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Features Anybody drive a Falcon everyday?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 64deville, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. zimm
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 802

    from iowa

    i just bought a 61 comet for $700 144 2 speed geting it ready for the summer as a daily driver and to have some fun with hope she will get as good of mpg as u say motor it tight just got it runnng this week i patch the floor pans but the rear wheel wells are gone but o well lowerd it 2inch in the rear and 2.5 inch in the front i also ave axcess to a 240/3speed out of a 65 f-1 any one used a 240 /300 in a faclon/comet/mustang? got a few crappy pics in the shop

    Attached Files:

  2. Leon, thanx for the info on the Mustang floorpans. Any idea who makes the best deal on them?

    I have the Dagenham 4 speed. It has Mustang linkage and is tricky to shift. Boy, I guess it won't take much abuse, it's just a little bigger than a six pac.

  3. leon renaud
    Joined: Nov 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,933

    leon renaud
    from N.E. Ct.

    early warning dump the factory shifter go with aftermarket .the factory linkage is crap unless your doing a concourse restoration get rid of it.the sincro rings are very soft in that trans.I think if I could get another falcon I'd go with a 5 speed from a later mustang .PM me and I'll look in my books for sheetmetal suppliers for you there are a couple companies that cater to falcon now. the local parts house used to keep a rebuild kit in stock just for me I'd like to have a 60-61 for a daily driver I like up to 63 but realy prefer the earlier body
  4. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,753

    from California

    My better half drives a 61 Comet everyday and believe me get out of her way.
  5. Floor pans are available fron Dearborn Classics in Bend, OR. I drive a 62 Ranchero 60 miles roundtrip every day, they make an excellent daily driver. I run a 170 with an Offy tri-power and a Mallory unilite, it hasn't left me yet. The great thing about these cars is that they are easily upgraded when something goes shithouse. I lost a condenser one day, so I ditched the points with a Mallory kit. I blew up the second rearend, so I put in an 8 inch from a Maverick. Broke my non synchro 3 speed, I put in a T-5. Frontend was getting a little loose, so I'm now in middle of a Maverick disc brake conversion. I absolutely love these cars. I was getting 20 MPG with the three speed, I can't wait to see what I get with the 5 speed......
  6. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,757


    i guess i'll jump in too...

    yup i drive one all the time. did a 250/t-5/8" swap, ain't the quickest, but it goes's under carbed right now, i'm in the process of setting up the 3x1 intake and thus only running a single tiny holley. but it'll jam on the freeway all day long at 85+. got discs up front so it stops too. it's been on the road for about a year now, been to austin with it last spring, and to minnesota in november.

    careful on what people say about the floor pans, mustangs are similar, but not the same as falcons! for fixing standard rust out, the mustang should work, but if you need to do a full floor the mustang won't work. the floors are even different amongst falcons themselves, the split is 60-61, 62-63...can't remember if they changed in 64 again. mostly different in the tranny tunnel, but different nonetheless. the differences in years start to matter when you start swapping drivetrains etc. me, i was set on the 60-61 bodystyle, which is the most cramped for swapping engines, the engine compartment is shorter, so the 250 takes up the whole length, i have to run an electric fan, the water pump pulley is 1/4 from the rad.

    while on the rust issue, go for the most solid car you can find, they are dirt cheap and not worth extensive rust repair, they'll probably ALL have the basic rust in the floors and quarters, much more than that and i'd pass.
  7. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    i have driven several, the first was a 63 convert. replaced the eng with a 200 then the trans. both times i thought i was in a different car.there is a falcon club, and there are lots of cars for sale there. almost any price.
  8. Landmule
    Joined: Apr 14, 2003
    Posts: 455


    I have a 64 Ranchero and a 66 Mustang. The Ranchero is a 260/automatic and the Mustang is a 200 six with non-syncro three speed. Both of them are super easy to work on and dependable as anything. The Ranchero gets about 18-20 mpg while the Mustang gets mid to high 20's.
    I love the torquey little six in the Mustang, and dropping it into first without syncros is a good challenge. The four lug wheels on the Mustang are a drag but we run the stock caps anyway. A bigger deal is the drum brakes on both of these cars. Unless you're used to these guys, they can bite you. Since we've had these cars forever, it's no big deal for me but to a new owner used to late model brakes it will take some getting used to.

    Both cars have become sunny day drivers in recent years. They're great fun to drive, always get looks and are very practical.
  9. chuckspeed
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,643


    I've had a ton of falcons, comets, mavericks, et, al, and have the following to offer:

    1) Engines: the 170/200 are the best sixes of the bunch; the 144 doesn't have the bottom end to allow sustained hwy use. The engines are dirt simple and easy to work on; fuel economy in the low to mid 20's with a manual trans; teens with the automatic.

    2) Transmissions: 1st gear was non-synchro in all of my cars. The combo of the 200/3 speed is a nice setup - makes lots of torque and is a ball to drive!

    3) Rear End: gearing for these cars is set up for 60-65 MPH crusing, period. Anything beyond this for more than 8-10 miles will beat the snot outta the drivetrain.

    Weak points (besides rust):

    2 speed transmissions - A 170 six and a two-speed trans is THE slowest thing on the road, period. I had a '64 with this setup and I raced a diesel caddy with it back in '81, and the caddy beat me by several lengths. They're scary slow and provides sucky gas mileage.

    Starter solenoids and gensets - I've burned up a few of both; make sure you have an american made starter solenoid - otherwise, you'll cook the electrical system the day the contacts arc and the car attempts to start on its own.

    Column shift linkages - they've got cheesy bushings and a diecast bell on the steering column that tend to wear/break - I've had the shifter drop off in my hand, the linkages hit the pavement, and the trans lock up between gears.

    If ever I had to drive a Falcon again, I'd get me one of the V8's and drop in a t-5. You'll get good fuel economy and the car will be an absolute ball to drive - plus you'd eliminate one of the weaker links in the system.

    The cars are dirt simple and bulletproof. Get the most solid body you can find and drive the wheels off of it!
  10. hillbillyhellcat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 595


    Drove a '65 Falcon Sedan daily for a few years, swapped the 170 to a 250 with a Clifford dual header, duals, switched to manual disc brakes, c4 with a shift kit, lowered, etc. I used a 78 Granada donor, also swapped the rear axle.

    The 250 was torquey but no V8, way under carbed. Great car on the highway! It now has a 302 and it a lot more fun. I was in an accident in it in July and it has been sitting since.
  11. This is a perfect example of why the HAMB is so cool. Thanks for the info you guys. I'll order the floor pans right away.

    Who makes a good shifter for that Dagenham 4 speed Leon?

  12. jaybee
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 268


    A buddy of mine had a '61 2 door with 144 & 3-speed column shift. In those days all of us were into pony/muscle cars which were just bottoming out in value. People gave him crap all the time "hey, that's a nice moped!" The 144 was slow to accelerate and really revved at highway speed. On the other hand it rode well and was easy to drive. It also was an excellent design for comfort without air conditioning. Air flowed everywhere when the car was moving and it was just about impossible to light a cigarette. On a truth is stranger than fiction note, the owner of this car once was forced to beat a raccoon to death with a baseball bat, in the trunk, while wearing nothing but tennis shoes and jockey shorts. I laughed my ass off when I heard about it the next day, but what a mess.

    Dad had a 66 Ranchero, 289/C4. Wonderful car, I wish I had one like it today. I saw one almost like it a few years ago for sale at the Goodguys Heartland show, it sure brought back memories. Ran like crazy, good gas mileage, easy to fix. Technically these late Falcon Rancheros are actually hybrids as they have Falcon front sheet metal on a Fairlane station wagon chassis.
  13. 64deville
    Joined: Jun 25, 2005
    Posts: 147


    I know about the manual brakes first hand. I drove a 65 Mustang 6cyl with manual brakes and they do take some getting used to.

    The moped coment is about right. I have test driven a few Falcons and after driving a Tahoe and 64 deVille these things are like driving a go cart. Easy to handle and manuever.

    Getting it highway ready will be my main concern as I do take trips a couple times a week 100-200 miles at a clip and I dont think 60 will cut it. I took a 144 cid 3spd 60 Falcon for a ride and when I hit the 70 it sounded like the pistons were going to shoot out of the block. Seems like there is lots of options on handling this problem though.

    From what I'm finding out upgrading a Falcon is dirt cheap to. Mavric, Mustang 6cyl and Fairmont/Granada/Zephyr parts are almost free too.
  14. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,757


    yup, just find a running maverick and you got yourself engine, tranny, rear end, disc brakes, 5 lug wheels, master cylinder...:D

    FWIW, manual brakes are fine, it's the tiny stock drums that suck! i'm running manual with discs up front, using a 67 stang master, stops PLENTY good. power brakes, as well as power steering is really overkill in a falcon IMHO.
  15. k-member
    Joined: May 25, 2002
    Posts: 2,114


    I drive one for a work car daily. Had it over 10 years. Never lets me down. Had a 170 in it for about 4 of those years. Now a 289/C4 combo. Still gets fair millage around 17-20 depending how heavy my foot gets. Turned it over to 5 lug in the first few months, but mine was easy cause it's a 67 so basicaly I just use parts for 67 Mustangs, suspention, brakes, MC, mounts, radiator, U joints ect...Mustang parts are cheap and easy to get. I know 67 is a little too new, but it is the last year for round tailites and has realy cool one year only front fenders and a few other odds and ends and you just don't see em everyday. I love mine, I also put one of those hot Shelby type front ends under it when I re did the front susspention and it handles pretty good, it is light though 2,564 Lbs. so the ass end will get away from you, but that's why it's so fun. If you swap the front spindles on an early one and you have the tiny tie rod ends, you can buy the adaptor bushings from for about 3 bucks each. I have had a bunch of Falcons, and the 67 has been one of my favorites and it will also accept the mighty FE, but the 289 is just fine.

    Attached Files:

  16. a/fxcomet
    Joined: Mar 31, 2001
    Posts: 554

    from Eugene, OR

    Drove my '64 Comet (rich mans Falcon) daily for 6 years. Now I have two vehicles, so I drive it half as much :). Best thing I ever did to it was put on the Granada disk brakes. Total bolt on, all you need are Granada outer tie rod ends. It has a 331 with all sorts of shiny things bolted to it, a pan fill C4 with a 3000 stall that I rebuilt myself, and a 3.55 posi 8" that I setup myself. How come I'm only getting 11mpg on a good day? What am I doing wrong guys??? :D

    I dont have any cowl rust issues. The Mustangs always seem to have it a lot worse.
  17. 60 Falcon 144
    Joined: Sep 23, 2013
    Posts: 1

    60 Falcon 144

    My 60 Falcon 144 3ott pulls Cajon pass at 65mph daily and still averages better than 25mpg. My last mileage check was last friday at 28.5mpg.
  18. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,296


    I drove a 66 Mustang six cylinder for almost 9 years as a daily driver. In that time it morphed from a stock 200/C4 to a 250/AOD to an injected Aussie Crossflow 250/T5. There were a couple of things that stood out as real good mods for a DD.

    1. Disc Brakes. Six cylinder Falcons and Mustangs have puny 9" drums all around that are just not up to any high speed stops. They are fine at 30mph but deadly at 70. Just not enough capacity to absorb that much energy. Go with Granada or Scarebird discs.

    2. Shelby Drop, sway bars, shocks, steering. The cars are really nice to drive when you add the typical suspension upgrades. The 16:1 GT or PS steering box is a big improvement. Being a hundred pounds lighter than the V8 cars, they actually feel pretty sports-car-like.

    3. T5 or AOD. You need to be able to use all the available power you can find. The puny 2.77 three-speed or even the later 3.03 three speed just don't have the gears or the OD that you need. Trust me, these cars are COMPLETELY different just by doing this one thing.

    4. Rear end. The 6.25 and 7.25" rears are tough to work with because of limited gears and parts availability. Put an 8", 7.5", or 8.8" in it. I've even seen Falcons with Chevy S10 rears (gasp!). But you can easily get limited slip, good gear ratios, and even discs (or at least better drums) for little money.

    5. Skip the 144 and the 170. The 200 is a better engine and the extra cubes can be felt. A stock one only puts about 70hp to the wheels, but there are parts that can easily double that.

    6. is a great resource. All of this has been done before.
  19. jcm65
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 31

    from Santa Rosa

    My only car for the past 2 years has been a 64 wagon.
    302 with a lumpy solid lifter cam and a T10 4 speed.

    I don't care to know what the mileage is.

    Just did the shelby drop installed some 600 lbs coils and heim joint strut rods.
    Its a blast to drive.
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,114


    My "slow" 144 will pull 85, all day long. Did not need to do any work inside to get it to do this, either. Anybody who says that this engine sucks, just doesn't know how to tune.

    32mpg, at 65. Can pass a Semi, heading up toward Donner Pass, at an easy 70.
  21. FoMoCoMoFo
    Joined: Apr 13, 2011
    Posts: 37

    from WY

    My 144 is comfortable at 60-65, it can go faster but I don't push it. It's great around town even with the non-synchro 3 on the tree. But on the interstate here traffic moves 75-80.

    The 4 main bearing set up and Briggs and Stratton rod bolts aren't really made for sustained high rpm. Most people want 5 lug Maverick rears, but 4 lugs from 70-74 Mavericks are practically given away. I got a 4 lug 2.78 rear on Craigslist for $50, haven't installed it yet. The 144 may not have the low end torque for the 2.78 gears, but I've got a spare 200 in the barn.
  22. NeonGodzilla
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 65


    I can hop in my Falcon and drive it whenever. I would strongly recommend putting in a DSII ignition and a two barrel carb. I am getting about 25 mpg. 69 Falcon 200 and a three speed.

    Revernd Paul
  23. motorhead49
    Joined: Dec 29, 2012
    Posts: 8


    my father has a 61' Ranchero with a 144 and 3 spd on the floor, its a fun car to drive as long as your not trying to get any where in a hurry, they are very reliable but it only does about 55 comfortably i have done 65 but you feel it,
  24. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,055


    I drive a 63 Ranchero daily. It has the stock 170 with non-synchro 3 speed. It gets 25mpg at 55ish mph, but it is really screaming over 60. I hate the trans. I just bought a 68 200. That will be going in with a T5. I'm hoping to keep (or improve)the good mileage, have a trans that shifts decent and be able to go 70 when I need to.
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,205

    from Ramona CA

    Yup Drive mine when I don't car pool with the wife. :D. 347 storker 5 speed.
  26. redzula
    Joined: Jul 6, 2011
    Posts: 844


    I just got a 63 4 door last july. Drove it a few times but it had carb issues so I'm now getting finished up with a 2bbl weber carb and DSII swap. Should be back on the road soon and its going to be a dd (maybe the skipping the heavy snow days to take the jeep)

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  27. NeonGodzilla
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 65


    You are gonna be happy with that weber and DSII.

    Revernd Paul
  28. 63comet
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 508


    I use mine as a daily best as I can. I have another OT car but its really just a back up to get to work. I trust my Comet more on long drives than that thing.
  29. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,114


    I'm not over-revving my 144, either. It is turning about 2300 @ 65. How? T5, 0.72:1 overdrive.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  30. NeonGodzilla
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 65


    Seriously considering a T5 swap in mine this winter. What T5 did you use? Did you use the Classic Inlines kit?

    Revernd Paul

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