Ford Falcon Takes Flight with 429 Cubic Inches

Images: Classic Auto Showcase, LTD

If you really want to confuse your buddies, tell them you know about a Ford Falcon with a factory big block. They may say, “You’re full of it, Homes!” but, trust me, they’re none the wiser. That’s because in the middle of the 1970 model year, Ford re-introduced the Falcon. And when the model year was over, the Falcon was never heard from again.

Of course, the Falcon was Ford’s compact that competed with the Volkswagen Beetle. Introduced in 1960 (along with Chevy’s Corvair and Plymouth’s Valiant), the Falcon was Ford’s most successful debut until the Mustang came along – itself based on the Falcon too.

But by the late-1960s, the Falcon was long in the tooth. Rather than redesign the car, Ford decided to put the Falcon to pasture and start fresh with the brand-new Maverick.

Interestingly enough, the Maverick debuted in April of 1969 while the Falcon soldiered on through the first half of the 1970 model year.

But then Ford introduced the 1970 1/2 Falcon, which was basically a cut-rate Fairlane two-door sedan, four-door sedan, and wagon. This was interesting because all other Fairlane and Torino two-doors were hardtops, so this was the only two-door in the lineup with a B-pillar. Economy was the name of the game, as Ford announced, “Ford’s all-new edition of America’s all-time economy champ.”

A clever racer knew this was the perfect opportunity to go faster. Rather than order a Torino GT or Cobra (or even a regular Torino or Fairlane), a Falcon with the  mighty 429 Cobra Jet could be had. Buyers had two choices – ram air (J-code) or not (C-code) – and the Drag Pack could be ordered too.

This gave you 3.91 or 4.30 gears and numerous heavier-duty items. The downside was that Falcon owners constantly have to endure, “That’s not a Falcon, that’s a Torino!”

All told, 69 were built with the C-code and 90 were built with the J-code. Of those 159, 135 were built with the Drag Pack, meaning most of them were Super Cobra Jets with 375 horsepower. Of those, 85 had 4.30 gears like this one on eBay.

While it is odd the Falcon would not continue for 1971, it did manage to live on in other markets in other incarnations – Australia had their own version (later made famous in the Mad Max movie series) and Argentina continued to built an updated version based on ours from 1960-63. And what happened to the Maverick? It lasted nine years to the Falcon’s eleven, proving that the Falcon wasn’t a one-trick pony.

About the author

Diego Rosenberg

Diego is an automotive historian with experience working in Detroit as well as the classic car hobby. He is a published automotive writer in print and online and has a network of like-minded aficionados to depend on for information that's not in the public domain.
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