The Falcon came about as a brainchild by then Chief Executive Robert McNamara who wanted a car just like the Volkswagen Beetle, small and compact. McNamara went on to serve in Kennedy’s and Johnson’s administration as Secretary of Defense.
Ford approved a six-cylinder car, instead of the four-cylinder that McNamara wanted. McNamara was a man who obsessed about details of the Falcon and analysis about cost and fuel economy of the Falcon, the engineers designed the car with a unibody, making the suspension standard, and sourced from Ford’s existing parts bin.
McNamara’s obsession resulted in making the Ford Falcon the first of the American compacts when it was launched in 1960. MCNamara was vindicated when during its first year of introduction, the car sold over a million units in only its first two years of production.
The car received criticisms from an unimpressed automotive press but the public, especially the cash-strapped, liked the new Ford. The ultimate throwaway car, the Falcon may have been conventional in looks and like one car critic called a modern version of the Tin Lizzy, but it was roomy, had a smooth ride, and delivered 30 mpg.
Its 144 cid six-cylinder engine had the ads boasting it as having “big-car performance and safety.” With creased body sides and big, circular taillights, the Falcon’s styling as well as its engineering was simple and the buying public approved. With the Falcon considerably widened from the prototype, there was room for six passengers and its marketing boasted that.
With the 1962 Ford Falcon, Ford changed the roof line at the back window to more of a Thunderbird design and offered a 4-speed transmission for the first time.
The base price of the Falcons was just $1,974 in 1960.
1962 Ford Falcon Specs
Body Styles: Two- or four-door hardtops, station wagons, and convertibles.