CC Capsule: 1962 Australian Ford Falcon – And So It Starts

Jim Grey’s recent post of a 1961 Falcon prompted me to bring out a pre-emptive CC-effect find I saw a few months ago; one of the first update of the Australian Falcon in what I think is a slightly different setting.  While the full story hasn’t been told yet on CC, there was some discussion here relating to early issues.  The first facelift of the Australian Falcon came nearly 2 years after its introduction,  and caught up with the changes to the US Falcon plus a few more that were, ahem, necessary.

The early Falcons in Australia  had a lot of problems, because despite the promotional film linked above might have said, local testing was minimal.  In 1960’s Australia you would have had to try hard not to drive on an unsealed road from time to time, and with its market positioning as Ford’s mainstream family car the demands were quite different from those of the North American version.  Ford’s engineering team addressed the issues as quickly as possible, with most of the issues addressed (if not completely resolved) by August 1962 when the XL model Falcon was released with the slogan Trim, Taut and Terrific.

The styling revisions are clear, with a new grille not shared with the American car, but it did have the new squarer ‘Thunderbird’ roof line of the 1962 US Falcon and the indicator/park lights were also moved into the bumper.  Similar to the North American car there were more trim levels available, but of course the 2-door sedan that Jim saw was not sold here – we had 4-door sedans and wagons only.  Presumably it was the changes under the skin that were of greater interest to existing Falcon owners: an upgraded front suspension, new clutch, air cleaner, starter, carburettor and revised gearbox.  There was still work to be done, both on the car itself and its image, but things were turning around.

This car was shot in an inner-city suburb (3 miles from the centre of Melbourne) that was once a very working-class area and has not been completely gentrified.  Most of the terrace houses (non-detached) would now be valued at a million dollars or so (or more!) but don’t have off-street parking which tends to cap the value of cars parked on the streets.  Some of the public schools in Melbourne have the reputation to draw people to move within the catchment area, but this is not necessarily one.  Plenty have been demolished for apartment blocks, and most residents could probably do without a car for their day-to-day travel.  Just the place for a Falcon that you can cruise around in when necessary, but will not attract jealous vandalism.