Curbside Capsule: 1962 Ford Falcon + Teardrop Camper – Drivin’ The Dream

(First Posted September 5, 2013)  When I was growing up, there was one sure thing around our household–come Labor Day weekend, you could be sure Dad would have some labor for my brothers and me to do. I’ve carried on that tradition in my own family, which this year meant starting the long weekend with a run into Galesburg, IL, for supplies. As I turned off the state highway, this 1962 Falcon pulling a teardrop camper went past me, so I put the 7.3-liter Powerstroke into full boost and caught up with it at the light.

I followed them discreetly (as discreetly as one can, in an F-250 Super Duty diesel) for several miles, drinking in the delicious raspy growl of the straight six every time they would start off from a traffic light. When they reached their destination, I pulled in a couple spaces away and introduced myself, apologizing for having tailed them for about five miles (they didn’t even know I was there – Ninja Truck!).

I was proud to have correctly guessed this to be a 1962 Falcon with the 200 straight six before even noticing the plates or seeing the engine. But this is no ordinary ’62 Falcon; instead, it’s a rolling time warp, as you’ll see. Oh, and as best I can tell, I think that’s actually a 1963 Falcon Sprint grille on the car (someone who knows for sure can confirm or deny in the comments section).

First, let’s have a closer look at that 200 cu. in. (3.3-liter) mill. Triple-carb Offenhauser intake? Check! Clifford cam and Hooker tuned headers? Double-check! As mentioned, the “audio aroma” is simply heavenly but, having once looked into this exact setup for my former ’69 F-100, there’s a price to be paid for all that artistry under the hood. As one reviewer of the Offy setup said, “Be prepared to tune it every other day, and at any time the temperature changes by more the 10 degrees. It requires a lot of patience to keep this setup running well.” Well, I don’t know about all that, but this one sure sounded nice.

Moving around the car, you start to notice that things are not quite as they should be. For example, I was almost done shooting photos when I realized there were no door handles–a remote does that duty now! And kids, if you’re going to shoot your car in flat/matte primer, *this* is how it’s done.

The details on this car just don’t stop… those are definitely not stock taillights, but note how they mimic the wheel- center spike, which is also duplicated on the trailer wheels.

Besides all the 1960s period-correct window decals, the owners had this groovy surfboard mounted up top.

A peek inside reveals even more fun details. The owner clearly had a great time putting this car together, and his wife mentioned to me they recently picked up a Nash Metropolitan for her to drive when they go to shows together.

I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the home-built teardrop trailer they were pulling. First made popular in the 1930s, when plans were published in hobbyist magazines, teardrops were a fairly common sight until the mid-1960s, when they all but disappeared from the camping mainstream.

Quarters are fairly tight inside, but once the outer tarp is removed an inner screen provides a nearly open-air sleeping experience. Note the period-correct corduroy bedspread, too. (They’re making headlines all over! Badum!)

With so much to like about this car, I think this had to be my absolute favorite detail. For you younger readers, that’s a Hella lens from a vintage VW Beetle doing duty as a porthole in the door.

This car gets around a good bit (Tom mentioned it in a post from last summer) and indeed, the owners were on their way to a show up in Nauvoo when I caught up with them (if they happen to read this, I do hope they feel free to provide more details or corrections regarding the car in the comments section).

Lots of show cars are restored to within an inch of their lives, and then obviously only driven up and down trailer ramps. What made this car such a neat find is that it (and the trailer) get used, and walking into its shadow is like stepping into 1965, in all the good ways.

We have quite a bit of Falcon-related content here at CC, if you’re interested in more…