By on July 11, 2012

When I agreed to meet Hooniverse Editor-In-Chief Tim at Buttonwillow for an open trackday, I hadn’t fully considered what it would mean to coach in a 1964 Ford Falcon. To begin with, the car doesn’t have five-point belts; it has two-point belts. That’s right. Lappies only, no shoulder. And the bench seat moved from ratchet-stop to ratchet-stop in every turn, sometimes twice. Oh yeah, and there was the fact of vintage crash “safety” to consider. (The shot around 1:10 is particularly cringe-inducing.)

Still, as you will see in this video, Tim failed to kill me and in fact took more than fifteen seconds a lap off his time. Due to the Falcon’s massive steering wheel and rather lazy steering geometry, I had to relax one of my ironclad rules for students — Tim was permitted to shuffle-steer throughout the entire day. Don’t think that means I’m going to let you get away with it in your Miata, okay?

It was great to spend a day with the Hooniverse crew. I really believe that the site represents the best of what Jalopnik used to be: enthusiasm-focused, positive-minded, community-oriented. If you must visit some place else besides us, let it be them, okay?

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17 Comments on “Never mind the Shuffle Steering, Let’s Take The Falcon To Hyperspace...”

  • avatar

    I’m still waiting for the 1960 Lincoln Continental track day. Without a doubt, one of the heaviest and largest uni-body cars ever made. If Wikipedia is to be believed, it weighed up to 5700 lbs. (without passengers!) and was 229 inches in length.

  • avatar

    My first car was a 1964 Falcon with 170 ci six and three on the tree. Got me through college but I can’t understand why anyone would want to take in on the track. It was difficult to keep it in a straight line on the interstate.

    • 0 avatar

      I must say that’s not something you expect to see on the track.

      Take a ’64 Falcon, remove body, and weld on some Ferrari inspired coachwork, and what you you have? The 1965 Mustang. The 65/66 Mustang were almost all Falcon under the skin, so much the same car that they were built on the same assembly lines. Ford had some success campaigning the ’64 Falcon at the track, but it was short lived glory for the Falcon, soon to be shoved aside by its much prettier sibling.

      Because everyone had a hard-on for the Mustang, the dowdy Falcon couldn’t get no love for the longest time. About 20 years ago someone finally noticed that you could mod a Falcon same as the Mustang, with the same speed parts and it wasn’t the same old, same old.

      BTW, the 2 Door ’65 Falcon is quite a handsome car. When I hit the Powerball, I’m gonna built one with IRS and a Ford Oz turbo straight six.

  • avatar

    Here’s what a driving instructor said to me, ‘Somewhere along the line somebody taught you to shuffle steer. Stop it.’ He only needed to tell me once, but it was effective, humbling, and unforgettable.

  • avatar

    Jack, a look at this video reveals that you gave up way too easily on the shuffle steering bit. Most of the turns could be achieved with less than half a turn of the wheel. At worst, a modified shuffle with a single move to the 12 and 6 position at corner entry then no movement until the end of the unwind would do the job. As long as you remember where your hands were when the wheels were straight, this will work. The problem with shuffle is you lose reference with the direction the wheels are pointing (besides it being slow).

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      We talked about the “Evolution School” method where you set your hands before the corner… but honestly, the sheer effort involved in getting that car around the track was significant enough that I decided we would work with the habits he had.

      The back hairpin was almost a full turn of the wheel in the Falcon. :)

    • 0 avatar

      Some of the extra shuffle is video editing related as well…

  • avatar


    Are you wearing one of those reflective NASA survival jackets?

  • avatar

    Was that the Model T-GT on the track? This isn’t a LeMons race, is it?

  • avatar

    Amazing, just amazing. I had a ’62 Falcon with a six and 3 on the tree, which I drove across the country in 1970 and ’71. When I got onto the Bay Bridge at the end of the trip, the crosswind was so strong I had to do a quarter turn just to go straight. There was tons of play and no precision in the steering. I can’t imagine doing this sort of driving in a Falcon. Beautiful car, though.

  • avatar

    It was fun passing you guys in my ’58 Plymouth Fury :)


  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    And now, it’s time to hand the keys of the 1964 Ford Falcon over to TTAC’s tame racing driver. Some say his jacket was last seen hanging from a shrubbery near Roswell, New Mexico sometime in 1947. And his eyelids blink sideways, but only while he’s playing the blues. All we know is, he’s called the Jack.

  • avatar

    In case anyone’s curious, the car runs a 260 V8 + T10 4 speed.

    The front end’s pretty close to the original Shelby Mustang spec:
    –4-piston vented discs (same exact part)
    –Control arm relocation (“Shelby drop”)
    –V8 mustang springs, cut like 2 coils down (~2″ lower that stock and 60% more spring rate)
    –1″ sway bar with poly bushings
    –Engine bay brace (again, basically same)
    –Roller spring perches
    –Engine moved ~1.5″ back by using Maverick motor mounts

    Working against me:
    –17″ steering wheel attached to a slightly clapped out Falcon steering box and linkage
    –Worn out 3 leaf rear springs with air shocks
    –2.80:1 open rear diff
    –Radiator likely spec’ed for the 170ci I6 that this car originally had

  • avatar

    @mad_sci When are you going to show the rear end the same love you heaped on the front? Are you a Pamela Anderson fan or something?

    • 0 avatar

      The Falcon competes with my ’69 Wagoneer (and house and kids) for budgetary resources.

      Also, for some dumb reason Falcon leaf springs are different than Mustang by just enough that they’re not compatible, meaning they’re crazy expensive and hard to find good examples of.

      • 0 avatar

        Did not know that about the leafs. It’s an amazingly cool ride. Not cool enough to pull me from my lottery/retirement plan to drop my 340 into a 70ish dart/valiant, but sweet.

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