It’s like a recurring dream.
I’m driving along the primary boulevard of my small town of 1,600 residents, emerging from the tiny business district lined with all makes and manners of pickups and SUVs, diagonally parked, butts poking out into the street.
It’s Iowa, after all.
Suddenly a glint of sky-blue metal catches the corner of my eye.
Instinct tells me I’m headed for something special. I turn my head to catch a full-on glimpse of a pristine 1964 Ford Falcon, on display, not astride, but above, the curb in front of a little shotgun-type house.
You just don’t see sky-blue anythings anymore – not in this era of utilitarian grays, blacks and whites.
Yet, I’ve seen this little Ford before. Several times.
This very piece of automotive history is for sale.
Actually, if memory serves, this car has had a For Sale sign in its window in numerous periodic appearances in town over the last three or four years. It has to have the same owner through all that time, since it keeps popping up in the same place it had been previously.
I first spotted it several years ago, with a $10,000 price on the sign. The Falcon disappeared not long after I first saw it, and I figured it had found a new home. I felt a pang of regret for not having had the resources to scoop it up myself, since it looked to be in pristine shape. I figured the little compact-that-wouldn’t-stay-small finally had joined somebody’s collection.
Then, around last summer, the same Falcon turned up again, parked in front of the same little house just outside the town square, again with a For Sale sign taped to the window. The owner also displayed the Falcon a couple of blocks away, in a parking lot along Iowa Highway 175, the most-traveled road through town. Then, the Falcon vanished again, and I experienced my own little automotive grief process all over again.
Just last week, it turned up again. Still for sale. Funny thing, though: The sign says it’s a ’64. You be the judge.
Is this a Falcon or a homing pigeon?
Whatever it is, this time, I stopped by to snap a few long-overdue photos.
Simplicity is a thing of beauty, and, while this model, which was the last year of the second-generation Falcons, doesn’t have the bling you’d expect in, say, a Futura.
This 2-door sedan came with seat belts standard. A glance into the front seat finds what appears to be the owner’s manual and a file folder containing, presumably, meticulously kept maintenance records. The car’s current owner was not around, so I’m left to rely on speculation.
There are no markings indicating the presence of a V8, so I have to assume this Falcon putters around on its 170 cubic-inch 6-cylinder mill. I didn’t get a look under the hood, but this car appears to be all-original and well-cared-for. I spotted nary a speck of rust anywhere — enviable condition for any car in Iowa, much less one that’s been plying its roads for nigh on 55 years.
Ford made a pretty fair splash in the compact-car market, with strong showings against domestic rivals from GM, Chrysler and, of course, American Motors, but also against VW, Renault and other offshore choices.
However, things seemed to get a little dicey for the Falcon marque, as it entered its second generation in 1964. The midyear invasion of Ford’s Mustang – a decidedly more muscular and sexy sibling built on a Falcon platform – certainly took a bite out of potential Falcon sales. All the Futura options and Sprint Packages in the world weren’t going to muffle the explosion Ford’s new pony car would make in the market for years to come.
Sporty, it isn’t, but at least this 2-door Falcon has a roomy rear bench, complete with crankable windows.
Then again, there’s a quiet dignity about this car. It’s not about a burbling idle, clouds of rubber vapor rising in the wake of an instant sprint from a dead stop, nor even sexy curves and Coke-bottle hips that seemed to be drawing the attention of car-crazed Americans of the mid-‘60s. No, this is one squared-off, peaceful runabout — a nice second car for grocery-getting, perhaps?
Will the third time around be a charm for this ancient beauty? I hope so. This Falcon’s a keeper. The current owner certainly appears to be having trouble enough letting it go.
Pristine is an understatement!
Note the mobile ham antenna on the trunk. Tends to correlate with meticulous maintenance.
I believe that’s a CB antenna, which would have been very common on that car once it reached the ten year mark. Something from the ham bands would be bumper mounted just from the size of the antenna.
I’m familiar with this one here in Aus. Damn thing was practically uncatchable
It’s a ’64 unless someone changed the grill. I had one in college.
What Johnny V said. I had a 64 Squire wagon.
Agreed!. It’s a ’64 grille.
In my imagination, an Iowa town of 1,600 is exactly where this old girl needs to stay, to continue her quiet life. In delicate blue, on crossplies, not really happy much over 50mph, and only reaching that after maybe 13 seconds. Light in the steering, casual about stopping, driver able to be viewed in detail by all. It has been an unstressed life, as the lack of wrinkles or fade attests.
Imagine the fear she’d feel anywhere else. Cold-coloured chromeless traffic twice her height on all sides, hustling from an inch behind at 65, heart-pounding ABS-pulsing stops in front, irritation radiating from any such caught behind as she has to slow and tilt for a corner that their machine does not even register as a corner. Glares and fingers for the exposed driver, who cannot hide. This is not the pace of the world into which she was born, and in which she has stayed.
I fancy it is indeed a homing pigeon car, with each sale resulting in a teary return after but a few days Out There. I don’t blame her.
Tidy old Falcon theres a few of the American Falcons here, possibly as many as Australian model survivors, they werent a big seller back in the day Ford buyers much preferred the UK Zephyr MK 3,
I was just last week on Iowa 175, taking my elderly mother for a ride around Lake Black Hawk and then over to Auburn to see if we could find the place of her birth. I concur, this little Falcon should stay put, as it is the perfect car for taking your elderly mother for a ride around the lake. She would like the color, too.
The Cruise-o-matic was first available in 1965 and with all engines as per oldcarbrochures.com. The grille is a ’64 which might be explained by the front fender and door being slightly different shades in the first two pictures?
Regardless, this old Falcon has defied the odds. Seeing one in a plainer trim is great to see.
This ’64 is a ‘Standard Series’ model and looks almost completely like mine. It’s RARE due to its Plain Jane nature and utter cheapness. Very few people saved these. In almost 30 years of owning a 1964 Standard Series 2-door Falcon sedan this is the first time I’ve seen another one. → My eyeballs almost popped their sockets when I saw this article! You may have noted I call mine ‘Cheapo Falcon’ and, well, this one is too. Albeit with more paint. (I need a new paint job).
If the price is still $10,000 I reckon it would be a tough sell in such a small town. If it were advertised all over the U.S. I reckon it would find a buyer. Maybe $8000 would be a better price in town? Anyway, $10,000 bucks is right around 5x what this would’ve cost in 1964. This one doesn’t have the optional back-up lights so backing up at night in this Falcon will be a dark experience. Mine does have the back-up lights (which are added to the centers of each round tail). They still work. Most of the time.
So, with the Standard Series model you get . . . nothing! No fancy trim of any kind comes with it. You would’ve had to ask your FORD dealer to add some exterior trim and pay extra $money$ as the car didn’t come with any. No hood ornament, no trim around the windows, no chrome strips down the side or on the hood, the FALCON script adorning each front fender instead of the bird symbol + the steering wheel having only 2 spokes instead of 3 with a solid chrome horn ring in the center. TRIVIA NOTE: I ate the chrome horn ring once. On March 2, 1994. And it *was* solid.
Also, the interior armrests were smaller on Standard Series models and the word ‘FALCON’ was not etched on to the glove compartment door. Yes, friends, the BLUE OVAL actually gave you smaller armrests and left the ‘FALCON’ script off the glove box door if you purchased a Standard Series model. That’s one of the things I appreciate about Cheapo ’64 Falcon: The sheer nothingness of it; there’s just nothing there. Oh, and the bare metal dashboard that’s plainly visible on the subject car above is just like mine, too. → There’s no rail-thin, so-called ‘padding’ on display in these Falcons to make you think you could hit the dashboard face-first and not rearrange something on your person! The bare metal dashboard lets you know in no uncertain terms you better put your hands up because a broken hand is better than a broken face. This is why you don’t speed in Falcons. Well, that, and you can’t really speed with a Ford-O-Matic and a ‘170’ or the car will blow up on the highway. These Falcons get pissed off if you push them to 70 mph. [NOTE that it looks like there’s a 2-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission and it’s highly likely that it’s mated with the ‘170’. From what I’ve read, in the 1964 model year FORD would not pair the Ford-O-Matic with the ‘144’ any more. Maybe the BLUE OVAL finally got tired of all the complaints in regards to the slowness factor when the ‘144’ was paired with the 2-speed automatic. That’s my educated guess.
Luv those hubcaps. They look great on the above car. Of course, my Falcon has these same kind of hubcaps but you can trust me to be unbiased! 😀
Standard Series 1964 Falcons are my favorite kind of car. If someone wants to bask in the glow of the bare minimum of modern automobiling get one of these. You will have found the bare minimum with this cheap sixties FORD-mobile. And, remember, its’ a compact!
I am betting that this is a 2 speed Ford-O-Matic and not the 3 speed Cruise-O-Matic. Although the resolution isn’t the best, when I zoom in on the shift quadrant there does not appear to be the green dot which Ford still used for “Drive” in 64-65 on the Cruise-O-Matics.
Wow, what a clean little car! I generally prefer Darts, Valiants and Larks to Falcons, prefer manuals to automatics in cars of this class/trim and am not the biggest fan of baby blue. But I would happily make a home for this little guy. Unfortunately, the owner seems to have some unrealistic expectations about its value.
And I agree with the sentiments expressed by Justy – this car simply belongs in small-town Iowa.
I’m glad you’d make a home for the ’64 mini-beast. Did you know the roll-down windows in the back seat only go down halfway? If you tried to crank the rear windows all the way down you’d break something.
ALSO, the gas cap on the car may or may not be original. The gas cap on mine is the same color as the car (turquoise/aquamarine), but the one on the Falcon above looks a bit fancier. I wonder if something happened to the original gas cap and the owner was forced to buy another one?
Perhaps he’s not budging on the price? I have no idea, but 10k just seems a smidge high for this.
Or maybe not….
The color is perfect for it. Genuinely pretty car, but the owner is asking too much for it.
I seem to detect a slight variation in hues between the front clip and the rest of the body.
This gives me a nice smile, Iowa. I’m old enough to remember when these were everywhere, and if I had a garage for it it might be my perfect retirement toy to keep nice for the next guy.
The price may be a little optimistic where it sits (advertised only locally), but I wouldn’t doubt it could get the $10K either via Hemmings/eBay or if hauled into a major metro market.
Still, the thought of this one staying off the beaten path in small-town Iowa appeals to the romantic in me, I guess. Can you keep us updated?
We saw this fantastic Falcon at a local car show three weeks ago. I loved it, but my kids were more taken by the C3 Corvette that was next to it. Silly boys.
I agree. Forget the Corvette! The humble Falcon seeks your attentions. My opinion: That is one rare car; finding another Standard Series 2-Door Sedan could be mightily difficult. I’ve only seen 2 of these in nearly 30 years. This one from the article today and mine. Yes, there’s probably a few more out there somewhere in America, but what a chore it could be to find one.
I saw this fantastic Falcon at a local car show a few weeks ago. My kids were more interested in the C3 Corvette next to it, rather than the Falcon. Silly boys.
Price is high for a town of 1,600, who is gonna have that kind of spare scratch? And where do you work? Floyd’s Barber Shop? Mel’s Diner? Bob’s Butcher Shop? Sweet car that does deserve a nice temp controlled home.
Don’t sell these farm towns short. Methinks there’s a lot of money socked away in these burgs. And, I use that term literally. A lot of frugal Germans found their way to this part of the world and started towns like this. And, in this town, German was the first language for a time.
Iowa: I live in a small town in GA and you’re right — a fair number of folks here have some real money socked away in this burg. They may not want to spend ten grand to buy a Falcon — pristine or not — but they’re not hurting for $dough$. I am, but they aren’t!
Iowa: Absolutely a ’64. ’65s have a split grille:
Mea culpa. Classic case of believing myself over my lying eyes. Thanks to all who corrected me.
Given that the For Sale sign said it’s a ’64, it seems a bit odd that you would believe your eyes over the owner.
My apologies; I should have caught this. I was gone and just hit the button to post it without ever looking at it properly.
…and “gunsight” taillamps:
Reminds me of this 65 Falcon 4-door that I first spotted in May 2018 in the small town of Sperryville, VA, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ve passed by this service garage many times since, and it’s always there. It definitely has the split grille. I have no idea what the asking price is, but it must be too high as the condition appears to be quite good.
Then again, the color is boring white, it has an automatic, and of course is a 4-door. On the other hand, it has a bright red interior in great condition.
What a friendly little ’64 this is! If I could take this old girl back to GA I would. This Falcon is nearly a spitting image of mine. Except this one doesn’t need a paint job! And dig that bare-metal dashboard! This Falcon is a 1964 Standard Series 2-Door Sedan. Note there’s no hood ornament or chrome-looking side strips or anything added around the windows like the fancier-trimmed Falcon usually have. Another sign of the ‘Standard Series’: There’s the FALCON script on the fenders instead of a bird symbol. The Standard Series models also have smaller armrests on the inside than a Futura or Sprint. Yes, friends, FORD actually used smaller armrests on these Standard Series models for reasons I cannot fathom. I mean, the ‘larger’ armrests weren’t much bigger . . . could they have actually cost ~that~ much more so that FORD only put them into the fancier-trim models? Beats me!
These Standard Series 2-door sedans are rare as hen’s teeth now. I’ve had mine almost 30 years and I’ve never seen another 2-door Standard Series sedan model. My eyeballs almost popped out of my sockets when I saw this article! The steering wheel is exactly like mine with the 2 spokes and the solid chrome horn ring in the center. → Did you know the solid chrome horn ring is *edible*? I ate mine on March 2, 1994. Not on purpose but, hey, (excrement) happens.
I can’t tell what kind of transmission it is; it looks like the 2-speed Ford-O-Matic graces this lil’ sedan, which would likely be mated with the humble ‘170’. ALSO, the crankable back windows only go down halfway. If you try to roll the back windows down all the way you’ll break something!
This Falcon does not have the optional back-up lights, which would be mounted in the centers of each taillight lens. So if you’re backing up at night in this forget about being able to see much. I’ve got back-up lights on mine, btw. This one has a fancier gas cap, which may or may not be original to the car. My gas cap is the same color as the car (turquoise/aquamarine) and perhaps the original gas cap was lost and the owner had to order another one and that’s what arrived. My optional side-view mirror that’s bolted on to the front door is not the original. It blew off while I was driving in 2011 and landed in the back seat (!). The mirror I got to replace it was a larger mirror for fancier-trimmed Falcons it would seem. But beggars can’t be choosers so on to the car it went . . . and so it goes.
I think in a bigger town or a city the owner would find someone to fork out the $10,000 (assuming that’s still the price) for this pristine Falcon. That would be right around 5x what it cost when new. I call my Falcon “Cheapo Falcon” because it is; and so is this one! And rare! A gloriously Plain Jane Falcon. My favorite kind. I hope it goes to a good home where someone can keep it parked under a carport at the very least. You just can’t leave this baby out in the ‘elements’. It deserves the best. Not that I’m biased toward cheap Falcons or anything . . .
“Roomy rear bench”. I had a Falcon for 20 years. Don’t recall anyone ever sitting back there.
I can only say I hope this car goes to a good home. It deserves one. I’d hate to think it ended up being bought by someone who leaves it parked outside in the elements. This Falcon needs at least a carport to roost in.
I’d also hate to see this Falcon bought by someone who has notions of tearing out the original engine and transmission and turning it into a hot rod. A pox on anyone who would do this to the humble compact after 55 years. There’s precious few of these Standard Series models extant as it is without some 3rd-grade dropout with 15 kids and three teeth screwing around with it as a ‘hobby’ car while his wife goes to the SuperMart to buy buckets of Cheez Whiz.
I like it and wouldn’t mind owning it as it is. The 10K price is too high for the car. Especially so where it is located and after two tries you think someone would learn. With no pictures of the undercarriage or the engine compartment some things are open to question about it. Definitely no higher than a #2 condition car and consequently a couple of thousand dollars less.
These type of economy cars have a hard time as I watched a friend try to unload a 1964 Valiant convertible for $5K with a lot of hard to find NOS trim parts as we found someone who had a big stash of them for pennies. Clearly someone has to give here and it is not the buyer.
My first car was a ’63 Falcon, a 2-door hardtop complete with bucket seats, 260 V-8, and 4-speed manual. Because of that, I have a real soft spot for old Falcons. However, as nice as the featured example appears to be, the 2-speed slushbox is a deal-breaker for me. For $10,000, I’d hold out for one with a manual transmission.
I wonder if this ’64 has found a new home yet? Or does the owner still have the ‘separation anxiety’ thing going and is keeping the price a lil’ too high for a quicker sale . . . hmm.