The American Ford Falcon had a short but stellar career
Here’s a surprise.
Despite the Ford Falcon having survived in Australia until the 21st century, the name plate has not been seen in the USA for 47 years.
The American Falcon had short career. It started out hot and strong in 1960 – its first year – with an amazing 450,000 flying out of dealer showrooms.
Advertising for the Falcon always positioned it as a simple, no-frills econo-box for first time new car buyers, young families and pensioners.
It was not seen an aspirational automobile.
Then came the stylish Mustang which took a huge chunks from its sales . . . And there was more pain to come.
In the mid 60s Ford had decided to re-invent the Falcon as the smaller, sportier Maverick.
Supported by aggressive and youth oriented advertising, and priced 20 per cent below the Falcon, the Maverick hit the streets in April 1969.
A jaw dropping 578,000 were sold in just in 12 months.
At the same time, Ford unveiled the bigger and stylish new Torino, which drew upwardly aspiring buyers away from the Falcon.
The final nail in Falcon’s American coffin was its inability to meet new safety requirements without total re-engineering.
So it was scheduled for termination at the end of 1969.
And then, in January 1970, someone at Ford had a bright idea.
They stripped the two and four door Torino sedans of every known comfort item, glued a couple of Falcon badges to the mudguards, slapped on a cheap price tag and gave the families and pensioners advertising theme one more outing.
No one was fooled. Sales slid further and the axe fell six months later.
By a strange quirk of corporate fate the final Falcon could be ordered with every engine and transmission combination in the Ford line up, including the massive 7.0-litre CobraJet V8.
Only 69 people were smart enough to recognise that a CobraJet Falcon was planet’s cheapest muscle car offer in 1970.
One of these ultra rare super cars was auctioned in the USA in 2014 for $31,000.
We reckon it was the classic muscle car bargain of that year.
Not many of the last Falcons exist today.
Built to a low price they suffered rust and reliability problems.
Those that survive tend to fall into two categories: well maintained V8s and scrap metal.
David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au