Used Car Or Collectable: 1961 Ford Falcon

front

In much of the country, this old Falcon would have rusted away long ago. Here on the left coast, it has soldiered on rust free as a used car for 55 years. It reminds me of the old cars in Cuba. This little Ford has survived years of bumps and scrapes, at least one casual repaint and yet it still runs and drives well. While it is certainly not worth restoring, or perhaps even repainting, is it worth more than the price of a basic transportation car? It’s a common car with bench seats and too many doors but it is 55 years old. It’s sitting on the street in my neighborhood and the owner is wondering what to do with it. Should she sell it like it is or fix it up a bit?

Inside front

This Falcon is “bone stock” except for the seat covers with a “three on the tree”. The carpet could use a cleaning and who knows what’s under those seat covers. The clock says 29,000 miles, so 129,000 miles seems likely.

Engine

This being the second year of the first generation Falcon, this straight 6 would be the 101 horsepower, 170 CID version. It’s mostly original under the hood, the paint scheme makes it look like a toy car. Who knows what the idea of the rocker cover fasteners is.

Left rear

This Falcon looks mostly straight (except for that front fender sticking out) and holds its Bondo well. The paint is one of those colors that looks best in the dark, very dark. Is this a $500 beater car, or might it be worth a bit more? It’s hard to believe a 1961 Falcon in fair condition could be worth around $5,000 without A/C. Despite a lack of taste in paint, it has been well taken care of. I would drive it as it is, except perhaps add A/C.  What do you think a reasonable price for this old Ford with too many doors might be? What would you do with it?

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Comments

  1. Jeffro

    Would be a awesome daily driver. Ford straight 6 is bullet proof.

    Like 1
  2. Joe

    I like it and very interested! Not a valuable car but well-worth preserving to 2061 at least! How can I contact the owner?

    • David Frank David Member

      Jackie’s phone number is 916 856-2077

      • Daniel Thurber

        First car I “steered” was a ’61 powder blue 4 door Falcon. Sat on my Dad’s knee.
        I’d pay $3,500 to $4,500 for her but would need to see a bit more.

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    I had a mint 60 2 door in red with a black interior before leaving for the service. My older brother begged me to sell it to him before i left, so i did. His then fiance drove it up on the newly finished highway I-71 and the hood latch let go at about 60 mph and the hood wrapped up over the windshield and caused all sorts of damage.
    I kept the hood chained/locked down due to battery thieves back in those days but for whatever reason, he took it off. To this very day, his then fiance, long time wife refuses to drive on any interstate highway. Cool little cars.

  4. keith

    $3500.00 tops. Good daily driver.

    • Spridget

      +1

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    Quote: “While it is certainly not worth restoring, or perhaps even repainting”.
    I object Your Honer….Pure Conjecture. I move to have that statement stricken from the record.

    • David Frank David Member

      I love reading the positive comments about this Falcon. Is it worth spending 3 to $4,000 for body work and a respray? If there is a lot of bondo, will it still be worth it? In California there are still a lot of 1960s and 1970s cars being driven as daily drivers. The question is when do these survivors become desirable for more than cheap transportation?
      Thank you again for your positive comments.

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    OK, what happened to the time allotted to edit a post??
    “Your Honor”

  7. hhaleblian

    honer boner everyone makes spelling mistakes

    • boxdin

      “honer boner everyone”

      Could not agree more.

  8. DrinkinGasoline

    Forgot to mention that at the same time, i had a 61 Mercury Comet that i didn’t get rid of. Dad drove it during my time in the service without any problems. When i came home on leave, i would use it but, when i discharged, i couldn’t pry the keys out of his hands…
    needless to say, he kept it.

  9. Bobsmyuncle

    It’s worth 500 if you can drive to the wrecker.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Weird no edit? To complete my thought, no driving, stopping, insurable vehicle is worth 500. Those days are long gone but for the most remote spots perhaps.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      In my neck of the woods…they are going for 200 at the JY. I think I’d try to get it roadworthy first.

  10. grant

    Maybe not a resoration but maybe a sympathetic refurbishment? Clean it up, block sand it straight and have Maaco shoot it, preferably white. Remove all the trim yourself, and tape it yourself too, if you can. Take it home on a trailer and wet sand it and buff it up. I’ve had decent luck with this on cheapie cars; it works best with lighter colors and without a color change, but this is nice enough to put some sweat into anyway. I like it.

  11. BIG FISH

    Well the wife says ok to this one?? Low dollars and the grand kids can hang out the windows and we can all enjoy, so she says hmmm what’s pappy to say ? No to the grand kids and go grab gears in a Boss mustang? I think your all smart enough to see who wins this one. Hope that Boss sold, I cant get it out of my mind. (:

  12. Jim

    It’s a 4 door. Used car or parts car, not collectable.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Jim, that’s not entirely true. At a recent car show, there were several 4 doors there, a Chevelle and a Rambler, and believe it or not, people were walking past the resto-mods to look at the 4 doors. It’s just more representative of what we rode in as kids.

      Like 1
  13. 68 custom

    not saying it’s worth 5k but it fairly clean, running and driving car that is 54 years old, may 3 k?
    now if it was a two door futura with 170/ 4 speed it may fetch better than 5k?

  14. Gary

    I’d offer as much as $1200.00 and use it as a daily driver. With winter just around the corner this would be perfect. My buddy in high school drove a 1960 4-door with 3 on the tree. Back then it seemed like that Falcon could go thru anything,,,, until it was t-boned by nothing else, but, a school bus that lost control in the snow. Ironic how things come to be. It’s a driver, not a scrapper; yet.

  15. Fred W.

    Could also be a 144 six, which was the standard engine, the 170 was an option. I can tell you from experience that when paired with Ford-O Matic, the 144 was agonizingly slow (Mercedes diesel and VW microbus slow).

    • David Frank David Member

      This is a 3 speed manual. The 170 was standard in 1961. It runs right up to 65 on the freeway.

  16. Cassidy

    This is a great car! This is the type of car that grandparents in times past would pass done to their grandchildren when they either got a new car or stopped driving altogether. My parents broke the chain because they didn’t like their grandkids or my wife or me, for that matter. I’d love to buy this car for $2500 to get my son into a reliable vehicle that’s easy to work on. Might even make him a car guy. At least now, with his sister and I driving Mustangs, he’s getting the idea that doesn’t have to be all there is to life, unless you’re driving a cookie-cutter car. :)

  17. Marvin

    I would drive this car every day……….In 1973, mine was a ’62 Ranchero with a 144.

  18. Christopher

    At least it was spared the 2 speed fordOmatic. You can actually make it to 55 in this one. $1500 max.

  19. Jesper

    I live in Germany. Here all the old cars is eather Opel, Ford, or Mercedes.
    If you are lucky to find a old model in good condition, they are expensive.
    Overthere there is so many cool cars, for almost no money.
    I would love this old Falcon, as daily driver.
    Im born in the wrong part of the world 😟

    Like 1
  20. rmward194 Member

    I just turned 55 years old. If I had a place for it this would be a great weekend cruiser. Fix it up a bit and enjoy it. In my case it wouldn’t work as a daily driver, but it’s definitely worth preserving and I’m not really a fan of Fords or Falcons.

  21. Howard A Member

    I had a car just like this years ago,(70’s) only mine WAS the 2 speed automatic. I think my Opel could out run it. Still, a great example here. We trashed cars like this, and I did no different. It was one of the $75 dollar beaters I would buy every fall, when my MGB was still nice enough to store over the winter. Once, while “off-roading”, I hit a rock, that punched the oil pan in, and the crank was hitting it. I took a dent puller, drilled a hole in the oil pan, pulled the dent out, and put a screw in the hole ( when oil pans were thick enough to do that) In spring, I sold it to a friend ( for $75 bucks) and he killed it altogether. Falcon’s were great cars, and the most popular car of all time, the Mustang, had Falcon guts. No link, but this car will go for at least $5g’s, especially from Cal. but just try and find one, a 4 door, that is. Nobody thought of keeping one. Side note: PLEASE, don’t say it has “too many doors”. I, and many others, happen to like a 4 door)

    Like 1
    • Gary

      What you said – “Side note: PLEASE, don’t say it has “too many doors”. I, and many others, happen to like a 4 door)”

    • 4-Doors-for-My-Tuba

      In all seriousness I do not understand the discrimination against four doors. After all… Ford had a Tudor and a Fordor. [Is anyone out there saving Fordors?]

      Check my name. I LIKE four doors. I buy four doors, not two doors. Why do people think having fewer doors is sexy?

      This is America… more is always better. ;-)

      Like 1
  22. Tony Geloso

    A couple of weeks ago I bought a 68 4 door, 3 spd automatic tranny, with the odometer reading of 57,882 which I believe is accurate. Also was a redone interior that consisted of a new headliner, kick panels, and seats…It had been painted a few years ago turquoise which I’m told is GM color, the bumpers had been recromed, and a transmission cooler had been added and the radiator was replaced with a 3 row radiator. It was built with a/c and the box on the firewall was roached and not on the firewall. So one of the guys in the Falcon Club on FB sold me a non a/c unit for $125 which included postage from Washington State to NYS. I also drove the car 150 miles home as well w/o any problems. The price was $1,800 . I thought I got a hell of a deal. So it’s hard to say what the one in question might be worth, honestly I wouldn’t know what number to put on it w/o looking at it in person. Comments….

  23. chad

    Like to jack up the price 4 the seller…
    The falcon wuz ford’s response to the Bug which wuz decimatin the American auto industry (just like the Jap’s 15 yrs later). It beat it on every front (more lux). The 144 ci morphed into the 300/4.9 one of the best gassers ever developed. The body inta the ‘stang which created the muscle car revolution. Down under (while we went to the bent8s) Oz developed the cross flow (250/4.1 that can get over 500 HP). Lota luv, lota history. I got a ’66 4WD one called a Bronco but that’s another evolutionary story (40 yrs of SUV history world wide).
    Lotsa prts available. Be nice to restore it, I’d buy it 4 the seat (fits my bronk – they go 4 $500) alone but have zero funds and 3K mile trip to p/u. Good luck to all.
    – -Swamp Geezer

  24. Charles

    TLC the Falcon, drive it! Someone mentioned adding A/C, but that is at least $2K, not worth the money and it would put a strain on the engine.

    Like 1
  25. Prowler

    My uncle had one like this but white
    My job every few weeks was to take sand out of my sand box and put it under his falcon because it leaked oil so bad…scrape up the old sand and throw it in the field behind the garage
    He would always shift 1st to 3rd and rev. The hell out of it
    No. 2nd gear
    He said it saved gas
    At that time and now just a very boring car…more like a washer or dryer…just an appliance that did its job.
    I’m pretty sure nobody ever had thier falcon detailed and waxed.

  26. Drew

    If i could pick it up for around $1200-1300 i would paint it my-self matt-black
    (or dark green like the dash) and cruise on weekends. Wouldn’t have as daily driver because i would prefer something a lot safer.

  27. Johnathan

    Falcons are the best! I myself own a 64 wagon!

  28. Skip

    Had to do a double-take on this one! My best friend whom I’ve known since 7th grade in 1957 had a red ’61 Ford Falcon as his first car. He called it “Li’l Red” and we went everywhere in that thing. It first went with him to Sul Ross in Alpine and then to Texas Tech in Lubbock. I ended up in Lubbock in ’68, trying to catch up with him, and he still had the little car then. Not long after his late mom talked him into giving the car to an uncle, which turned out to be a big mistake! We both still miss that little car.

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