Hooniverse Weekend Edition – From Import Fighter to Lincoln Style Luxury; The Falcon Platform

Welcome to the Hooniverse Weekend where we are currently celebrating the incredible production cycle of some of our favorite domestic platforms, and it is now time for the Ford Falcon. Developed as one of the domestic import fighters (the others include the Chevrolet Corvair, and the Plymouth Valiant) it was introduced to the American Public for the 1960 model year, and it soon became the best selling compact in America. This was a car that had worldwide appeal though, as it was also built in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile and Mexico. The Falcon platform spawned plenty of other models and was in production for a very long time.

The Falcon was intended to be a very simple car in the beginning, with a lightweight 144CID inline six cylinder producing only 90hp, backed by either a 3-Speed Manual, or a 2-Speed Automatic. The suspension was an independent coil spring front end, with a live axle rear with semi-elliptical leafs. Drum brakes were the only braking option at the time of introduction. There were five body styles available including Sedans in two and four door configurations, two and four door Station Wagons, and a unique pickup truck model named the Ranchero.

The first offspring of the Falcon platform was the Comet, which was originally earmarked for the recently discontinued Edsel division, but transferred to Mercury. This basic chassis went on to become the basis for the Mercury Meteor, the Ford Fairlane, the Ford Mustang, and the Mercury Cougar. The Final Falcon for the US was the short 1970 model year, but by this time the platform was once again used for the 1969 Ford Maverick, which was the virtual successor to the original Falcon mission as an inexpensive compact.

In the US, the Maverick was a very successful compact which grew into a 4-Door sedan for 1971. And with success breeds another round of offspring, this time it was another Mercury Comet for 1971 in both the 2-Door Coupe and 4-Door Sedan. Both the Maverick and the Comet were earmarked for elimination for 1975, but it was decided that a pair of upscale compacts would be introduced using the vintage 1960 chassis, the Mercury Monarch, and the American Ford Granada. These cars were nothing but stylized full-sized Fords and Mercurys, and were marketed as Mercedes-Benz Clones.

The final iteration of this chassis, at least in the US, was the Lincoln Versailles. This car was quickly thrown together in response to the very successful Cadillac Seville, and was nothing but a gingerbread encrusted Falcon, and the buying public knew it. The Versailles lasted from 1977 through 1980, with only 50,000 cars being produced. This was the last Falcon based car produced in the United States.

The Falcon name is still a best seller in Australia and New Zealand, but the cars that bear the name have a far different chassis underneath. However, the Falcon in virtually its original form was being produced in Argentina right up until 1991. The roof panels, door skins, and architecture are the same as they were when the Falcon was introduced in 1960. Oh sure, there were changes made to the grill, bumpers, tail-amps, and the interior, but look at the above image and tell me you wouldn’t want one of these produced in the states. So that makes the Ford Falcon (and derivatives) production run one of the longest, at 31 years!

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