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A Brief History of Ford Cars and Trucks

A red, yellow, and a blue 1969 Ford Bronco are parked off-road.

Ford has been developing groundbreaking vehicles since the very beginning of the automotive industry. Ford was the manufacturer that popularized the use of automobiles in the first place, and while there are plenty of other automakers out there, few have a legacy quite like Ford. With over a century of incredible models, it’s easy to see why Ford classic cars are so popular amongst vintage buyers. Whether you’re in the market for a vintage used Ford truck, or something a little more modern, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a classic Ford model that doesn’t offer up a truly unforgettable experience behind the wheel. In this article, we’ll review some of our favorite Ford brand classics, and will showcase which specific model might be the best choice to add to your collection. From classic muscle cars to powerhouse trucks, Ford is an automaker that has made waves in the past and continues to do so on into the future.

The Impressive Power of the Ford F-150

When it comes to pickup trucks, Ford has always been at the forefront of power and utility, being one of the very first manufacturers to develop the body styling all the way back in 1948. The pickup trucks of the last century were quite different from the trucks of today, although they still filled the same kind of hole, offering a large vehicle with the space and power to deliver some particularly serious hauling capability.

The Ford F-150 is the latest in a long line of Ford brand pickup trucks that have come and gone. The Ford F-150 was released into the Ford family lineup in 1975 as the 1976 model year. However, the Ford pickup truck has deeper roots than just that, having grown out of the first Ford F-Series trucks in the early decades of the auto industry.

A red 1976 Ford F-150, which is a classic among used Ford trucks, is parked at a construction site.

One classic model of the Ford F-150 was the first to hold the official name. Technically the sixth generation of Ford truck, the Ford F-150 from 1973-1979, was a significant branching off of the Ford F-Series trucks that helped develop the line. This sixth-generation Ford truck, introduced an improved climate control system, a 4-wheel-drivetrain, and a SuperCab. Strict emissions controls were also enacted during the sixth generation Ford F-150, which eventually made it one of the best selling trucks ever.

The 1976 Ford F-150 looked very different from the Ford F-150 trucks of today with its square grille, round headlights, and overall rigid body design. The engine of the time was relatively as impressive as it is today, giving drivers powertrains that utilized Windsor V-8 and straight-6 engine blocks. The truck’s power capability, combined with its versatile 4×4 drivetrain system, made it a recognized classic even way back when, and today attract Ford brand fanatics across the board.

Classic Ford Brand Muscle

Nothing screams classic Ford car quite like the Ford Mustang. The Ford Mustang was, and in some ways still is, a muscle car designed to be accessible to all kinds of drivers, and configurable to fit a variety of needs. While the Ford Mustang of today has been considered watered down by some critics, the classic models continue to offer the kind of pure appeal that the Ford Mustang exuded right at initial release.

The Ford Mustang first hit the road all the way back in 1964, and right away was a global hit. Making an appearance in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger, the Ford Mustang made a groundbreaking statement as a powerful sports car driven by the ever-famous spy and globe trotter. While the Ford Mustang certainly attracted drivers who wanted to look like James Bond on the road, it also caught the wandering eye of performance nuts, introducing the 1965 Ford Mustang GT350.

The 1965 Ford Mustang GT350 is a certified classic by Ford enthusiasts today and is certainly more than just a pretty face. This muscle car sported a 289-cubic inch modified K-Code engine that could thrum out 306 horsepower with simplistic ease. The overall lightweight design of the vehicle allowed drivers to feel the horsepower, too, expanding on the Ford Mustang’s appeal.

Later on, after the Ford Mustang’s initial release, another classic collector model hit the pavement in the form of the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and Boss 429. These two models are considered the most popular of all time, using a naturally aspirated V8 engine to deliver an overall output of 290 horsepower and 290 lb-ft worth of torque. The rugged appearance of the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and 429 was what drew a majority of the appeal; however, as each model was, and still is, pretty attractive when on the road.

This early era of the Ford Mustang was so popular that even today’s models attempt to mimic them. While the engines are becoming more electronic, and the design is gradually veering away from the styles of the past, the roots of the classic Ford Mustang still thrive throughout the lineup.

A white 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 with blue racing stripes is parked in front of an archway.

The Return of a Legend

There was once a time when SUV was synonymous with a vehicle that was large, and undoubtedly, in charge. In the early years of the SUV body style existed the somewhat quirky, but all muscle Ford Bronco. While no longer a member of the Ford family lineup, there are some pretty solid rumors that this formerly two-door SUV with an off-road appeal will be making a reappearance within the Ford collection. Running from 1965 to 1996, it has been some time since we’ve seen something like the Ford Bronco amongst the Ford brand, and needless to say, we’re excited about what the future holds.

That said, in its absence, the Ford Bronco has continued to make waves within the classic community. An interesting period for the Ford Bronco was its second generation that only lasted from 1978 to 1979. It was a short-lived model due to the fuel crisis at the time, and the Ford Bronco’s necessity to guzzle gasoline. That said, drivers of today aren’t so willing to disregard this legendary SUV.

The 1978 Ford Bronco introduced a removable hardtop, and no matter what model you decided to purchase, you’d be guaranteed a roaring V8 engine. This model, like those of the past, was an excellent off-roader with its stellar ground-clearance and 4×4 drivetrain.

While the newer models of the Ford Bronco have yet to hit showrooms yet, we can expect something very different from what existed during the height of the fuel-crisis in 1978 and 1979. That said, many of the stylistic choices used in this classic model ought to make a spectacular reappearance, and needless to say, even classic fans are thrilled to see what Ford manufacturers come up with.

The Appeal of the Classics

These are just some of the Ford classic models that have drawn appeal for decades. From long-gone legends like the Ford Bronco to prolific brand champions like the Ford F-150, Ford owns it all and more. Ford was one of the first automakers to develop vehicles for the auto industry, and their century of experience in the field shows in some of these incredible classic models.

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