By Arthur Ash III Photography by Colin Date
The Completely Redesigned For ’64 Falcon Ushered In A New Era For Ford.
1960 brought the start of a new decade and the after effects of the 1958 recession. American families were recovering, but still wanted something frugal, yet realistic.
Sure the Volkswagen Beetle was small and cheap, but it was underpowered and quite Spartan. Enter the Ford Falcon for 1960! Ford had jumped onto the compact car bandwagon after seeing the likes of the Rambler and Studebaker Lark perform well in the marketplace. Leave it to Ford to outshine the competition and go above and beyond with the Falcon. For the first time, Ford buyers could get a compact car that offered something for everyone. The Falcon had a wealth of cargo capacity, seating for 5 to 6 people, a variety of body styles and options; and the Ford name on its side. In a 1960 Ford publication, the question of “…is the Falcon an economy car?” is asked, to which the answer is “If by economy car you mean one that saves you substantial money – it certainly is!”
By 1964, the Falcon had developed quite a following. In past years, it received rave reviews for its versatility and reliability, and American families were buying them as fast as Ford could churn them out. In 1962, the Falcon had sold over one million units and by 1964 that number had jumped to over 1.6 million. The little bird was untouchable! No other American compact was as successful as the Falcon had been. Second only to the Galaxie in terms of sales in 1964, the Falcon was a money-maker for Ford.
Falcon for 1964 was new in many ways. The styling had changed from the rounded corners of the 1960-1963 models to the crisp, clean lines introduced this year. The Falcon had received new feathers and buyers flocked to it. Accenting the front end was a concave aluminum grille and a new curvy front bumper. Allowing your eyes to follow the lines down the sides rewards you with a “wedge” shaped into the flanks, accented by chrome strips on the Futura models. Five rectangular blocks cast in chrome accent the rear, giving the car a distinctive flying wedge shape. Out back. Ford retained the circular taillights. The addition of a chrome accent on the rear filler panel and a squared bumper set the Falcon apart from previous years. While the 1960-’63 body style served the Falcon well, it needed a restyle. We think any
Falcon enthusiast can agree when we say that this body style was just what it needed. It still retained its family car appeal, but when equipped with the right options, the Falcon took on a new persona – one of masculinity and performance that was suited to the younger crowd.
Our feature car, a 1964 Falcon Futura, is equipped with the Falcon 170 Special Six– a $16.80 option. The base engine for the 1964 Falcon was the 144 Falcon Six, rated at 85 horsepower. Above the 170 was the Falcon 200 Special Six and above that was the sole V8 option for the Falcon: the Challenger 260 rated at 164 horsepower with a 2-barrel carburetor. The 170 Special Six offered more horsepower than the base six while still offering that Falcon fuel economy and smooth running. While the six cylinders were not performance engines by any means, they were reliable and economical. Most Falcon buyers were not making passes down the drag strip – they were driving to the grocery store or to pick up the kids at school, making the six cylinders an ideal choice.
Transmission choices for the Falcon were limited to two manuals and an automatic. Standard was the 3-speed manual shifted via the steering column. An optional 4-speed manual was offered for more sporty driving; a popular option when ordering the Challenger 260 V8. The sole automatic for the 1964 Falcon was the Fordomatic, a reliable 2-speed unit that had been offered on the Falcon in previous years. This was another popular option, providing many years of faithful service for the families and individuals who chose not to shift their own gears.
The Falcon Futura Hardtop cost $2198 in 1964 and with options including the aforementioned 170 Special Six ($16.80), Fordomatic Transmission ($167.40), Falcon Radio ($58.50), Padded Dash and Visors ($21.80), Safety Belts ($16.80) and Wire Wheel Covers ($45.10), this Falcon is no bare bones mode of transportation. Add into this equation the striking Wimbledon White color and bright red interior and you have the recipe for beauty and simplicity. The Falcon combined trustworthiness and image into one beautiful package. There’s no denying the fact that this downright gorgeous and factory-correct 1964 Falcon Futura is one of the best little birds out there!
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