The Best Cars Ever

Once again we face a topic that can be very controversial. Which cars are the best cars ever made? Like the topic of the worst cars ever made there are many opinions. My list will be made up of vehicles that have been sold during my lifetime, and as I think about the list in my mind I think that every car that I would put into this category is one that is still currently being built. The only one that I might put on the list of the best cars ever that is no longer in production, and was built decades before I was born would be anything by Duesenberg. They will not be on this list however, since they built cars back in the 20’s and early 30’s.
My list is according to my opinion first and foremost. Some of the things that I consider in whether or not a car qualifies for my list are things such as overall quality and reliability. Vehicle performance compared to other vehicles in its market segment. Longevity on the market, vehicles that are terrible usually don’t stay around very long. The last thing is the mystique that accompanies the vehicle. Something that is a cultural icon is much more likely to be considered a great car then one that is not such an icon. This iconic status can be the result of a vehicle excelling in some of the other areas. As with the world’s worst cars list, these are listed in no particular order.

Ford Pickup

1997 Ford F150
This includes every version of Ford full-size pickups that have been built over the years. I want to specify that the compact Ford Ranger is definitely not on the list of best cars. Ford trucks have been the best selling trucks in the U.S. for past 20 to 30 years depending on how you count sales. Perhaps the reason Ford has enjoyed this sales lead for so long is because they build the best truck there is, or perhaps it’s just because they have the best deals available for industrial fleets which has a tendency to inflate sales numbers, either way Ford moves a lot of trucks every year.
The full size trucks are referred to as the F series trucks. They typically have included the F150, F250, and F350 which would be the ½ ton, ¾ ton and 1 ton respectively. In recent years the line has expanded to include some heavier duty trucks such as the F450, and F550. They even have an F650 and an F750 but these bear no resemblance to any of the others because they are so much bigger.
1918 Ford Model TT. Now that's a manly truck!
Ford has been building trucks since day one but the first purpose built truck chassis was built in 1917. It was a model T but with a heavier duty frame and suspension. This truck was called the Model TT. After the Model T more trucks came along based on whatever other cars Ford was building at the time. In 1948 the F series trucks hit the market. The half ton truck was the F1. In 1953 they started calling it the F100.  4WD was not added until the late 50’s. Over the years this option has become so popular that most trucks that are sold come equipped with 4WD. The extra cost of 4WD when the truck is purchased brand new will be made up in the resale value of the truck later on. Some other models that are essentially the same as the F Series trucks are some of the full-size Ford SUVs. The Ford Bronco, Expedition, Excursion, and even the Econoline full-size vans are all very closely related to the pickup trucks.
1948 Ford F1
These trucks are great because they have been around forever, they are extremely popular, and they are just so representative of American culture. Most full-size pickup trucks, including those from other manufacturers, could be classified in a similar manner. In what other country would you find so many people driving something so heavy and so thirsty for gasoline as their daily driver? I think the major reasons that these trucks are so popular in the U.S. are that gas is relatively cheap, and the people own property.
They have houses and yards that require trips to the home improvement store for 2x4’s and plywood. Americans need their trucks to haul a load of top soil once in awhile, and because we throw a lot of things away, we need a truck to haul things to the dump whenever the need arises. We also like to play and we have toys that are big and heavy. The snow mobiles, and the four wheelers, and the jet skis, and the boats, and the campers must be hauled to the wilderness every weekend, and sometimes all toys must be hauled at the same time.
We are very productive in our businesses as well, and so many of the full-size trucks that are sold each year are sold to big and small industrial companies for use in their various fleets. Every construction jobsite will be packed with all sorts of pickup trucks that are adapted for many different purposes. These trucks can be configured with as many seats and with as big or as small of a bed as any individual or company might need for whatever the jog is that they are trying to do. Because there are so many trucks used in so many industries, some guys have two or more trucks in their driveway. One for work, one for personal use, and maybe one for the wife or kids to drive.
2011 F150, The lightest duty pickups look different from the heavier duty ones.
2011 Ford F350, Heavy-duty model
Ford trucks are very versatile and very useful but they are also reliable. I would say that the full-size Ford trucks are the most reliable vehicle in the Ford line up and have been for a long time. Part of the reason for this is that the trucks don’t get redesigned as much as the cars do so the designers and engineers have had ample opportunity over the years to work the bugs out, and keep these trucks on the road. From about 1980 until 1996 the F series trucks hardly changed at all. They don’t go that long between redesigns every time but these trucks have never really changed that much their inception.
Another reason that I like Ford trucks is that they were the first trucks to really start using more modern engine designs with things like multi-port fuel injection, and overhead cam engine designs. The V-8 engines that are typically found in the Ford F series trucks have come a long way since the original flathead V-8s of the early 1930’s and 40’s.
When you think of great vehicles, you never think of the ones that are so common place, and so familiar to us all. But perhaps the fact that they are so colloquial is the same thing that makes them so great. These trucks are great there is no doubt. I would say they are the best vehicle to ever come from Ford Motor Company, and that if it wasn’t for the F Series trucks Ford might not be around anymore. Times have been hard in recent years for Ford but because they have been able to continue to sell their full-size trucks, they have found a way to stay in business.

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