1960-1966 Ford Falcon

The 1962 Ford Falcon Makes a Comeback

Before Ford Australia had its own private test circuit, the trials necessary to adapt the Falcon to local conditions had to be carried out on public roads.
Before Ford Australia had its own private test circuit, the trials necessary to adapt the Falcon to local conditions had to be carried out on public roads.

The 1962 Ford Falcon continued to face an uphill climb. Even with the 170 Pursuit engine and Fordomatic gearbox, the Futura was cheaper than the Holden Premier and the Ford Falcon. However, reading the fine print in the brochure made you aware that it lacked several equipment items by comparison, such as a heater, windshield washers, backup lights, two-speed electric wipers, anti-glare mirror, and metallic paint.

For station wagon lovers, Ford introduced the Squire, a wagon equivalent of the Futura. Like its American relative, it was distinguished by fiberglass side cladding that was fashioned to look like wood, an attempt to revive memories of wagons' "woody" past.

To further promote the Falcon, Ford entered two in the 1962 Armstrong 500 run at Philip Island, the forerunner of today's Bathurst 1000. The factory cars finished first and second in Class B, with two privately entered Falcons finishing third and fourth. Outright placings had the Falcons at 1-3-4-5 after an epic race-long battle with a far more powerful and faster Studebaker Lark.

Meanwhile Ford quietly developed a successful export business with the Falcon. It opened markets in 16 countries, including New Zealand, Malaya, Hong Kong, New Guinea, Fiji, and Japan, all right-hand-drive markets.

With the burgeoning sales of the Falcon and British-designed four-cylinder Cortina, which was introduced to Australia in 1962, the company was stretched to the limit. Mclntyre announced a multi-million pound expansion program that would allow Ford to push more product into the market and react faster to buyer demands.

Geelong, where engines, gearboxes, and panels were manufactured, and the comparatively new Broadmeadows and smaller Brisbane assembly facilities had new production equipment and lines installed that allowed the daily rate to be increased from 300 units to 500.

Of that number, 440 were to be Falcons and Cortinas, the rest being Fairlanes, Anglias, and Zephyrs. The last two, sourced from the UK, were quietly phased out in 1964 and a locally-designed and built Fairlane later replaced the Canadian-sourced model that also debuted in 1962.

There were no major new model activities during 1963 and, despite a recovering market. Ford's share dipped to 16.9 percent, a drop of more than two points. This decrease coincided with the release of Holden's all-time best-seller, the EH series, with its completely new and vastly more powerful "Red" engines in 149-and 179-cid versions and more modern styling that featured the ubiquitous "Thunderbird" roofline that would also be adopted by Chrysler for the Valiant.

In mid-1963 a new management team was put in place to help correct the problems Ford was facing. Read about how they developed an updated version of the Falcon on the next page.

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