Top 10 Ford Mustangs of All Time

Writer - John Linden

It doesn't get more American than the Ford Mustang. With a rich history and decades of success, the Ford Mustang has become a household name. Its tough V8 engine and beautiful aesthetics have become trademarks that we've learned to associate with this magnificent vehicle. Here are the top 10 Ford Mustangs of all time.

1) Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R

Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R
Image Source : Flickr

If you owned a Mustang that wore the SVT Cobra badge between 1993 through 2004, then you had in your possession one of the highest performing Mustangs at the time. SVT Cobras were better in nearly every aspect: handling, power, and an overall better driving experience. They most certainly outclassed your typical V8 Mustang and that's before you even considered the special edition track-ready Cobra R models. The Cobra R were built for performance, and that's exactly what they excelled at.

Introduced in 1993, the Cobra R had a 235 hp 5.0-liter V8, bigger wheels, upgraded shocks, extra cooling, and larger brakes than your run of the mill Mustang. Items such as the air conditioning, stereo, and rear seat were removed for the sake of making this vehicle as light as possible. It's no wonder that the Cobra R was among the top performing Mustangs during its run.

2) Ford Mustang SVO

Ford Mustang SVO
Image Source : Wikipedia

Before the introduction of the SVO in 1984, turbocharged four-cylinder engines were nothing new in Mustangs. However, horse power was a bit on the lower end back in those days. Once the SVO came along, the power was up to 175 hp. By the time the SVO finished its run, Mustang engines were capable of cranking out 200 hp and sometimes even 205 hp.

Besides its powerful engine, the SVO came with a medley of upgrades: suspension, transmission, brakes, and steering. With an aerodynamic body and a standard limited slip differential on the rear end, the SVO was not only stylish and powerful, but it added a whole new dimension of handling and safety to the game.   

3) Ford Mustang II King Cobra

Ford Mustang II King Cobra
Image Source : Wikimedia

The Mustang II was sadly a victim of the times. During the era in which it was manufactured, gas prices were hitting the United States pretty hard, and no one had the money to drive a gas guzzling performance car. Ford wasn't a company to lay down, so they manufactured a few second-generation Mustangs that looked a whole lot like the muscle cars from the previous decade.

The top pick amongst these second-generation Mustangs was the King Cobra. Aesthetically, the King Cobra looked just like a mean, lean muscle car. However, the V8 under the hood could only hit 139 hp, and it took a full 10 seconds to reach 60 mph. Though the Mustang II is regarded one of the worst Mustang generations of all time, the King Cobra allowed people to cruise in style without having to break the bank filling up the gas tank. For that reason alone the King Cobra certainly deserves a place on this list.

 

4) Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford Mustang Bullitt
Image Source : Wikipedia

When Ford first revealed this particular Mustang to the market, it didn't have the name Bullitt. Bullitt is actually a nickname due to its role in the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt. As any car enthusiast knows, if Steve McQueen so much as touches a car it might as well turn into gold. With its dark green exterior and 390 engine, this 1968 Mustang Fastback had a lot to offer.

It wouldn't be until 2001 that Ford would reveal an official version of the Bullitt Mustang (in commemoration of its 1968 predecessor). Just like the original Bullitt, the 2001 release was offered in a dark green amongst other choices. It had upgraded mechanics, increased engine power, and it sported its retro-inspired wheels, giving the new Bullitt a classic and iconic look. 2008 and 2009 saw a revamped Bullitt, but this time around Ford stripped away certain physical aspects so that the vehicle resembled the Steve McQueen 1968 Mustang more faithfully. This newest release also saw upgraded mechanics and a more powerful engine.

5) Ford Mustang California Special

Ford Mustang California Special
Image Source : Wikipedia

The California Special was born in 1968 when Ford manufactured a special edition of the Mustang exclusively for the state of California. Auto dealers had to convince Ford to make this happen, and the auto company agreed. The California Special AKA the GT/CS had a unique aesthetical appeal that was a cross between a Shelby Mustang and a traditional Mustang.

Only a few of these vehicles hit the market, so they're hot among today's collectors. To every Mustang enthusiasts great delight, Ford once again began selling the California special as an exterior upgrade package on the Mustang. Ever since that time several versions of the GT/CS has been introduced to the California market.

6) Ford Mustang Boss 302/351/429

Ford Mustang Boss 302/351/429
Image Source : Wikipedia

1969 saw the introduction of three unique Mustangs that sported the Boss moniker. The first of these Mustangs was the Boss 302. Despite the fact that it has the smaller engine of the two, the Boss 302 performs much like a race car built for the streets. All exterior body cladding was removed, and a front lip and rear spoiler were added to give it a sporty look. The brakes and suspensions were upgraded, and the 302 cubic inch engine could crank out 290 hp.

The second Mustang to bear the Boss moniker is the 351. Try searching for the top 100 fastest Mustangs of all time, and the Boss 351 makes the top of the list nearly every time. The 351 came with a four-speed manual transmission and was backed by a set of 3.91 gears in a Traction-Lok differential. The 351 had limited production, and it's considered the most unique of all of the Boss Mustangs.

The third Mustang that was released that year was the Boss 429. As you might have guessed from the name, this Mustang housed a 429 cubic inch big block V8 that could crank out 375 hp.

Ford brought the Boss 302 back in 2012 that sported a 5.0-liter V8 engine. This time around the 302 was attached to a version of the Mustang that was more track-focused. In addition to this new release, there was also a Laguna Seca edition that scored even higher in the performance department.

7) Ford Shelby Mustang GT 500

Ford Shelby Mustang GT 500
Image Source : Wikipedia

With the GT350 already in the market, Shelby decided to add yet another Mustang variant among its lineup. Thus, in 1967 the Shelby Mustang GT500 was released to the public. The GT500 had a series of exterior upgrades as well as a medley of mechanical improvements that made the vehicle faster and smoother than ever before. The GT500  housed a 428 cubic inch V8. However, if this vehicle didn't provide the power that you craved, you could also purchase the GT500KR (King of the Road). This vehicle was equipped with the 428 Cobra Jet V8, an overall better performing engine.

Clearly, the 1967 variants of the Shelby Mustangs weren't satisfactory to Ford, because in 2007 they brought the Shelby GT500 back, but this time it was equipped with a 5.4 liter supercharged V8 that could crank out 500 hp. There was also the GT500KR model as well that could hit 540 hp. By the time 2011 rolled around, GT500s were capable of 550 hp.

If you think Ford was finished at that point, then you're sorely mistaken. In 2013 Ford took this performance vehicle to the next level. They introduced an all-new Shelby Mustang GT500 that capable of cranking out an astounding 662 hp from its 5.8 liter supercharged V8. Horsepower wasn't the only feature the new GT500 was bringing to the table. It also received upgrades to the brakes, suspension, and tires as well.

8) Original 1964 ¼ Ford Mustang 289

Original 1964 ¼ Ford Mustang 289
Image Source : Wikipedia

This was the vehicle that started it all. The 1964 ¼ Ford Mustang 289 wasn't the actual model number of this iconic vehicle, but Mustang enthusiasts will know what you're talking about if you mention it. The public grew to love Mustangs that housed the 289 V8. When you cranked the key, the engine would roar to life which enraptured a lot of people. With its relatively small body and powerful engine, people enjoyed the agility and power that the vehicle provided when you took it out onto the road. Also, the car looked absolutely gorgeous. 

9) Ford Mustang Mach 1

Ford Mustang Mach 1
Image Source : Wikipedia

You'd think with a name like the Mustang Mach 1, this would be the fastest Mustang out there. Well, you certainly wouldn't be mistaken with that assessment. The Mach 1 was first introduced in 1969, and it was a performance vehicle through and through. It came with three powerful V8s which included the 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet, a powerful engine that could leave a hole in the road if you drove fast enough.

The second Mach 1 would be introduced in 1971. This new Mach 1 was more powerful than ever. However, it had to survive the era of the Mustang II. Thus it was downgraded to a V6 engine in 1975. Somehow, 1975 was the Mach 1's best year regarding sales.

Having disappeared for decades, the Mach 1 made yet another grand appearance in 2003. This time the Mustang sported a high output V8 engine that could generate 305 hp. The exterior was changed to match the look the of original Mach 1 from the 60s pleasing fans to no end.

10) Ford Shelby Mustang GT350

Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
Image Source : Wikipedia

One of the most iconic Mustangs of all time, the Shelby Mustang GT350 offered the first version of the Mustang that was completely track-focused. The GT350 is capable of squeezing out 305 hp from its 289 cubic inch V8. This was the perfect vehicle for trans-am racing. With the rear seat removed, the GT350 tore up the track and quickly made a name for itself. Several GT350R variants upheld the reputation of the Shelby Mustang on the race track, but none could match the raw power and intimidation factor of the original 1965 GT350. There's a reason that the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 is easily one of the most iconic Mustangs of all time.