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1963 Ford Falcon Sprint

By Jeremy Wilson

Here’s an example where less is truly more.

When he saw an over-accessorized 1963½ Falcon Sprint at a car show, Norm Schmidt winced. But as he drew nearer he saw a For Sale sign and realized the car was worth rescuing.

“I bought it at a car show and it had a continental kit and fender skirts and was probably the ugliest car I have ever seen!” says Schmidt laughing.

“I brought it home and within 45 minutes my son and I had the continental kit taken off, fender skirts taken off, exhaust shortened 18 inches, and bumper put back on. Then it looked like a real car again.”

Schmidt already had a couple of cars to take to the local shows but bought the Falcon with his son in mind.

“I bought the car for my son because he didn’t like our V8 Vega. He wouldn’t even drive it. I wanted him to have a car to go to the car shows and he really likes this car. It’s very comfortable to drive. It a 302 V8 with a C4 automatic. When it was new it came with a 260 V8 and a Fordomatic transmission. Because it was a V8 it came with an 8 inch rear end with a 5 lug pattern.”

Removing the fender skirts and continental kit made the car look so much better Schmidt decided to go with the flow and try a clean custom look.

“The car was pretty straight and it’s a very attractive body style but we wanted to do something different. So we took off all of the chrome molding. The V8 Sprint has a lot of trim on the side and a lot of emblems and badging. We shaved the door handles, the trunk, the gas filler and the rocker panels. The only chrome we left was the new rechromed hood scoop and the rechromed bumpers. We had all of the stainless steel polished, put in a new windshield, and painted it viper red.

“It already had a velour interior--stock would be naugahyde. The purists don’t like the interior but aftermarket people do. It was an easy way to hot rod the car to make it look like a chopped Chevy or a Merc. And it was a lot more affordable,” says Schmidt.

Schmidt fabricated the taillights from 1967-72 Chevy Truck LED taillights with new Falcon bezels. And with few exceptions the car is done but he has another project waiting in the wings.

“I think the car has a nice stance and presence. It has a really nice design and it’s fun to drive. And it’s easy for my son to drive. While driving it people have yelled at him, “That’s the best Falcon I’ve every seen!” I’ve always been a Chevy person but Ford Falcons have an advantage, they’re cheaper! Compared to a Nova or a Camaro, a Falcon is very affordable. I bought a two door Falcon station wagon which is very rare and that’s the next project we’ll be working on.”

Recommendations
Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

R.M. Clarke
Falcon 1960-70 Performance Portfolio
Brooklands Books, Paperback, 1998-10-03
This book includes road and comparison tests, driver’s impressions, specification and technical data, design development, new model introductions, and information on engine swaps.

Ray Miller
Falcon: The New-Size Ford
Evergreen Press (CA), Hardcover, 1997-04
This book covers the characteristics and details of the Ford Falcon automobile from its inception in 1960 through its demise in 1970. It presents the car on a model year-by year basis and includes sections on wheelcovers, typical accessories, and other significant data.

Harry W. Ilaria
Ford Falcon Sales Brochures 1960 - 1970
HI-Tech Software, CD-ROM, 2009-03-01
Ford Falcon Sales Brochures 1960-1970 is a collection of the Falcon sales brochures that chronicle the incredible history of the Ford Falcon. Every page of each piece of literature allows you to zoom in to read all the details for each year.
History and Production Notes

In the 1950s Americans were enjoying the power and prestige associated with driving large automobiles. With a postwar economy providing more disposable income than ever, “bigger is better” was the watch-phrase of the decade. As a result, Ford four-door sedans grew and grew. From 188” in 1940 (the same as a modern Mustang) to 196” in 1950 (just short of a Ford 500). By 1960 a Ford Galaxy was 213” long, nearly 18 feet! *

1960 Ford Sunliner
Ford marketeers made big cars look like fun!

Although these leviathans were roomy, they were difficult to maneuver and got poor gas mileage. Many car buyers began to see the appeal of imported economy cars as their reputation for quality had been improving.

Anxious to retain its market share, Detroit responded with the 1960 Chevrolet Corvair, Plymouth Valiant, and Ford Falcon. With respect to sales, the Falcon won out: nearly one million were sold by the end of its second model year.

And what was not to like? The Falcon was inexpensive, easy to drive, seated up to six passengers, and as Ford claimed, “You can get up to 30 miles per gallon on regular gas.”

1963 Falcon Hardtop Ad

By 1963 Ford’s compact car had evolved into a complex product line. Customers could choose from over a dozen Falcon models including hardtops, convertibles, and pickups. The Futura series had plenty of interior and exterior chrome and, on some models, wire wheel covers and bucket seats. In January of ‘63, Ford offered a 260 cu in V8 option as part of the Company’s 1963 1/2 Product line. This engine was standard in the Sprint Hardtop and Convertible. The Sprint could be ordered with a factory 4 speed on the floor.

PRODUCTIONNOTES Production Notes...

According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, the total production for 1963 Falcon automobiles was 265,518. For the two-door Sprint five passenger, the production total was 10,479. The Standard Falcon two door sold for $1985, and the Sprint hard top cost $2603.

* To be fair, Ford still sells huge sedans. At the time of this writing, the standard Crown Victoria is 212” and the commercial, long-wheelbase model is 218”.

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