This page last up dated on 6 / 28 / 2003 at 11:23 a.m.
The 1964 Falcon was an all new body style and Ford was proud of it's good looks. In addition it was light and had a sleek new "Fastback" roof. Ford being, Ford knew that with just a little work the big 427 cubic inch monster that had been winning races on the NASCAR road courses and the drag strips would fit. This of course would require a little "bit" of rework. The rework was nothing that Dearborn Steel Tubing couldn't handle in their race car shop. Dearborn Steel Tubing was the Ford factory's subcontractor that did all the race car building of the drag cars in those days. If there was a factory Ford race car built in those days these folks had their hot little hands on it at one time or another back then.
Ford built only two official '64 427 Falcon race cars.
These two cars were intended to compete in the
new "Run-What-Ya-Brung" match race circuit that had
just formed. Since the rules were, shall we
say, "relaxed", in this class; the cars were different
from a "Regular" Factory experimental car. The rear
wheels were shoved forward 3 1/2 inches for better weight
transfer. The Falcons being unit body construction cars were a
bit limp in the chassis deptment. A pair of sub frame rails were
added to stiffen up the platform. The Falcons shared the same
rear suspensions as the other factory experimental did, this
being the twin lift bar arrangement and the Big Galaxie 9 inch
rear ends. The front and rear spring hangers were built to spread
the load of the stress over a larger area to prevent load
concentration. These spring hangers also put more space between
the floor pan and the spring, thus raising the rear of the car.
The front of the rear wheel house was move forward a few inches.
It just so happened that while they were reworking the wheel
base some extra room just appeared and all of a sudden the big
10.50 x 15 M&H rear slicks now seemed to fit with no problems
at all! They must have been amazed at how "RIGHT" they
were living! Dearborn Steel Tubing also found that if the front
of the outer rear wheel well opening was reworked, just "a
bit," it would look just as if it was still stock!
Since there was a little rework going on in the back seat area anyway Dearborn Steel Tubing just removed the rear window regulators and window glass. These were replaced with Plexiglas for a very big weight loss. The Falcons also had other fiberglass parts too. The Hood with the infamous "Blister" to clear the air box on the 427 Hi-Riser was there as were fiberglass pieces too. The doors, deck lid, front fenders, trunk, and the front bumper. The little cars weighed in at 2,800 pounds ready to run. This is 800 pounds lighter than the Light Weight Galaxie and 400 pounds lighter than a Thunderbolt Fairlane. Add a 550 horse power 427 Hi-Riser and it took a blower to beat them!
All this sounds real good, but it didn't just become a trip to the parts department for the goodies to build them. They required a lot of work to make all theses things fit. The 427 engine will fit in the engine compartment of a '64 Falcon, but unless you remove a small bit of the spring towers and move the spring mount farther out towards the ball joint there will be no room for the headers. Dearborn Steel Tubing made a special plate to hide the fact that these car were modified and welded them in place. They then ground down the welds and this made it very hard to tell where they had made the cuts. This left them with an unmodified look, which Ford wanted them to have.
Dearborn Steel Tubing cut large square holes behind each shock tower to ensure that the heat had some place to go away from the engine. This air flow improvement hole was reinforced by a stamped steel reinforcement flange being installed around the opening to reinforce the unit body. They did this anytime they cut a hole in these cars. This is the trick that keeps them from folding up.
A little work was happening around in back while all this wheel well stuff was going on. The 125 lbs. truck battery was of course relocated to the trunk as was standard practice. This one was a different deal as Ford came up with the huge angle iron battery tray/box. The battery was a huge truck piece that weighted at least 125 lbs. The rear bumper got reinforced by adding a 150 pound steel bar that solidly tied the rear of the frame together. Because of the extreme rear location of this steel bar a number of the competition cried foul, stating that they thought that it was illegal ballast. However, Ford claimed it was important to have a really strong back bumper. The extreme rear location of this "Bumper" brace was the real point of the complaints.
Then there was the transmission cross member. It to is massive! Ford claimed the stock cross-eyes were far to weak for the rigors of racing, so they just beefed up a bit. It became the same story as the "Bumper" brace. Everyone just looked at it and saw more ballast. Ford chose American wheels. The real "mag" to save some weight off the non performance part.
Just add Phil Bonner and Dick Brannan and these Falcons were the terrors of Jim Tices's American Hot Rod Association's F/HR class.
Click here for the build up of Dick Brannan's '64 A/FX Falcon. Page one.
Click any of these for more Ford Factory Race Car pages!