Fords are billed as the cars that made America, but for as long as Ford have been making cars, people have been modifying them. The first phase of modifying Fords occurred pre-World War II when owners would strip the running boards and front fenders from the Model B and Roadster, a look still popular with hot-rodders today.
For car enthusiasts wanting to build a custom or high-performance Ford, the choices are near-endless. Ford has a long, successful history in motorsport, which has given birth to thousands of companies that sell performance parts for almost every model ever produced.
Ford, of course, have realized this, and always pushed to give their customers a solid platform to start from. We know their 2020 Mustang will come out of the factory with 760 horsepower (the new Corvette will only have 495 hp). Despite Ford and GM going head-to-head in the automotive industry, Ford always seems to have the upper hand – so here are 20 of their finest examples.
20 Shelby GT500CR Venom
This Mustang displays some not so subtle signs that it’s packing some serious performance. The extra-wide Nitto tires are not just for show because at the heart of this classic muscle car beats a 427 cubic inch V8 with a ProCharger F1-R Supercharger. Power output is somewhere north of 780 horsepower, and yes, you can buy them from Classic Recreations.
19 Cortina Mk II
Within the car community, there is a small group of slightly insane people who get joy from fitting the largest engine possible in the smallest engine bay available, just to prove it can be done. The owner of this 1969 Ford Cortina managed to jam a 427 cubic inch motor into something that weighs little more than a motorbike.
18 XP Falcon
It wouldn’t be a list of sick modded Fords without some of the finest muscle cars from Australia. The XP dubbed ‘War Bird’ is powered by a 1600 horsepower engine. Why? For burnouts of course. Burnout competitions are the national sport of Australia and Ford released plenty of cars in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s that make perfect burnout machines.
The engine nerds amongst us would notice this 1974 Escorts number plate – TUF253 - and consider that 253 is actually a GM engine. And you’d be right, but because it’s a Ford Escort, we are still claiming it anyway. The 253 is quite a small V8 but when you stack it with a 4/71 supercharger, you get a car that can drop burnouts with the best of them.
GM fans may have their Chevy C10, which is a good-looking truck until you park it next to a Ford F100, then it starts looking a bit too square and boring. It only takes three things to make these pickups look good, big horsepower, big wheels, and a tough stance.
GM doesn’t have an answer to the Ford Focus – in fact aside from Volkswagen, no car manufacturer does. They will reach 400 bhp relatively easily, and the 4-wheel drive system and monstrous torque enable the car to carve up mountain roads with seemingly no effort. Top speeds of 167 mph have been recorded.
14 Torino GT
Commonly with the Ford brand, not only are their customers incredibly loyal, but entire families are lifelong customers. This gorgeous 1970 GT Torino belonged to the current owner's aunt, who owned it since new. Ford Torinos have never been the most popular Ford, but as you can see, they can be turned into very clean cruisers with enough horsepower to put any GM car to shame.
There are plenty of great looking cars to choose from but the styling of the Ford Mustang is unmistakable. In this instance, the 20-inch wheels perfectly complement the widebody kit by Alphamale Performance. Sitting on air ride gives the Mustang an aggressive road presence and the Liberty Walk style ducktail spoiler is more stylish than any big wing we’ve seen.
12 Model T
When someone wants to build a classic hot rod or rat rod they have many choices, but almost all of them are Fords. 2,000 hours later and you end up with a spectacular result as seen above. One of the most eye-catching parts of the build is the 6-carb Edelbrock X1 intake, which was made in 1955.
For people who grew up in the 1960s, the Ford Cortina hit the sweet spot between price, style, and performance. But against today's cars they are somewhat pedestrian. Therefore, they are popular candidates for engine swaps such as this example, which has been fitted with a BDS supercharged 6 liter V8.
10 Mustang GT500
Not limited to Ford, the Pro Street movement of the ’70s and ’80s was all about big Hoosier rear wheels and even bigger engines. The 548 ci V8 in this Mustang Pro Street Fastback runs on alcohol and is topped with a Littlefield supercharger with a high rise intake manifold.
9 XP Falcon Coupe
Famous car builders of Australia the Hillier Brothers built this XP Falcon that gained a near-cult following due to its appearance at the Summernats. The blown 351 powered trophy winner no longer exists – at least not in its current form. It’s since been sold, stripped and rebuilt and is back on the show circuit, meaning the legend lives on.
The Ford GT is one of the few cars that will upset supercars from Italy right out of the gate. But that’s not enough for some people. Hennessey Performance has extracted 2,000 horsepower out of one of their GT’s, giving it a top speed of 257 mph. The 5.4 liter Ford V8 has been twin-turbocharged and runs 34 psi of boost.
7 BB Truck
Nothing is cooler than a vintage Ford truck that’s been done up to the 9s, even if it does have a blown 426ci Hemi motor. This truck was built specifically for the show car circuit and it shows in the paintwork, which is almost like glass. There are seemingly infinite ways to modify these trucks to suit your own personal taste.
6 XY Falcon
GM fans hold the Chevrolet Camino in high regard because it’s a small pickup with a V8, far different from anything else available in America. What most of them don’t know though, is Ford was releasing some pretty wild pickups (utes) around the same time in Australia. They’re perfect for huge Windsor engine swaps, usually with Eagle internals.
The Ford Galaxie was understated when it was first released but quickly found favor as a luxury cruiser and also at the drag strip. There are examples of these cars making 1,000 horsepower on YouTube. This particular example has a 408 stroker engine making around 600 horsepower thanks to the 6/71 supercharger.
Ford Escorts were originally built and marketed as family cars, but it was small and nimble and very quickly became popular with racers. This twin Hayabusa V8 powered engine might be the coolest example we’ve seen though. To create the engine, two 1.3 liter Hayabusa four-cylinder engines were welded together, giving a power output of 450 horsepower and a 10,500 rpm redline.
3 33 Hot Rod
This show winning 1933 Ford Hot Rod is hard to miss with its Candy Apple paint job and supercharger sticking out of the hood. The owner did the entire build himself apart from the pinstriping and some interior details. Not just a show car, it is street driven as well - and how could you resist?
2 33 Street Rod
If hot rods aren’t quite radical enough for you, a vintage Ford street rod may be an acceptable alternative. With a wild rake, BDS supercharger and Demon 4-barrel carburetors, this 1933 coupe draws attention everywhere it goes. The whitewall tires add to the timeless look that these cars that are over 80 years old exude.
Finally, we have to give a nod to Ken Block’s F150. Built for the Hoonigans Gymkhana video series, the slightly insane truck is powered by a twin-turbo V6, punching out 914 horsepower. Power is put down to the ground via a custom all-wheel-drive system with plenty of custom-made 3D parts.
Sources: Road and Track, Street Machine, and Motor Authority.