5 Fords That Changed the Automobile Industry

Henry Ford changed America when he invented the moving assembly line, but he didn’t stop there. His brainchild, the Ford Motor Company, went on to continually revolutionize the automobile industry with its extraordinary cars. These five Fords helped transform the industry:

1. The Model T

History Model T A 1921 Model T Touring. Image credit: Lars-Göran Lindgren

The Model T shaped the American car culture into what it is today. It came out on top in the 1999 Car of the Century competition and was named the most influential car of the 20th century. It earned that honorable title for a good reason.

In 1908, the Model T became popular overnight due to its affordability and modern design. The creation of the Model T made cars accessible to the middle class, and Ford ended up selling 16.5 million units. As a result, cars became more prevalent on the road.

Production of the Model T ended in 1927, but its impact on society lives to this day. In fact, in 2012, it was the 8th most sold car of all time.

2. The 1st F-Series (1948-1952)

History F1 A 1948 F1. Image credit: Sicnag

Ford’s first F-Series was a major milestone for the automotive industry. It was such a game-changer that many refer to it as Ford's crown jewel today. Also, it's been America’s best-selling vehicle for the last 35 years.

As Ford’s first post-WWII line of trucks, the F-Series consisted of trucks built on an exclusive truck platform whereas all the previous Ford pickups were based on the Model T car chassis. The F-Series offered eight different weight ratings and various truck chassis body styles. Its new design and wide range of choices helped establish the pickup truck as its own class rather than a variant of the passenger car.

3. 1965 Mustang

History Mustang A 1965 Mustang GT Fastback. Image credit: Joe deSousa

Before the Ford Mustang hit the market in 1965, everyone viewed sports cars like the Corvette as a status symbol for the wealthy. Ford transformed the public’s perception of sports cars when they released the first ever line of Mustangs in 1965.

The Mustang created the “pony car” class because it was the first affordable sports car available to working-class Americans. Soon after the Mustang’s debut, inexpensive compact sports cars with long noses and short rear decks began cropping up everywhere. The Camaro, Firebird, Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Challenger, and AMC Javelin exist because of the Mustang, and they became their own class of vehicle: the muscle car.

4. 1st Generation Taurus (1986-1991)

History Taurus A 1991 Taurus. IMage credit: IFCAR

The Taurus may seem like an unassuming car these days, but it was actually a huge deal when it first came out in ’86.

The Taurus introduced the round aerodynamic look to the market. It was such a futuristic and revolutionary look (at the time) that many other car manufacturers followed suit with their own aerodynamic designs. And, as you can see, aerodynamics play a huge part in the design of cars today.

The Taurus also brought to the market many innovative features such as user-friendly controls, a grille-less nose, airtight doors, and side speakers for the stereo.

This Ford pioneer has remained popular over the years. It was the best-selling car in the U.S. between 1992 and 1997, and now it’s the fifth best-selling Ford nameplate in history.

5. 1st Generation Explorer (1991-1994)

History explorer A 1994 Explorer. Image credit: Bull-Doser

Upon its launch in 1991, the Ford Explorer helped popularize domestic SUVs. Before then, most people drove sedans, vans, and station wagons. Of course, there were SUVs before the Explorer, but they were not as popular.

The Explorer’s debut was well-received. It immediately outsold the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chevy Blazer at over 300,000 units per year. Its ample passenger space, upscale additions (such as automatic headlights) and family-friendliness put SUVs on the map. Thanks to the Explorer, you’re seeing many more SUVs than station wagons on the road nowadays.

If you could buy any one of the above five game-changing Fords, which one would you get? Let us know on Facebook!