Seeing those compact cars, domestic and imported, were having an increasingly bigger market share made the Ford Motor Company rethink its stand on small vehicles. So, in 1960, they presented the Falcon. In those days, Ford was nervous about presenting a new model in a new class since the Edsel debacle was painful for their accountants. However, with strong backing from Ford`s top managers, the Falcon project got the green light.
The immediate success and strong sales proved that Ford hit a home run with the compact yet roomy Falcon. But the car was nothing special or innovative in terms of design or technology. It had unibody construction, leaf spring suspension in the back, drum brakes and standard three-speed manual transmission. The secret of the Falcon success was its affordability and a long list of options.
Even though the standard model only had a 2.4-liter 90 HP engine, you could get a bigger six cylinder or a 260 V8. Also, the Falcon was available in several body styles including convertible, sedan delivery and a three or five-door station wagon, which broadened its appeal. In 1964, the Falcon received its first redesign and in the same year, Ford unveiled the Mustang which they based on the Falcon’s underpinnings.
The automotive press called the Mustang, “A well-dressed Falcon” when the car first arrived. However, the Falcon was still a strong seller on the American market as the most affordable Ford product. The death of the Falcon came in 1970, at least on the American market. In Australia, the Falcon nameplate is still in production. The last U.S.-built Falcons were bigger, heavier cars, more like those mid-sized models than compact cars as Ford originally conceived them.