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The Ford Falcon history is a deep and exciting one, especially since it is considered the inspiration for the Mustang. The Falcon laid the foundation for economical American cars, as it was a simple rear-wheel drive with a simple front engine.
The Falcon went through three generations, different configurations, and facelifts, making it a popular family-friendly car at that time. The article below covers all you need to know about the Falcon, from the moment it was released until the legacy it has left behind.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 History and Background of the Ford Falcon
- 2 First Generation of the Falcon
- 3 The Falcon in the Second Generation
- 4 Winding Down With the Third-Gen Falcon
- 5 1970.5 Falcon
- 6 Discontinuation and Legacy
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 Is the Ford Falcon considered a stylish station wagon in history?
- 9 Conclusion
History and Background of the Ford Falcon
The Falcon idea was first used in 1935 by Edsel Ford. This was a luxurious Ford, but because it did not fit with the other cars made by Ford, it was renamed as the Mercury. The Big Three, which were Ford, GM, and Chrysler, were moving towards the US and Canadian markets. Since large cars were more expensive, smaller cars were a better option.
Due to this, many families were interested in a small car as their second car. The market research also showed that women preferred smaller cars. Due to this, other carmakers were focused on making compact cars like the Chrysler Valiant, GM Chevrolet Corvair, and the Ford Falcon.
The Falcon project was launched and sponsored by Robert S. McNamara, who was the general manager of Ford. McNamara commissioned a team to create a small car based on American standards. He was deeply involved in the development process and focused on keeping the weight and cost of the car very low.
The car was designed with a unibody, standard suspension, and parts from the existing bin in Ford to reduce the costs of the car. It also provided room for six passengers, which offered top comfort for a family. The Falcon gained a lot of sales for its compact design.
Falcon Features and Specifications
The Ford Falcon is a lineup of compact cars produced by Ford from 1960 to 1970. It was preceded by Rambler American, and it was the first compact car made and marketed by one of the Big Three carmakers. The Falcon was a compact version of the Ford Galaxie sedan, which was a full-size model.
The Falcon came in different boy styles, and these included two-door and four-door sedans, station wagons, hardtops, convertibles, and coupe utility pickups. The model architecture used by the Falcon was applied to other Ford vehicle lines, which included the Ford Mustang, Ford Econoline, Ford Maverick, and Ford Granada.
The Falcon was produced by Ford in different facilities around North America. Although it was discontinued in North America by 1970, it continued its production as the Ford Granada by Ford Argentina until it was completely discontinued in 2016.
The 1960s Falcon was very popular for different reasons. It was a compact car that families used due to its small and versatile size. It was also a performer on the racetrack, especially with the impressive engine power.
First Generation of the Falcon
The first generation of the Falcon lasted from 1960 to 1963. It featured a unibody construction that was first used on the 1958 Ford Thunderbird. The car also came with coil spring front suspension, drum brakes in the front and rear, and leaf spring rear suspension. It had room for six passengers and offered different body styles.
The body styles included 2-door and 4-door sedan, 3-door and 5-door station wagon, 2-door hardtop, 2-door convertible, 2-door coupe utility, and 2-door sedan delivery. It also offered a Ranchero car-based pickup that was on the Falcon platform. Robert McNamara later became the president of Ford and is considered the “father of the Falcon.”
In 1960, the Canadian subsidiary of Ford also released Frontenac, based on the Falcon. By 1961, Ford upgraded the car with a new engine and also released two new models. These included a sedan delivery and the Falcon Futura, which came with a bucket seat and console. Ford also boasted about its good fuel economy in the Falcon models.
By 1962, Ford also released the Squire model of a four-door station wagon with faux wood trim. There were also some changes, like an upgraded interior and factory-installed safety belts. Then by 1953, more models like the four-door Futura and Deluxe wagon were available. Ford also introduced the Future Spots Convertible and Future Convertible.
The 1960-1963 Falcon was powered by three engines. It included the 144 cubic-inch 2.4-liter Mileage Maker inline six-cylinder I6 and 170 cubic-inch 2.8-liter Mileage Maker I6. After 1962, the engine was changed to the 260 cubic-inch 4.3-liter Challenger V8 engine.
The transmission options were a 2-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic, 3-speed manual column shift, and 4-speed manual transmission.
The Falcon featured a wheelbase that was 109.5 inches. The length, width, and height were 181 inches, 70.1 inches, and 54.4 inches.
Some of the other features in this generation included the side trim spears, emblems, Thunderbird design, flat rear window, unique grille, tail lights, bucket seats, and more.
The Falcon in the Second Generation
Although the second generation Falcon started in the 1964 model year, it was launched in 1963. It lasted until 1965 and was assembled in New Jersey, California, Missouri, and Mexico. In 1964, Ford also released the Mustang, which was mainly based on the Falcon.
By 1964, Ford added a Falcon Sprint Package, which added the 260 V8 engine, a stiff suspension, and a loud exhaust. But the Mustang came with the same features as the Sprint convertible package; the latter did not catch on. Ford also added the 289 V8 engine to the Sprint later in that year, but it was discontinued by 1965 because the Mustang was still popular.
Then in 1965, there were minimal changes to the Falcon. Ford added a simple grille and revised side trim on the deluxe models. By June 1965, the convertible Falcons were no longer produced. The three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission was available with standard front seat belts.
The 1964-1965 Falcon generation came with five engine options. These include the 144 cubic-inch 2.4-liter Thriftpower I6, 170 cubic-inch 2.8-liter Thriftpower I6, 200 cubic-inch 3.3-liter Thriftpower I6, 260 cubic-inch 4.3-liter Windsor V8 and 289 cubic-inch 4.7-liter Windsor V8 engine.
As for the transmission, it included a 3-speed automatic, 3-speed manual, 4-speed manual, and 2-speed automatic Ford-O-Matic.
The second generation had a wheelbase of 109.5 inches, while the length and width were 181.6 inches and 71.6 inches, respectively. Some other features included the coil springs pivot mounted and double-acting absorbers on the front suspension and 13-in steel wheels with four lug hubs.
Optional features included the padded instrument panel, power brakes, power steering, remote control trunk release, radio, and parking brake warning light.
Winding Down With the Third-Gen Falcon
The third generation Ford Falcon lasted from the 1966 to 1970 model years, although it was launched in 1965. It was made on the Fairlane platform, but Ford made some changes to the style. The upscale model was the Futura Sports Coupe, which came with chrome side window frames and an all-vinyl interior.
The Large Sports Coupe was based on the Fairlane Sports Coupe. It came with a standard heater-defroster, and the brakes were 9 inches for the Falcons with six-cylinder engines and 10 inches for the V8s. The two-door hardtop and convertible were removed in this generation.
By 1967, there weren’t a lot of changes except the safety equipment required by the federal government. These included a dual-circuit brake system, padded center hub, front shoulder belt mountings, energy-absorbing steering wheel, 4-way flashers, and soft panels in the interior.
The 1968 and 1969 models came with features like side marker lights or reflectors, headrests, and outboard shoulder belts. The 1970 model was the final model year, which was due to sales declines and the inability of the car to meet safety standards.
The third generation also came with multiple engine options. These included the 144 cubic-inch 2.4-liter Thriftpower I6, 170 cubic-inch 2.8-liter Thriftpower I6, 200 cubic-inch 3.3-liter Thriftpower I6, 260 cubic-inch 4.3-liter Windsor V8, 289 cubic-inch 4.7-liter Windsor V8, and 302 cubic-inch 4.9-liter Windsor V8.
The Falcon in the third generation was offered in a coupe, sedan, and wagon. The first two had a wheelbase of 111 inches, while the wagon featured 113 inches. The length of the car was 184.3 inches, while the width was 73.2 inches. There were also some changes in this generation, like the seatbelt reminder lights and square tail lights.
When Ford renewed the Falcon model line for the last time in North America, it was released in the 1970½ model year. It came with a 2-door sedan, a 4-door sedan, and a 5-door station wagon. The engine options were 250 cubic-inch 4.1-liter I6, 302 cubic-inch 4.9-liter V8, 351 cubic-inch 5.8-liter V8 and 429 cubic-inch 7.0-liter V8.
The 1970½ Falcon was fitted with safety features like a locking steering column and 3-point outboard seatbelts. It was marketed as a luxury car with convenience options like standard manual windows, air conditioning, and radios. As for the wheelbase, the sedan had 117 inches, while the wagon featured 114 inches.
Discontinuation and Legacy
The Falcon was discontinued in North America in 1970 due to declining sales and the fact that the car could not meet safety standards. For instance, the Falcon models did not come with a locking steering wheel.
Despite this, the Falcon was still produced by Ford Australia. Ford Australia announced the end of local production of the Falcon and the Territory models by 2016. The final Falcon was released on the 7th of October, 2016.
One of the recent Falcon news is that the Falcon sold for $1.3 million at an auction, which was a record price for Australian cars. There was also the Ford Falcon XB John Goss Special, which was very rare as only about 800 models were released in 1975. The car was recently found in Australia in 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
– What Country Produced the Ford Falcon?
The countries that produced the Ford Falcon included America, Mexico, Argentina, and Australia. The North American Ford Falcon was made from 1960 to 1970, while the Argentina Ford Falcon was produced from 1962 to 1991. Australia made the Falcon from 1960 to 2016.
– Why Did Ford Stop Producing Falcons?
Ford stopped producing the Falcons because of the market challenges, including the high cost of manufacturing and market fragmentation. Ford also had more popular cars like the Mustang, which reduced the fame of the Falcon. Australia also ended it because of unfavorable exchange rates and intense competition.
Is the Ford Falcon considered a stylish station wagon in history?
With your knowledge of the Ford Falcon history, you can know all there is to know about these classic cars, especially if you’re thinking of getting one.
Here’s a summary of our article:
- Ford Falcon is a lineup of cars released by Ford from 1960 to 1970 in the North American market.
- The Falcon was offered in different body styles, including two-door and four-door sedans, station wagons, hardtops, convertibles, and coupe utility pickups.
- The Falcon was released in three generations and then also in the 1970.5 model year.
- It was a compact and economical car that could fit six passengers and was designed for affordability.
- It was discontinued due to declining sales, inability to meet safety standards, and competition from other carmakers.
If you’re thinking of getting the Ford Falcon, you can purchase it at an auction, second-hand market, or classic car market.
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