For over a hundred years, Ford vehicles have been a ubiquitous sight on roads in North America, and around the world. It’s only natural Ford vehicles would begin to appear in the media, both on the big screen and small. Over the years, some of those Ford vehicles have earned an iconic place in popular culture, and we here at Team Ford have put together a look at some of our favourites.
“Thunder Road” (1958)
1957 Ford Fairlane
It’s one of the classic movie hot rods. This 1957 Ford Fairlane was driven by Lucas Doolin in “Thunder Road,” as he runs moonshine for his family business during the American Prohibition. You can’t tell from the old film, but this beauty was painted an eye-catching cherry red. The souped-up muscle car was equipped under the hood with a 312 V8 engine, able to churn out 245 horsepower, leaving his pursuers in the dust. “Thunder Road” was one of the first movies to put an American muscle car in a starring role, and helped ignite the craze for these high performance sports cars!
“Starsky & Hutch” (1975)
1976 Ford Gran Torino
For four seasons, undercover police detectives Starsky and Hutch helped keep the peace in Bay City, California in a bright red 1976 Ford Gran Torino. This beauty stood out thanks to the custom white “vector” stipe on the sides, as well as aluminum 5-slot mag wheels and larger rear tires to give the vehicle a more aggressive stance. The Gran Torino the detectives were driving was equipped with a 6.6L 400 V8, a high-torque engine capable of a respectable 180 horsepower. Actor Paul Michael Glaser famously hated the car, finding it ugly, but we couldn’t disagree more! Neither could the fans. Demand for red Gran Torinos increased with the popularity of the series.
“National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983)
1979 Ford LTD Country Squire
Okay, there’s no such thing as a “Wagon Queen Family Truckster.” But the station wagon the Griswold family drives to Wally World in the film “National Lampoon’s Vacation” is based on the 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire. The Truckster depicted in the film was heavily modified from the Country Squire, but still has some recognizable features. While the Family Truckster in the film is a bit of a lemon, the real Country Squire was a reliable family vehicle. The station wagon offered up a huge cargo space for “taking the whole tribe cross-country,” along with a standard 4.9L 5.0 Windsor V8 engine. While it did come in green, it did not come in “Metallic Pea.”
“Mad Max” (1979)
1973 Ford Falcon XB GT
The Ford Falcon wasn’t a common sight in North America because it was actually a third generation Australian-made design. At least, that was until Max Rockatansky drove it onto the big screen in the cult classics “Mad Max” (1979) and “The Road Warrior” (1981). The 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT in the films is a modified “Pursuit Special” V8 Interceptor. The distinctive “Black on Black” paint job and exposed engine blower gave it a sinister, predatory look as it cruised down the post-apocalyptic highways. We think it stands to reason one of the last vehicles still running in the end times would be a Ford.
“Thelma and Louise” (1991)
1966 Ford Thunderbird
Thelma and Louise weren’t the only rebels driving around in the distinctive fourth generation Ford Thunderbird. This distinctive sports car was also seen in 1983’s “The Outsiders,” 1990’s “Wild at Heart,” and television’s “Highlander: The Series” starting in 1992. None of them were quite as memorable or beloved as Ridley Scott’s “Thelma and Louise,” though. The duo head out for their ill-fated road trip in a green 1966 Ford Thunderbird with a convertible top. The vehicle depicted in the film was deliberately meant to be a standard trim, the kind you’d drive right off the showroom floor. In 1966, that means it came with a respectable 6.4L FE V8 engine. This Thunderbird is famously last seen taking wing, carrying its heroines over the lip of the Grand Canyon and into film legend.
“John Wick” (2014)
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
Iosef Tarasov may not have known he was stealing John Wick’s car, but he did know he was getting his hands on a rare vintage muscle car! John claims in the movie his is one of the 1358 Boss 429’s ever made. They were designed to compete with Chrysler in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The 429 Cobra jet V8 engine unloaded a whopping 375 horsepower, and 450 lb-ft of torque, and was designed for racing. Eagle-eyed car enthusiasts have noted, however, that the car used for the film itself is more likely the ever-so-slightly less powerful 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1.
The Mustang Bullitt
Steve McQueen lit up the big screen in 1968 with his action thriller “Bullitt.” In the film, McQueen plays detective Frank Bullitt, and he drives an iconic 1968 Ford Mustang GT in one of cinema’s most legendary car chases.
To commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary, Ford has released a high performance trim—the 2019 Ford Mustang BULLITT. This modern reimagining of the classic movie car is coloured in the Dark Highland Green of McQueen’s famous ride, and includes his cue-ball shift knob. With a 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 engine, the BULLITT puts 460 horsepower at your fingertips, along with 420 lb-ft of torque. Go from 0-60 in under four seconds. Despite being inspired by a 1968 original, the BULLITT features a sleek modern exterior, and all the high-tech creature comforts you’ve come to expect in your vehicle. Want to see a BULLITT for yourself? Team Ford has one of these beauties in the showroom, and we’d be happy to show it to you.