Cohort Outtake: 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible – Hot Fun in the Summertime

When I saw this ’63 Falcon ragtop posted by Staxman, it instantly flooded me with some memories of a hot summer day at the Gunpowder River. It was the perfect car for a bunch of kids to head out of the city for a day in the woods to go swimming in the cool water and smoke a bit of weed and drink some beers and just recreate. It was the ride home at night that I remember best, the warm and humid Maryland air slashing through my long hair as we rolled along the Beltway and the Jones Falls Expressway, back to Fells Point where a bunch of us lived in a very old brick row house no more than ten feet wide.

I got squeezed into the middle of the front bench seat (Futuras came with either a bench or buckets in ’63), which was representative of my bedroom too, which was the middle room of three on the second floor, and as there was no hallway in the narrow house, my bedroom also served that function. I was the last to join this motley household on one of several of my temporary returns to the Baltimore region, in about 1973 or so. And my friend Jerry had picked up a dark green Falcon convertible since the last time I was out.

I’m not a big fan of convertibles, as I did a lot of long distance traveling all over the country in those years, and it’s not much fun after the first hour or so, and sheer torture in the back seat. But running out to the country to escape a hot August night in Baltimore in one was just the ticket.

That’s not to say it was genuinely sporty, as Falcons avoided that quality with all their might. Its 170 inch six wheezed as they all did under the load of 5 or six kids on board, and the column shifter competed with my left thigh for real estate in first and third gear.

The convertible was  anew body style addition to the Falcon in 1963. My guess is that it was another keep-up job after the Corvair showed up topless in 1962. As well as the Falcon sold, Lee Iacocca was constantly looking at the Corvair. The Monza had been a big unanticipated success, so the Futura was quickly created to also offer a bucket seat ‘sporty” version, although there was no such thing as a handling package, better brakes or a hotter engine. That would have to wait until 1963.5, when the V8 Sprint appeared, wearing a lot of the Fairlane’s underpinnings as well as its 260 V8.

It was the cheapest way to get a drop-top Ford, if that was your thing. And in 1963, as the smaller car sporty vibe was tuning up, it made sense, in its own way.