

+ WR Classic Video: Ford Shelby GT500KR