50 Years Same Owner: 1961 Ford Falcon Futura

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U.S. automakers began entering new territory in 1959. That year, Studebaker and American Motors would roll out new compact cars, the Lark and the American. Plymouth, Chevy, and Ford would join the following year with the Valiant, Corvair, and Falcon.  The Falcon would be the most successful out the gate, selling more than 900,000 units in the car’s first two years. This 1961 Falcon is the “high-end” Futura model, though thinking of it as a luxury car would be a misnomer. It was owned by the same party for nearly 50 years and wears an older restoration that needs a bit of attention. Located with a dealer in Andover, Minnesota, this largely tidy Ford is available here on eBay for $14,900 (or make an offer). Our thanks to Larry D for another fine tip!

The Falcon was the more conventional of the 1960-introduced compacts, more like a mini-me of their bigger cars. The Valiant was simply odd looking (as were other Plymouths that year) and the Corvair was a different breed with its rear-mounted, air-cooled engine. More than 435,000 Falcons would be sold in 1960 and things improved by 9% the next year with 475,000 copies sold, but the difference was made up by the launch of the Futura, which didn’t exist in 1960. The Futura was only available (until 1963) as a 2-door sedan, though the body styles would be expanded in the next couple of years.

As the story goes, the first owner bought this Ford new in Virginia and kept it for almost 50 years. Around 2006, a restoration was done, although we don’t know how extensive that was. From the looks of things, that must have included the paint, interior, and engine. The Corinthian White paint looks quite good, but it’s marred by some paint bubbles that have popped up in the doors. The interior is finished in both red and white, and the white on the door panels is overkill IMO. The white headliner is also beginning to sag a bit in places.

Under the hood resides a 170 cubic-inch inline-6 which was an upgrade to the basic 144 that would be standard equipment. The Falcon wouldn’t get treated to V8 until the middle of the 1963 model year. The motor is paired with your run-of-the-mill “3-on-the-tree” manual transmission. Oddly, the engine wears both red and blue paint, which I thought was all-red in the early 1960s and blue in the later years. One thing that is not stock is the aftermarket stereo system with speakers in the back. This is an auto you could drive as-is for a while, but sooner or later the rust bubbles will have to be dealt with.

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  1. Malcolm Fitzgerald

    Kinda wierd, originally the 144 engines were blue, the 170’s were red. Door panels and dash should match seat colors as well.

    Like 8
    • Rick

      And no vehicle should ever be seen with that orange brand oil filter.

      Like 2
  2. Harry Allen

    !4.900 is a bit steep for a unrestored when you can buy the red one that was fully gone through for just a bit more. Still, I do like the car because I had one that served me well oh so many years ago.

    Like 8
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Two 1961 Futuras, we’ve hit the jackpot!! The many high-quality pics show the flaws, the emerging rust being one of them. But overall, not bad. Lots of early Falcons in my small town. I’d surely enjoy a run through the gears with the three-speed column-mounted shifter.

    Like 16
    • flynndawg

      im also in a small east tenn town bob… ;)

      Like 3
      • Bruce

        Me too.

        Like 1
  4. angliagt angliagtMember

    My Uncle had a ’60 (or ’61).It was a really nice turquoise color,
    that he hauled his small ski boat with.I’ve got a picture of it when
    he was at Lake Shasta in the early ’60’s.I think it was a really nice
    looking car.

    Like 10
  5. Harry Mudd

    I was 5yrs old in 1961.

    Like 5
    • Richard Showers

      I graduated high school in 1961, and joined the USAF. And do you know of any other year that looks the same upside down? Viola’, that’s why I’m so awesome! (ok mebbe not)

      Like 11
      • DON

        I was born in 1961 , but I dont look the same upside down ; come to think of it, I dont look that good right side up !

        Like 7
  6. Bon bon

    I would turbo that engine and add dics up front. That’s all!

    Like 6

    My first car was a 1961 Falcon, white 170, 3 on the tree. I spray can painted it orange and drove the heck out of it. As an experienced installer I can tell you that the headliner hasn’t begun to sag, it was poorly installed. This one must drop a few thousand before it sells.

    Like 10
  8. Bob

    The side stainless, (Aluminum Anodized) trim looks odd to me. Can’t remember seeing this side trim on ’61’s. Nice car indeed!

    Like 5
    • Chuck Dickinson

      61s had the side moldings, 60s did not.

      Like 2
      • Bob

        The red ’61 Futura that was advertised here didn’t have any side trim. That’s what through me off. I have never seen one with that trim.

        Like 0
  9. 8banger 8bangerMember

    Overall nice. Ditch the FRAM.

    Like 6
  10. RalphP

    Not bad. I question the paint job (looks sloppy in places–drip marks on the rocker panels, overspray on the vent door under the dash on the left, the dash itself and the steering column), the rip in the driver’s seat, the poorly-installed roof liner…I wouldn’t offer over $7K at the most–even with the current used/classic car market. And I agree with Russ – the original interior was all red.

    Like 10
  11. fran

    More money and not as nice than the red one! LOL
    RE-LIST-VILLE ebay!

    Like 3
  12. jim

    I had a 1960 falcon bought cheap 144 auto good on gas for the day and the only car that would start out of 4 outside when it was 30 below pull out the choke a couple pumps on the gas a slow cold turn over and she fired right up Those were the days

    Like 8
  13. Neil

    Ask is for primo example. This is a ” bondo baby” nightmare. Love these Falcons… this one, not so much!

    Like 6
  14. Dave

    The darn thing looks like a carnival ride; too many contrasting colors. Would enjoy making it my own. Certainly squeeze a little more umff from that 170. Would make a good daily driver in the right environment.

    Like 2
  15. FitzMember

    “Rust bubble that have popped up in the doors”. I’d be worried about the rust you can’t see on this one. 6K at best

    Like 1
  16. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Due diligence with any vehicle from this dealer……been following another of his vehicles since last Sept….same issues: bodywork, paint, rust….and sky high prices….if you are interested in any of his fleet of cars, go see them in person!!!

    Like 10
  17. David Nelson

    My very first car was a 61Fqalcon deluxe coupe but not the Futura. I had the extra side chrome, but that did not come on the Futura! Interior of the subject carshould be all re excepting the headliner. Mine had the anemic 144 – the 170 is way more adequate.

    Like 5
  18. bigbird

    My wife had a ’62 white one. Paid 400.00 for it, 3 speed and an AM radio. These little cars were the original “grocery getters” they sold millions of them. We lived back east and when you put snow tires on they would go anywhere in the deep snow. This one is very nice….

    Like 3
  19. Dr Ron

    The first years of the Falcon were in my opinion the best looking years. The squarish boxy designs that came after these were squarish and boxy designs.
    This one looks like a potential Bondo Monster and the poorly installed headliner and incorrect interior panels are also big warning flags.
    But simple seeing that orange oil filter would give me reason to immediately drop the hood and walk swiftly away.

    Like 2
  20. Yblocker

    Falcons were purpose built, and they served their purpose well. This one looks pretty nice, although I agree, the color combinations are a little awkward.
    And why all hostility towards Fram filters? Just curious

    Like 1
    • Dr Ron

      I could name names and post 1-2 videos… Some tests are professional engineering tests and some are homemade garage tests but there are more than a few conclusive results that show the orange filters are not designed robustly and are prone to failure.

      Cardboard end caps glued to filter media which can collapse is the most commonly addressed issue….

      Filtration ability is also compared extensively in more scientific studies.

      Just Google “Oil filter tests” and click on the “videos“ button but once you get the returns.

      There are more than a few engineering journal articles out there as well that cover this topic.

      Here’s just one of many tests that I randomly selected and surprise surprise, he also warns of the orange filters…


      I’ve probably read a dozen tests of oil filters over the last twenty five years and I have defaulted to high end Purolator and NAPA Gold (By Purolator) for cars, trucks, motorcycles and power equipment.
      They’re easily found, fit nearly every application imaginable and the quality of filtration and durability is proven.

      Like 3
      • Yblocker

        Interesting, thanks for the info., I wasn’t aware of the issue. I’m a life long Ford guy, I’ve mostly used Motorcraft filters through the years, but also Fram and a few others occasionally, never had any problems, but I guess I’ll avoid the orange from now on. Lol

        Like 2
  21. Dr Ron

    Y locker… you are most definitely welcome.
    I’m mostly Ford these days and an occasional Honda Accord shows up here…
    At 68 I’m getting a little burned out on oil changes even with a lift since manufactures have decided to bury oil filters out of reach behind plastic shields and a zillion fasteners of expect you to reach up through a tiny hole to access an invisible filter and get soaked with oil unless I’m wearing a shopping bag up to my armpit.
    So the late model Expedition and Mustang occasionally go to the dealership for oil changes and they come home with the white Motorcraft filters which actually hold up pretty well in testing and filtration abilities….
    I wish manufacturers were forced to locate oil filters easy enough to change while reaching down from the top of the engine compartment. Like my 70 Ranchero and 70 Mustang.

    Like 2
  22. Yblocker

    I hear ya, I’m 66, and still do my own oil changes, although not on a lift, on a creeper in my garage, getting down is easy, getting back up is the hard part. My 07 F250 is easy, but I just got my wife a brand new used Lincoln MKC, I have yet to figure out where the oil filter even is, or the drain plug. I also have a 56 F100, now that one I can do blindfolded lol. I was a mechanic for many years, I’d never make it working on today’s vehicles

    Like 2
  23. CBoggs

    My parents had a ‘61 red wagon version. Dad said it “wouldn’t pull the hat off your head”. With two adults, the three older sibs, and luggage, he was probably right. Was a cute little thing though…

    Like 0
  24. CarbobMember

    I hear you about aging out from being able to perform basic maintenance like oil and filter change. I’m almost 72 and did my 1999 Dodge pickup last year. Always been a piece of cake. Well I got it done but it was a bit of a tussle. Thankful for my son to do the maintenance on my wife and my vehicles now. Like last year when he replaced the cam positioning sensor on the Dodge. He had to literally climb up on top of the engine bay to get at the distributor which hides under the firewall. Not a chance that I can do it anymore!

    Like 2
    • Dr Ron

      I hear ya CarBob.
      We all deserve medals for balancing C6 transmissions on our chests and spending hours under a dashboard on our backs with a transmission tunnel for a headrest albeit at an entirely wrong neck angle.
      No more of that.
      I still have bruises on my chest from laying on top of a VW Jetta engine for two days replacing a turbo.
      Two years ago.
      No more turbo VW’s either.

      Like 0

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