East Coaster of the Day: 1962 Ford Falcon Deluxe
The Falcon was born when car buyers in the late 1950s began turning towards smaller European and Asian cars for their less expensive price tag.
It was also a time when some North American families were looking for a second vehicle. Research showed that those families would rather buy a U.S.- or Canadian-built small car.
All the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) had to do was come up with a more economical alternative than current large cars and beat out the offshore small-car competition (Fiat, Renault, Volkswagen and Toyota).
Ford Motor Company’s then-President, Robert McNamara, who would shortly become U.S. Secretary of Defence under President John F. Kennedy, spearheaded the project. He’s known as the ‘father of the Falcon’.
The 1960 Falcon debuted as a unibody on a standard suspension, using Ford factory parts to keep the cost down. It was marketed as a six-passenger compact car.
In 1961, part of the marketing and television advertising campaign for the Ford Falcon featured, for the first time, an appearance by Charles M. Schulz’ Peanuts‘ characters.
One animated ad had Linus and Pig-Pen discussing the merits of the Ford Falcon and taking a swipe at its competitors, the Chrysler Valiant and the Chevrolet Corvair: “It must be pretty embarrassing for the other compact cars to realize they missed the boat!”
The car sold in record numbers: 500,000 the first year and over a million by the end of the second.
The 1962 Ford Falcon Deluxe spotted in Dartmouth stood out for its beautiful green paint and funky LED headlights. And its attitude.
Owner Paul Smith laughs as he tells us how he awoke one morning, a bit, ahem, foggy-headed, and vaguely remembered the previous evening’s decision to sell his Harley to a friend. With a clearer head, he decided the decision was a sound one and immediately called another friend to ask if his father still had his 1962 Falcon and would he sell it.
Paul’s Ford Falcon Deluxe is powered by a 170/101 horsepower in-line six-cylinder, a new offering for that model year.
The only time Ford offered a V8 in the first-generation Falcon was in the 1963 1/2 ‘Sprint’ model. The 260 cubic-inch, 164-horsepower V8 Sprint would become the basis for the Mustang, which, by 1970 would overshadow the Falcon out of existence.
Paul says he hasn’t really done anything to the car, besides getting it actually running. But, after further questioning, he realizes he’s done more to it than he thought. He’s lowered it, raised the side view mirror to the top corner of the driver’s side window so that, as he boyishly claims, it looks ‘more greasy’. Love it!
The green LED headlights are a cool touch as is the deco doorknob on the gear shift.
The Ford Frontenac, a rebadged Falcon for the Canadian market, complete with maple leaf insignia, a unique grille and taillights, was sold for 1960 only.
Paul Smith sure looks like he’s having fun with his new-to-him Falcon. Looks like he made the right clear-headed decision!