While the internal envelope was where most of the developmental funds were aimed, the 1960 Ford Falcon exterior was what would ultimately attract the buying public. Charged with the task of making the new compact appeal to a style-conscious public was Eugene Bordinat, Jr.
Though relatively new at Ford, his background in Detroit started with General Motors, where he had been employed since 1938. One of his first projects at Ford was the new compact. Basically, Bordinat's job was to keep the car simple and under budget -- two of Ford exec Robert McNamara's favorite themes.
Several design ideas were explored, seeing the creation of such vehicles as the L'Avion and Astrion concept cars. A two-seat Thunderbird-like vehicle was even created with photos "leaked" out to throw the competition off balance. In total, more than 20 proposals were presented for the Falcon project. Some of the ideas eventually made their way to other Ford products.
Many of the proposals strayed from the original theme of simple and basic. However, Bordinat was able to successfully translate McNamara's wishes, and came up with a very attractive presentation. The frontal view featured two single headlamps mounted inside a wide, soft-edged surround filled in with a stamped aluminum grille produced for Ford by Alcoa.
Quad-headlight arrangements had been suggested for the Falcon, but preliminary presentations gave the car an uneven look. Not only did the use of the two-light front end lend to a cleaner appearance, it was also a cost-cutting move. Another feature that saved money (and weight) was a hood support rod attached to the radiator support instead of spring-equipped hinges.
Falcon's rear view featured a pair of large round taillights in keeping with what had become a recognized Ford design theme. (Ironically, 1960 full-size Fords departed from the round taillight theme, which may have contributed to sales being off that year.) Falcon's side view was simple, featuring an indented cove that started on the front fender and ran the length of the car, trailing off to accentuate the shape of the taillight tunnels.
Doors and panels were relatively thin, and ornamentation was also kept to a minimum: stainless steel trim around the windshield and rear glass, chrome block letters spelling out "Ford" on the hood, and a series script on the front fenders behind the wheel well and again on the back panel.
Eight standard exterior colors were used, all of them shared with the big Fords. Optional two-tone choices were limited to contrasting roof/body patterns.
Inside, passengers enjoyed nearly the same amount of room as in the 1952-1954 Fords. Upholstery consisted of Moroccan-grain vinyl bolsters and stylish nylon cloth inserts. Interiors were equipped with standard front-door armrests and black "Sof-Tred" rubber carpeting.
A neatly styled dashboard housed all instruments in a cluster directly in front of the driver. The sweep-type speedometer was large and could be easily viewed through the steering wheel. It was flanked on the left by the fuel gauge and on the right by the temperature indicator. Oil pressure and generator charging status was indicated by red warning lights on either side of the odometer. The parking brake was operated by means of a T-handle to the left of the driver.
Falcon wagons were really quite advanced in their design. While full-size Ford wagons still used a two-piece tailgate, Falcon haulers featured a rear window that could be retracted into the tailgate. (For those who had a few extra dollars to spend, this could be power-operated.) Offering up to 76.2 cubic feet of space, the wagon had plenty of cargo room for most family loads. With a little bit of jockeying and the tailgate left down, a four-by-eight sheet of plywood could be loaded into the car.
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