Curbside Classic: 1970 1/2 Ford Falcon Sedan – Needle, Meet Haystack

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Despite a massive snowstorm on Tuesday, last week was most excellent for me. Long story short, I had been out of work for approximately a month, but through a mutual friend I was able to interview for a full-time accounting position at a local company. Last Thursday morning I arrived in my one-and-only suit, and a few hours later they called and offered me the job. I was very happy, to say the least! Just after I left a message accepting the job, I started the car and prepared to drive away from the mall, where I’d been browsing at a bookstore–and what did I see? This rather clean mid-size 1970 Ford, parked at a restaurant–in February, in the Midwest! Highly unlikely. But is this really a Torino?

1970 5  Ford Falcon Brochure-01

Despite the lack of Falcon scripts on the rear quarters, I believe it to be a 1970½ Falcon, of which 30,445 sedans were built. To my surprise, the Falcon sedan actually outsold the mid-line Fairlane 500, which sold 25,780 copies, as well as the Torino sedan, which sold 30,117.

1970 5  Ford Falcon Brochure-02-03

The ’70½ was a bargain-basement Torino whose function was filling the gap left when the 1966-70 Falcon ended production on January 1, 1970. As noted in the recent Maverick post, Federal regulations requiring a steering column-mounted ignition switch were taking effect, and so the compact 1970 Falcon, with its dash-mounted switch, had to be discontinued after December 31, 1969.

1970 Ford Torino-16 amp 17

The Torino-based unit was ushered in to finish out the year but did not return for ’71. So, why do I think it’s a Falcon? For starters, it appears that the next-lowest variant, the Fairlane 500 sedan, got chrome-trimmed door frames that are conspicuously absent from our red example.

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Also, please note that in the brochure shot further up that while the Falcon had no grille ornament, the 500 wore a red, black and chrome Ford shield. Unfortunately, our CC is missing its grille; I’m wondering if it’s in the trunk, as it appears the owner might have removed it in order to block off the radiator with cardboard.

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Whoever ordered this one must have wanted a sharp ride on a budget, as the red paint, black vinyl top and Ford’s ultra-cool dog-dish hubcaps all make for an attractive four-door. I really thought this was a Torino the first time I saw it.

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As a U.S. example, this one has “FORD MOTOR COMPANY” emblazoned on its hubcaps, unlike the “FORD FORD FORD” on our recent Brazilian Maverick GT. Also note the lack of wheel-opening moldings, standard on the Fairlane 500.

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Furthermore, the basic black interior looks like a match to the ’70.5 brochure picture. Unfortunately, the sole interior picture I took was slightly out of focus, so I can’t read the series badge above the glove box. Curses!

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If that isn’t enough for you, here is a Fairlane 500 I spotted at a car show last year. As you can see, the upholstery is much nicer, and the Fairlane 500 plaques on this blue one are absent from our featured vehicle.

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The 500 also got two chrome accents on each front fender. It is easier for me to believe that someone removed all the Falcon badges from this car (probably during a repaint) than wonder why, if it was indeed a Fairlane 500, someone would put in a taxicab interior and remove the Fairlane 500 scripts from the doors?

Falcon

So, my educated guess is that this is a Falcon. While I can imagine many Falcon two-doors being saved over the years, I can also imagine that most sedans were unceremoniously driven into the ground (also true of 1968-72 Novas), which makes this find all the more remarkable. A new job, a good old-fashioned Midwestern snowstorm and a rare CC. What a week!

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