This Vintage Falcon Really Knew How To Fly
Words/Photos Rod Short
At a Fun Ford event at Epping, NH in 2005, a vintage Ford pick-up rolled through the gate towing a race car on an open trailer. A small crowd of onlookers gathered around the car and trailer, not entirely sure of what they were looking at. As it turned out, what they saw was a significant piece of drag racing history.
It all started when Ford made a splash back in 1965 with 11 Holman-Moody prepped A/Factory Experimental Mustangs. Going to a very select factory team drivers around the country, to help promote the Ford name.
At the time, Detroit considered Factory Experimental to be the perfect place to showcase its new performance cars. Entries in the class were limited to the current production year with manufacturer’s optional equipment. Engines were limited to 427.2 cubic inches, blowers were not allowed and gasoline was the only allowable fuel. Three different classes were available based upon the total car weight divided by the total cubic inches of engine displacement.
Unlike the better-known Phil Bonner and Hubert Platt Falcons, this “Wild Child” was reportedly built by Ford of Canada as a factory B/FX race car, which was a Factory Experimental class for small block cars. Just a small handful were ever produced.
With elapsed times in the 11-second range, the car was raced in 1965 out of Rankin Ford in London, Ontario in 1965 with Ev Rouse as its driver and John McIntyre as the chief mechanic/crew chief. Running a 289 HIPO (which was never offered on a Falcon in the states) with Weber carbs, the car reportedly ran as quick as an 11.76 at 118.95 mph.
The following year, the car moved up in class to A/FX with a 427-wedge engine in place of the original 289. Ford factory part numbered fiberglass doors & fenders with a lightweight hood and trunk were added as the car was put on a crash diet. Running on fuel rather than gas, the car eventually ran in a variety of other NHRA classes including B/Altered and C/Dragster, but suffered from inconsistency and breakage. A very rare SOHC 427 eventually found its way into the car along with a C6 automatic.
As it changed hands over the years, the car was later repainted and campaigned under different names before it eventually disappeared from sight. John Germann located the car, bought it and restored it in 2003. It is still seen at occasional special events today.
Although the Wild Child looks crude and even dangerous by today’s standards, it remains a significant time capsule of drag racing history, spawning today’s classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Pro Stock and even Pro Modified.
A number of people are still quite passionate about these cars. Looking at the vintage birds we have here, it’s easy to understand why.