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The 20 Best Ford Muscle Cars of All-Time

Ford Muscle Cars are a legendary breed of automobiles that have captivated automotive enthusiasts for decades. These powerful machines are characterized by their large engines, impressive horsepower, and muscular designs that exude an aura of strength and dominance.

Some of the most famous Ford Muscle Cars include the Mustang, Falcon, and Torino, each of which has its own unique history and following.

The Ford Mustang is perhaps the most well-known of all Ford Muscle Cars. First introduced in 1964, the Mustang quickly became an icon of American automotive culture, with its powerful V8 engines and sleek, sporty design.

Over the years, the Mustang has evolved and undergone numerous design changes, but it remains a popular choice for car enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Other notable Ford Muscle Cars include the Falcon, which was produced from 1960 to 1970 and is known for its compact size and impressive performance, and the Torino, which was produced from 1968 to 1976 and is revered for its powerful engines and aggressive styling.

Overall, Ford Muscle Cars have left an indelible mark on the world of automobiles and continue to inspire car enthusiasts to this day.

That being said, here are our picks (in no particular order) for the top 20 Ford Muscle cars of all-time:

1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E

Upon its introduction in 1967, the Cougar earned Motor Trend Car of the Year accolades. While some may view it as a stylized version of the Mustang, this is not entirely accurate.

In fact, the Cougar boasted a longer wheelbase and a larger frame than the Mustang, although both models shared some engine options. Notably, the 1967 Cougar featured a 390 engine, which was the most potent powerplant available for this model year.

In 1968, Mercury expanded the Cougar lineup with the introduction of the GT-E 7-Litre, which showcased an impressive 390-horsepower single four-barrel 427 engine.

This particular engine configuration was never offered in the Mustang. Later in the model year, Mercury added the 335-horsepower 428 Cobra Jet to the GT-E 7-Litre lineup.

According to data from the Cougar GT-E Registry, Mercury produced only 37 of these vehicles, three of which featured four-speed transmissions, while the remaining 34 came equipped with C-6 automatic transmissions.

1969 Ford Talladega

The Talladega and the similar Mercury Cyclone Spoiler represented Ford's entry into NASCAR's aero wars against rivals such as the 1969 Dodge Charger 500, Charger Daytona, and the Plymouth Superbird.

These vehicles were homologation specials built specifically for this purpose. Notably, Richard Petty, a well-known driver, initially raced a Talladega before eventually returning to Plymouth to drive a Superbird.

To comply with NASCAR regulations, Ford needed to produce a minimum of 500 units of the Talladega to make it eligible for racing. However, the automaker exceeded this requirement by producing a total of 736 units.

Each of these vehicles was equipped with the 428 Cobra Jet engine and a C6 automatic transmission with a column shifter. To create the Talladega's distinctive look, Ford extended the front ends of the Torino by 15.5 inches, added a 30-degree slant, and incorporated a flush-mounted grille.

Additional aerodynamic enhancements included a modified rear bumper, staggered rear shocks, and altered rocker panels.

The car's branding was understated, featuring only a couple of T emblems above the door handles and one on the faux gas cap at the center of the tail. Buyers could choose from three available colors, all of which featured black hoods.

1965 Ford Galaxie

The 1965 Ford Galaxie was a full-size car that epitomized the era of American muscle cars. With its sleek lines and powerful V8 engine, it was a popular choice among car enthusiasts looking for speed and style.

The Galaxie came with multiple engine options, ranging from a 289 cubic inch V8 engine to a 427 cubic inch V8 engine. The most powerful engine option, the 427 cubic inch V8, was capable of producing up to 425 horsepower.

The Galaxie was not just about power, however. It also featured a comfortable and spacious interior, making it a practical choice for families as well. The car's suspension provided a smooth ride, and the steering was responsive, giving drivers a feeling of control on the road.

1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

In 1969, the Mercury Cougar underwent a redesign similar to the Mustang, growing 3.5 inches in length and 3 inches in width. This redesign included the introduction of the Cougar Eliminator, which could be considered the Mach 1 or Boss 302 equivalent of the Cougar lineup.

The Eliminator boasted a stripe with the word Eliminator, a hood scoop, and a rear wing that closely resembled those of the Mustangs.

The Cougar Eliminator came standard with a four-barrel 351 Windsor engine, and the 390 remained available. Additionally, buyers could opt for the solid-lifter Boss 302, rated at 290 horsepower, or for $336 extra, the Q-code 428 Cobra Jet with 335 horsepower (also available with Ram Air as the R-Code).

Both engines are believed to have been underrated, and the Q-code 428 could be paired with a C6 or four-speed transmission. These vehicles are rare, with Mercury producing only 2,250 Cougar Eliminators in 1969.

Out of these, only 169 received the Boss 302 engine, all of which came with four-speed transmissions. The Q-code 428 and Ram Air options saw production numbers of 59 and 243, respectively.

The Cougar Eliminator continued in 1970 with minimal modifications. The 390 was discontinued, but the Boss 302, 428 Cobra Jet, and 428 Super Cobra Jet (equipped with a shorter 3.91 or 4.30 rear gear and oil cooler) remained available.

1968 Ford Fairlane Torino GT

In 1968, Ford undertook a redesign of the Fairlane Torino, which featured a fastback design reminiscent of the Mustang. This streamlined shape was specifically engineered for NASCAR's super speedways.

Ford offered the new design with a variety of engine options, including the 289, 302, and 390. However, the automaker only produced 600 of these alluring hardtops with the 428 Cobra Jet and C6 automatic transmissions.

Out of these, 193 models were equipped with a rigid 3.91 rear axle ratio.

Interestingly, Ford opted for minimalist aesthetics on these cars, with minimal ornamentation besides the small 428 emblem adorning each front fender.

This design detail could easily go unnoticed on a dark street, but it also allowed the '68 Cobra Jet Torino to transform into a sleeper vehicle, perfect for catching unsuspecting L35 Chevelles and Camaros off-guard.

By simply removing the badge, the car could be made to blend in and stealthily approach its target.

1970 Ford Torino Cobra

In 1970, Ford introduced an updated Torino that was both aggressive and stylish, giving competitors like the Chevy Chevelles and Plymouth Road Runners a run for their money on popular cruising roads such as L.A.'s Van Nuys Blvd., Detroit's Woodward Ave., and the Connecting Highway in East New York.

The Torino Cobra was the performance model, featuring a brand new 429 cubic-inch engine with three available options. The base engine was the 429 4V with two-bolt mains, 10.5:1 compression, a cast-iron intake, a 600-cfm carburetor, and a rating of 360 horsepower.

Buyers could upgrade to the 429 Cobra Jet for $164, which provided 370 horsepower with 11.3:1 compression, a bigger carburetor, and more cam. For an additional $229, the shaker hood scoop was available.

Additionally, Ford offered the 429 Super Cobra Jet (J code) with the Drag Pack option, boasting a Holley carburetor, forged pistons, four-bolt mains, and a solid-lifter camshaft. This engine was underrated at 375 horsepower.

Ford produced 7,675 Torino Cobras in 1970, and the model remained available in 1971 with only minor trim updates.

2020 Ford Shelby GT500

Looking ahead to the present day, Ford has introduced a new muscle car to their lineup: the Mustang Shelby GT500, the most powerful vehicle the company has ever produced.

The GT500 boasts a supercharged 5.2L V8 engine with a staggering 760 horsepower, sure to impress under the hood. This model also features an automatic transmission and 7-speed dual-clutch, making it an exciting car to drive.

The GT500 is a true road warrior, achieving a 0-60 mph time of just 3.3 seconds, sure to get any driver's heart racing. With its impressive power and speed, the Mustang Shelby GT500 has secured its place among the most impressive muscle cars in history.

1973 Ford Falcon XB GT

While the Ford Falcon XB GT gained notoriety from its appearance in Mad Max, this is not the only reason why this Australian legend appears on our list.

The Falcon's third-generation has earned a performance reputation for many reasons, including its eye-catching design, which resembles a cross between a 1970 Torino Cobra and a 1973 Mustang Fastback.

Though not radically different from its predecessor, the third-generation Falcon featured a new front end, along with other changes such as a twin-scoop hood, similar to the Mustangs, making it a highly sought-after vehicle.

The GT model was particularly popular among enthusiasts, boasting a standard 351 Cleveland engine capable of producing 300 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque due to the lack of emissions standards that had already taken a toll on many American performance cars.

A four-speed transmission was standard, and the Ford 9-inch rear end was fitted with tall gearing designed for the vast Australian landscape.

According to Hemmings, only 949 XB GT Coupes were built between 1973 and 1976, making it a rare vehicle coveted by collectors and car enthusiasts alike.

1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351

The Boss 351 Mustang was a bona fide muscle car that showcased a 351 cubic inch V8 engine with 330 horsepower and 370 pounds of torque, delivering unparalleled power and performance. It could achieve a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100.6 mph in just 14 seconds.

Despite its impressive capabilities, the Boss 351 was only in production for a short time, with only 1,806 models produced before being discontinued the following year. Its rarity has made it a highly sought-after vehicle among car enthusiasts and collectors.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Cobra Jet

The 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Cobra Jet was a high-performance muscle car that captured the spirit of the era. It was powered by a 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet engine, which was capable of producing 335 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.

The Mach 1 Cobra Jet also featured a functional "shaker" hood scoop, which helped to direct cool air to the engine and increase performance.

In addition to its powerful engine, the Mach 1 Cobra Jet featured a sporty and aggressive exterior design. It came with a blacked-out hood and grille, along with a bold "Mach 1" decal on the side of the car.

Inside, the Mach 1 Cobra Jet boasted a luxurious and comfortable interior with bucket seats and a center console

1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback

The Shelby GT fastback, introduced just before Ford's foray into the muscle car scene, signaled the arrival of a new era. This striking coupe was a precursor to Ford's more robust roadsters and featured a 428 cubic inch, 360 horsepower engine.

The GT500's body was large enough to accommodate a big-block engine, despite being equipped with a small-block engine, and maintained a sleek appearance on the road. In addition, it came with power steering and an AM radio, which were novel features at the time.

Despite its appeal, the GT500 was a rare find, with only 2,048 produced in 1967. Nonetheless, this model helped pave the way for Ford's future muscle cars and remains a highly sought-after vehicle among car enthusiasts and collectors.

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 was a rare and powerful muscle car that has become a legend among collectors and enthusiasts. It was powered by a specially designed 429 cubic inch V8 engine that was capable of producing 375 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.

The Boss 429 also featured a unique hood scoop and a race-inspired suspension system that made it a force to be reckoned with on the road.

Only 859 examples of the Boss 429 were produced, making it a highly coveted collector's item. The car's rarity, combined with its impressive performance capabilities and distinctive styling, have made it one of the most sought-after classic muscle cars in history.

1955 Ford Thunderbird

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was a classic two-seat convertible that was introduced as a response to the Chevrolet Corvette. It was powered by a 4.8-liter V8 engine that produced 193 horsepower and was mated to a three-speed manual transmission.

The car's sleek lines and sporty design made it an instant classic, and it quickly became a symbol of American automotive design in the 1950s.

The Thunderbird was a luxurious car, with power windows, a power seat, and a removable hardtop as standard features.

The Thunderbird was a commercial success for Ford, and it became an iconic car that is still highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts today.

1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet

The 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet is a high-performance muscle car that boasts an aggressive design and impressive powertrain. The car's styling was updated to be more aggressive compared to the original design, making it a standout on the road.

Under the hood, the Mach 1 is equipped with a powerful 428 cubic inch V8 Cobra Jet powertrain, which delivers an impressive 7.0 liters of American horsepower.

The engine has been upgraded with a new carburetor, distributor cap, wires, and plugs to ensure smooth operation, and the valve cover gaskets have also been replaced.

The high-performance exhaust system allows the engine to breathe more freely, delivering an upgraded power output that is sent to the car's rear wheels through an automatic gearbox and a Ford 9” rear end.

1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351

The 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 was a high-performance muscle car that featured a 5.8-liter V8 engine capable of producing 330 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. This engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, making the Boss 351 an exciting car to drive.

The car also featured a unique suspension system and a rear spoiler that improved its aerodynamics and handling.

The Boss 351 was a rare car, with only 1,806 units produced, making it a highly coveted collector's item. Its bold styling and powerful engine made it a standout among muscle cars of its time, and it remains a sought-after classic car today. 

1968 Cougar GT-E 7-Liter

The 1968 Cougar GT-E 7-Liter was a powerful muscle car that was designed to compete with other high-performance cars of its time. It was powered by a 7.0-liter V8 engine that produced 390 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the most powerful cars of its time.

The engine was mated to a C6 automatic transmission, which provided smooth and precise shifting.

The Cougar GT-E 7-Liter was a rare car, with only 357 units produced with the 427 engine and C-6 automatic transmission, and just 37 with the 428 Cobra Jet engine.

The car featured a unique styling that set it apart from other cars of its time, including a sleek body with a flush-mounted grille and a rear bumper that was modified for improved aerodynamics.

1968 Mustang GT390 Fastback

The 1968 Mustang GT390 Fastback was a high-performance muscle car that featured a 6.4-liter V8 engine capable of producing 325 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

The engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which provided smooth and precise shifting. The car also featured a unique suspension system and a rear spoiler that improved its aerodynamics and handling.

The Mustang GT390 Fastback was a rare car, with only 4,848 units produced, making it a highly sought-after collector's item.

1970 Falcon XY GTHO Phase III

The 1970 Falcon XY GTHO Phase III was a high-performance muscle car that was built for speed and power. It was powered by a 5.8-liter V8 engine capable of producing 380 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque.

The engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which provided smooth and precise shifting.

The car also featured a unique suspension system and a rear spoiler that improved its aerodynamics and handling. The Falcon XY GTHO Phase III was a rare car, with only 300 units produced.

1968 Mustang GT500 KR

The 1968 Mustang GT500 KR was a high-performance muscle car that was powered by a 7.0-liter V8 engine that produced 360 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This made it one of the most powerful cars of its time.

The engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which provided smooth and precise shifting. The car also featured a unique suspension system and a rear spoiler that improved its aerodynamics and handling.

The Mustang GT500 KR was a rare car, with only 1,053 units produced.

1965 Mustang Shelby GT350

The 1965 Mustang Shelby GT350 was a high-performance muscle car that was designed by Carroll Shelby to compete with other high-performance cars of its time. It was powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine that produced 306 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque.

The engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which provided smooth and precise shifting. The car also featured a unique suspension system and a rear spoiler that improved its aerodynamics and handling. The Mustang Shelby GT350 was a rare car, with only 562 units produced.

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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