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1960's Ford Falcons

billd2222billd2222 Posts: 1
edited March 12 in Ford
Have the opportunity to purchase a 1962 Ford Falcon wagon (not sure of the body type yet - squire, country, etc) for a really good price. Anyone here own one? I would love to talk to somebody does or has owned one.

Thanks!
bill
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,331
    I did own one many years ago. A very basic and simple car, slow and steady but with good care should serve you well even as a daily driver. I guess in that year they had a choice of sixes, is that right? A 144 or a 170? The 144 would not be my choice.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah I owned one too. It's a kind of punishment that enthusiasts have to go through.

    Should you buy one? It depends on your tolerance for boredom. A Falcon wagon will indeed get you from point A to point B but so will the bus.

    Pluses: simple, fairly rugged, economical by '60s standards, has the reliability that comes from having few moving parts.

    Minuses: tippy handling, acceleration measured with an hourglass, noisy, crude, vacuum wipers leave when you need them most. And when I say gutless I mean so gutless it limits your range. Don't even think of trying to take one over a hill.

    How I would improve: 14" four lug wheels from a Mustang or better yet the drum brakes and wheels from a V8 Mustang; 200 or 250 CID six with corresponding "modern" tranny--synchro on first or count 'em three speeds in the automatic.

    BTW Falcon wagons always sell at a really good price.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    when I was a mail carrier mack in 66-67. The Post Office had several Falcon wagons for delivery to supplement the regular Willys and Cushman fart-carts. I actually liked 'em, because they had lots of room, easy to drive and a nice size to handle around town, and the little 170 wasn't too bad with the little Fordomatic around town. And I sure would rather drive them at the time than anything else the post office had! I thought they were cleanly styled, and pretty good overall for their intended purpose. One of the ones they had though someone dropped in a 289. I remember punching that the way I did the six, and got a big surprise. It wasn't setup for the V8 either, because the steering and handling were noticeably worse.
    Anyway, I think they are a good little package if you want an older, compact station wagon, lots of practical utility, and of course you can upgrade them in all kinds of ways, just like you can a Mustang.
    I saw one once that had the full treatment-5 liter V8, suspension, brakes, tires, etc. Didn't cost all that much to do, either.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Someone around here (north side of Chicago) has a '63-ish wagon, four door, nicely restored, metallic medium blue color (in Wicker Park neighborhood). Please tell us a bit more about the 'wagon in question': Price, is it a 2-door or 4-door (the 2-doors are relatively rare), what engine and transmission, etc. I've seen a couple of 'Falcon Squires' (fake wood, usually white body), they're kinda cool.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,066
    ...of blowing up easily when rear-ended, along the lines of some of their cars later in the '60's, and culminating with the Pinto?

    Reason I'm asking is that those early '60's Falcons had the gas tank V-E-R-Y close to the rear bumper, as close as any Pinto, and I believe they were also of the drop-in variety that would breach easily in the event of a rear-ender.

    I've never heard anything bad about them, but they just look like an explosion waiting to happen!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,785
    When I was a kid, I worked for a now defunct company, Chicken Delight. Anyone remember that?

    Anyway, our delivery cars were 62-63 Falcons. We drove the bejezes out of them!

    The 170's weren't THAT gutless and they were cheap to fix.

    I caught the back seat on fire on one of them once. The can of sterno slid out of the stainless steel ovens we carried in the back seat to keep the chicken hot!

    The boss was NOT amused!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,331
    If a 1962 Falcon hasn't blown up or tipped over or crashed by now, I wouldn't worry about its safety features.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The Falcon wagon was okay around town and would have made a decent delivery car. But it's not a car built for the open road. Out of the 60 or so cars I've owned since 1970 my '61 Falcon would be the last one I'd pick for any trip of more than 30 miles or so. Even my '70 Hornet was Cannonball Rally material compared to the Falcon. It's just old bare-bones transportation.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    It wasn't too gutless with a three speed. Very bare bones, I don't remember a Detroiter with less stuff on it...AM radio was the only option on this car! Very rugged, a kind of American Volvo (at a time when Volvo imported few wagons).

    I rember it fondly, it was our Surf Wagon, it swallowed a big Hobie board w ease (they were bigger then).

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Yeah I sure do remember chicken delight Isell. Was that just a southern California company?
    Anyway, one time I was putting away the Falcon wagon after a day of delivery as a mailmen. I happened to look under the seat, and there were a bunch [maybe a hundred or more] of old letters picked up by some previous carrier who forgot to turn them in so they could be mailed. You know when the mailman comes, you put up your flag, and put some letters in your box for him to take as well? Also, sometimes on the route, the carrier will empty smaller deposit boxes along the route to take back. That's why ever since, I NEVER leave mail in the box-or, any other deposit box on the street. I ALWAYS take it down to the post office and mail it. Heck, I even found some old forgotten parcels in one of those Falcon wagons once. Good thing that wasn't forgotten, un-delivered chicken under the seat eh?!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...yet another example of 'our government at work', LOL? I live in Chicago, the phrase 'lost in the mail' should actually be a legitimized excuse for as often as it actually occurs here.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,688
    Each was painted yellow and sported a huge chicken head on the roof. Quite a sight to be sure.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    ...as a first car. It really wasn't much of a car. The turn signal lever resided on the floorboards. You had to pick it up and poke it back in if you wanted to signal your intentions. Maybe that's why I still don't signal my turns much.

    At that time I barely knew to put gas in it. I did think that after driving it and getting it hot in Oklahoma's summer, that red OIL light coming on at idle didn't seem to be a good thing.

    I traded it on a 64 Impala, from a lot run on the side by a couple of my co-workers. One of them later asked me about the OIL light.... I said it always went off when I drove it. They put crank bearings in it and sold it.

    I've got a nephew that got a hair about a Falcon a while back. He tried to drive it to some Falcon gathering in Denver. It turned a bearing......

    So, from my history the bottom end of that 6 cylinder is weak....
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    so, the Falcon sixes after that were much, much better. Especially the later 200 inch version. Made a huge difference on the highway in smoothness.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The 200 is the first seven bearing engine and that came in 1965 IIRC. That's why the "1964 1/2" Mustang six is the 170.

    I have to say that the 144 in my Falcon soldiered on for quite a while. I don't know how many miles it had on it but it was over 100k and it was a hard 100k--85 horsepower trying to drag all that weight around and 3.89 gears so it was screaming on the freeway.

    I sold it to a friend and immediately the steering wheel came off while she was driving it. A few months later it blew a head gasket and that was the end.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I looked in "Standard Catalog of American Cars-1946-1975" and they talk about 1962 Falcon engines as having seven main bearings. This may be an error, since I've seen a few other minor mistakes in there about other cars. I remember my Dad's 69 Mustang with the 7main 200 six, and it was way smooth on the highway for a small six. So, is the book wrong? I was surprised that it said the 144 and 170 went to seven mains in 62. But, the 200 is really the same engine, with a bigger bore and stroke, so I figured it was possible. Anyway, what's the accurate info source?
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Back in 1968, my sister's college boyfriend [now her husband of many years] had a 60 Comet, which was basically a Falcon with those funky rear fins. Anyway, all the hardware was the same. It had a 170 and 3-speed. One day she was driving it, and the gearshift lever came right out as she was shifting into second. Had to be towed. That was fun. After that, he got a 61 Rambler American with the flathead six that also left her stranded one day. Seemed like he always had a bunch of marginal little heaps in those days.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The best source is a factory shop manual but since I don't have one I'll have to rely on that other infallible source, my memory :-).

    I also consulted Fix Your Ford, 1969 edition (sounds like a play on the old joke Fix Or Repair Daily) and the basic idea is that the 144 lasted from 1960-65, the 170 from 1961-67(?) (I'm at the office doing this from memory) and the 200 from 1965-up. However my recollection is that the 144 was dropped when the 200 came out so I don't think there was any overlap in '65.

    For some reason this reminds me that the 153 four was standard in the Nova through around 1968. That must have been a sweet combination ;-).

    Yes, it's all the same family from the 144 to the 250 and IIRC they all had the same 3.5" bore--the block was a seriously thinwall casting that couldn't be opened up much. The 250 had a real "long arm" as they used to say, but the upside to that is that the block is very light for its displacement.

    When I had the Falcon I hungered for a 200 and the fully synchronized three speed that bolted to it so I did a fair amount of research into those engines then. I probably would have traded my grandmother for a 250.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,066
    Didn't Ford run different 6-cyl engines in their big cars? Something like a 223 in the earlier '60's models and a 240 in the later ones? How did they compare with the larger, stroked-out Falcon 6-cyls? I remember reading in an old Consumer Reports whenever that later 6-cyl came out, they made a big deal out of it. Would any of those engines have made a good Falcon engine, or were they just too big?

    Didn't that old Chevy 153 have something like 90 hp, gross? Considering that must've been something like 65-70 net, and the Novas were getting kinda bulky with that '68 redesign, I'm sure performance must've been underwhelming.
  • 20992099 Posts: 59
    Thats what dealers called the Falcon wagons in the sixties. I was in the business at the time with my dad and I remember buying a 60-61 Falcon wagon at the auction in Columbus, Ohio..a 6 cyl. automatic. Nice, clean, roomy car for its size, but it barely made it up the small hills on the way to Cleveland from Columbus. It was really laboring. Great for around town though, and I remember selling a few of them. IIRC the gas tanks were sandwiched vertically in the left rear quarter panel between the sheet metal and the interior and they rusted out easily (we use a lot of salt here in the winter). Thanks for the memory jog. Oh yes, a lot of them were this kind of ugly green color that looked kind of dull no matter how much you waxed it. There was a chrome roof rack option that did help a little.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    That's sure how I remember my Falcon wagon. Decent around town, good enough for delivering mail or chicken dinners :-) but forget about anything more than that. Mine couldn't even make it up into the local foothills.

    One time I loaded mine with two friends and our camping equipment and set off for the Sierra. As soon as we got out of the Central Valley and into the foothills I had to pull over every half hour or so to let the car cool down. It wasn't the cooling system, the car just didn't have enough power to go up even slight grades.

    I remember that color too, kind of a pastel light green. Imagine that color on a '60 Comet--I've seen it and it's the low point in American car design.

    The 223 six was IIRC Ford's first OHV engine, introduced in the '40s, and I've heard it was a better engine than the flathead V8--certainly more modern and with fewer quirks.

    I think the 240 came out in 1965, supposedly based on the 289 and with a lot of cutting and welding a 289 head (or two) will fit. I've heard of them being put in Mustangs but it's a good hundred pounds heavier than the 250 and has a short stroke, good for revs but bad for emissions. I think the larger version, the 300, is still around in trucks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,331
    Actually there is no such thing as a 64&1/2 Mustang. That's a made up term for early production 1965 cars.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Right, that's why I used quotes. But it's a useful differentiation that Mustang people make. Not only did the "1964 1/2" have a different six, the 170, it also had a different base V8, the 260. Mustangs with the 200 or 289 are "1965s". That's something of an oversimplification ("1964 1/2s" could also have a 289) and there were some other running changes but that's basically it.

    In a sense it's a recognition that the first Mustangs had 1964 model year engines, not 1965 engines. For example the Galaxie's base V8 was the 260 in 1964, the 289 in 1965. 170 sixes didn't show up in any 1965 Ford products aside from the earliest "1964 1/2" '65 Mustangs.

    But you're right, Ford never made that distinction. Mustang was introduced in April(?) 1964 as a 1965 model and IIRC that was the first time a manufacturer fudged the model year like that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,331
    Ah, you were too subtle for me!

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'll tell you. In high school I liked cruising this road in the foothills looking for races. I was driving a 1960 Corvair with 80 hp, Powerglide and not much compression left. Not exactly the hot setup but it had no problem making it up this road. And it could go down pretty darn quick.

    After I totaled the Corvair I got my father's next hand-me-down, his '61 Falcon wagon. The first time I tried to take it up this road I got as far as the first steep part and it started to overheat. This was a car that rarely ran hot, even in very hot weather, and the engine had good compression. It just had a worse power-to-weight ratio than a tired '60 Corvair.

    So for performance or charm I wouldn't recommend a Falcon wagon. (I wonder if Bill's still around?) I could see maybe a '62 Futura, the "sporty" version, with a bigger six. I could definitely see a Sprint or the Comet S-22 with a 260 or 289. Neither would break the bank and both are a lot more fun.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,331
    We are talking BASIC CAR here, stripped of all fun, performance or style. Still, as a basic car, it will get you from here to there and I'd imagine even the occasional comment on whose grandpa used to own one. So you could do worse, but personally I'd bring along a magazine to read while you're driving it (just kidding, don't really do that).

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  • Hello, I remember those Falcons with great fondness. I had two twins both of them light blue. It looked a little odd with two identical 65 Falcons sitting in the driveway. I just couldn't pass up a bargain. The wife and I were sharing one, when a friend from work said his brother in law needed money, and would sell me his 65 for a hundred bucks. I felt affluent a 2 car family. Moving on up with my 2 blue 65 Falcons. I was a trucker then, so driving underpowered was something I was used to. I had a house with a garage, and man I used it to keep those Falcons running. Good thing I turned a wrench in the sixties for Plymouth. The experience paid off. It eventually turned into a beer fest every Saturday between friends and neighbors. Some times we actually fixed something in between cold ones.
    Sorry to run on. I forgot how much fun it was, until I started reading this forum. Thanks for the memories......Leo
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,066
    ...what a big deal being a 2-car family was back then. The people I bought my '57 DeSoto from had always been a 1-car family, but in 1966 they bought a used '64 Catalina, but decided to hold on to the DeSoto because the wife liked it so much. I remember them telling me about how great it was, to finally become a 2-car family.

    Nowadays, we don't think twice about multiple-car families, but I guess it was something rare back then.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    There was an interesting article in USA Today a month ago. The cover story in the Life section was devoted to the rise of people who had three or more cars in their inventory.

    If you don't mind me asking, Andre, how many cars do you personally own at this moment?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Andre by himself accounts for 3% of all cars registered in his county.

    You can see the rise of the two-car family in housing. Up until around 1950 in my area, and up to about 1960 is surrounding areas, almost all houses had just a one-car garage. Mom stayed home and ran the house. Consumables like vegetables, baked and dairy goods (and ice in the days before refrigerators) were delivered every few days. People ran errands on the week-end when Dad and his car were available.

    You also see evidence of the one-car family in apartment buildings built through the '70s--I guess renters, being less affluent, got their second car later. Virtually all these older buildings in my area have just one parking space per unit, resulting in a serious parking shortage today.

    The Model T may have put a car in almost everyone's garage but the subsequent Depression and World War II apparently delayed the second car for a good 20-40 years depending on what rung on the economic ladder you occupied.
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