Our Cars: 1963 Ford Falcon hardtop

The original 1960 Falcon compact car was powered by a lightweight 95 hp, 144 cu-in straight-6 with a single-barrel carburetor. The 1961 model year introduced an optional 101 hp, 170 cu-in six, and two new models were introduced; a bucket-seat and console sedan model in a trim level called the Futura, which is the model I owned. In 1963, more models were available, including hardtops like my blue car. Later in the year, the Fairlane’s 164 hp “Challenger” 260 cu-in V8 was offered but my car was powered by the 170 cu-in six cylinder.

My Futura coupe (above) was not an expensive car and cost me somewhere around $2800 brand-new. But as a newlywed with a new baby, the payment was a challenge for the low-paid draftsman I was at the time. I ended up selling the car to my father and buying a 1958 Volvo 444, which cost me $395 that I had to finance at the bank with payments of $25 a month—that I could afford. You can read about my Volvo, the first of many I would end up owing here.

All of which brings me to today: Kelley Blue Book reported that the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $34,968. The average household income varies depending on you age and state you live in but is somewhere between $56,516 and $48,098, which means that a new car purchase represents 62 to 72 percent of that household income. In 1963, my annual household income was (no kidding) $3120 and the Falcon represented 89% of my income, so you can see why I ultimately had to sell it. The used Volvo was a better fit for me.

Scan of original 1963 Ektachrome slide by ScanMyPhotos.com.