During the 1960s more and more compact cars started to enter the marketplace in the United States. There was a demand for smaller, more economical vehicles. Each of the major automakers had their own offerings within this niche. Ford entered the fray for the 1960 model year with the introduction of the Falcon.
The Falcon name was originally toyed with by Edsel Ford back in the 1930s, but the name never appeared. The car that he was calling the Falcon wound up being the Mercury.The Ford Falcon was very successful from a sales standpoint when it was first released. Over 500,000 units were sold during the initial model year, and more than a million Ford Falcons were on the roadways following the second year of production.
When the Ford Falcon was introduced, the president of the company was a man named Robert McNamara. He was the executive behind the creation of the Falcon. He steadfastly believed in the car, and he was right on the money. It was the right car for the decade of the 1960s.
If you are a history buff, you are aware of the fact that McNamara ultimately became the United States Secretary of Defense. He held that post from 1961 through to February of 1968, serving under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. McNamara became the head of the World Bank after his stint as Secretary of Defense.
The 1960 Ford Falcon was available as either a sedan, a station wagon, or a unique little pickup that looked like a car in the front. In 1960 the engine that came standard in the Ford Falcon was a 144-cubic inch, 90-horsepower straight-six. The transmission was a three-speed standard, but you could upgrade to a two-speed automatic if you wanted to pony up some extra bucks.
In 1961 the Falcon was offered with an optional engine that packed a little bit more power. It was a 170-cubic inch six-cylinder that was rated at 101 horses. The car was very economical to operate. Ford’s marketing material stated that the 1961 Falcon could go 30 miles on a gallon of gasoline.
The Ford Falcon was a success, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. It lasted through the 1970 model year, and it was subsequently replaced by the Maverick as Ford’s economical compact offering.