Category Archives: Falcon

Hooray FORD the red, white and blue!

Clue: blue

Feelin’ blue

This being the 4th of July we threw down the gauntlet to ourselves. Our aim was to find red, white and blue examples of the same basic car in celebration of our nation’s founding.  Our constraint was that it had to be a domestic brand and a major model therefrom.

Better than dead

Better than dead

Our algorithmic search yielded two separate but very much related Ford lines: Falcon and Mustang.  The fact is there would never have been a Mustang if Falcon hadn’t existed to donate its platform to the original pony car, introduced 51 years ago.  Falcon, an austere compact, had been on the market for four years prior to Mustang’s glamor play.

White but not uptight

White but not uptight

All of the examples we conjured up were found in ordinary circumstances, at the curb  in  supermarket parking lots. In short, these fine products of the Ford Motor Company underscore the indomitable American spirit.  It’s a wonderful country where a basic working class car can be transformed into an iconic, très cherchez, vehicle with sporting pretense   Mustang’s humble Falcon underpinnings were expertly obscured by the trappings of upward mobility.  Ain’t that America?

Falcon forever

Falcon forever

The blue Mustang is a ’68 and was a car Vietnam-bound conscripts dreamed of coming home to. The red convertible is a ’65, powered by a 289 cubic inch V8. It’s equipped with OEM fake wire wheels that didn’t really fool anybody but were, in some way, a gauche paen to old money. That’s a ’65 coupe in white and it’s wearing standard wheel covers that were more honest in their appeal.  Badging indicates it’s also powered by a 289 V8 though it could be had with the same humble inline six that was standard Falcon issue.

White flight

White flight

Our red (and white) Falcon is a ’63 Futura, the top-of-the- line bucket seat model that features a Thunderbird-inspired squared off roof.  The white convertible, is also a ’63 Futura.  The fact that the more costly trim package was so popular speaks to the fact that Americans are always looking to better their relative circumstance, even in ways that are, essentially, void of real content or quantifiable value. The blue ’61 “Tudor” (that’s Fordspeak for a two door coupe) is stunning in its mid-century simplicity and note that the roof line is more natural and flowing then that seen on the Futura so favored by arrivistes.

Blue bird

Blue bird

Feral Cars has something in common with Mustang and that’s not because we like to horse around.  We, too, began because of the existence of the Falcon.  Years ago, we noted more old Falcons in service than just about any car of equivalent vintage and coined the term “feral Falcon.”  The concept evolved to include other older cars found in the wild which brings us to this ongoing effort to chronicle these time machines as we have lo these many years.

Profile in courage

Profile in courage

Ford cleverly associated Falcon with Charles Schultz’ beloved Peanuts characters in a series of TV spots that killed us with cuteness.  Watch this one and you’ll soon be chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

OG 'stang

OG ‘stang

You will swell with pride when you watch this mini documentary about a ’64 1/2 Mustang that was the very first Mustang ever purchased (for $3400) in the USA. It’s still in the hands of Gail Wise, its original owner whose Chicago accent is also a treasure.

Wounded pony

Wounded pony

Because so many were built and survived it’s not difficult to buy a Falcon these days. We love the back story about this ’61″Fordor,” originally awarded as prize on TV’s “This Is Your Life.” It’s offered at only $4995 in nearby Aruendel, ME.  Why not make it a part of your life?

Simplicity patterned

Simplicity patterned

Let’s go back to a 1961 episode of “This Is Your Life” in which former heavyweight champion Joe Louis is profiled and his tax problems are actually noted.  Reality TV at its inception!

No looking back

No looking back

Like its Falcon donor, there’s no dearth of early Mustangs to choose from if you’re of a mind to add one to your stable.  We kind of love this very basic (6 cylinder, three speed manual transmission) ’64 1/2 convertible for sale in nearby Freeport, ME.  At only $16,900 you’d have to be insane not to buy it.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Falcon Rancheros of the world, Unite!

Business in the back, party in the front

Business in the back, party in the front

The inspiration for feralcars.com came after noting  just how many Ford Falcons have survived over the past six decades.   “Feral Falcons” posts on Facebook morphed into this site so our roots, it could be said, lie with Ford’s compact car. Many of those still-flying Falcons are Rancheros, the trucklette created by transforming the station wagon variant into a small pickup.

Haulin' little birdie

Haulin’ little birdie

The Rancheros car/truck concept debuted in 1957 and continued through ’59, based on full-size Fords and those, in turn, inspired Chevy’s El Camino. The Falcon-based Ranchero, however,  truly ignited the mini truck revolution in which Toyota and Datsun would soon play their part.

Dio's machina

Deus ex machina

We thought we’d celebrate Labor Day by offering a gallery of Falcon Rancheros, all caught in the wild.  While many are still hard at work, hauling whatever piles of detritus one may choose to toss in the load bed, we’re giving them the day off in recognition of their travails for the last 50+ years.

Distressed express

Distressed express

Ranchero was an integral part of the Falcon line through 1965 and a disproportionate number are still in service. We’re partial to the raw, un-restored, examples found in a condition  that seems to underscore plebian roots.   Let’s salute them on this day of the worker!

Ruffled feathers

Ruffled feathers

Falcon ranger

Snappy kestrel

After 1965 Ranchero was based on the larger Fairlane platform and, ultimately, forswore its working class origin, transforming into a muscle car that happened to have a load bed.  Fairlane yielded to Torino and this less-than-demure ’72 Ranchero GT with a bitchin’ hood scoop is a prime example of that  change in attitude.

Ranchero aggresso

Aggro Ranchero

Here’s a Starsky & Hutch era ’78 Ranchero that shares its platform with the LTD II/Thunderbird of the time. Aside from the fact that it’s a Ford built car based truck, its arriviste affect really has very little in common with that of the humble Falcon Ranchero that we celebrate today.

Blowed up real good

Snooty social striver

The basic Falcon Ranchero concept was revived by Volkwagen in the late ’70s with the Rabbit Pickup, built in Westmoreland, PA over a four year production run.  We encountered this diesel powered 1980 example in rural Kelseyville CA the other day and its owner reports that he’s had 22 of these over the course of time.  The motor on this one has been swapped out for a relatively recent TDi diesel and yields mpg in the mid 40s.  How’s that for addressing the concerns of the working person?

Bauer = Ranchero auf Deutsche

Arbeit macht frei?

 If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com.  Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted

 

 

Cattle call: Maverick rode the Ford range when Falcon flew the coop

Feed lot Ford

Feed lot Ford

There are scads of surviving Mustangs choking our roads and filling Social Security Administration parking lots to this very day but Mavericks are few and far between.  Introduced as the successor to the Falcon, these fast back-ish tudor sedans were Ford’s riposte to Plymouth’s Duster and Chevy’s Vega.  Underneath that sleek, swoopy exterior were the guts of the predecessor Falcon on which, of course, Mustang was also based.  On the same platform, Ford built equine and bovine, not to mention peregine-themed products.  Quite a feat of bio-engineering!  Maverick showed up in 1969 and the Falcon nameplate was dispatched to the recycling bin of automotive history though it continues, uninterrupted, to this day in Australia for some reason.

Chia pet coupe

Chia pet coupe

We just love the patina on this ’71 Maverick, finished in multiple hues of moss-over-lichen and the fact that, after 43 years, it appears to be totally unmolested.

Horny Ford

Horny Ford

Maverick continued for 7 years and sold vast numbers though they’re not often seen these days. Bigger bumpers were mandated by mid-decade as evidenced by the massive energy absorbing appurtenances on this ’74 in a chalky shade of blue.  Photos by Feral Cars Scout Andrew Keeler.

Bumper thumper

Bumper thumper

Latter day 'rick

Latter day ‘rick

It must be noted that Falcon’s Mercury-branded sister-under-the-skin Comet continued as a badge-engineered version of the Maverick that was fitted with a bit of a protruding proboscis and some additional chrome accents.  Feral Cars Scout Steve Sultan captured this one just a few days ago, classing up a Berkeley street.

 

Visitor from the cosmos

We certainly don’t intend to give short shrift to the Maverick and Maverick-based Comet’s predecessors so here you go with a set of original Ford-built compact cars.  Feast your eyes on this 1961 Comet in black and a classy teal blue 1961 Falcon.  Roots, mon!

Mercury's slant on compact cars

Mercury’s slant on compact cars

There's a pony under those feathers

There’s a pony under those feathers

Check out this compilation of Maverick and Comet commercials.  The cougar kitten is a warm and fuzzy touch, no? The purchase price of $1,995 cited here equates to $12,200 today.  Still a deal!  Speaking of deals, check out this must-have Mav: a 48,000 mile cream puff in black for under $5K! 

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

DRIVEN was a wild ride

FeralCars is delighted to have played a role in last week’s DRIVEN installation at Palm Springs’ Stephen Archdeacon Gallery, attended by scores of cognoscenti in town to celebrate Modernism Week.

Art parked

Art parked

“Bob,” a swanky orange Mercury Bobcat begged the question, “Would a Pinto, by any other name, would still explode on impact?” Bob, along with an anonymous though glamorous, in a 1984 K-car kind of way, Chrysler LeBaron convertible greeted guests at the event celebrating the ‘car noir’ art of Eric Nash, hosted by ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons.

DRIVEN co-conspirators: Matthew Reader, Bob Merlis, Billy F Gibbons, Eric Nash

DRIVEN co-conspirators: Matthew Reader, Bob Merlis, Billy F Gibbons, Eric Nash

Matthew Reader, a/k/a “Mr. Palm Springs Modern,” curated the collection of cars deployed in the area that included a “Smokey and The Bandit” style Pontiac Trans Am, complete with “screaming chicken” hood treatment, an Oldsmobile 98 the length of three Smart cars, a Lincoln Continental Mark IV plus a “plain Jane” Ford station wagon that is the subject of one of Eric’s pieces.   His set design sense was spot on with matches strewn around the Bobcat along with a gasoline can, a vintage lunchbox exhibition in the “wayback” of the Ford wagon and a literal “trunk show” of women’s shoes in very large sizes next to the Olds.

"Atlanta to Texarkana and back in twenty eight hours? That ain't never been done before." "That's cause we ain't never done it."

“Atlanta to Texarkana and back in twenty eight hours? That ain’t never been done before.” “That’s cause we ain’t never done it.

Kickin' it Oldschool

Kickin’ it Oldschool, curbside

After sundown, Feralcars presented a breathtaking slideshow in which 190 images were projected on an outside wall of the gallery.  We’re told that some of these could be seen from the International Space Station but this has not been confirmed.

Pura Vida powered non-Pinto

Pura Vida powered non-Pinto

Let’s take stock: great art, legendary rock ‘n’ roll star host, curated cars, Feralcars slideshow. And, oh yeah, our friends at Pura Vida Tequila were kind enough to send along Sara Abbas who most artfully and responsibly poured the finest agave-based cocktails we’ve ever enjoyed at an art installation.

Portrait of the artist with a portrait of a feral Ford wagon

Portrait of the artist with a portrait of a feral Ford wagon

Life imitates art

Life imitates art

When she pours she reigns

When Sara pours she reigns

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

‘Vairs so rare and, yes, we care

 

Drought resistant

Drought resistant ’65

This discovery of a beautiful 1965 (second generation) Corvair Corsa got us to thinking what might have been if things hadn’t gone so terribly wrong .  Chevy’s Corvair seemed like the car to beat back when GM, Ford and Chrysler all introduced their respective compact cars in 1960. Ford’s Falcon was a scaled-down big Ford, strictly dullsville and there was nothing innovative about it.  MoPar’s Valiant wasn’t even designated a Plymouth, its tag line was “nobody’s kid brother,” perhaps, because the radical Virgil Exner styling was ‘challenging’ to mainstream consumers.  Corvair, like the wildly successful Volkswagen, was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled motor.  The Chevy back burner was a 2.3 six  vs. VW’s 1.2 liter four.   What could possibly go wrong?

As we now know, GM cheaped out on the  suspension, neglecting to install an anti roll bar, the result being that, in less than capable hands, first generation Corvairs were prone to oversteer, a condition where the back end seems to be trying to catch up to the front.  This game of catch-up could cause the car to loose traction and spin out of control. That boring Falcon and wacky looking Valiant started to seem like better choices and GM, faced with lawsuits, put in a fix a few years later.  Ultimately, GM redesigned the suspension as on our lovely Corsa  but when Ralph Nader jumped in with his Unsafe At Any Speed bestseller consumer confidence ran into a virtual ditch.

The business end

The business end

Corvairs today do have their adherents and we’ve found a few examples on the road that are most noteworthy.  The top-of-the-line Corsa was turbo-charged and really had more in common with Porsche than VW but Ford’s Mustang, really a Falcon adaptation, had taken the spotlight by this time so only the cognoscenti were hip to its enthusiast bona fides.

More air

More air

Corsa represented the sporting side of Corvair and the Corvair 95 line of vans and trucks were about utility.  We found a seldom seen Rampside pick up the other day and just love the “work around” necessitated by the fact the motor housing intrudes into the load bed.  Instead of a tailgate in the back, Chevy installed a side ramp so you could roll your lawnmower right up from the sidewalk.  Necessity is, truly, a mother.

Corvair ramps up

Corvair ramps up

Patina to spare

We think the wooden railings are a nice folk art touch that compliment the patina, don’t you?

Early Corvairs, such as this ’62 Monza coupe, captured by Feral Cars fan Peter Andrews, present an attitude of hope and promise.  America had met the compact car challenge head on with its own rear engined, air-cooled, compact car head on which, as it happened, was the kind of collision you might face if you had the misfortune to loose control when the rear end decided to do its swing thing.  Feel free to insert JFK analogies here.

Spinthrift

Spinthrift

We do want to offer a shot of the earliest Corvair we could find.  It’s a 1960 four door sedan that proudly wears an oversize winged Chevy emblem on its (front) trunk.  It’s a car used for everyday transportation in Cuba.  Feel free to insert Fidel Castro analogies here.

Suddenly, it's 1960!

Suddenly, it’s 1960!

When the redesigned ’65 Corvair was launched it seemed that GM did harbor some hope of a comeback as evidenced by this commercial heralding it as “the new international beauty.”  The comely blonde seen admiring the car on the sand hammered home the point in a shapely way.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.