Vermont Barn Find: 1961 Ford Falcon

This 1961 Ford Falcon barn find belongs on a calendar, as it was pulled from perhaps the most quintessential Vermont barn you can imagine: a giant red structure, sitting in the middle of a vast field, with the horizon closing in around it. The Falcon was just pulled out after many years of hibernation, and looks to be in fine condition despite its prolonged in activity. The seller notes that the Falcon remains in largely solid condition and that he recalls the family that he bought it from driving the car around in 1964, so it’s possibly a one-family owner vehicle. While there are some issues to sort out, they seem relatively minor, and the listing claims the price will go up as improvements are made. Find it here on craigslist for $2,500 and located near Springfield, Vermont.

Overall, this Falcon has the appearance of being a well-loved example. The interior is in fine shape, other than the headliner that shows staining and a small hole. The bench seat presents well, and the door panels the same. Little details, like the original radio and dome light still being intact speak to careful ownership, as those are the kind of cheap parts that get tossed when owners stop caring. The seller notes that the mileage on the odometer is consistent with accompanying paperwork, so the indicated 83,xxx miles may be original. Registration paperwork indicate it was last registered in 2010 or 2011.

The seller describes the Falcon as being “…very well oiled,” which is a term I’m unsure whether it refers to the engine or the chassis. Regardless, given the decent condition on display here, either scenario seems likely. The seller doesn’t specify whether the inline-six still turns freely, but if the underhood presentation offers any hints as to its care before going into storage, it seems likely that it will sputter back to life. Certainly, there are plenty of good spares out there if this engine proves to be a boat anchor, and I suspect one of the improvements the seller is going to make to justify a higher price is to get it running again.

Details like this are impressive testaments to body condition and paint, as the rear quarters on any vintage care are typically vulnerable and rotten by this point if they haven’t been restored. Not here – the seller indicates he sees clues as to previous floor repairs and that the Falcon was repainted. The paint job is neither good nor bad, which is about what you’d expect for a car that isn’t worth much but is still worth holding onto and continuing to enjoy. The final line of the listing sums up this Falcon barn find perfectly: It’s a project but looks like a decent starting point, an accurate statement if there ever was one.

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972

    Well, you certainly can’t complain about the price, it’s cheap enough. Probably doesn’t need much to get it going, either. Would make for a fun daily driver and an economical one at that. Get it going, clean it up and enjoy the frugal ’60s driving experience!

    31
    • jerry hw brentnell

      put it back in the barn and go get drunk thank me in the morning, these were bottom of the barrel cheap gutless cars when new, poor brakes, 4 stud wheels, cheap interiors, and more

      3
      • Mark Epperson Member

        Nope. I would drop in a V8, manual, and upgrade brakes and suspension. Great project and you would have a real sleeper.

        2
      • ken tilly UK

        @jerry hw brentnell. What is wrong with having 4 stud wheels on a so called, cheap, gutless car, which is obviously not going to be raced or dragged? I notice that Americans have a thing about 4,5 or 8 stud wheels even on road cars. I have yet to hear of a wheel failure of a road car due to having even 4 stud wheels.

        7
      • Mark

        Yep, coming from a guy who owned a 1960 four door. You’ll have a hangover in the morning, but it will be painless compared to owning one of these. Gutless is an understatement.

  2. Fred W

    FIrst thing I would do is verify whether it is a 144 or a 170 six (both were available as I recall). The 170 isn’t too bad, but the 144, with a 2 speed “Ford-O-Matic”, is agonizingly “VW bus” slow. This one has 3 on the tree, which will help regardless of the engine.

    11
    • chrlsful

      or the 200, it’s oem stroked 250 model, onto the 240/300 that became efi tru to 1996. Fella has lill info on these. In its 4.9 form they were called ‘the gasser that’s a diesel’. And have some wide renown acc the globe. “If it aint a vee eight forget it.” I guess.

      This car, invented as a simple Vee Dub fighter (1st round on the challenge to Detroit) spawned the muscle car era (mustang) and the SUV hysteria (Bronco) both.

      https://fordsix.com/ci/DynoRoom-2.html

      The 10 or 20 at the bottom of the page might B interesting, probably not a they’re “gutless, cheep and more”.
      Here’s a 500 HP model:

      https://www.vintageinlines.com/product-page/deposit-only-aluminum-head-package

      2
  3. bone

    How many cans of spray undercoating do you suppose they used in the engine bay ?

    4
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      And Chevy red/orange engine paint. LOL

      1
      • 63Comet

        Actually Ford engines were not always a Ford blue. Valve covers and air cleaners could be red or yellow depending on the year in the early 60s.

        14
      • Gary Jones

        Yep, in, I believe the ’63 model run a 260 V8 was made available as an option. My father purchased a new ’63 Falcon Ranchero with the small 260 V8 which was also used in the Sunbeam Tiger.

        2
      • Marty Parker

        The 170 engine was painted red from the factory. The 144 was blue.

        2
    • Johnny

      That spray on undercoating is good for one thing. In the summer time it gets hot –bubbles and the bust and leaves holes to fill with later and cause rust. Better off useing plain grease. Nice old falcon.Better get a new muffler on it. Once the started wearing out. They sounded like a baby blowing bubble in the bathtub. I met a guy in Summersville,W.Va who had one. He put a v-8 in it and it was really fast. I think the guy still has it.Back in the early to mid 70,s. Where does time go?

      3
  4. don

    There is heavy undercoating spray all over the underside of this car , and it looks like it was done fairly recently , contrary to the 6 years this car was supposedly sitting – Sounds like this flipper is trying to hide something . That, and the repaint over the Bondo ,plus its a New England car tells me to stay away !

    8
    • Morinisteve

      That heavy undercoat is the “well oiled” in the ad. Some shop in New England would coat the underside of a vehicle with used motor oil in the fall to keep the salt off.

      13
      • Dave

        Yup, that’s a shmear of caked oily crud under there. Might have saved it from rusting thru

        4
    • nlpnt

      7CP16 would’ve been issued sometime in 1987 or ’88 and if it does check out as being the car’s last known license number it indicates 30+ years of continuous ownership. That being said it’s possible to transfer a number between cars.

      1
      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        Isn’t it only dealers who can transfer numbers between cars? Maybe only in certain states. Unlikely a dealer was involved in this vehicle during it’s hibernation.

  5. ken tilly UK

    Lots of undercarriage rubberizing been done to this car. As long as it hasn’t cracked up and let water in it should have a rust free frame. The rest of the car looks like it could be a fair runner in a couple of days. One thing I often wonder about re the Falcon is, if it was the base platform for the Mustang, why are there so few of them left on the road? Did they ever come with a factory V8? and if they did then they are virtually a different shape Mustang and as such should be as desirable as a Mustang. (performance wise maybe).

    2
    • 63Comet

      V8s were offered as an option in 63. The bigger inline 6s (of the small 6s) could be hot rodded for some decent power. I hot rodded a 200 for my 63. The 144 was really too small but a 170 or 200 is decent. In 63, you could get the 221 or 260 but many didn’t. The 144 was dropped for 63 and the 170 became the base engine.

      6
    • RayT Member

      In 1963 and after, Ford offered the 260/289 V8 in select Falcons — I think only the Sprint version — but not, IIRC, across the board. Also a four-speed with floor shift was optional. Mustang go-fast and handle-better items bolted right on.

      Couldn’t find a weight comparison between Mustang and Falcon, but I imagine the weights were close enough that the Sprint had plenty of performance. I remember seeing one compete in SCCA “sedan” racing back in ’64 or thereabouts, and it was pretty competitive. Sounded great, too!

      Sprints are rare today, but would be my preference, though style-wise I like the ’60 and ’61 plain-Jane Falcons best.

      3
      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        From WIKI: .

        The only time a V8 option was available in a first-generation Falcon was the 1963½ model, and these cars were produced in very limited numbers (Sprint two-door hardtop (bucket seats) 10,479 produced and Sprint convertible (bucket seats) 4,602 produced). These first-generation Falcon Sprint cars were the basis for the 1964½ Mustangs released by Ford one year later. Many (if not most) of the interior, chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components were derived from those used on the 1963½ Ford Falcon Sprint and/or Fairlane models. In simplest terms, the 1963½ Falcon Sprint is nearly mechanically identical to the 1964½ Mustang while being aesthetically different.

        5
      • RNR

        In 1963 my aunt bought a new Falcon two door post sedan, not a Sprint by any means, with the 260 V8 and three speed on the column. My aunt went for the V8 because my cousin was going to get it a year later and that’s the powertrain he wanted – but a year later he bought a Mustang with the 260 and 3 speed stick on into day (and a four speed would have gotten his insurance company’s attention).

        So my aunt kept the car, tuning down offers until in 1974 she traded it on a new Grabber Blue Maverick. The Falcon had about 12,000 miles with a spotless blue cloth and vinyl bench seat interior (except for the scratch in the dash where the Ford dealer’s drill slipped installing the AM radio). Unfortunately, despite spending most of its life in the garage, it also had the dreaded Western New York rusty sheet metal.

        2
    • don

      The Falcon was a “disposable” car , and compared to a Mustang , kind of mundane so they just driven until they died. My first car was a 67 Falcon Futura 4 door . It was only 10 years old, but it was pretty worn out. There weren’t many on the roads here in CT. by that time .My parents neighbor was moving away and I got it for free for helping him ! .

      4
    • chrlsful

      yes, “Sprint” hada bent 8 I believe. Nice light car – challange to the Nova II w/the 327 I believe.

  6. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    I won’t be the first to answer your inquiry from across the pond. FOR SURE there are fans of the upscale performance Falcons made concurrently with the Mustangs. Falcon Futura and Futura Sprints were accessorized much like the Mustang from the same parts bin. Lots of fans ordered their muscle Falcons with bucket seats, positraction and four speeds through a console on the floor with 289/260 under the hood.

    3
  7. DavidH

    That car is probably 100 miles from where I live. If this car was last on the road 10 years ago what you may be seeing slathered all over is an undercoating product that has been popular in Vermont. It’s called Fluid Film, or maybe another product similar to it. These undercoatings stayed soft but after a few trips over dirt roads developed a tough outer coating as the dust stuck to the waxy undercoat. It has done a good job on my 2004 Tundra.
    Hopefully the evidence of caring ownership seen elsewhere on this car extends to the application of the undercoating and is not just trying to hide the affects of road salt.

    5
  8. TimM

    I want this car!! How do I get in touch with him/her???

    • Uncle Ed

      have another beer

      2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Click on the Craigslist link within the Barn Finds first paragraph. Should be able to maneuver your way through the post to reply to a CL email given to the seller. Hit the REPLY button in the upper left corner of the CL post. Copy link. If they are ready to sell they should be monitoring their inbox for interested people using that CL email. Sometimes it takes days, sometimes it can be a couple minutes! Good luck!

      1
    • chrlsful

      good luck, flipper’s pic aren’t even offa the trailer yet

  9. Howard A Member

    I had a ’61 Falcon, only a 4 door. It was pretty basic, another $100 beater. It had an automatic, and when floored, the engine just got louder, but no increase in speed was noted. Compared to the abominations of today, it’s amazing to think this was good enough. Great find, but destined for resto-mod city,,,

    2
  10. A.J.

    Had a ’61 back in the late 60’s when I was stationed in San Antonio. Ugly mint green color with a white top, four door, three on the tree. Not a straight piece of metal on it but it started and ran perfect for three years. Only changed the oil! Best $100 I ever spent.

    4
  11. Chuck

    My first thought was all the Falcons Ford vs Ferrari redid to re-create the assembly line. This would have been perfect

  12. Art Fink

    I may be mistaken, but what appears to be undercoating is probably years of engine oil gases coming out of the crankcase draft tube mixed with road grime. The draft tube was used many years ago to vent the crankcase gases under the car to the atmosphere. The modern PCV recovery system has replaced the draft tube.
    The buyer may have a “ring-job” in order after purchase.

    1
  13. Will Owen Member

    We paid too much for a ’60 Fordor in the early ’90s, in Nashville. It was the perfect example of a “ten-footer”, with a badly botched-up engine crankcase breather setup and upholstery on its way out, but the local club was a big help and I used it as my DD for several years. The Fordomatic was what fell apart on me, but the guys who bought it were who made it all worthwhile: a family on military/retired-military guys who loved Falcons, and who had a built 200 engine and 4-speed box at home, just waiting for a car to put them in.

    Yes, a 144 with the automatic was SLOW, until it got going, but with a set of cheap street-radial takeoffs I got used to blowing off tailgaters on circular freeway ramps; yes, it did lean, but (especially after I put in 3-point belts) it tracked around almost as well as my wife’s BMW. Not much fun on freeways, but it was a fine car for Tennessee’s rural roads, except for the time I was on a new road with NO shoulder, and all the windows down, when one of those buckets-from-heaven Tennessee frog-stranglers dumped gallons into the interior in seconds. Reeked of mildew for a week.

    1
  14. Thomas Haywood

    Bought a 61 Falcon 2 door, white, red interior bucket seats, consol, automatic in 1966. Had 16,300 miles. Paid $670.00. Turned out to be a very good and practical car.

    3
  15. George Mattar

    I used to live in Vermont. Fluid Film a must. It snows up there from Nov til late March. New cars rotted out in five years. The seller seems honest as I see floor rust. Fluid Film is brown. Does appear to be some undercoat which hides plenty of sins. The car is pushing 60 years and was built like crap. Still better than most cars that are. At least you can fix it without a scanner and thousands in special tools. No stupid computers, turbos, navigation or a sound system with a 3,000 page manual. New cars suck.

    6

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