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What Is It? 1959 Falcon Caribbean!

It’s a rare car indeed that can be in a picture with a Brazilian-manufactured Puma and be the more obscure car!  This 1959 Falcon Caribbean (I can hear you saying “What?”) is one of the numerous late 1950s/early 1960s British attempts to meet the hunger for inexpensive sports cars. This particular car has never been completely finished and is now available here on craigslist for an asking price of $7,800. It’s located in an unspecified place in southern California.

As with others satisfying that sports car hunger (Lotus & TVR to name two you probably know), the Caribbean featured a swoopy fiberglass body with mostly ordinary mechanical components underneath. Falcon Shells was established in 1956 and managed to produce seven different models before going under 8 years later. The Caribbean was actually the most popular Falcon with somewhere around 2,000 kits produced. The hardtop is removable if you prefer your vintage kit cars as convertibles.

This particular car appears to have been for sale previously in Canada in 2015 for more money. The current chassis is a modified Austin 7 with some particular rare components, including a Ballamy independent front suspension conversion and lightweight Ballamy wheels with vintage Pirelli tires that date from the 1960s. I wouldn’t recommend driving it on them once you finish the kit, but it would be fun to show the car with that rubber! The seller suggests completing the car as a street-legal vintage race car, which is certainly a possibility, but if it were mine it would stay on the street.

Although I’m sure the seats are only placed into position at the moment, the car appears to have a lot of room inside even for my ample proportions. I must say thank you to Barn Finds reader Rex M. for alerting us to this special find!

Naturally, it takes a special engine for a car this unusual, and the Caribbean does not disappoint! This is a classic side-valve Ford 1172 cc engine with a custom header, a rare Elva cylinder head conversion, and many other period custom parts. A lot of oohs and ahs would result when you lift the hood at almost any classic car event–and that’s really what a car like this is about, right? Of course, there will be a lot of custom fabrication and fitment to get her ready for the road, but many of these “specials” were constructed in small British garages with hand tools in the day — nothing too daunting for a modern enthusiast with plasma cutters and MIG welders! Let us know if you are the one who decides to take this project on, and keep reading Barn Finds for more “What Is It?” cars!


  1. BlisterEm Member

    Seller here. Happy to answer questions or take more photos.

    Like 12
    • unclemymy Member

      NotAbleToBeBuyer here, but Happy to have seen this offering! I’ve wished I were younger a lot lately, but not usually over a car…Thanks for offering it on BarnFinds, so I could see it!

      Like 9
    • Joey1320

      Great looking project.

      I also like the white Puma GT(C?) in the background. I recently purchased one that had been listed here back in 2008.

  2. Tom

    Oh my…where did I put my checkbook?

    Like 2
  3. Chinga-Trailer

    OK – I have owned a “Falcon Shells” car only mine was built on a Citroen 2CV chassis – and it only had three wheels! Two in the front, one in the rear.

    Like 2
    • Martin Horrocks

      That sounds like a Lomax. Made long after Falcon disappeared

      • ChingaTrailer

        I’ve probably owned more Lomaxes than anyone else in America (over a dozen) and my Falcon Citroen was no Lomax.

        Like 2
  4. Martin Horrocks

    Doubt if this is an Austin 7 chassis, as all the other bits are Ford E93A, almost certainly the chassis is as well. Someone spent quite a bit of time/ money on the engine!

    Like 3
    • madbrit

      I agree, not likely an Austin 7 chassis, it would be way too small and the Ford axles would not fit very well. There were lots of these kits around that went on the old E93A frames. A neighbor had one which looked great until someone sat in it and then it looked like a 3/4 scale car. Also popular were Fairthorpes (sp).

  5. Maestro1 Member

    Thank you for this, sorry to say I have no room.

    Like 1
  6. steve

    i owned this car for a while ,its really cool, great potential

    Like 1
  7. Elanguy

    A great footnote in British enthusiast history. I hope it finds a good home, because it WILL be quite a project.
    THat engine is just so great. love it!

  8. Simon Lucas

    I’d love this car. Just finishing a ’61 Lotus 7. If it’s still available, I’m there! would love to go see it anyway.

  9. chrlsful

    like to C a r. transaxel in this one…

  10. chrlsful

    no more edit function…
    AND 4 Keihins (lynx intake)

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