Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. A Ford Falcon in a blog about vintage performance cars? You cannot be serious? Well I am. Kinda. Off course the good old Falcon wasn’t exactly a rocket blasting through space but it had plenty of attributes that make it a genuine member of the classic car club.
The 1961 Ford Falcon was of course marketed as a compact car rather than a performance vehicle and was Ford’s answer to the rising number of Americans who were buying the smaller European imports than the usual huge, gas guzzling monsters being manufactured in Detroit.
Compared to its contemporaries the Falcon didn’t turn any heads with its design and with a top speed of only 86mph it didn’t leave too many of its rivals in the dust. But, it had fairly nifty acceleration, had great road holding and was very easy to drive.
Also, and apparently this was quite rare for American cars at the time, its brakes were outstanding and didn’t suffer from the usual fading that was evident on other cars.
As a sturdy family car the Ford Falcon had few rivals and was the first of the new compact cars to hit the American motoring scene. It is definitely true that the car was far more European in style and performance but different versions were also produced in Canada, Australia and Argentina. In fact in Australia the car has become something of a cult hero.
In 1970 production of the Falcon stopped though it was produced for a short time as a budget version of the Ford Fairlane.
Vintage Performance Cars Specification – Ford Falcon
Cost – $2928 (£1821)
Engine – Six cylinders 88.90×63.50mm (2364cc). Pushrod operated overhead valves. Compression ratio 8.7 to 1. 85bhp at 4200rpm. Single downdraught carburettor. Coil and distributor ignition.
Transmission – Fordomatic gearbox with torque converter and two speed planetary gear giving direct drive. Open propeller shaft. Hypoid axle.
Chassis – Pressed steel body-chassis unit. Independent front suspension with wishbones and helical springs with torsional anti-roll bar. Rear axle on semi-elliptic springs. Telescopic hydraulic dampers all round. Bolt on disc wheels with fitted 6×13″ tubeless tyres. Hydraulic brakes with 9 inch drums.
Equipment – 12 volt lighting and starting. Speedometer. Fuel and temperature gauges. Windscreen washers and wipers. Flashing indicators. Heating and demisting.
Dimensions – Wheelbase 9’1″. Length 15’1″. Width 5’10″. Weight 1 ton 2cwt.
Performance – Maximum speed 86mph. Standing quarter mile 20.5 seconds. Acceleration ; 0-30mph 5 seconds, 0-50mph 12.1 seconds, 0-60mph 16.9 seconds, 0-70mph 24.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption – 20mpg.