The early Falcon six has a deeply entrenched rep for being weak, especially so the 144 cubic inch version. Ford made the situation worse by tuning the first year 1960 version for maximum fuel economy—for bragging rights—and giving it an overly “long” 3.10:1 rear axle ratio, which was changed for ’61.
But that’s not to say it didn’t have performance potential. Hot Rod took a look at three high performance versions prepared by Bill Stroppe and Associates, each of which was capable of very significant outputs. It turns out that Ford came extremely close to offering a 125 hp factory three-carb version almost identical to the three-carb version Stroppe tested here, undoubtedly he had some involvement with the factory version too. Undoubtedly it was intended to compete against the Valiant’s Hyper-Pak in NASCAR’s compact car series, but the plug was pulled at the last minute. Too bad. Combined with the UK-sourced four-speed manual, it might have changed the Falcon’s image considerably.
The triple-carb version, using three stock carbs, also had a hotter cam, higher compression (9.6:1) and a reworked distributor. This version was tested on the dyno, and it pulled 128 hp @6000 rpm. Before the modifications, it only managed 72 hp on the same dyno, so that represents a whopping 78% increase. FWIW, Chrysler claimed the 170 inch slant six Hyperpak was good for 148 hp, a 47% increase.
The second Falcon six had a Paxton supercharger blowing through the same triple carb setup. It was not yet tested on the dyno, but a similar one with single-barrel carb from a 223 Ford six pulled 168 hp.
The final version, which was clearly oriented to racing-only, had Hilborn fuel injection, feeding the ports directly via a modified head that had the integrally-cast intake manifold cut away. It also had a Scintilla magneto ignition and some head work, 156 inch displacement, and was anticipated to make some 200 hp. Not bad, for a Falcon six.