By on March 14, 2011


I do a lot of air traveling in my role as Chief Justice of the LeMons Supreme Court, which means I spend a lot of time at Shadow Government World Headquarters, aka Denver International Airport. My ride was coming to get me in a late-model Subaru Outback, i.e. the type of vehicle driven by approximately 70% of Colorado drivers… but this traveler climbed into an early, no-frills Ford Falcon. Yes, I was envious.

At the moment I looked up and saw this fine automobile, I had been thinking about Detroit’s struggles to build a good/big-selling compact car in the post-Falcon (and post-Chevy II) era. What would a 2011 equivalent of a 1960 Falcon be like?
Thanks to Old Car Brochures for the image above.

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25 Comments on “Down On The Mile High Street: How To Look Cool Getting Picked Up at the Airport...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    “I spend a lot of time at Shadow Government World Headquarters, aka Denver International Airport.” Wow, MM, is that Falcon parked at an airline terminal or at the underground high-speed railway station connecting to Area 51, Dugway Proving Ground or Papoose Lake? Remember, Denver airport is in the shape of a swastika viewed from the air! I also have a photo of the new tri-level FEMA prison rail cars parked behind where I work! Back to the program: I liked the Falcon and remember the commercials very well, especially how the hood was curved down as to give the driver a better view of the road! The Falcon Sprint was somewhat popular, too, especially in convertible guise.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Unfortunately the outgoing US market Focus and Cobalt fit that description for me. The Falcon was a boring shrunken full-sized Ford. Nostalgia aside, what other qualities did it have in its day? The Corolla fits the description of a boring shrunken Camry today.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      It was reliable, and when something did go wrong, it was cheap and easy to fix. It was also roomy for its size, and, if driven with care, it could go far on a gallon of gas (for that time). Styling is subjective, but I’ve always found early Falcons to be attractive in a practical, no-nonsense sort of way.

      What it wasn’t was exciting – that wouldn’t come until the debut of the V-8 Sprints in 1963.

    • 0 avatar

      I beg to differ w/ Nikita. I had a ’62, in the same baby blue color. (You can see it here: http://motorlegends.com/whoisdh.htm/) I think they were very pretty cars, whereas the focus is “f” on the ugly car alphabet, and only the Cayenne beats the Cobalt for the “c” slot. (I used the ugly car alphabet to help an old girlfriend go to sleep.) But contrary to Geeber, I wouldn’t say my Falcon was particularly reliable. Still, it got me across the country twice, hitting 100k in Lovelock, Nevada. It got 30 mpg going 50 on the highway at that advanced age.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      I was mainly answering the question, “What would a 2011 equivalent of a 1960 Falcon be like?”, utility-wise. I said nothing about styling.

  • avatar
    nmcheese

    It’s pretty much the exact same size as the new Chevy Cruze. I’d pick the Cruze – technology has progressed greatly in the last 50 years.

  • avatar
    red60r

    Hey, man! We don’t all drive Outbacks — our Suby is  a Forester.

  • avatar
    Buster Brew

    The early Falcon design is so simple and clean, it makes the 60-62 Valiant look positively baroque.

  • avatar

    I can beat that!  I got picked up at the airport in a hot rodded ’40 Ford business coupe once!  Unfortunately, it was the Saskatoon airport, so about three people got to see me climb in and peel away.

  • avatar

    Nice old Falcon we didnt get the 2door body here just the later coupe but reality check,,,,,,, When new these things rusted and the suspension was crap they fell to pieces very poorly designed and actually the english Ford Zephyr was a better car, same size 2.6litre motor 4speed, Detroit knows best……yeah right.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The design was fine for American roads, which were better at that time. The American interstate highway system, for example, was virtually brand new in 1960.

      Unfortunately, the Falcon wasn’t ready to take on the rougher conditions in Australia…the car wasn’t ready for service down under until Ford spent a few years upgrading it with heavier Fairlane and Galaxie components.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Fell to pieces, huh? Maybe it wasn’t quite enough for the outback but my brother and I drove a twelve-year-old ’65 Mustang Six convertible (mechanically the same as the Falcon) 13,000 miles in one summer loaded to the gunwales with camping gear and including an extended jaunt to southern Mexico and back. The only preparations we made were to take out the rear seat for additional cargo room, move the spare out of the trunk to the passenger compartment (locked by chain to prevent theft) to make additional lockable storage, and install heavy-duty shocks. The car held up just fine – in fact, it was my daily driver for an additional three years.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      By 1963, the Falcon had been upgraded with stouter Fairlane components to handle the thinwall 260 cid V-8s. The Mustang benefited from those improvements, too, as it was offered with a V-8 from day one. The 1965 Mustang and 1965 Falcon weren’t quite the same car as the original 1960 model.

  • avatar

    My very first car was a green $75 1960 Falcon. After a little bondo on the rusted out places (and in the same place above the rear wheel as the white one in the pic) and a muffler system it sold for $150. Good money for a 16 yr. old in the mid 70′s.

    Oh, and BTW, my Subie is a Forester too (but I’m in Ohio)!

  • avatar

    Having owned a Falcon of this vintage (actually a Ranchero, but same thing), I can say that it was a wretched-handling little car, though not all that terrible by the standards of the early 1960s.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Well… styling wise Chevy has it.  The Cruise is a 1/2 scale Impala, the Malibu is a 3/4 scale, Impala and the family resemblance will get stronger I’m sure when the Impala replacement debuts.  (Cheap to maintain?  Who knows the Cruise is too new to know.)  The Cruise and Malibu have received positive reviews on their handling…

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    @Buster, I have to say that I can’t disagree with you there. However, beneath the skin it was the other way around. Mechanically the falcon and chevy11 were like a model T compared to the chrysler compacts.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    It’s more important to look cool getting dropped off at the airport than getting picked up.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Be careful getting picked up in Colorado by a woman driving an Outback. She’s probably a lesbian.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    LOL…..AJ. After you made that comment awhile back I started looking every time I saw an outback, which you don’t see many of around here, or subarus in general. But whenever I did see one there was a female behind the wheel about 99% of the time.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    To accrue funds for greater education I sought employment in the early ’70′s at the local shadow government (school district). The leader had a great affinity for the state auction and cheap green paint. We ended up with a variety of (always green) work vehicles including a 58 ton and half chev flatbed, 60′s something econoline pu (great for piano moving) a 50′s something jeep and a 60 falcon. The  falcon got 30 mpg+, had three on the tree and seats sunk so deep none of us could see much over the steering wheel unless you hit a bump, then you floated high for great vision. Unlike any modern vehicle, you could repair it with simple tools and what failed could easily be dredged up in a junkyard or bought so cheap, it was a waste of time to go look for it.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    “What would a 2011 equivalent of a 1960 Falcon be like?”

    Is this some kind of trick question?

    http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRWK3WiHfbsoEFxGRQ1lJdKzN6z8_IxU-sRmJd8637LQdcRBvvi

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The 2011 equivalent of a 1960 Falcon is the new VW Jetta.


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