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Glen Graham's 700 Horsepower 1963 Falcon Futura

 

Livonia, Michigan

The car is a 1963 Falcon Futura Hardtop that came with a 260 V8 2 barrel and a two speed Fordomatic. I bought the car in 1982. But I fell in love with the car long before that in 1978. The car sat on the side of the gas station that I passed everyday on the way to school. My brother and I inquired about purchasing it many times, but the owner insisted that he was going to "fix it up" someday and wasn't interested in selling it. It was a neat looking car, white with a gold interior, bucket seats with a console and a Sprint Steering wheel! I gave up on getting that car but continued to search for a '63 Falcon to fix up.

During the years I was able to develop my plan fully. I knew I wanted to install a 351 Cleveland, a C6 automatic and a 9" Ford rearend. I just needed a Falcon to work on. I saw every 60-63 falcon that went up for sell in the Detroit area from 1980 to 1982. ( I got my license in 1980). Until one day I answered an ad for a 1962 Falcon without an engine. The location was familiar, same intersection but across the street from the old gas station. Sitting in the driveway next to the house was the same white '63 I fell in love with so long ago. I opened up the hood and the 260 was still there. The engine didn't run so he felt it wasn't worth mentioning. My brother was with me that Wednesday when we first looked at it and told the owner I would give him $150 for it. I wanted to leave a deposit, but my brother wouldn't let me. I sweated it out till Saturday when we towed it home.

I tried to get the engine running, but it was too far gone. So I took out the engine and transmission and sold them for $100!! For High School graduation that year, my brother bought me the patch panels to fix the rusted quarter panels.

While I was looking for the Falcon I was also searching for the "right" 1970 351 Cleveland four barrel engine. I found it in a '70 Cyclone G T. So I rebuilt the engine and took everything I could off the Cyclone that I could use on the Falcon. The brake master cylinder bolted right on. The front spindles with disc brakes, with wheels, bolted on, even the dual exhaust fit with a little cutting. I picked up a C6 from a '72 mustang with the 10" 351CJ high stall converter. I rebuilt it with a manual reverse pattern valve body. My buddy had a friend with an old Bronco rearend. For $150 it had a 3.5:1 gear ratio, a traction lock differential and big brakes. I installed it with the original drive shaft. I was driving it to school by my second year in college.

One day I had my friends join me when cruising Telegraph road or Woodward avenue and  let a friend drive one night and he held first gear a little too long; a big BOOM and a coast to the nearest driveway. There was a trail of transmission fluid and a bent driveshaft hanging under the car. The tailshaft housing broke in half and the U joint disintegrated. The root cause was found to be the off center pinion on the Four wheel drive Bronco rear end. I would have to cut the axles to get the pinion on center. The rearend was too wide, anyway, since the tires rubbed on the wheel wells. And if you are going to cut the axles you might as well cut a whole bunch out! So I cut out the trunk floor and narrowed the rear end 14 inches!

I welded in a 2" x 3" tube frame from the torque boxes back to the rear bumper. Still using the stock leaf springs. I copied the old Thunderbolt "Lift bars" for traction bars. I put a set of Mickey Thompson N50-15 SS compound street tires on a set of stock Bronco rims that were widened 6" each!

The Car grabbed a lot of attention now! Narrowed rearends were quite unusual and only on very fast cars. But I did not have the horsepower to back it up. So I avoided more races than I raced. I drove the car to the track . With a .550 lift hydraulic cam and headers I got the car down to 12.50's in the quarter mile. One Late fall day driving to the track the car just died. No one could figure out why. So I rebuilt the motor. ( It turns out that the problem was the condenser for the dual point ignition. A $3 item)

I felt since I had the engine apart I might as well put a bigger cam in it. I chose a .680 lift mechanical Roller! I tuned that engine for two seasons getting it down to 11.20's. I broke it at the 1992 Super Ford Extravaganza in the Final round of Super Pro!! I have broken the engine every year since then; sometimes twice.

The last motor that broke was a 377 cubic inch stroker. I bought the kit from Kuntz and Company, with Venolia 14:1 pistons, Eagle 6.2" rods, and a stroked cast iron crank that was externally balanced. The rods were Chevy journal size which meant that the crank journals had to be widened quit a bit. The engine lasted exactly One Year! I ran 10.80's all season long and pulled Great wheel stands! I borrowed a 1050 cfm Dominator carburetor from a friend at the end of the season and ran a 10.37 at 129! So now I knew I needed a Dominator: and if a 1050 is good, an 1150 is better! So March 30 1996 we unloaded the Falcon with a new 1150 carb and the front suspension lowered and chained up to restrict the suspension travel. On the first pass off the trailer it rips a 10.14 at 133mph! Unbelievable!!!

A month later I was tuning the box stock carb and the engine went BOOM!! No oil on the track, not another sound from the car, just the sound of the wind at 100 mph. The engine locked up solid. The crankshaft broke into Five pieces. The Australian block was cracked from the deck to the mains. I have purchased a Forged Steel crank, four more pistons and rods to match the ones that weren't destroyed, and have had the crank balanced internally. I haven't found another Australian block so I haven't built the race motor yet. I did assemble a '71 Boss 351 that put the car in the mid 11's. Not the thrill of 700 horsepower, but it was a lot cheaper and quicker to assemble.

The race car is fun, but I have two boys now and needed a car that they could ride in. So I bought a bright Red 1963 Falcon Sprint Convertible to cruise around in with two child seats in the back

Glen Graham



 




[Hey, and they said you can't fit that 351!]

[Notice the reinforcement for the rear?]

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