Ford 50 years on: 1969 vs 2019


Manufacturers are always looking at ways to improve all aspects of their vehicles. From tweaks in colours of paintwork to major advances in safety, audio and general chassis design.

Ford has made significant changes to their vehicles over the years both aesthetically and mechanically, meaning that motorists can enjoy the very latest in technology while feeling confident and safe.

With the release of the 69-plate due during the latter part of 2019, we wanted to take this opportunity to look at the changes Ford has made to its cars in the last 50 years. In this article, we will explore some of the advances the company has made to cars between 1969 and 2019. We also spoke to bloggers and car enthusiasts to ask them why they consider Ford to be the best choice for their family.

Ford 50 years on: 1969 vs 2019

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Travelling by car is easier and safer than ever thanks to significant advances in vehicle safety. While crashes can still occur, the risk of serious injury is far lower than it used to be, thanks to the introduction of several safety features throughout the last 50 years.


Driver putting on a seat belt

Seatbelts are often the first defence when issues of any size arise. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) explains: “Seatbelts ensure that as little contact is made between the occupant and vehicle interior as possible and significantly reduce the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.”

Seatbelts have come a long way from the typical lap belt which was common before the three-point, self-adjusting and retracting seatbelts we know today were introduced just after 1969. Since then, cars have been fitted with pre-tensioners, which tighten the belt in the event of a crash.

Ford has been incorporating new safety features to its fleet for many years and one of the latest safety options are rear inflatable seatbelts. The company says: “In the event of an impact, the belts inflate and spread the crash forces over five times more area of the body than conventional seat belts. By reducing pressure on the chest and better controlling head and neck movement, this innovative technology is designed to reduce the likelihood of injury.”

Haydy from Squibb Vicious told us that she considers Ford as the forerunners when it comes to advances in cars: “Not only did they advance the seatbelt all those years ago, they’re still looking for ways to build on that now, and that's something Ford is good at. They don't just ‘solve’ a problem, they continue to build on it, year after year. Whenever Ford releases a new model or an updated model you know that they will have put so much thought, testing and plenty of advances into.”

Cassie from Gorgeous George’s Mama remembers seatbelt changes over the last few decades: “I remember back in the 80s, 90s when I was a child, travelling around in my parents’ Ford Granada. I remember how my sister and I would share a lap belt. Fast forward to 2019, driving around in my husband’s Ford Edge, our 4-year-old is substantially safer in his booster seat and secured with Ford’s rear seat belts which inflate safely upon impact.”


Similarly to seatbelts, airbags are designed to act as a safety restraint to help lessen passenger impact during an accident. Nowadays, these gas-inflated cushions are built into many areas of the car’s interior including the steering wheel and dashboard.

The Ford Motor Company built an experimental airbag fleet in 1971 and later began offering them as an optional feature in their 1984 Tempo model. Airbags have now been compulsory in all new cars since 1998.

The all-new Ford Focus, for example, has airbags installed which aim to shield the driver and passengers from all angles. Ford states: “Side airbags provide thorax protection and are designed to direct the occupant away from the impact area. They’re also able to raise the arm of the occupant providing better space between them and the intruding structure. Curtain airbags provide maximum coverage and headrests offer protection from whiplash. There are also front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, seatbelt reminders for all seats, and a display that shows which occupied seats don’t have their seatbelts fastened.”

Blogger Rachel Bustin told us that Ford has always been a part of her life as her late father was a “huge fan of the motoring giant”. She has fond memories of her father telling stories all about his beloved Ford Zephyr which he owned in the 60s.

Rachel told us that her father’s enthusiasm for Ford cars had rubbed off on her and her siblings: “With dad being such a huge fan, my first car was a Ford, as well as my sisters and brother. All of us had a Fiesta, and mine was a red diesel Fiesta 1997 model. It lasted me for years and was a car that just kept going. It never let me down, was fun to drive and was called Ruby. You always remember your first car and it’s one I won’t forget.”

Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance

Perhaps one of the most impressive advances in safety in recent times is the Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance. The system immediately alerts emergency services if you have a crash. After being triggered by the car’s airbag sensors, it will transmit your location as well as how many passengers are in the car.

The eCall and SOS button can help with any medical emergency which occurs in the vehicle, according to Ford: “Whether you have a serious accident, a medical emergency or you see an accident on the road and you want to alert the emergency services, just press the red SOS button.” The technology also allows the occupants of the car to speak to a safety operator if needed.

Emma from Dirt Diggers and Dinosaurs told us that as a mum to three children, her priority when choosing a car is safety: “ECall is another simple but yet potentially lifesaving idea. Knowing that the emergency services will be contacted should the worst happen gives us parents complete peace of mind. It’s hard now to believe that 50 years ago a lap belt was the height of vehicular safety measures.”


Innovation in technology is at the heart of Ford with each new vehicle packed with a range of helpful features.

Ford car with driver technology

Audio and entertainment

Undoubtedly Ford is miles ahead of the competition with its innovative in-car entertainment thanks to its SYNC systems. Newer models boast a range of technologies, including SYNC and Bluetooth which are designed to help the driver stay connected and control certain features of the car.

Motorists in the 60s listened to music on built-in stereos and the first cassette tape head units were introduced shortly after 1969. No doubt drivers enjoyed listening to hits from the era including Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley and Come Together by The Beatles.

Over the years, newer audio systems were introduced to cars including CD players, then by mid-2000s technology had advanced so that drivers could connect their MP3s to the existing vehicle sound systems.

The latest SYNC3 with AppLink is the most advanced of the SYNC series of audio and entertainment system Ford has created. Ford explain: “Highlights include a state-of-the-art interface for swift access to the information you want. An eight-inch touchscreen features pinch-and-swipe gestures for intuitive navigation. As well as AppLink, the system also connects with Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto.”

Another key feature of SYNC 3 is its voice control function. You can give the system a variety of commands which will display helpful information on the system’s screen. For example, you can say “show traffic” and it will show all traffic on your route, you can say “I need fuel” and it will list petrol stations or even “set temperature” to pick the temperature of your interior.

Parking sensors

Cars in a car park

Many drivers find parking, especially parallel parking, quite daunting; with slow and precise movements backwards and forwards while avoiding stationary vehicles, pedestrians and the kerb being a challenge.

Technology has come a long way in recent years assisting motorists to park with ease. Active Park Assist can steer you into parking spaces with the push of a button. Nifty sensors help to identify a suitable parking space as you drive by. The technology will automatically steer the car into the space for you, all you need to do is use the foot pedals. explains that while parking sensors may sound like a recent invention, the idea has actually been around since the 1970s, but in a very different form: “Originally, they were meant to be used in guidance devices for the blind. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when the technology really took off.”

Drivers in 1969 had to rely on wing mirrors and skill to manoeuvre into a tight parking space. However, luckily for the modern-day motorist, Ford has created technology which aims to make tricky parking easier with Xvision Park Distance Control.

The company says the Xvision Park Distance Control “is a parking system which can be fitted to any vehicle, whether new or used”. The technology detects solid or non-solid objects which help to give drivers “peace of mind when manoeuvring in busy areas”.

Carly from Mom of Two Little Girls owns a Ford Tourneo Custom and describes the advances in technology as “amazing”. She further explained: “Our Ford has nine USB charging ports as well as a 23v power converter for an actual plug in the car. With three kids, two adults, and lots of family road trips planned having charging stations for phones, tablets and other devices makes our car journeys so much more comfortable for everyone.

“What has impressed me the most is the technology that is built into the car. I was nervous to drive such a large vehicle but it really is so very easy to drive. From the parking sensors and rear-view camera guides to the flat tyre alert and other warning messages. It all helps us to look after the car itself and keeps us safe on the roads.”

Emma further explained why she considers Ford to be a good choice for a family car: “Ford has focused on safety features and new models now feature technology to protect both my family and other road users. Pedestrian detection is a great advancement in my opinion, as I've been witness to kids walking out in between cars at school drop off. So, anything to detect a child that otherwise might not have been seen by the driver is so valuable.”


Whether you were a motorist in 1969 or 2019, buying a car is a big decision.

According to Motoring Research, a buyer could drive away in a Ford Lotus Cortina in 1964 for £1,100, which was about a third of the average house price at the time. Inflation calculator works out that this is roughly £22,000 in today’s money.

The website also says that to bridge the gap between the 60s and 70s, Ford launched the Capri in 1969. Marketeers pitched the new Capri as “the car you always promised yourself” and it quickly became a firm favourite. Back in the day, it would have cost £890, that figure adjusted is around £14,000.

Hillarys’ Back in My Day generator explains that the average price of a car in 1969 in the South West was around £1,060, and in today’s money that roughly equates to £17,302. The price of a litre of fuel was around £0.07 which in today’s money is around £1.12. For a comparison, supermarket prices average at around £1.24 for a litre of fuel.

Nowadays prices for a brand-new Ford Ecosport start from around £17,850 which comes with all the latest technology a driver could want including the SYNC 3, voice control technology, emergency assist and a heated steering wheel and seats. So, while modern-day cars are more expensive than one available in 1969, it’s fair to say that you are getting a lot more for your money.

Ford Motor Credit Company introduced car loans in 1923, and modern-day drivers continue to make use of a variety of finance options available. Money Advice Service says: “Buying a car is no simple decision. From buying outright to buying a car on finance, there are many options. You also have to consider running costs. It’s probably the second most expensive thing you’ll buy - after your home. So, it’s important to make sure you choose the best way to buy a car for you.”

Foray Motor Group’s Ford Scrappage Scheme for 2019 is another way of helping people buy their dream car. If you own a vehicle which was registered before December 31st, 2012, and you have owned it for more than 90 days, you are eligible for the Ford Scrappage Scheme. This is where you can get £2,000 off a new Ford car when you scrap your old vehicle with Foray Motor Group.


Red Ford car

“The colour of your car reveals things about your personality”, says Little Things. The colour an individual is drawn towards is a personal choice and subjective; one person may love stand-out hues of neon green, while others prefer muted tones which aren’t so eye-catching.

Little Things writes: “Red is often the colour chosen by those who have a zest for life. They are outgoing, aggressive, fun, and impulsive — or they’re someone who wants to be those things! If your car is red, you’re most likely ambitious and determined to get all you can out of life.

“If you like a silver car, you’re practical, innovative, business-savvy, and have good taste.

The neutral colour camouflages dirt on the car, which is great for your busy lifestyle. You most likely enjoy your job or field of work, but you do tend to work a little too hard.

“If you have a blue car, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a case of the blues. Rather, blue cars act as a tiny bit of sunny sky on an otherwise grey and bleak highway or street. If you own a blue car, you are compassionate, optimistic, stable, honest, and serene. You like to be admired for a strong sense of self and wisdom.”

Modern films featuring Ford

Ford Mustang Bullitt

There are countless memorable cars to hit the big screen and, according to Popular Mechanics, to really make it to the top, a car must “influence a generation, inspire car culture, and become the stuff of every kid’s dreams”. This can certainly be said for the Ford Mustang.

The 2019 Mustang Bullitt pays homage to the original car which hit the big screen in the eponymous film, Bullitt, which was one of the most popular films released in 1968. The action thriller film starred Steve McQueen and certainly helped catapult early Mustangs into stardom.

Haydy told us all about her dream car: “The Mustang is one of my favourite cars. One day I shall be the proud owner of a 1969 Shelby GT500; the long bonnet, the rear lights and those lines of the fastback roof are the things that dreams are made of.

“I think there’s something so timeless about a Ford, whether it's a Mustang, Capri or the Escort, which were all around in the late 1960s. I always enjoy seeing those that have been kept in pristine condition at cars shows.”

The upcoming film, Ford v Ferrari is based on the famous 1960s rivalry between the two endurance racing vehicles. Starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, it is due for release during the latter part of 2019.

Ford Now

Ford never stops working on creating innovative new designs and features for its fleet. According to Sunday Times Driving the UK’s top best-selling cars of 2019 includes several Ford models like the Fiesta, Focus and Kuga.

There are many exciting new features Ford fans can expect, for example, the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid is due to be released in 2019 and uses two sources of power for efficiency. The Transit Minibus is also due for release during 2019 and is designed to carry up to 18 people and comes with new technologies such as the FordPass Connect modem.

Why choose Ford?

Red Ford car

Bloggers and motoring enthusiasts have told us why they have continually chosen Ford over other car manufacturers.

Cassie said: “Over the years, myself and my husband have had the ‘61 plate Ford Kuga, ‘13 plate Ford Focus, ‘62 plate Silver Mondeo, ‘16 plate Black Mondeo and we currently have the Ford Edge Sport. Whenever we have looked at moving away from Ford, we cannot find a company that offers the same modern conveniences that we have become accustomed to for the great value we pay. To us, Ford says reliability, affordability and versatility.”

Emma and her family have owned a C-Max and currently own an S-Max: “Ford are good solid cars that are reliable. I can easily fit three car seats across the back leaving a cavernous boot to transport strollers, bikes, footballs, picnics, outdoor clothing and all the other stuff. Kids don't travel light! Also, it makes holidays a dream, we've never struggled for space and have extra seats for grandparents too. The boys have nicknamed my S-Max our ‘fun bus’ because we've been on lots of day trips and adventures in it.”

Sanna from Wave to Mummy owns a Kuga and told us that it is a great family car with plenty of space: “Most importantly, it has been a reliable and a steady drive. We chose Ford because it has a reputation for safety and reliability, and so far, it has lived up to this promise.”

The 69 plate

Brand new models of car are launched throughout the year at the manufacturers’ discretion, however, there are new registration plates which come out twice a year. The RAC states: “In the UK, vehicle registration plates change in March and September and the age identifier is updated to reflect the year.

“Cars registered between March 1st and August 31st  have the age identifier updated with the last two digits of the year itself, whereas cars registered between September 1st and February 28th  have the age identifier updated with the last digit of the year preceded by a 5 or 6; this number denotes the decade, 5 for 2000 to 2009 and 6 for 2010 to 2019.”

Vehicles registered from September 1st, 2019 through to the end of February 2020 will carry a 69 plate and will signify the newest cars on the road. If you are ready to welcome a new vehicle to your household, then visiting your nearest Ford dealership to browse their Ford cars for sale is a great way to see what suits you.

Image credit: Gorgeous George’s Mama, Jne Valokuvaus, Rick Deacon.