Ford has long been one of this country's oldest and most celebrated automobile manufacturers, producing some of the industry's best beloved cars since 1903. For every Model T and Mustang, though, there are numerous other vehicles that are highly sought after by car aficionados as cult classic collector’s items that may not have enjoyed large production orders or public appreciation at the time they were released.
These are some of those models—Ford automobiles that have gained special appreciation for a variety of reasons that have made them part of the automotive elite. Ford has built an impressive legacy and these four models made unique contributions to that history in their own inimitable way. These vehicles are all a credit to the Ford moniker and have lead the way in design, performance, and automotive innovation.
1967 Mercury Cougar
Available in two versions, a base model and the XR-7, the Cougar was built to compete with its high-performance brethren, the Mustang and the Thunderbird. The Mercury brand is no more and the fleet of vehicles released as part of the brand are scattered to all four corners of the world. The Cougar is easily one of the company's most notable cult classics, built for power and performance. The initial production run on the Cougar had two available engines: a 200 hp two barrel 289in V8 and the 335 hp (250 kW) 390 in four-barrel V8. As for the design of the vehicle, certain aesthetic cues resembled both the Mustang and Thunderbird while still maintaining its own unique profile that made it one of the more popular muscle cars on the road in the late '60s and '70s. You can still find some of these on the road or tucked away in collectors showrooms if you look hard enough.
1970 Ford Torino GT Convertible
With a very limited production run of just over 3,900, the Ford Torino GT convertible wasn't a big seller for the Ford Motor Company. Originally built as a hard-top two-door coupe, the Torino was an offshoot of the company's very popular Fairlane, which first began production in 1968 and the GT convertible version was initially introduced to the buying public as an Indianapolis 500 pace car. Since the Mustang was still king, however, every subsequent release in the fast-paced, muscle car genre seemed to have some allusion to the company's bestseller and it was no different with the Torino GT convertible. The car's fastback design body echoed the aesthetic of the Mustang, which also made it an attractive option with NASCAR owners and the Torino GT would soon be a part of the race circuit.
1976 Ford Cortina Mark IV
This one became a big seller in the United Kingdom more so than in the United States. A heavier vehicle than its predecessor, the Mark III, this redesigned Cortina gained popularity in Britain for its 2.3-liter Ford Cologne V6 engine. It was a boxy looking number that resembled its predecessor—the Ford Taunus—and offered a smoother, more refined ride than the Pinto. Despite the high production numbers of the Cortina Mark IV, though, very few of them still exist today, with just 200 or so left in the world. Many of them have succumbed to rust, because of some substandard rustproofing precautions in the manufacturing phase.
Ford Bronco (Years Are Debatable)
Some Ford enthusiasts will say the best Bronco was the ’66-67. Others firmly stand behind the model that came out a decade later—the ’76-77. So for the sake of argument we’ll say any Bronco that rolled off the line between 1966-1977 works for this list. Sure it is a large span, but these Broncos continue to be highly sought after. Many collectors seek out Broncos spanning these years and are happy to give them an overhaul, restoring them to their former glory, if not even surpassing the original capabilities and style.