We were hooked on Chris Call's '67 Falcon the moment we saw the video on his website, Trailhed.com. We're suckers for a brash street car, so when Chris uncorked a few wild burnouts, followed by an impromptu rampage up and down an empty street in his hometown of Sun Valley, Nevada, we had to investigate further. It didn't take long before we found Chris holding court at one of our favorite forums, Fordmuscle.com.
And now for some cool car history. Chris' '67 Falcon is one of those cars that time forgot. Introduced in 1960 as the first salvo in the economy car wars, the Falcon caught GM and Chrysler flat-footed. By 1962, when the competition finally figured things out with the Chevy II, Dart, and Valiant, Ford was already planning its next move: the Mustang. Based on the Falcon (to keep cost and weight down), the Mustang was an unmitigated success. Fortunately for Chris Call and other Falcon enthusiasts, the car virtually disappeared from the performance radar screen, thus leaving them wide open-unimpeded by greedy collectors-to wreak hot-rodding havoc in the modern era.
Chris found his '67 Falcon on eBay in 2004. When the dust settled at the end of the auction, a pittance of $4,700 had changed hands. With a mint interior, fresh paint, straight bodywork, and a 351W/C4 swap already completed by the previous owner, the "transaction" was, in reality, closer to grand theft auto. The trunk even came stuffed with extra speed parts and trim pieces. The 2,000-mile drive home from Wentzville, Missouri was uneventful, proving that even after all these years, Iaccoca's vision of a simple, durable, everyman's car was valid.
By the time we laid eyes on Chris' Falcon, he had made several upgrades, primarily in the form of a 408-ci expansion. The 351 Windsor has a good deal of open real estate; a relatively high cam position, wide pan rails, and a high deck height beckons to hot-rodders, just as California did to railroad moguls of generations passed. Topping the 10.7:1 Probe forged pistons and Eagle forged rotating assembly, is a set of aluminum PBM Strike Force 60cc heads, a Professional Products Hurricane air-gap style intake, and a 750-cfm Holley double-pumper. A Comp 280 Magnum flat tappet hydraulic cam with .560-inch lift ventilates the '76-vintage Windsor, and MSD electronics light the fire. The resulting greenhouse gasses would rile Al Gore up any day, via 1 3/4-inch Crites long-tube headers, 3-inch dual pipes, and Flowmaster mufflers.
The mechanical demands of a stroked Windsor being what they are, Chris fortified the remainder of the powertrain with a Trans-Go Shift Kit, a 9.5-inch 3,500-stall converter from Red Neck Racing, and a Moser 9-inch rear with 3.70 gears and a spool. Stiffer leaves in the rear and stronger coils in the front were provided by the spring experts at Espo.com, and the torque train finally ends with a pair of 26x10.5 Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks. A fabricator by trade (he's a maintenance supervisor at a power plant), Chris did nearly all the work himself, and by the time his wallet was drained, less than $15K had leaked out.
When we saw the video footage, our impression was that we were witnessing a guy who was happier than John Force on free beer night. Such gleeful expressions of wonton tire liquefaction indicated a high automotive satisfaction quotient. And the clincher? Almost no money was spent. This was definitely a spectacle, we reasoned, worth witnessing in person.
As we prodded Chris and his homeys at Fordmuscle.com, the consensus was that this Falcon was a solid 11-second player. Yet for whatever reason, it hadn't ripped the track with its fury. So we threw out the challenge: Bring it to town and throw it down. We'll rent Fontana, buy the burgers, and shoot photos until gang bangers start tagging rail cars.
On the allotted hour, Chris and his father arrived and unloaded the little blue Ford. As a stroke of luck, the track's management was in a good mood, and excellent track prep ensued. After the racing surface was dragged and glued, we were treated to a tailwind. Following a couple of tentative "get acquainted" 13-second quarter-mile runs (a 13.16/104.9 and a 13.13/103.9), Chris finally got serious, uncorked one of his now-famous tire fires, and cranked out a 12.92/104.5 with a middling 2.03 60-foot time.
Surely there was more in the little blue powder keg, right? Preoccupied with F-stops and lenses, we had been unaware of the mechanical carnage beginning to unfold inside the Ford. Namely, the fuse for the roll-control had blown, and the carb jets-which were tuned for Sun Valley's 5,000-foot altitude-were much too lean. With no jets on hand, only the line-lock fuse could be replaced. On the next run, Chris clicked off his best of the day: a 12.63/104.9 with a 1.79 60-foot short time. The next two runs went downhill rapidly, as he posted 13.02/103.8 and 13.17/100.4, respectively. During this last run, there was clearly something amiss in the exhaust note, so the shenanigans were shut down for the day. According to Chris, the trans started to slip, and a postmortem also revealed two collapsed lifters on the driver's side.
We didn't see any 11-second ETs on that day, but we certainly can't take anything away from what Chris has accomplished. Running mid 12s on pump gas with just motor, and spending less than $15K including the car is something to be proud of. Factor in that this Falcon has the hardware to go 11s with the right tune-up and some driving practice, and we will reserve judgment for another day. In all fairness, Chris is not a pro engine builder, and does not own a dyno. He did build his own engine, though, which is more impressive than 99 percent of the population. At a time when it is far easier to BS your way to an Internet finger-gasm, we salute Chris Call for putting his money where his mouth is.
According to Chris: "The engine is built similar to others making 500-plus horsepower." Ba
The APC billet aluminum steering wheel is a nice touch, but don't run out and buy one just