Last American Falcon 70 1/2 rare as

Despite the Ford Falcon having survived until the 21st century in Australia, over in the good old US of A the name plate has not been seen for more than 50 years.

In short, the Falcon had a very short American career — just 10 years.

Falcon started off 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 econobox.

It was the car for first time new car buyers, young families and pensioners. 

It was not seen as an aspirational automobile.

Then came the stylish Mustang which took huge chunks from its sales. 

And there was more pain to come.

In the mid-Sixties Ford had decided to re-invent the Falcon as the smaller, sportier Maverick. 

Supported by aggressive and youth-oriented advertising — and a 20 per cent price advantage — it 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 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 try.

Ford sold it as two- and four-door sedans as well as a station wagon.

But one was fooled. 

Why buy a Falcon when the more prestigious Torino could in your driveway for a few dollars more?

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 Cobra Jet V8.

Only 69 people were smart enough to recognise that a Cobra Jet Falcon was the planet’s cheapest muscle in the 1970s. 

Not many of the last American Falcons exist today. 

Built to a low price they suffered rust problems. 

Owners simply  junked them when their usefulness ended.

Indeed, good quality photos of them are hard to locate and only one brochure was produced.

If you have one, you own a rare car indeed.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos


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