The Blue Oval is no stranger to building missiles for the street, or the track for that matter. Over Ford’s truly extensive history, they have truly created some fire-breathing demons, usually powered by V8s strong enough to relocate mountains. Whether it be Ford themselves or one of their positively deranged partners (looking at you Shelby), the Ford Motor Company has quite the catalog of fast cars. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the fastest Ford cars of all time.
2014 Shelby GT500 – 200mph / 3.8 second 0-60mph
To kick off our list, we’re starting with a Ford that has been Shelbified, as there’s no question that Carol Shelby was the most instrumental player in the fast Ford revolution. The GT500 was first introduced to the Shelby lineup in 1967, following the first two successful years of slinging GT350s. The GT500 represented the best that Shelby had to offer, taking the GT350 recipe to the nth degree.
After the first generation GT500, Shelby enthusiasts would have to wait 40 years to get a taste of the superior snake once again. The second S197 generation GT500 was a worthy spiritual successor to the earlier generation, initially putting down 500 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque from a supercharged 5.4L V8. While early model S197 Shelby GT500s were no doubt impressive, the later model years received an extensive overhaul in most major areas, including the powertrain.
By the time that 2013 rolled around, the S197 GT500 had already been on sale for half a decade. Over that time, some tweaks were made, including slight engine and design tweaks in line with the standard S197 Mustang, but all-in-all, it remained pretty much the same car. 2013 was a big year for the GT500 due to the fact that it got a serious heart transplant.
Shelby ditched the puny little supercharged 5.4L in favor of the 5.8L supercharged “Trinity” V8, a powerplant that quickly became a favorite in the Shelby community. The Trinity put down a mountain-moving 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque, which got the GT500 to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. If the acceleration wasn’t enough, the 2014 GT500 could also break the 200 mph barrier at full tilt.
2023 Shelby GT500 Code Red – 200+ mph / 3.4 second 0-60mph
As if the standard GT500 wasn’t enough already, Shelby truly pulled out all of the stops with the Code Red for the 2023 model year. Before we jump into the specifics of the Code Red itself, it’s important to mention that the chassis on which it’s built is the most advanced Mustang chassis to date. Ford made a huge step forward with the S550 chassis that arrived in 2015, finally bringing the Mustang into the 21st century with tech like independent rear suspension which actually allowed it to, you know, turn effectively for the first time.
As a result of the chassis upgrades, Shelby had the most capable starting canvas than ever, allowing them to truly push the limits. Even the standard GT500 is a ludicrous car. But, in true Shelby spirit, 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque just wasn’t enough to keep them satisfied. Thus, the GT500 Code Red was born.
The Code Red started out as a Shelby prototype model that was designed to appease their most insane clientele. Following even more development, they settled on a final design in 2023, complete with an extreme widebody package, suspension overhaul, stronger axles, ostentatious interior, and, most importantly, a revamped powertrain.
Instead of the supercharged 5.2L Predator V8 found in the GT500, Shelby went a different route with the Code Red, strapping two turbochargers to the beast. The resulting power figures are almost too insane to believe. 1,300 horsepower and 1,000 ft-lbs of torque. Yeah, you read that right. Production is limited to only 30 units, starting at an MSRP of $250,000. If you can get your hands on one, you can confidently say that you own one of the fastest Fords ever created.
2006 Ford GT – 205mph / 3.3 second 0-60mph
The first generation Ford GT is one of the vehicles that made me fall in love with cars in the first place. I remember begging my mother for the edition of MotorTrend with the GT on the cover, wanting to learn more about it and thinking, “there’s no way that isn’t the fastest car in the world.” Obviously, I hadn’t heard about the Bugatti Veyron yet, but the 2006 Ford GT could still run like a bat out of hell regardless.
The Ford GT was designed to pay homage to the most successful Ford Le Mans car of all time, the GT40. Obviously, those were some big shoes to fill. As a result, there were many skeptics upon the GT’s release. Luckily the car put them in their place. Unlike many of Ford’s production cars that came before it, the GT was designed to be an all-around performer that could hold up in the bends just as it could on the drag strip. Its use of aluminum panels and superplastic-formed tub kept weight to a minimum for better driving dynamics.
The beating heart of the Ford GT came in the form of a rear-mounted 5.4L Modular V8, the same engine found in the Ford F150, albeit with some significant material and design changes. One of the most important changes was the use of an Eaton 2300 supercharger, bringing power output to 550 horsepower.
The resulting package was a that defined the mid-2000s supercar era. If not from me, take it from Jeremy Clarkson who said that the Ford GT is his favorite supercar ever made.
1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV – 212mph / 4.7 second 0-60mph
Any list of fast Fords that doesn’t include the GT40 is untrustworthy. Ultimately, the GT40 is THE fast Ford that truly cemented the American company as a top dog among the rest of the experienced pack. There’s little chance that you don’t know the story of Ford’s triumphant 1-2-3 victory against Ferrari in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, that was the Mark II Ford GT40, which isn’t the car that we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the Mk IV GT40, which held the fastest speed trap speed on the Mulsanne straight in 1967.
While the earlier iterations of the GT40 weren’t slugs by any means, the Ford Advanced Vehicles division felt that the GT40’s aerodynamic properties could be significantly improved, leading to a more slippery car. So, they essentially scrapped the design of the earlier cars altogether and started from scratch. That development led to the J-Car, an experimental prototype that weighed 300 pounds less than the Mk II while also utilizing a more streamlined profile. The first iteration of the J-Car is infamous for being the prototype that took Ken Miles’ life, but Ford pushed on with development, arriving at the design for the Mk IV.
The Mk IV used the same Ford 427 V8 powerplant as the earlier Mk II and Mk III GT40s, but that is where the similarities started and ended. The improved aerodynamics made a significant difference in terms of top speed, the with Mk IV setting a speed trap speed of 212 mph on one of the most famous straights in all of motor racing.
2019 Ford GT – 216mph / 3.0 second 0-60mph
Let’s be honest, it isn’t very surprising to see the newest iteration of the Ford GT topping the list, is it? I mean just look at that thing. If anything, 216 miles per hour is about 50mph short of how fast it looks like it can go. Regardless, 216 isn’t anything to scoff at, especially considering that it is powered by the same engine offered in upper-tier Ford F150s.
In fact, the 3.5L EcoBoost powertrain might be the most impressive aspect of the Ford GT as a whole. Initially designed as an efficient workhorse, the 3.5L EcoBoost’s placement in the GT just shows how versatile and capable it truly is. Producing 660 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, the newest generation GT produces over 100 horsepower more than the 550 horsepower produced by the previous generation’s supercharged 5.4L V8. From a twin-turbo V6.
Like the two cars prior to this one on our list, the second iteration of the Ford GT was purpose-built for the track. As the result of Ford’s primal desire to wipe the floor with their Euro competitors at Le Mans (what else is new?), Ford realized that a Mustang LM car wasn’t going to cut it. Out of that, the second version of the Ford GT was born, wide fenders, active aero, and all. The 2022 Ford GT isn’t just fast in the quarter mile, it’s also fast on the Nurburgring which makes it worthy of our number one spot.
Hats Off to Ford For Giving the U.S. A Good Name
Historically, the U.S. hasn’t been quite up to snuff with the rest of the world in terms of our car contributions. We had a pretty good run in the 1960s, but in the decades before and after, it hasn’t been great, albeit with a few exceptions. However, Ford has pretty much been on the ball with ludicrously fast production cars for over a half-century. And, in all honesty, a lot of that can be attributed to Caroll Shelby.
Obviously, models like the Shelby GT500 have been going strong since the mid-60s with a couple breaks in between. However, the models that we have today are clearly in a different league, with cars like the Code Red putting down 1,300 horsepower with ease. Even the standard GT500 models have consistently had over 600 horsepower for some time now.
The other fast Fords on this list were born out of competition. The GT40 was a humbling middle finger to the establishment, showing that we know how to build fast cars. The Ford GT that followed built on that legacy even further, giving the public a taste of what Ford is capable of when speed is the mission.