1960 Ford Falcon
Vendor: Dave Wood, Stockport, Greater Manchester
Telephone: 07752 509 345
Words & Photography: Max Du Sautoy
Now here’s a turn up for the books: a diminutive little Ford Falcon that would really make a great daily driver, or starter American car for someone looking to dip their toe in American car ownership for the first time. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid, tidy and handsome little thing. It has four-door practicality and dimensions which mean it will fit into most standard British-sized garages. It has some interesting history too, originating from Colorado, it was shipped to the UK to take part in the Mongol Rally (yes, it’s been to Mongolia and back, via the tip of Norway apparently! It even has its own Facebook page, search ‘Mongol Falcon’).
Vendor Dave bought it from the previous owner who was located in Poole Dorset and who had seemingly bought it from the Americans who had rallied it to Mongolia and back. The car had been lowered at the front whilst in the UK, but Dave has returned the front springs to their original spec, meaning it drives and handles much better than when it was lowered. The original engine would have been a 140 cu in (2.3-litre) straight-six, however this has been replaced with a later, but similar spec 200 cu in (3.3-litre) from a Maverick. The car’s original three-on-the-tree manual transmission remains and which takes a bit of getting used to – one has to keep the revs up in order to avoid the car cutting out when stopping suddenly, suggesting a minor carb adjustment issue.
The brakes work fine and although the transmission shift is a little sloppy, although once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to flit through the gears – there are only three of them after all! As part of its rally preparation the front bench seats have replaced with modern buckets from a Subaru, which while incongruous-looking are admittedly more comfortable. Likewise, the original 13-inch wheels have been replaced with 14-inch steel wheels, which would have helped with clearance on the treacherous roads across Asia. There’s also a three-lighter plug socket under the dash for accessories, an aftermarket rev counter and an original style aftermarket cassette radio. Another nicety air the air shocks on the rear which can be pumped up (or down,) via a valve hidden near the license plate frame. Crucially there’s a boot full of spare parts which come with the car and which would have been essential for the rally.
The great thing about Falcons is that there are lots of aftermarket businesses catering for parts for them, as they are still very popular in the US and of course many parts are interchangeable with Mustang parts (the Mustang is, as we all know, just a Falcon in a tux!). It’s had a respray at some time in the original Sky Mist Blue, a colour best described as being like Lenor fabric softener blue and the bumper chrome is in excellent condition, with only a minor bleb on the back bumper. Part of the headlining around the rear window is missing also and there is a minor leak on the driver’s side door, although this could possibly be tackled by replacing the door seals on that side.
This is a solid car with great potential. It’s been driven to Mongolia and back (that’s 8,500 miles!) and part of its preparation will have involved making sure it’s reliable, durable and tough enough to take a good pounding on that route. Things like swapping the engine for a Maverick’s 200 cu in six and the 14-inch wheels mean it hauls ass on the motorway. The paint is nice, as is the chrome and this car should be cheap to run, easy to park and really would make someone a very easy project to bring up to scratch or just use as a daily driver – and at this price that’s pretty amazing!
These really are more niggles rather than fundamental faults that should put anyone off from buying this car outright. Chiefly they are: the engine cutting out when bringing the car to halt abruptly (stop slowly and this isn’t an issue). This could probably be sorted with a carburettor tweak, rebuild or even a new unit. The Subaru seats whilst comfortable kind of clash with the car’s overall vibe and the missing section of rear headlining is unsightly, but not the end of the world. The radio seems to work intermittently, but again this could be a minor wiring issue.
Engine: litre, 200cu in V8
Transmission: Three-speed column shift manual