By on March 10, 2011

We often forget that Ford made the Falcon until 1970. That’s in North America; you could buy a new Falcon— based on the original 1960 version— in Argentina until 1991, and Australians can still buy Falcons today. The shortened-Fairlane-based 1966-70 Falcon tends to get overlooked, unless you live in East Oakland, so it took me a second to figure out what I was looking at when I spotted this one in my local self-serve wrecking yard.

For a moment, I thought it was some sort of AMC product, but the Mustang-esque long hood/short trunk gave it away as a Ford. This is actually a very rare car; Ford made the Falcon name a trim level for the ’70 Fairlane and designated it a 1970-1/2 model year car (no doubt to avoid marketing confusion while FoMoCo pitched the new-ish Maverick). Some 1969 Falcons were sold as 1970 models, and that’s what we’re looking at here.

Does that rarity make it valuable? Well, no. The surprise is that a four-door, six-cylinder ’69/’70 Falcon evaded The Crusher as long as this one did. Still, I estimate that there are 10,000 1970 Mustangs for every 1970 Falcon still extant, so it would be nice if more of them could survive.

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38 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Falcon Futura Sedan...”

  • avatar

    The second-generation Falcon (’64-65) could always be thought of as a “bargain basement Mustang” due to their similarities in so many ways. (Boy did I blow it in high school. An elderly neighbor of my grandparents had a ’65 Sprint with a factory 4-speed that he slapped a For Sale sign on one Saturday. It was priced for peanuts at the time, but I got there too late, as someone else had snapped it up.)

    But these later ones just had such a strong economy car tinge; there really wasn’t anything you could do to them to make them cool.

    Heck, even the Maverick could be made into a decent looking psuedo-muscle car.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    History has been kind to that design.  Very balanced, very clean, every line an excersise in minimalist constraint.  This design has a balance and a harmony. Would love to see what a contemporary vehicle inspired by the lines of this vehicle would look like. 

    It is interesting, from an historical perspective, to see how much the original Mustang design language continued to influence Ford design 6 years or so on after the introduction of the 1964 Mustang. In profile, this vehicle looks like it came from the design study for a first generation Mustang 4-door sedan. Such a vehicle was mocked up in Dearborn, but never produced.

    In a word, beautiful.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the design a lot too. It is “modestly elegant”. But such humility is rarely desired by the aspirational American buyer.

    • 0 avatar

      4-door ’65 Mustang was my first thought too looking at that profile.  I’d love to find one of these and build it up when I retire, but by then I expect they won’t even be found in junkyards.

  • avatar

    I was given one of these as my first car.  The intent was to fix it up (broken starter, lots of body rust, but otherwise clean and ran well, though it wasn’t at all quick) in time for me to get my license, but by the time I did (about three years) we’d noticed the rust had gotten into the frame in several places.
    Pity, really, but given that the car had only front lap belts, no rear seat belts and crash safety well below par (this was 1994) it was probably a bad choice for a sixteen-year old kid.
    It’s a real pity that cars like this don’t show up at classic car events more often.  I can understand why, but there’s a quiet elegance to these (and the Valiants) that is wholly missing from the gauche muscle and fullsize contemporaries.

  • avatar

    The ’66+ Falcon got overlooked because all the fun stuff was taken away and kept with the Mustangs and Fairlanes. No more Sprints, convertibles, hardtop coupes, or high performance engines. The bargain of the bunch was the wagon – it was all but identical to the Fairlane except for the dash and front clip.

    • 0 avatar

      This is one boring car. Why the waxing nostalgic? Just because it is a rare find today, nothing more. The Maverick was at least an attempt at style. Falcons were boring from the get go, especially comparing the original to the Corvair and Valiant. Once the Mustang came out there was simply no reason for a “sporty” version. My grandfather had a ’63 Futura, his idea of a “sports car”, straight six, but four-on-the-floor and red vinyl buckets.

      • 0 avatar

        My first car was a 1964 Falcon – learned how to work on cars because that was my Dad’s intention. He bought it for $200, it ran 2 miles before the engine started knocking. He taught me how to swap engines and he bought me a parts car which we disassembled and put parts in the shed. The car was roomy and was easy to work on. To think that that first car had only 64k on the odometer and had been used up completely. My 1997 Escort with 169k on it is like new.

        I’d love another Falcon. Built to a budget and nothing more. But it was a nice car to work on – and it liked to be worked on!

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it was kind of boring at the time but the design has aged well. It looks a lot less dated and of the era than a lot of the more popular cars. The Maverick, for example, looks like a 60s-70s car. Even the Mustangs of the time look more dated than that Falcon.

    • 0 avatar

      The “style” of the Maverick was Ford throwing every possible late ’60s styling cliche at a bottom-feeder car. Any virtues of the Maverick over the Falcon end there. I think the ’66-’67 Falcon coupes look far better than the Maverick – maybe not as groovy and with-it, but certainly cleaner and more timeless. The Falcon got a busier grille and square taillights for 1968 – changes that weren’t for the better.

  • avatar

    It’s too bad that body is a little too far gone for a restoration.  With all the parts that the Falcon shared with the Mustang, Fairlane and Maverick, the mechanical half of the resto would be easy.  As the previous commenter notes, the Falcon always had such  clean, honest styling but was still unmistakably a Ford in every way.  It’s a shame that such automobile design seemed to fall out of favor in the lat 60s and early 70s.
    Now you want to find a truly rare piece, look for a late 60s Falcon wagon (which was really a Fairlane from the A pillar back.)  Oh wait, look what I found on ebay:

  • avatar

    I don’t remember these much at all, and the earlier generations of Falcons seemed to be everywhere.  It does seem like this one’s GM and Chrysler contemporaries were much more desirable cars, then and now.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Ford executives later admitted that they prematurely discontinued the Falcon, thereby leaving a hole in the market between the Maverick (initially offered only as a short-wheelbase coupe) and an increasingly bloated mid-sized line.  Thus came the four-door Maverick in 1971, but it offered a lot less car than the Falcon.
    It’s too bad that the 1966-69 Falcon sold so poorly because it was a decent idea — it had an unusual amount of room for a compact because it was essentially a shortened Fairlane, but its body was still pretty light.

  • avatar

    Grandma had a ’69 two door with a V8 and a stick. She promised it to me when I turned 16 as it only had 50,000 miles on it and it was in pristine shape. However by the time I would have turned 16, it would have been 23 years old, and she wanted something more reliable. Good looking car still.
    She sold the Falcon, and bought a Chevette. She passed away in 89 at the age of 83, so I got neither ‘Vette or the Falcon. So whenever I see a late ’60s Falcon it always reminds me of her and her driving off at night with the rocket taillights lit up.

  • avatar

    Shame to see an old car die but the styling is oppressively dull on these with a four door sedan being the most dowdy of the bunch. The earlier Falcons are much more interesting and even the Maverick has better styling.

  • avatar

    High school buddy bought a used ’66 with parental assistance.  Looked immaculate, but had a slipping clutch and plugs that misfired at WOT.  His old man obviously did not do the test drive right:  floor it in top gear.

  • avatar

    Most four door cars are rarely of interest to enthusiasts, economy compacts with four doors almost never are.  While the third gen North American Falcon didn’t sell in great numbers at retail, the government bought up huge piles of these things.  I had a former neighbor who was a Vietnam war vet.  The dude had boxes full of pictures he took in Vietnam.  One of he pictures was taken in front of some US Gov office in South Vietnam, there were half a dozen third gen Falcons parked at the curb.
    The Falcon, and all the other models it begat, produced the single best ROI of any car platform in the world ever..    The original Falcon gave birth to the first gen Mustang.  The cars were so similar, they were built in the same assembly plants.  The First gen tooling was shipped to Argentina and Australia.  Ford Argentina built the first gen until 1990, you can still see these things being used as daily drivers in parts of South America.  In North America, the 4th generation version of the Falcon was renamed Maverick.  The Maverick was stretched slightly and called Granada.  The Falcon name continues to this day in Australia, although the car shares very little with the originals save for the I6 engine blocks.
    The North American Falcons that are most desirable from a collector’s point of view are the first and second gen cars.  The cars were made in numerous body styles from plain four doors, to two door coupes, hard-tops, convertibles, pick-ups(called Ranchero), four door station wagons, two door station wagons (both with side glass and without–aka sedan delivery).  Engines ranged from 144, 170, 200 I6, to 221, 260, 289, 302 V8 with 2 and 4 barrel carbs.  Transmissions were 3 or 4 speed manual — on the column or floor or 2 or 3 speed automatics on the column or floor.  Front buckets or bench seats (most were bench), you could get 6 people into this “compact” with the bench seats.
    Unfortunately, the Falcon is all but forgotten today in North America — unappreciated despite all it’s good attributes.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t mind having a 1st gen Falcon with the 144 cubic inch straight six.  If driven gently they get 30 mpg on the highway and they are the height of mechanical simplicity, a shadetree mechanic can keep them running forever.

    • 0 avatar

      These cars can be kept running indefinitely until the body gets cancer.  Rust is the reason these cars end up in junk yards, otherwise they’d still be infesting public roadways.

  • avatar

    I always thought of the first-generation Mustangs as glorified and overpriced Falcons. It wasn’t until the 2005-2009 generation that I became interested in Mustangs again.
    There are still a few clean old Falcons around this part of the country. I saw a pristine-looking white on blue 1964 or 1965 coupe the other day, and still see an occasional first-generation car.

  • avatar
    DeadInSideInc has a new article – Part 1 of the Aussie Faclon.
    Read it!

  • avatar

    Other than the grille and rear light units this could be an OZ  Falcon except the OZ version used stronger suspension in this shell and beefed it again for the 71 XY. As for performance OZ had no Mustangs but the GTHO 111 version of this would blow the doors off a Mustang and had a limiter at 141mph The fastest 4door on the planet bar nothing at the time. A good method of improving early Falcons is to install 90s undercarriage it fits even the ohc engines makes the old ones boogie.

  • avatar

    I had forgotten Ford produced Falcons into the 1970 model year, and then as pointed out the “Falcon” name was then attached to a cheap model Fairlane/Torino for a short time. Interesting as Ford had introduced the ’70 Maverick in Spring ’69…hoping to repeat the sales success of the 64 1/2 Mustang…as I recall they came awfully close.

  • avatar

    I swore I would stop reading these as they depress me a little each time I do. But I did it anyway. My daughter has a strange fascination with this era of Falcon. She’d really like to have one, but I keep reminding her that her seven year old car is waay safer and economical to operate than a 40+ year old car. When she makes her millions, she can get one as a sunny day driver. She’s not making millions, but she does have her grandfather looking for a clean one in Tennessee…

  • avatar

    A fine car critter under the labels of several different criteria; including the “looks department.”
    The contraption thus receives the highly-coveted official offered-by-few Coot Approval Seal.

  • avatar

    My neighbor had one of these until last year when he lost it due to a DUI.
    I actually prefer the styling of these over the earlier cars, which puts me in the minority. Probably because they remind me of (and are the basis for) the Aussie XW and XY Falcons, including the mighty GTHOs.
    This body style initially sold poorly in Australia because Aussies love a big “boot” (you already know that an oil drum will fit in the boot of a Leyland P76), and the long hood/short trunk gave Aussies the impression that the trunk was smaller than its predecessor. They even redesigned the inside of the trunk and gas tank to fit the spare tire under the trunk floor rather than on a shelf like on US models.

  • avatar

    And shortly after this Ford lost the copyright to the Futura name to Pep Boys, where you can now buy Futura tires.

  • avatar

    As a member of the “down under” clan on TTAC, I can’t help but look at this find and immediately think of XY Falcon GTHO.
    This might be a forgotten car in America, but is the basis of one of greatest cars produced.

    With a 351, putting out  370 – 390 bhp, and a top speed of 155MPH, its spawned a huge media beatup about racing cars, and eventually lead to the demise of a wonderful era of power wars between the Chrysler Charger (A Body), Holden Torana and this wonderful car.
    The original are so rare that the money paid is insane…
    It would make a great US replica of a legendary Australian Car..  Sad to see it crushed.

    • 0 avatar
      Boss 351?
      Just curious.
      The Boss fascinated me from when I first became aware of it and was impressed by what it could do upon the street and strip.
      Most recently around 5 years ago before the semi-local drag strip closed down. A local dude had a 1971 Mustang with a Boss 351 (unsure that mill was original or added later.)
      That car was impressively quick.
      I did not excessively intrude since the racers were not the friendliest bunch towards “outsiders,” non-racers and onlookers who did not reside within the immediate area.
      (Shrug shoulders…oh well).
      Still, watching was a joy!!!!!!

    • 0 avatar

      I read that one of Alan Moffatt’s Phase III GTHO’s had a 351 putting out 620bhp.

  • avatar

    Here is one of those 1990 falcons from Argentina

  • avatar

    cumulating in the FPV F6 Typhoon. Beat the pants and out handle anything coming out of the NA Ford plants.

  • avatar

    My driving school instructor had one of these , I believe a 1975 Maverick ? I took my lessons in 1980 – what I remember is that it was a boring car compared to my dads car at the time ( a 68 Newport) . The maverick had standard steering ( only car I drive without power steering ! )

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