First off a small disclaimer, I am a Petrolhead, which means I love cars of all types and makes. I believe every manufacturer out there (ok, maybe not Tata) has built some memorable or significant vehicle that belongs in my Dream Garage. There is however one specific brand that I have always gravitated towards since I was a small boy, and that brand is Ford.
Seven out of the ten cars I have owned over the last twenty years had a blue oval on the front. The last four new cars I bought was Ford, something that might change in the future seeing that Ford now shifted its focus away from Hot Hatches and Blue collar performance sedans. In spite of this, I am and will remain a Ford guy. Even in my photography there is a strong Ford presence.
You see, my passion for the Ford brand goes beyond such measurable factors like performance, value for money or resale value, it’s more personal than that.
My Dad’s first car was a Prefect, and even though he owned a Chevy at the time I was born, his love for Ford remained. He eventually replaced the Chevrolet Rekord 2.3 with a Ford Sierra 2.0 GL Station wagon; a car which remained in our family for many years.
My uncles also owned Ford’s. They owned a Cortina, a Sapphire as well as an Mk2 Escort 1600 Sport. At every family gathering there was always a bunch of Fords parked in the driveway (come to think of it, there still is).
As with most petrolheads, I think our first love for cars is fuelled by what our parents or family members drive, and that is mostly where our attractions to certain brands are formed. In my case, that brand was Ford.
Rally, Rallycross, Touring Cars, Endurance racing, Nascar, Drifting, Drag racing and even Formula 1… Ford has competed (and won) in all of it. The phrase “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is a philosophy they live by. Some useless info, but this phrase was coined by Bob Tasca, the owner of Tasca Ford in the 1960’s. Motorsport always was, and will always be part of Ford’s DNA.
As a kid growing up in the 80’s, we had some seriously crazy creations for our viewing pleasure. Think Zakspeed Capri and Group B legends like the RS200. Later it was the dominance of the RS500 Sierra and the Escort Cosworth, and in 1994 Michael Schumacher won the F1 World Championship behind the wheel of a Ford V8 powered Benetton B194. Not only Schumacher, but some of the greatest racing drivers in the world won their titles behind the wheel of a Ford in various categories of motorsport.
Motorsport is in my blood and for me Ford will always be synonymous with motorsport.
From movies to video games, and music, Ford has always had a strong presence in Pop Culture. In fact research done in 2018 on which cars appeared most in movies, Ford took the first two spots. The Crown Victoria (in the number two spot) appeared in 755 movies, while the Mustang (in number one) appeared in 809 movies, including the movie with the greatest car chase ever, Bullitt.
Video Games involving cars will always feature the Ford brand (unless it is a brand specific game), and most likely take up a big part of the roster. Even in music Ford plays a big part, the Mustang is mentioned in the lyrics of more than 50 songs, and even some song titles.
In the modern era of Youtube, superstars like Ken Block with his Gymkhana videos made Ford synonymous with Hooning. No one can deny the Pop Cultural significance of Ford as a brand.
Sarel van der Merwe
This might seem a bit strange, but when I was a little boy, a legend by the name of Sarel van der Merwe asked me a very important question… “Have you driven a Ford lately”. Ok, yes he asked me this question through my television, but that question had a big impact on me as a kid. Why was it so important to drive a Ford? Why was this specific brand so special? I just knew I had to find out for myself what it was like to drive one. I mean, if it was good enough for Supervan, it should be good enough for me right?
Whatever the specific brand might be that you gravitate towards, I am sure as a Petrolhead it involves more than mere numbers and measurables. I am sure that like me, it involves a deeper connection that formed since childhood. That is after all what makes us Petrolheads… that deeper connection with vehicles.