1960-1970 Ford Falcon – Most Perfect and Simplistic Compact Car

When Ford released the Falcon for the 1960 model year, its main purpose was the debut of its first compact car to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle. The result was the Falcon would become one of America’s best selling compact cars during the 1960s and the Falcon platform would be the basis of many other successful cars for the next two decades such as the first generation Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar, 1970s Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet, along with the first generation Ford Granada, Mercury Monarch, and Lincoln Versailles.

The Falcon never tried to be something that it wasn’t. At its core, it was an inexpensive reliable car and buyers couldn’t have been happier with their Falcons. The Falcon during its production run was available in the following configurations: a 2-door coupe, 2-door convertible, 4-door sedan, and a station wagon with 4 side doors and rear cargo door. The extremely popular Ford Econoline van for its first generation 1961-1967 was built on the Ford Falcon platform. Some models of this first generation Econoline were even named after the Falcon. Additionally the 1960-1965 Ford Ranchero was essentially a Falcon pickup with a different name.

Since Ford closed down compact 1970 Falcon production fairly early in the 1970 model year, by the middle of the 1970 model year the Falcon name was moved to the base level version of the mid-size Ford Torino. This was short lived, for the 1971 model year the Falcon name was dropped from this budget Torino. The compact Falcon’s official replacement was the more sporty looking 1970-1977 Ford Maverick. The compact Falcon would also be sold oversees with different styled body panels and would live on for many years in Australia were it would be offered in different variants. One of which would be the Falcon GT which would become one of Australia’s most legendary V8 powered muscle cars.

In the U.S. Market, the compact 1960-1970 Falcon was never offered in a muscle car model unlike several of its competitors such as the Chevrolet Nova, Dodge Dart, and AMC Rambler which were all offered at some point in their production in muscle car trim with high-performance large displacement V8 engines. The Mustang which was based on the Falcon platform would instead be available at extra cost with different large displacement V8s from 1967-1971 which displaced anywhere from 390-429 cubic inches. The largest displacement engine the compact Falcon in the U.S. market would have was Ford’s small-block 302 cubic-inch V8. However the Falcon was available in a sporty 2-door Falcon Sprint model which was standard with either a 260 cubic-inch or 289 cubic-inch V8 depending on model year. The 1963-1965 Falcon Sprint was available in a sporty pillar-less 2-door with a semi-fastback roofline or a 2-door convertible. The Sprint also had an upgraded suspension and standard floor mounted 4-speed manual transmission. The Sprint was a good performance package but its short production life was due to most buyers opting for the Mustang instead of the Sprint.

The U.S. market compact 1960-1970 Falcon had multiple inline 6-cylinder engines with the following engine displacements: 144, 170, and 200 cubic-inches which produced anywhere from 85 to 120 gross horsepower. For 1963-1964, Ford’s 164 gross horsepower small-block 260 cubic-inch V8 was available in the Falcon. For 1965-1968, Ford’s small-block 289 cubic-inch V8 which rated between 195-225 gross horsepower was also available. Available for 1968-1970 was Ford’s small-block 302 cubic-inch V8 rated at 220-230 gross horsepower. Ironically Ford’s K-code “High-Performance” 289 cubic-inch V8 rated at 271 gross horsepower was available only as an engine option with the Canadian market 1965 Falcon.

The compact 1960-1970 Falcon overall had very good steering, handling, and braking for its era. It was a fairly nimble little car which was easy to park and maneuver. Additionally the Falcon’s interior provided adequate space for 4 passengers and was pleasant to the eye but there was no mistaking it for an upscale interior. The Falcon during its entire production life remained dedicated to its mission of being cheap reliable transportation. It was rear-wheel drive and was so easy and cheap to maintain. It was the most perfect and simplistic compact car. With over 1.5 million sold, it proved how great a compact car could be.

 

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