(first posted 1/10/2012. Have things changed since then?) If you wonder “What is the most popular classic car among fashionable urban individuals 18-34 (i.e Hipsters)?” Given my non-scientific guess of living in the hipster enclave of North Oakland, I’d have to say the Ford Falcon, particularly the 1960-65 Sedans and wagons.
Wait, you say, “When did the Volvo 240 and Mercedes 240D lose their ironic chic?” They didn’t, really, the just got too expensive for plain but good examples. The Biodiesel wave sent many a clattering garage queen 240/300D in college professor enclaves to BioDiesel conversion shops, and prices out of the range of most clerks of your local Urban Outfitters.
And most any 240DL Volvo under $3,000 has been beaten within an inch of it’s life, and many essential things beyond the engine and transmission don’t work anymore. Like turn signals and heaters, and things that are 5 times the cost to repair relative to their entry price.
So enters the most highly unlikely of new hip candidates. Of all 1960’s cars, the Falcon in the most basic form (the sedans and wagons) were often the most neglected by the collector market. Sure enough the Sprints and Convertibles long ago started to keep better pace with other vintage iron, but who really wants to remember their youth with a bare metal dashboard? My mother, who has a scar on her forehead from a bare metal dashboard, doesn’t.
But plenty of the simple, wheezing Thriftmaster Six sedans and wagons survived 5 decades with low miles and astute maintenance by souls no longer with us. Aunt Esther’s Falcon Wagon becomes Aiden’s ride to the farmer’s market for organic produce shopping on Saturday morning.
You might ask “Why not the Corvair?” (Too complex, and not as practical/cheap since most sales and survivors are Monza Coupes) or “Why not a Valiant/Dart? They’re infinitely better cars with the same virtues as the Falcon (Simplicity)?” (Same issue as, oddly a vintage Mercedes, as most clean/usable ones stepped out of the reach of a broke college graduate). Chevy II/Nova examples suffer from that weird “everyone owned a Chevy” inflation problem, and not enough of the basic sedans and wagons still exist to satisfy demand.
Given how simple/plentiful parts are for them, and how few came equipped with power accessories that would need replacing, the Falcon represent the best “Set it and Forget it” classic car buy for a generation used to such thinking. When/if it actually breaks there’ll most likely be another hip ride to take its place.
Do we dare cast our votes? My first vote goes for the 1988-91 Toyota Corolla, followed by ironically, another nearly forgotten Ford: the 1991-96 Escort (and the Tracer sibling). But we have a bit of time before used cars from 20 years ago will be universally hip.
Until then, the little plebeian Ford Falcon, puts on a pair of Ray-Bans and gets the last laugh as flocks of them putter down Telegraph Avenue and Valencia St. Cheap is forever Chic.