Brotherly Tribute: Gary Houghtaling’s Twin Turbo 1964 Ford Falcon

Gary Houghtaling found cars fascinating at an extremely young age thanks to his father and his brother’s influence. Houghtaling never outgrew playing with cars and that led to several different builds during his life, but this twin-turbo 1964 Ford Falcon Futura means the most to him. The Falcon is a lasting tribute to Houghtaling’s brother who was taken from the world too soon, and it’s built exactly how he would have wanted it.

The Falcon was originally purchased by Houghtaling in 2004 from an older gentleman in upstate New York — Houghtaling bought the car knowing it needed a lot of work and wasted no time removing the stock 289 cubic-inch engine and replacing it with a built 331 cubic-inch mill, along with a new C4 transmission and 9-inch rearend.

In 2007, Houghtaling let the Falcon go for the first time when he sold it to a friend, but he regretted that decision so he later traded a 1990 convertible Mustang to get it back. Houghtaling ran into a dilemma after getting the Falcon back, though — he didn’t have the money or time to build the car the way he wanted. Houghtaling’s brother was interested in purchasing the car at this time, but he didn’t’ have the money, so it was sold to another gentleman with an agreement that if he ever wanted to sell the car he would contact Houghtaling first.

“In December of 2011, I lost my brother, and a few days after he passed, the guy I sold the car to contacted me asking if I’d like to buy it back. I was in a better financial position, so I agreed to once again purchase the car. It was at this point I said I’m going to restore and build it to this level because my brother always wanted the car,” Houghtaling says.

Houghtaling started with a fresh strategy for the Falcon and planned to do everything on the car himself that he could. He built the chassis, did the bodywork, built the turbo kit, and took care of just about everything else but building the engine and transmission. The rear suspension uses a Calvert Racing split mono leaf set up with spring sliders and Menscer Motorsports shocks. Houghtaling stuck with a 9-inch rearend fitted with Strange Engineering parts, including gun-drilled axles, spool, and gears. Up front, you’ll find a Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II suspension with QA1 coil-over shocks.

Kenneth Wallace and Allan Strang assisted Houghtaling with getting the car ready for paint. They stepped up to make sure the roll cage was fully prepared, along with the door jams of the body.

The Falcon’s driveline is stout from front to back, and that begins with the 418 cubic-inch Windsor engine from DiSomma Racing Engines. A TH400 from PA Transmission and a 4500 rpm stall torque converter from PTC help put the power down. The engine is controlled by a FAST XFI 2.0 system. Houghtaling used a pair of Precision 7675 turbos with Tial 44mm wastegates and 50mm blow off valves to control the boost. Houghtaling built the turbo headers himself, along with the rest of the system, including the custom intercooler that’s based around Bell Intercooler cores.

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“My goal with the car was to create something different that other people could appreciate, and I want it to be an inspiration to those trying to build a car themselves. The car has been down the track only a few times to collect data; on a very conservative run it went 5.30 at 137 mph to the 1/8-mile. My goal as of now is to enjoy the car and maybe someday soon get it down the track once again,” Houghtaling explains.

Gary Houghtaling’s Falcon is the kind of build that any high-performance enthusiast will love and respect. The car was built for all the right reasons and Houghtaling did almost all the work himself. You know his brother is looking down and smiling at Gary each time the Falcon gets into boost and lays down a giant patch of rubber on the street or track.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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