Wild and Rare: 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Gasser
As one of America’s first compacts, the Ford Falcon doesn’t get a lot of recognition as a performance machine. When production for the 1960 model began, the floodgates for a low-cost and economical second car opened, providing mobility to a new generation of two-income families and around-town homemakers. America was also in an economic recession and the Ford Falcon—the brainchild of Ford’s Robert S. McNamara—came at just the right moment.
Throughout the Ford Falcon’s design, McNamara stressed a strict low-mass diet and a practice of utilizing existing off-the-shelf hardware, resulting in a simple, economical, and inexpensive car that anybody could afford. In later years, hot-rodders would come to love the Ford Falcon’s light weight and available V-8. (Fun fact: The Falcon’s architecture would spawn the groundbreaking Mustang of 1964.) The Ford Falcon was offered as a two- or four-door sedan, as well as in coupe, hardtop, convertible, utility, and two- and four-door wagon form. By the time our subject car was built, in the second half of 1963, the Falcon was also offered for the first time with a 164-hp, 260ci small-block Windsor V-8.
The 1963 Ford Falcon Futura coupe seen here is being offered for auction at Mecum’s Orlando event, to be held July 6-9, 2022, as lot number F23, and is scheduled to roll across the auction block on Friday July 8. What makes this Falcon special is its near-period-correct approximation of a gasser drag-race machine. In the early days of sanctioned drag racing, the gasser classes were structured for factory-bodied cars that ran on gasoline—hence the name “gasser.” To keep competition fair, cars in the gasser classes were grouped by pounds per cubic-inch of engine displacement, so that cars of similar weight-to-displacement ratios would face-off fairly against other cars in the same class. Gasser class rules and the limited tire technology at the time produced an evolved visual style that is captured here in this 1963 Ford Falcon Futura gasser replica.
Gasser machines have enjoyed a revival in popularity—their high-riser stance, eager attitude, and explosive off-the-line performance has driven new interest from a younger generation. A renewed interest from aftermarket manufacturers like Speedway Motors and Holley, plus the typically low cost of project car entry, make building a gasser well within reach for the average hot-rodder. As this one rolls across the auction block, you’ll be tempted to put in a bid, but before that, we’ve got some important info to supplement what’s already known about this 1963 Ford Falcon gasser on the Mecum website.
Different Falcon Models: Why Does It Matter?
Ford made eight different models of the Ford Falcon in 1963 (not counting Mercury’s sibling Comet) for a total production of 328,339 units. For the purposes of building a hot rod, however, the model that carries the highest value by far is the Ford Falcon Futura Sprint hardtop coupe, of which only 10,479 were built. With its rakishly sloped C-pillars, the Sprint hardtop model looked like a mini-muscle car a full year before the term existed. It’s important to know this because the values of 1963 Falcons are heavily skewed towards the Sprint hardtop model. With that asterisk out of the way, this gasser replica is a simple Futura coupe (133,523 examples built) with the Falcon’s standard rectilinear greenhouse—not a more desirable Sprint hardtop model (10,479 built).
What’s A 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Coupe Worth?
In arriving at a value for a classic car not restored to its original form, it’s important to consider that any deviation from stock comes potentially at a cost to its value. If mods are made that improve its appeal, its price could go higher, but if the mods are ill-advised, that can also tank the value. More on that in a minute. Right now, Hagerty values a stock 1963 Ford Falcon Futura coupe in perfect condition (a “1” out of a possible “4”) at $27,700. A condition “4” 1963 Ford Falcon Futura (running but with flaws) is valued likewise at $5,100.
For a gasser build like this one, a wise investor will choose a project candidate in “4” condition because it makes no sense to overpay for a full complement of original parts when you’re going to remove them and use aftermarket parts like a bigger crate engine, suspension, brakes, or overdrive transmission (all of which are present here). Takeaway: This gasser replica most likely started out as a car in fair condition, borne out by the seller’s indication that rust was eradicated through the replacement of sheetmetal.