So, I Bought a '64 Falcon…

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The alternate title for this post was Why I Have the Best Wife Ever.
Behold the newest edition to the Mad_Science driveway. You’re looking at a 1964 Ford Falcon Futura. It’s sporting a 260c.i. (4.3L) V8 running through a 4-speed manual transmission. It’s got power nothing: not windows, not locks, not steering nor brakes. The paint’s a re-do, and needs some love in the typical places. The interior’s a re-do, but needs nothing for the time being. We don’t need to get into price, but it was a pretty good deal for a very rare drivetrain combo. Roughly 1/50th the price of the Bentley pictured beside it earlier.
So, WTF am I doing, parking a fifth car in the _Science driveway?
It all makes sense, in that “only on Hooniverse” kind of way, so bear with me.
As I mentioned some time ago, The Missus is pregnant with Mad_Science Jr, with an ETA of March 1st. As such, as of March 1st the WRXagon becomes her daily driver, as it’s the most practical, efficient, safe, normal car that we own.
That leaves me with the option of doing my ~80 mile round trip commute in a lifted Jeep Wrangler, ’67 Ford Country Sedan (that would bea 390ci powered 10 passenger full-size station wagon), or C: None of The Above.
Living in a dry climate rich in classic (or just old) cars, with plenty of tools, skills and driveway space, I just couldn’t bring myself to go out and buy a 10 year old Civic. I was planning on making this a running series here on Hooniverse: “Help Mad_Science find a Car”, knowing it was a toss-up between some kind of “mini-muscle” (a classic compact domestic car) and maybe something like a non-LeMons 6-series. The overall goal was something reasonably efficient, reasonably comfortable, but definitely cool.
[singlepic id=711 w=320 h=240 float=center]Before I had the opportunity for you to give me a bunch of terrible ideas help me out, this puppy popped up: exactly what I was looking for. I’ve always loved the lines on the 64-65 Falcons. The 260ci is the little brother to the 289, with a smaller bore. To be honest, the smaller engine is a bonus for me: v8 torque and exhaust note, but potential for better efficiency. As most of you probably know, the Mustang was based on the Falcon chassis, meaning I’m now drawing from economies of scale like you wouldn’t believe. Parts for the Falcon are literally half the price of the equivalent on my oddball FE-powered 67 wagon.
So, where am I going with this? My ultimate goal is to have a comfy sport driver that pulls 25mpg if I can stay off the skinny pedal. I’m hoping a combination of the right engine tuning, gearing and the Falcon’s already light curb weight can get me there.
Straight away, I need to address a few issues: the gas gauge doesn’t work, the (2 bbl) carb needs a rebuild, the shifter linkage is a floppy mess, and the clutch takeup is way too chattery. The only love that 2bbl will see is a screwdriver and some carb cleaner: a 4-bbl intake and ~500cfm carb will be replacing it. I’m going to have to find my way to taller gears for the freeway, and I’m torn between just stepping up the rearend or swapping in a T-5 with its nice tall overdrive 5th gear.
In the meanwhile, the Country Sedan’s going to get some attention to get it ready to be sold. I don’t particularly want to part with it, but between LeMons and the rest of my life, it doesn’t get driven enough and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So, stay tuned over the next few months as I clean up the Country Sedan and do some exploring and quick fixes on the Falcon.
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66 Comments

  1. I am JEALOUS! I would love to have one of these. You're a lucky guy and Mrs._Science sounds like a keeper. Congrats on both.
    That carb can't be all that bad. Get a rebuild kit, a gallon can of carb cleaner with the dipper basket, and scrounge some guitar string to poke through jets and passages with and have at it. Only takes an hour or two, and it will buy you time while you decide what kind of four barrel and manifold you want.
    Best of luck with your new car, you scored, bigtime.

    1. Agreed. 2 Barrel carb would be worth rebuilding. Rebuild it and run it, then sell it for more money when you decide to spring on a new carb.
      Kudos on the car/wife combo… and way to inspire me for a commuter car. Really think you can squeeze 25mpg out of it on the highway?

      1. As best I can tell, I was getting about 15 driving it around yesterday (drove about 60 miles on about 4 gallons of gas).
        That's with the clutch behaving such that I have to launch it like I'm racing (or it stalls) and a carb that's all over the map.
        A properly tuned 4-barrel (with the primaries set up really mellow) a mild cam, an electric fan and the right gearing and I know it can get over 20.

          1. My TJ with a 5-speed, 4" lift, 33" MTs on steel wheels and 4.10 gears gets 16-18 hwy if I keep it around 65. It'll break 20 in stop-and-go traffic, b/c I can just put it in 2nd, 3rd or 4th and let it creep.

        1. If you hit 24 with that beast, I'll have to put some thought into aero-tweaking and manual-swapping the Brick… that's about what I get in two-thirds-highway driving.

  2. My grandmother owned almost this exact car. I don't know if she bought it new but she owned it longer than I have been alive and only recently got rid of it since she is in her 90's and was having more and more trouble driving it. One of her nephews was kind enough to give her a nice mid-90's Mercedes to get her around town in relative comfort. When she did finally get rid of the Falcon it was in excellent condition, save for fading paint and cracked upholstery. It had well under 100k miles on it if I recall and ran like a champ. If I had been in a position to buy it at the time I would have been all over it.
    Congratulations on the newest (and yet to come) members of your family Mr_Science! May they both bring you lots of joy.

  3. How I envy that you can consider that a rational daily driver – up here it'd almost definitely be garaged for about half the year. Still, I look forward to hearing more about it.

    1. Yeah, as I was picking it up, looking over the rust, I was like "eh…not a big deal. It's LA, it rains like 4 days year here".
      …and it's going to be raining all this week.

    2. Seconded.
      My Dart went up on the stands two weeks ago and the wheels won't touch ground again until around Tax Day, 2010. We have three inches of snow already and are expecting 8-9 more in the next 48 hours.
      Where did I leave that bottle of Jack Daniels?

  4. First, congratulations on your the impending doom birth of your child. These are horrific exciting times for you, I'm sure!
    Now, on to business. The Falcon is sweet. I know everyone is saying that. However, as you pointed out, it's fairly inepensive to keep. Since the Mustangs were all based on the Falcon, parts are going to be plentiful. Once you get it tuned up, the clutch issue addressed, the carb cleaned/rebuilt, and address any other little issues it should be a pretty reliable driver. I applaud you for wanting to drive it, too. Too many people would try to drop a 302 and drag race it. There's something kind of special about old iron left stock (or pretty darn close). Adding a T-5 would be acceptable since it would help you in your endeavor to keep it daily-driver-friendly.
    I am progressing on Project House Hell (the upstairs is nearing completion and should be darn close by Christmas), and I'm getting excited about a project car. The sad part is, I would have to garage it for 4-5 months during the winter. Stupid Michigan weather.

    1. I fully agree with you. It is getting increasingly rare to find old iron with it's original drive-train. It infuriates me that a friend of mine ripped out the flat head last week from his 40 Ford Shoe Box and replaced it with a Chevy 350. >:-O

      1. What's his address? I'll punch him in the neck.
        I'm tired of seeing 350s in Fords. Yes, parts are cheap, but they are nearly as cheap for a 289/302/351W. Flathead parts aren't quite as cheap, but they aren't ridiculous. Plus, flatheads are darn cool and not your run-of-the-mill engine. There's something special about that.

        1. That was his excuse. That parts are cheaper. He's young and dumb though, he's 20 years old and I'm afraid for what else he's going to do to the car. He already sanded down the original acceptable paint and painted the car in primer. It's a 4 door and he wants to weld the rear doors shut too.
          I think we need to form a Hooniverse torch mob and head down to his house.

          1. That's just a damn shame. I'll bet he dreams of putting billet everything on it, as well. Sounds like he's taken a perfectly good car and raped the hell out of it. Anything with a Ford flathead needs to stay that way. And, old paint with patina needs to stay. It's only original once.
            Too nice a car for the kid.

    2. Alas, I figured out last night that this car was originally a 170ci I-6 with a 2-speed auto…at least according to the data plate and serial numbers I saw.

      1. It’s July 2015 and I’ve had my 64 Ford Falcon for almost 26 years. It has its primitive original 170 CID engine, 2-speed Ford-o-Matic auto transmission + a generator. I won’t put an alternator in it; that’s for 65’s not 64’s!
        The 64 beastie has a manual choke knob along with ‘Falcon Standard Equipment’ (i.e. no power steering, no power brakes, no under-dash A/C) yet its utter simplicity makes me appreciate more with every passing year. I drove my Falcon every day for years (1989-98) and despite all its technical shortcomings — and lack of hazard flashers — had very few problems.
        I note all the recalls for (it seems) every new car that rolls off a dealer’s lot these days. Ugh! ♥ thy Falcons.

  5. I salute you for going with the project car as a daily driver route. I gave up on that a long time ago, and my "project" car is only 25 years old! Call me soft, but I like the feeling of knowing the car will start, stop, and drive every time I hop in it. Then again, the check engine light came on this weekend.

    1. I wouldn't be doing it quite like this if I didn't have my Wrangler as a backup.
      So far with the Country Sedan (knock on wood) I've managed to keep my stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road incidents confined to the weekends, after monkeying with something.

          1. Mr_Mad sent that to me earlier. I declined this particular one, the tan color makes me think of an early 70's creepy mustache molester mobile. Not quite the image you want for a family car…
            Glad everyone likes the Falcon! He already has the approval for the modifications, it is just a matter of how much time he has. The Country Sedan needs some love first I think.

  6. I guess that to get the loan from banks you should have a good motivation. However, one time I’ve got a credit loan, just because I was willing to buy a bike.

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