1966-1970 Ford Falcon


Ford's expectations changed for the 1966-1970 Ford Falcon. The Falcon was a high-profile sales winner and engineering innovator for Ford in its early years, but things had changed by the mid Sixties. Overshadowed by sportier cars it had partially inspired, the rebirth of the Ford Falcon in 1966 was as the economy-minded model that Ford's first compact had played starting in 1960.

1968 Ford Falcon
Late Sixties Ford Falcons, such as this 1968, fell short of the promise
of earlier models. See more pictures of Ford cars.

Had the Ford Falcon been a person, it hardly would have seemed fair to ask of it what was being asked in 1966. After taking the spotlight in the early Sixties compact-car boom and making Ford the sales leader in the field, after lending its mechanical platform to new niche products that left the rest of Detroit scrambling to catch up to Ford, the Falcon was now expected to return to its humble roots. It was being called upon to provide reliable transportation at an overall low cost, nothing more, nothing less.

It would have been a humiliating blow to a person, but cars don't have feelings to hurt. Doing what it had to do, Ford brought out an all-new Falcon, then turned back the clock to 1960.

The most conventional of the Big Three compacts that made their debuts in the '60 model year, the simple Falcon none­theless was the clear favorite of consumers. Both the modern, lightweight six-cylinder engine and unitized construction designed for the Falcon had expandable capability, and for 1962, Ford successfully launched the Fairlane -- the first true intermediate -- on an enlarged Falcon platform and with the 170-cubic-inch version of the "thin-wall" six as standard equipment.

How­ever, the Falcon's most lasting contribution to Ford Motor Company history was to allow its platform, basic construction methods, and engineering devel­opments to spawn another marketing coup in spring 1964: the Mustang, the archetypal "pony­car."

The successes of both of these new types of cars came, to some degree, at the expense of the Falcon. As the domestic compacts had been the hot new thing on the market in the early Sixties, intermediates would be where the action was for automakers at mid and late decade.

When Ford was ready to reengineer its "genetically linked" compact and intermediate for 1966, it first took into account the needs of the Fair­lane in terms of chassis and underbody, then scaled down the platform for the Falcon's use.

Meanwhile, the Mustang's distinctive styling, extensive options list, and affordability made it the gold standard for sporty compact cars. The Falcon had dabbled in that field with models like the V-8-powered Sprints of 1963-65, but the Mustang rendered them redundant and overshadowed.

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1966 Ford Falcon

After dabbling on the sporty side of things, the Ford Falcon in 1966 was a totally different car. All-new sheetmetal and severely pared-down model offerings would see the series through its final years as it retained its position as Ford's economy leader. Just three basic body styles -- a four-door sedan, two-door club coupe, and four-door station wagon -- were offered in two trim levels, base and Futura. Gone were convertibles, hardtops, and two-door wagons.

1966 Ford Falcon
A stubby side profile was evident in the Ford
Falcon's stripped-down redesign for 1966.

The wheelbase of coupes and sedans grew 1.4 inches to 110.9 inches, but overall length actually shrank slightly to 184.3 inches, giving the car a stubby side profile. The deeply sculpted side panels of previous Falcons were now smoothed out and almost devoid of any distinguishing features, save for a subtle upper-body crease that faded out at a point above the rear-wheel opening. A slight kick-up in the rear quarters was a departure from prior straight-edged Falcons, too.

From the front, styling didn't look much different from 1965, with a horizontal-bar grille divided in the center by a narrow, vertical badge. The rear design featured an update of the outboard round taillight lenses and recessed rear fascia of the 1964-65 Falcons, though the decklid was reshaped to provide a lower sill for easier trunk loading.

All 1966 Falcon owners were greeted with a very straightforward dashboard and instrument cluster. The speedometer sat in a pod to the left side of the steering wheel, while a matching unit on the right contained the fuel and temperature gauges, with warning lights for oil pressure and electrical-system function placed in between. Described as a "swept-away" design, padded panels were standard and optional factory-installed air conditioning was now routed through cutouts in the metal panel.

Base Falcon dress was fairly austere. The only external brightwork was on the drip rail over the side windows. Coupe and sedan interiors included nylon-and-vinyl upholstery in a choice of three colors. Vinyl-coated rubber mats covered the floors and only front doors were fitted with armrests. The Futura was outfitted with extra bright trim on the window frames, wheel arches, rocker panels, and top edge of the rear quarters.

Five interior-color selections were available (including optional all-vinyl upholstery). A horn ring, rear armrests, and color-keyed carpeting were other Futura touches. If any "big" news came from the Falcon camp in 1966, it had to be the Futura Sports Coupe.

A throwback to the original Futura of 1961, this two-door-only model was fitted with vinyl bucket seats in a choice of six colors, slotted wheel covers, and special badging on the roof sail panel. Sports Coupes were often shown with a vinyl roof covering, but this was a $74 option for any coupe.

Falcon wagons were totally new this year also, sitting on a 113-inch wheelbase. That made them longer in that depart­ment than all other compact wagons (and there were still plenty of them) except for the 113-inch Stude­baker Wagon­aire.

The main reason for the extended length was that the basic bodyshell was now shared with the Fairlane wagons, which had the same wheelbase. (In fact, at 198.7 inches overall, a 1966 Fal­con wagon was just 1.1 inches shorter than a Fairlane.) Available in base and Futura trim levels, Falcon wagon production still remained fairly strong.

Shared body tooling with the Fairlane made this the most profitable segment of the Falcon line. It also meant that the Falcon wagons could be ordered with the Magic Doorgate, a new $45 option that allowed the tailgate to be opened in either the conventional manner or from the side like a door. A power tailgate window and roof rack were other station wagon options. Upholstery was done all in vinyl in both series, but color choices mirrored those offered in base and Futura coupes and sedans.

While the two-door wagon on which the Ranchero pickup had been based was gone, this utility model was still being built on the station wagon chassis in both base and Deluxe editions. The top-line models could even be ordered with Sports Coupe-inspired bucket seats in a selection of four color choices. As a result, Ranchero production remained strong this season. Gone from the commercial lineup was the sedan delivery, a model that had known only very modest production. Most businesses that needed small vans were opting for the more-trucklike Econoline.

Standard underhood on all models except the Sports Coupe and station wagons was the 170-cubic-inch six, newly perked up to 105 horsepower. Standard on the Sports Coupe and wagons (and available for the others) was the 200-cubic-inch Fairlane six with 120 horsepower. Optional on all models was the 200-horse 289-cubic-inch small-block V-8 with two-barrel intake and a 9.3:1 compression ratio.

A three-speed manual transmission was standard with all engines. Options included Cruise-O-Matic automatic drive and a floor-mounted four-speed stick that could only be ordered with the "Challenger" V-8.

Starting prices for the new Falcon in 1966 took a bit of a jump -- by about $40 for coupes and sedans, even more for wagons. Production dropped by about 29,000 units, with 182,669 passenger Falcons and another 21,760 Rancheros.

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1967 Ford Falcon

For 1967, Ford decided against a complete makeover for the Ford Falcon -- realizing that if the product wasn't broken, it wasn't going to fix it. This minor facelift for the 1967 Ford Falcon included a new grille divided into quarter sections, ventlike stampings in the front fenders, and, for Futuras, upper-body moldings in place of rocker panel trim. Wagons adopted larger taillight lenses, too.

1967 Ford Falcon
Though changes were minor, the 1967 Falcon
did receive a sharp new grille.

There were no model changes in the passenger-car line for 1967. However, the Ranchero, which had been associated with Falcon since 1960, was now a part of the Fairlane line, an easy enough switch to make given the kinship of Falcon and Fairlane wagons.

One major change to the interior view of the 1967 Falcon, as well as all domestically produced Ford Motor Company passenger cars, was a feeble attempt to offer passenger safety with a "flower-pot"-style foam rubber pod attached to the center of the steering wheel hub. Designed to absorb some of the chest impact in a collision, this was not one of Ford's better ideas.

Underhood, things remained pretty much as they had the previous year but for the addition of the optional 225-horsepower, 289-cubic-inch "Challenger Special" V-8. This engine, when teamed with the optional four-speed transmission, could actually make the ground move, and it gave Falcon a total of 10 different power-team selections.

Despite improvements in performance, Falcon production sank to an all-time low of just 64,335 units. Part of this severe decline was due to a lengthy labor action against Ford, which idled the plants for a number of weeks.

Then, too, prices crept a little higher for 1967; even the price-leader base club coupe topped the $2,100 mark now. Even so, Falcon had seen its glory days and was now ready to be put out to pasture, even if it would take a couple of years to get the job done.

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1968 Ford Falcon

The 1968 Ford Falcon underwent a detail facelift, as it had the year before. A new stamped-aluminum grille with a rectangular mesh graced the front view, retaining the dual-headlight design that had been with Falcon from the start.

1968 Ford Falcon interior
The new 1968 interior had a more stylish, safer
steering wheel and a sweep-style speedometer.

Taillights went from round to nearly square, which was accompanied by a slight change of contours at the trailing edge of the quarter panels. On the sides, 1967's front-fender indentations were smoothed over, thin full-length side trim was added to Futuras, and federally mandated side marker lights were added.

A revised dashboard with a totally new instrument cluster was also fitted to the 1968 Falcon. A sweep-style speed­ometer returned to the center, with a series of warning lights for oil pressure, parking-brake engagement, seatbelt reminder, and coolant temperature standard. (A package with additional lights to signal a door ajar and low fuel level was an option.)

Heater and air conditioning lever controls were to the right. A safety-padded steering wheel that was much more pleasing to the eye than the previous year's attempt was used, and it was probably more likely to help in the event of an accident.

The model lineup was identical to the 1967 roster, but there were powertrain alterations. Not only were the 225-horsepower 289-cubic-inch V-8 and four-speed manual transmission dropped, but the three returning engines all got a five-horsepower cut.

Prices increased again, substantially this time. Club coupe and four-door- sedan sticker prices were hiked by $134 from the previous season, wagons by $120. (Sports Coupes went up by $104, however.)

But with nothing to hamper Falcon production, sales rose to a total of 131,389 units, a more than 100 percent increase. With more than 26,000 station wagons built, the Falcon handily outsold the only other compact wagon still left on the market, the Rambler American.

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1969 Ford Falcon

If changes had been minor between 1966 and 1967, then they were virtually undetectable between the 1968 and 1969 Ford Falcon. Smaller side marker lights and a return to rocker panel trim on Futuras were seen on the outside. Inside, a change in fabric set the two models apart. At this stage in the game, product planning for this series was nonexistent.

1969 Ford Falcon
The 1969 Falcon was almost identical
to the 1968 version.

One key addition for Falcon in 1969 was the optional availability of the new 302-cubic-inch V-8. A stroked version of the discontinued 289, it was fed through a two-barrel carburetor and developed 220 horsepower. The popular SelectShift automatic was offered with all Falcon models, though the three-speed manual was still included in the base price.

The seemingly inevitable price hikes were not as drastic as in 1968. Still, production dropped to 95,015 units, which was a good showing all things considered. After all, there now was another compact from Ford, the Maverick.

Released in March 1969 as a 1970 model, this new entry was even more spartan than the Falcon had ever been. Available only as a semifastback two-door sedan and powered exclusively by sixes, the new compact didn't even have a glovebox door. Priced at a prominently advertised $1,995 to start, it undercut the base two-door Falcon by $288.

It was finally time for Falcon's swan song in the United States. (Ford cars by that name continued to be built for various markets around the world.)

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1970 Ford Falcon

Falcon did return for model year 1970, but with so few changes that advertising materials for the 1970 Ford Falcon actually reused the '69 artwork and photography. However, the Sports Coupe was gone from the lineup, and the 200-cubic-inch six, restored to 120 horsepower, was the new base engine.

1970 Ford Falcon
The last Falcon, the 1970, didn't even last
for its whole model year.

Then, in December 1969, production of the compact Falcon ceased. For the remainder of the model year, the name was transferred to a three-car "stripper" replacement series for the intermediate Fairlane 500. Given its short run, just 15,694 of the compact Falcons were assembled.

Falcon changed the way that America thought about cars. It brought the buying public into the realm of easy-to-maintain, smart-looking, and sometimes surprisingly peppy small automobiles -- qualities they couldn't always find in the imports that spurred the Falcon's creation. This little car opened the door to the introduction of the Fairlane, which spawned the Torino and its successors.

Falcon was also the basis for Ford's most popular postwar car, the Mustang, which affected not only the company but also the industry as a whole. It even lent parts of itself to its replacement, the Maverick. With nearly 2.85 million vehicles bearing the Falcon badge or based on its design as a commercial vehicle, the car had indeed done all that was asked of it.

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1966-1970 Ford Falcon Specifications

The Ford Falcon inspired other models but then had to take a back seat to them so they could become successful. As such, the 1966-1970 Falcons were largely unchanged from one year to the next. Here the 1966-1970 Ford Falcon specifications.

1967 Ford Falcon V-8
An optional 289-cubic-inch V-8 made the
1967 Sports Coupe sportier.

1966 Ford Falcon


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Falcon club coupe
2,519
$2,060
41,432
Falcon sedan
2,559
$2,114
34,685
Falcon station wagon
3,037
$2,442
16,653
Total Falcon


92,770
Future club coupe
2,527
$2,183
21,997
Future sedan
2,567
$2,23734,039
Futura Sports Coupe club coupe
2,597
$2,328
20,289
Future station wagon
3,045
$2,553
13,574
Total Futura


89,899
Ranchero
not available
$2,330
9,480
Deluxe Ranchero
not available
$2,411
12,280
Total commercial


21,760
Total


204,429

1967 Ford Falcon

Weight (lbs.) Price (new)Number built
Falcon club coupe
2,520
$2,118
16,082
Falcon sedan2,551
$2,167
13,554
Falcon station wagon
3,030
$2,497
5,553
Total Falcon


35,189
Futura club coupe
2,528
$2,280
6,287
Futura sedan
2,559
$2,322
11,254
Futura Sports Coupe club coupe
2,556
$2,437
7,053
Futura station wagon
3,062
$2,609
4,552
Total Futura


29,146
Total


64,335

1968 Ford Falcon


Weight (lbs.) Price (new)
Number built
Falcon club coupe
2,680
$2,252
29,166
Falcon sedan
2,714
$2,301
36,443
Falcon station wagon
3,123
$2,617
15,576
Total Falcon


81,185
Futura club coupe
2,685
$2,415
10,633
Futura sedan
2,719
$2,456
18,733
Futura Sports Coupe club coupe
2,713
$2,541
10,077
Futura station wagon
3,123
$2,728
10,761
Total Futura


50,204
Total


131,389

1969 Ford Falcon

Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Falcon club coupe
2,700$2,283
29,262
Falcon sedan
2,735
$2,333
22,719
Falcon station wagon
3,100
$2,66011,568
Total Falcon


63,549
Futura club coupe
2,715
$2,461
6,482
Futura sedan 2,748
$2,498
11,850
Futura Sports Coupe club coupe
2,739
$2,598
5,931
Futura station wagon
3,120
$2,771
7,203
Total Futura


31,466
Total


95,015

1970 Ford Falcon


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Falcon club coupe
2,708
$2,390
4,373
Falcon sedan
2,753
$2,438
5,301
Falcon station wagon
3,155
$2,767
1,624
Total Falcon


11,298
Futura club coupe
2,727
$2,542
1,129
Futura sedan
2,764
$2,579
2,262
Futura station wagon
3,191
$2,878
1,005
Total Futura


4,396
Total


15,694


Selected specifications for 1966 model

General


Coupes and sedans
Station wagons
Wheelbase (in.)
110.9113.0
Overall length (in.)
184.3
198.7
Overall width (in.)
73.2
74.7
Overall height (in.)
54.6
56.2
Tread, front/rear (in.)
58.0
58.0
Cargo space (cu. ft.)
12.3
85.1
Construction layout
front-engine, rear-wheel drive
front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Type
unitized
unitized
Body material
steel
steel

Engine

Coupes and sedans
Sports Coupe and wagons*
Optional V-8 (all models)
Type
Overhead-valve inline 6-cylinder
Overhead-valve inline 6-cylinder90-degree overhead-valve V-8
Material
Cast-iron block and heads
Cast-iron block and headsCast-iron block and heads
Bore and stroke
3.50x2.94
3.68x3.13
4.00x2.87
Displacement (cu. in.)
170
200
289
Horsepower (@ rpm)
105 @ 4,400
120 @ 4,400
200 @ 4,400
Compression ratio
9.1:1
9.2:1
9.3:1
* this engine optional for coupes and sedans

Other powertrain

Standard
Optional
Main bearings
7
5
Carburetor
1-bbl Holley downdraft
2-bbl Holley downdraft
Crankcase (qt.)
4.5 (with filter)
5.0 (with filter)
Cooling system
9.5 (with heater)
14.5 (with heater)
Electrical system
12-volt, 38-amp alternatornot applicable
Transmission
3-speed manual, syncromesh*,
column-mounted shifter
All: 3-speed automatic,
column-mounted shifter;
V-8: 4-speed manual,
synchromesh, floor shifter
Clutch type
noncentrifugal
semicentrifugal
Clutch diameter (in.)
Coupes and sedans: 8.5
Sports Coupes and wagons: 9.0
V-8: 10.0
Coupes and sedans: 9.0
All: 10.0
* Standard transmission with V-8 featured synchronizers on all three forward gears. 4-1.4:1 with optional power steering.

Suspension

  • Front: independent coil spring and wishbone with stabilizer bar and tubular hydraulic shock absorbers
  • Rear: solid axle, semielliptic leaf springs, tubular shock absorbers

Steering

  • Type: recirculating ball
  • Ratio: 29.4:1 with optional power steering
  • Turning diameter (ft): 39.8

Tire size

  • Coupes and sedans, std.: 6.50x13
  • Coupes and sedans, V-8: 6.95x14
  • Station wagons: 7.75x14

Tire Type

  • tubeless, 4-ply rayon cord
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