1965 Ford Falcon hardtop
Ask any car guy to name a collectible Ford from the 1960s, and chances are good the Falcon won’t be the first model to roll off his tongue. As the brand’s entry-level compact offering, they weren’t generally viewed as collectible, meaning that relatively few soldier on today.
Perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder, because this 1965 Ford Falcon hardtop forced us to take a second (and even third) look. It’s not restored to original condition, but instead is built as a tastefully executed period hot rod, complete with a warmed-over 289 bolted to a four speed manual transmission. The Magnum 500 wheels off a later Ford model are a nice touch, too, and give the car a more dignified look than aftermarket alternatives. Best of all, perhaps, is that it’s not priced like a restored muscle car. From the seller’s description:
I bought this 1965 Ford Falcon Hardtop from the original Family that purchased the car new in 1965 in Miami. I have the original window sticker, all the documents from the sale, a handwritten log in pencil from the first oil change until it was restored to a performance level, in 1988. I bought it on eBay in October 2006. I recognized the car from the town were I used to work in Miramar, Florida. Back in 1988, I was a Police Patrolman. I stopped the owner for gunning the accelerator down University Dr. on a Sunday morning. Turns out he was adjusting the kick-in secondaries of the manual carburetor. The car was freshly restored and built to hi-performance levels. The owner, was a Snap-on tool truck franchise dealer. My estimates of the huge pile of receipts that he gave me puts his restoration cost at about $15K + in 1988 money. Later I invested another $20K, I have the receipts. This is a no body damage, no rust repair original panels, glass, trim car. I did not see the car again for ten years.
In 1998, ten years later, I saw the owner (wife) driving the car, I was a motorcycle cop then. I did not recognize the Falcon because the paint faded due to a bad chemical mix of the paint. The owner stopped at fed-ex and I was invited to sit in it and look at the car, I loved it. Never saw it again until, 2006 when it showed up on eBay. I called the owners and asked them if they remembered me and they said, “of course.” I drove up to see the car as they moved 150 miles north. I bid on the car to win it, knowing I would never see one this straight ever again. I have the full eBay ad printed out in my documentation. I brought it home and started the new restoration. I did not expect to drop $20K over the next two years. Since the Falcon ran so good, all I needed to do is make it look good again too. And I needed to convert it to a manual shift car, which I did first. Then I media blasted all of the front suspension parts and repainted them with zero-rust semi-mat paint, once piece at a time. I removed the dirty factory under coating using mineral spirits and a heat gun, to reveal factory fresh batch-paint (a blend of left over colors that looks beige, Ford fresh). And no rust at all. Took about two weeks of laying on my back removing that stuff, but it looks great now.
I removed the engine and did the engine bay, then the visual restoration of the engine, using Doug’s ceramic headers. All the parts were detailed and re installed. Then I moved to Central Florida Coast and continued the restoration full time for two years. I sent the car for paint at New Dimension Racing in Melbourne, Florida. They did the strip-to-metal, refinishing inside and out, and included the FX hood that I removed, but still have, with the receipts, of course, at a cost of $8,500 in 2009, all original colors. There was no body work needed, hood, trunk, doors, glass, trim all removed, and reinstalled with new gaskets. When the car came back, I dyno-matted the inside floors and doors completely. New emblems inside and out, new seats and upholstery, door panels, headliner, visors, package tray, carpet, new Magnum 500 wheels with real original ford center caps and new tires. A new 1965 Ford “look” shift lever for the t-5 transmission. The alternator was converted to electronic control instead of the voltage regulator. SS disc brakes were installed on the front for a true stop.
This is the text of the original owners eBay ad: 2 door hardtop. Factory A/C with modernized compressor, power steering, numbers matching 289 V8, completely blue printed, by professional Ford Engineer, J R Akin of Ft. Lauderdale. Block was lined and bored and squared, decked and bored .030 with 10.5 compression ratio Pistons for unleaded gas and brass freeze plugs. Cylinder heads are completely ported and polished with screw in solid rocker arm studs. The cam shaft was specially ground for this engine to maintain torque through the the power band, solid lifters. Intake manifold was ported to match the heads and runs a 4010 series 600 Holly. Balanced, rods, crankshaft, Pistons. (Crank and cam were converted to a 351 Ford timing firing order) < my note.
Ignition is a real Ford (Shelby) Hi Po 289 dual point distributor with advance curve to match the camshaft profile. Rebuild was $5K. Also, heavy duty 3 core radiator. Heavy duty custom made driveshaft balanced and larger universal joints for strength. The big Ford rear axel with 3.55 posi-traction gears. All the dash parts were sent out to be recolored and chromed. Custom car cover. Historical records, receipts, service records, factory brochures, original bill of sale. Original wheels and hub caps will also go with the car.
Me: I don’t know what some of that stuff means ie. Blocked, blue printed, but it was in the ad. Both “Bob” and I put out heart and wallet into this car. So it’s had a pretty charmed life, getting the best of the best since day 1. I have a folder of receipts from Bob since 1965, and a folder from me starting in 2006. Way, way too many to photograph individually, but if your local or would like to go through them we can do that.
Other: The bucket seats are from a 1968 Mustang, ivy gold. Rear air shocks are new. New front coil springs are included. All documentation is included. A/C is very cold, heater hot. New steering box, not rebuilt, for power steering. Radio is standard AM and sounds perfectly vintage. That’s it on the sound system, one center speaker in the dash. The FX hood is in perfect condition and has been covered and stored in my air conditioned house. The front brakes were converted to the Stainless Steel Disc Brake system. The brakes are not power, but I would do it. The disc system is 10x better than drum, stops straight and clean. Another $550. The exhaust is comprised of Doug’s YA headers, and a full custom bend exhaust system with tuned to the engine mufflers and chrome tips. Also, new headliner and door panels.