When I caught a glimpse of this third-gen Falcon across the parking lot, I first thought it was a Mustang, as I could only see the roof line. I wonder if any Mustang “upgrade” components lurk under that faded red paint?
That looks like a 1966. The mother of a friend in high school bought a new 1966 red Falcon two door with 289 and Fordomatic. IIRC it had a black vinyl bench and column shift and was a really nice car. Not sure why the family bought the Falcon instead of the Mustang, perhaps because you could get a better deal as the Mustangs were in such great demand. Also, I think her mother wanted a bench seat and while I seem to recall you could get one in the Mustang as an option, they were quite rare.
Nope – a 1968 or later – side marker lights came on board that model year.
I saw those lights after I hit post. I don’t think there were many changes in these years. The Falcon’s day was over (as was the Corvair’s, unfortunately) and the pony cars were taking over. Also, the Nova was a better looking alternative and came with some great options/engine choices and hence had a much cooler image than the Falcon (especially with its new name – not as tied to the Chevy II past as was Falcon).
A 1969. Ford used reflectors on the rear quarters in 1968…apparently they misunderstood the new regulations. Since they didn’t actually apply until 1969, the goof was allowed to go through.
All Ford wagons and the Falcon sedan, had a reflector on the rear that was shaped like an elongated Ford crest. In 1969, those were replaced with no-nonsense red lights.
Ford didn’t misunderstand, it’s the way the regulations went into effect. For 1968-1969, there was a grace period where vehicles could have either reflectors or lights. The 1968 Mustang had front side-marker lights but rear side reflectors. Likewise, while all 1968 Chrysler products had side lights (both front and rear), all of their 1969 cars just had side reflectors.
But the grace period was only for two years. By 1970, all vehicles had to have illuminated side-marker lights. In fact, just to make sure they were in full compliance, the 1970 E-body Mopars (Barracuda/Challenger) had ‘both’ side-marker lights and reflectors.
It must be the earlier years that have fake vents stamped in the front fenders then
But the styling has worn well. I thought these were plain-Jane in their day but today they seem crisp and purposeful. Still not high style, but not no style. I think I’d rather have one of these than a Mustang just for the “wow, that’s different” factor.
Not to threadjack, but I had a buddy in high school with a ’67 camaro with a bench seat, so it is possible.
Although I liked the 1960 Falcon because of the ads, how that curved hood edge allowed you to see the road a few feet closer to your bumper. I liked these much more, for they did look like a Mustang – it was a nice-looking car.
However…I liked Chevy Novas better, and bought a 1972!
One thing I always found attractive was the chrome or bright window frame surrounds on sedans at the time. My Nova didn’t have them and I wasn’t going to spend the $50 or so to buy them! A fair sum of cash if you were funds-challenged like me.
I think it’s a ’68 or ’69 as it has side marker lights. For some reason the Falcons from about 1966 to 1969-when it was replaced by the Maverick-were never big sellers. I certainly see far fewer of them then the 1960-65 models. I do remember a friend who had a 1966 Mustang with a bench seat and automatic; if I remember correctly-it’s been a long time-it had the floor mounted shifter which essentially negated any seating benefit
for the front bench seat.
The styling on the Falcon in those years didn’t hit a receptive chord; but today, as noted, they look crisper and fresher than the Disco-Era Mavericks.
A great bargain-basement collectible. And simple to fix; and bulletproof.
I guess the Mustang stolen the Falcon’s thunder but I think then the Nova as well as the Dodge Dart & Plymouth Valiant might have an impact on Falcon sales. They almost got 30% of the compact car market to Chrysler.
It’s a bit sad then Ford didn’t sended that Falcon tooling to Argentina and/or Brazil. It could had expanded its lifespan. However seems then the 289 engine survived longer in Mexico then some Mexican Maverick had them under the hood. http://mmb.maverick.to/showthread.php?t=53640&page=2
Still has 4 stud axles so no suspension upgrades in there by the time the XR of 66 appeared out here all Falcons had 5 stud wheels and XR was the first V8 in the OZ lineup
Those are 1969 side marker lights, I believe.
Interesting on the four bolt hubs. My son’s ’84 Mustang L (base model) also has four bolt hubs…
In the 60s you could tell a 6 cylinder Mustang or Falcon by the 4 bolt wheels (13 and 14″). V8s had 5 lugs (14 and 15″). 74 Mustangs IIs were all 4 lug (13″).
1979-93 Mustang and Fairmont had 4 lug 14+” or that odd early TRX size. In 86 the SVO had 5 lugs while the other Mustangs still had 4 lugs I think, the ubiquitous “10 hole” wheel, with the small caps were 4 bolt.
WRT to the TRX wheels/tires: I had a set on my 1980 Capri RS Turbo. They were 390 mm or 15.3 inches. Almost no one besides Michelin carried those tires, and they were NOT cheap. IIRC, Sears sold a knock off tire in that size, but my memory on these things is a bit fuzzy.
But the majority of the Fox bodys carried 4 lugs and the near ubiquitous 10 holer is a 4 lug, also. I had those on my 1985 and 1986 V8 Capris, too.
Being a Ford Fan I was always a bit POed that there wasn’t a Falcon or Maverick to compete against the Nova SS and Dart 340s etc. The best you could get was a 302 2V. Sure ther were 428CJ Cobras and Mustangs, but a Hi Po 302 or even a 428CJ in a Falcon, or a 351 Cleveland in a Mavi would have been perfect.
Even I left Ford for a 71 Demon 340!
My brother is currently breathing fire over a 351 to be installed into a 86 XF Falcon it should fly if he does it right
I had a six cylinder 1974 Ford Maverick that I swapped a warmed over 4bbl 289 into (this was in 1981). It woke the car up, but about a year later I sold the Mav and purchased a 1975 Dodge Dart Sport 360. Even with the smogged out 360 motor, the Dart smoked the Maverick in every way.
Several friends in HS and beyond owned mid 70’s small block Novas, the 350 equipped ones usually were pretty stout for a small car with a (relatively) small motor. The SBC was a great motor and it didn’t take much to get more power out of it.
I should have realized it when I had the Mav, but I wanted it to work so badly, I threw a lot of money and time at the car, and got middling results. It wasn’t until I got my V8 Fox bodies a few years later that I owned a Ford that could really move.
I think in 1970 there was a “Boss” Maverick, probably with a Hi-Po 302 or 351.
I wonder how many times in a given outing with the Falcon the owner hears… “Hey man, nice Must… (pause) uh what is that?”
Probably happens all the time. Non-car people tend to be unobservant.
When I drove my ’63 Corvair convertible, more than once a person told me how much they liked my “Mustang.”
It’s interesting that, by 1968, all of the Big 3 had done away with their compact hardtops due to everyone being into the ponycar market by then. Well, with the exception of the Dodge Dart because Dodge still didn’t have a ponycar and the Corvair because GM doggedly refused to let the car die.
It’s a pity because all of the compact 2-doors could have benefited from hardtop styling. Of course, the execs were probably right in that it would have come at the cost of ponycar sales. Witness how the Duster 340, a coupe (but a good looking one) vindicated this theory by cannibalizing other, more profitable Mopar musclecar sales.
In fact, the Duster 340 is one of those odd situations where Chrysler execs were actually mad at the success of Plymouth’s compact hotrod. Although sales were great, they felt the Duster cost the company profits (and was one of the big reasons the E-body was gone after only five years).
rudiger, I like the way you think, but that’s me…
In that era, the hardtop was considered dead-car rolling. Roof-rigidity standards were the next thing to be feared; and 1973 did bring the end of most conventional hardtops. The Ford intermediates went with “pillared hardtops” – frameless door glass but B-pillars. GM went with their over-the-top styling for that class. Two-doors had a ultra-wide C-pillar that butted up against the driver’s door-glass; with an “opera window” cut in. The Ford full-size, if memory serves, kept a two-door hardtop but with the narrowest of rear glass, and a sail-panel C-pillar.
Anyway…designers were working on those cars around 1969; so there wasn’t going to be any additional hardtops added – even if it was a cheap addition, it was a market viewed as doomed.
“For some reason the Falcons from about 1966 to 1969-when it was replaced by the Maverick-were never big sellers. I certainly see far fewer of them then the 1960-65 models.”
Falcon sales peaked in 1961, when nearly half a million were built, then steadily declined, to the point where they fell below 100K in 1968 IINM. There were three reasons for this. One was Ford-specific, the other two industry-wide:
1. In 1960-61, the Falcon’s Big 3 competition each had deep flaws in the minds of many American consumers. The Corvair was just a strange car, and the Valiant had weird styling. As a result, the Falcon was able to grab a huge share of the compact market. By 1962-63, GM and Chrysler had compact offerings that were much more competitive with the Falcon.
2. During the recession years of 1958 to 1961, many Americans turned to small cars, be they imports or domestic compacts. From 1962 onward, the economy came roaring back, and interest in small cars declined.
3. In 1960-61, compacts were the only “less than full size” cars available from U.S. manufacturers. From 1962 onwards, intermediates and later ponycars appeared on the scene. Some consumers who might have bought compacts in 1960-61 were now buying those models (or maybe even being steered towards them by automakers, in the interest of higher profit margins). Hardtops, convertibles and wagons began to disappear from compact lineups.
For most of the rest of the ’60s after 1962, the general sales trend for virtually all American compacts was downward, due to #2 and #3 above. It wasn’t just the Falcon. That having been said, I think Ford kind of let the Falcon go after 1965 or 1966, clearly signaling that they didn’t see this segment of the market as very important.
By 1968 it was apparent that there was another rising tide of interest in small cars. VW’s U.S. sales were just about at their peak. Toyota and Datsun (Nissan) had gone from having only a tiny U.S. presence to being significant players in just a few years. Sales of U.S. compacts began to climb again, led by the newly restyled 1968 Chevy Nova. The Falcon had been let go too far to benefit much from this, though. The big winner at Ford was the new Maverick, an low-end, import-fighting 2-door introduced as an early 1970 model midway through the 1969 model year.
Ford subsequently decided to slot the Maverick in as a replacement for the Falcon (with a 4-door sedan added on a longer wheelbase) and introduce the 4-cylinder Pinto as a more direct competitor to the imports. While the Maverick in the 1971-73 era sold in larger numbers than the Falcon had in the late ’60s, it continued to lag behind its GM and Chrysler competition. Some of this may been due to the 2-door Maverick being seen as a bit small for the class — it had not originally been intended as a mainstream compact offering — but I think some of it was a legacy of Ford’s inattention to the compact segment during the second half of the ’60s.
I never considered the Maverick to be as attractive a car as a Duster/Demon or Nova. It was a little baroque.
Mmmm, we only got the Oz-built 4-door sedan/wagon and 2-door ute/panel van here; the 2-door sedans were never sold new. There are a few more recent ex-US imports around, although they’re priced on the high side. I’ve always wanted to get one of theses ex-US 2 doors, convert it to RHD and then do it up to look like an XY Falcon GT-HO. Ford fans would work out how it was built pretty quickly, but I bet I could convince a few folks it was factory from Australia!
I remember seeing a coupe painted up like a XW GT at a Victorian car show in the late 80s and being amazed that someone would go to all that trouble to make a 2DR out of a sedan. Long before I knew they actually existed as factory in the US!
I have always liked this series of Falcon. I spent quite a bit of time in one of these in my high school years. One of my best friends had one of these in the family. An early 1970 model with the 200 cid 6 and three on the tree. An absolute strippo, except for the radio.
One of these would make a great daily driver today. If you want the experience of driving a Mustang everyday, just get one of these because it is virtually the same thing. Only without the sex appeal. I always considered these much more substantially built cars than the Mavericks that replaced them.
Ford certainly did ignore these cars once they came out. This car had fewer style changes over its 4.5 yearsthan almost anything else since the Model A. It’s bad when the best indicator of the car’s year is the steering wheel, which changed every year (other than for the abbreviated 1970 year which, as far as I know, was completely indistinguishable from the ’69 and was only built until new governmental regs took effect 1/1/70 which effectively outlawed the car.)
“new governmental regs took effect 1/1/70 which effectively outlawed the car.”
Does anyone know what the specific issue was here? I’ve heard it said before that Ford was a bind over the Falcon because the design wasn’t up to code in some way, and it was impossible (or financially infeasible) to upgrade it. I’ve never heard exactly what the problem was, though, or why it seemed to be a issue for the Falcon but not for any other model of car.
Maybe Ford was busy designing the all new for 1972 Torinos, for a fall 1971 intro, and just dropped old Falcon since no room for it.
My understanding was that the locking steering column was the issue. The early 1970 models continued to have an ignition key on the dash panel. To make the car compliant, a new locking steering column would have been necessary, and since the Maverick sedan was almost there, Ford refused to spend the money to make the Falcon compliant. There may have been other items that were newly mandated, but this is the one I am sure of. The 1970 Falcon may be the only 1970 model year car sold in the U.S. without a locking steering column, but this was only because Ford stopped building the car as of 12/31/69.
The 1970 1/2 Falcon sedan was actually a strippo Torino (with, of course, a column-mounted ignition key) and had to hold the fort until the 71 Maverick sedan was ready. The Maverick coupe (designated as a 1970 model) was actually out midyear of 1969, so I can see where it would not make sense for even a minor upgrade just to keep selling a sedan version of the slow-selling Falcon, particularly since the new Maverick would undercut it on price.
Personally, I wish that they had pulled a Chrysler and just kept building the Falcon until the Granada came out. Falcon Brougham anyone?
I like your idea of the Falcon Brougham. Also, note then the 1970-71 Torino wagon still used the 1966 Fairlane/Falcon wagon roofline.
One guy on this forum devoted to the Maverick mentionned then it was originally planned as a 1970 Falcon http://mmb.maverick.to/showpost.php?p=759487&postcount=8 I would had wish to see earlier drafts and mock-up clays pictures. Ford could had introduced the Maverick as the ‘Stang “little brother” and going head-to-head against the Plymouth Duster and sold it as the “Falcon Maverick” like they did in their first year in Mexico.
I mentionned earlier then Ford should had bring the 1966-70 Falcon tooling to Argentina and/or Brazil. Ford Argentina menaged to upgrade the original Falcon with squared headlights and a redesigned dash. Imagine the 1966-70 Falcon with squared headlights.
There were 3 1970 models without locking columns, all Ford products.
The 1970 Falcon -ended production before the law took effect
The early 1970 Maverick-began production well before the law
took effect, but still titled as a 1970.
The so-called 1970 Shelby-Actually leftover and retitled 1969s.The folklore
is that Ford sought, and obtained, permission from the FBI to do this.
The Futura was a “Falcon Brougham” of sorts, with its extra chrome trim.
I remember the press releases for this car when they came out. Ford claimed that the Falcon had morphed into a “family car version of the Mustang” – aka, Mustang lines on the outside, bench seat, column shifter and boredom on the inside. It never did take off all that well, especially since it was only priced a bit cheaper than the Mustang.
What is really strange, now that I think about it, was that Ford had a complete monopoly on the compact wagon in 1968-69. But even then, they did not seem to sell all that well (just like the Falcon sedan and coupe).
AMC did have a step in the door with the Rambler American wagon during that time as well (and the Rambler American goes out with a bang with the SC/Rambler) and and after a sabbatic year for 1970. The Hornet Sportabout came for 1971 with a market for itself until Chrysler returned to the compact wagon field with the ill-fated Aspen/Volare.
We could imagine being in a “parralel universe” or “alternate universe” where the 1978 Fairmont could had been the 1978 Falcon but that’s a story for another day. 😉 (Ironically both have a Futura model).
For some reason I had thought AMC had followed everyone else and dropped its compact wagon at some point in the late ’60s, but Wikipedia suggests that the wagon continued through the 1969 model year until the end of Rambler production.
Whenever they stopped building it, the Rambler was really the last true compact wagon to remain in continuous production. The body adopted by the Falcon wagon in 1966 was shared with the 1966 Fairlane. To accomodate this dual usage, it was sized somewhere between compact and intermediate, but closer to intermediate.
They advertised the same model as Mustang-bred in Australia too, even brought out a handful of Mustangs too.
When I was 9 y/o I got a 1969 Falcon model kit for Xmas. It was an AMT 1/25th scale, and could “build 1 of 3 ways, Stock, Custom, Drag” I made it a drag racer with slicks, yellow paint and many decals. I repainted it all black when a teen.
So, to me these Falcons are cool when modded. :=)
Oh, my Falcon model was a Futura, and I made it a “hardtop” by cutting out the B posts! 😉
A friend who was an old-timer sergeant at Fort Lewis had one of these, maroon on tan with 6 and automatic. He used to tell us about how he would drive it out into the fields where the tanks were. I took him at his word – the ground was pretty gravelly out there and generally level.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
About Arras WordPress Theme
Copyright 2011 - 2021 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.