Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1962 Ford Falcon Wagon – America’s Best Selling Compact Wagon, Not Surprisingly

We’ve paid homage to the early Falcon on quite a few occasions. But they’re rather irresistible when encountering them at the Cohort, like this wagon shot in B.C. by robadr. Why? Because it was so simple, clean, honest and functional compared to what came along later? Was there ever a compact wagon made by the Big Three that can equal it on those qualities? Me thinks not.

So that warrants another look.

Just how many of these “best selling compact wagons” were sold in 1962? Some 111k, a solid 28% of all Falcons. Rambler pioneered the compact wagon market, making them the hot item with young families in the late ’50s. And the Falcon was perfectly situated to capitalize on that momentum in 1960, especially with its wagons. The boomers needed something to ride in, and here it was, even if there was no third seat. That was a luxury back then.

The 1962 Chevy II wagon did offer a third seat in its wagon, unlike either the Falcon or the Valiant/Dart. I doubt it sold well, as by this time, compact wagon buyers were largely buying on price. I’ve never seen one.

The Chevy II did sell well in its first year, nipping on the Falcon’s heels with 327k vs. 377k. And in 1963, the Chevy II solidly outsold the Falcon 377k to 328k. I don’t have breakouts for Chevy II production by body style, but Ford’s claim for the Falcon being the best selling compact wagon was likely moot by ’63.

The Falcon got it first styling refresh in ’62, with a new front end. Other than that it was largely the same, until the 1962.5 Futura came along with its new T-Bird style roof. Engines were the familiar standard 85 hp 144 six and the 101 hp 170 six. Nothing to get excited about.

BUT: along with that new Futura roof, starting in mid-year 1962 there was an optional four speed transmission (from Ford’s UK plant) with “floor mounted ‘short stick’ shift lever with shift pattern on knob”. And it was fully synchronized, unlike the standard three-speed column-shifted manual. I’ve long fantasized about a Futura coupe with the 170 six and that four speed. Never seen one, but I know some were sold, and it was available on all models, including the wagon.

No such thing here. Instead it’s the unloved two-speed Fordomatic. Hopefully it at least has the 170 six, as the 144 teamed with the Fordomatic was pretty marginal.

I can just hear it now, that distinctive nasal whine of a Falcon six leaning against the torque converter of the Fordomatic. Oh well.