Even though the Ford Motor Company is not necessarily perceived as a performance brand, it has produced many models that provided the thrill of going fast throughout its long history. The affordable performance image was and still is very valuable for their brand. Ford did participate and won many championships in racing events worldwide.
Of course, not all performance Fords were affordable, just like many of the greatest Mustangs aren’t today. There’s no doubt the current generation has some incredible performance models of its own. But some Ford performance models of the past were and still are exotic cars, but most of them are obtainable and fun rides. Today, we will look at 26 signature performance Fords that dominated the performance enthusiast market for the last several decades.
26. Ford GT40
The story of the Ford GT40 is a saga of enormous effort and incredible support. It took a meeting involving several talented people in one place to create automotive history. After a failed attempt to buy Ferrari in the early ’60s, Ford was angry at Enzo Ferrari for his childish behavior. They decided to beat him on the race track to prove who the boss was. At the moment, Ford didn’t have a racing program or even someone to manage it.
So the company looked for talented, outsourced individuals who could make things happen. They found the base for the Ferrari-beating race car in England. It was the Lola Mk6 that they gave a new racing 289 V8 engine, turning it into the first Ford GT40 in 1964.
The car didn’t look promising at the beginning, but meticulous work and money transformed the GT40 into a world-conquering machine in several months. Ferrari was humiliated between 1966 and 1969 when the GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row. It was an amazing success and an incredible achievement for a company that never appeared in Le Mans before the mid-’60s. The GT40 became an outright legend and the symbol of the American race car by dominating the European racing scene.