The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
7/10/17 9:53 a.m.

story by dan scanlan • photos by scott r. lear

Some cars are born into greatness. Others have greatness engineered upon them.

The 1960 Ford Falcon is one such tale of greatness coming after the fact. Ford created it to become the brand’s first modern compact—something to fend off the European invasion of Volkswagens, Opels and other small Euro-sedans. Later on, the Falcon’s frame, engines and bits were engineered into the original pony car, the 19641/2 Ford Mustang.

This is not a tale of a Falcon transformed into a Mustang, but of a Falcon flying higher than Ford ever imagined. The Falcon does have its own racing pedigree dating back half a century, mind you, assuming you know where to look.

As for the Mustang, it has become one of the most popular performance cars out there. Longtime racer Tommy Riggins has built several for competition, many of them GT-1-class racers featuring a tube chassis draped with a silhouette body. It’s an easy way to turn most anything into a 200 mph missile.

His latest Ford creation, though, makes use of the Mustang’s donor vehicle, the Falcon. Specifically, it’s based on a 1963 Falcon Sprint coupe. Really.

Why use a Falcon, a family grocery-getter, as the skin for a fire-breathing, 840-horsepower SCCA GT-1 racer? Because racer Joe Llauget asked Riggins to build him “something a little bit different”—otherwise, he didn’t care which body the car sported. The car needed to be legal for SCCA GT-1 competition yet feature a historic-looking shell.

Though he was strongly invested, Llauget ultimately decided to sell the car at a steep discount while it was still a work-in-progress. He asked Riggins to find a buyer. Bill Riddell, a veteran driver who started off in four-cylinder cars and raced Riggins’s machines over the past 16 years, wanted a GT-1 car but wasn’t sure about the unconventional body. The bargain price helped him take the bait. His uncertainty about the Falcon vanished at the car’s first event, as it was a huge crowd-pleaser.

“I think that is probably one of the craziest things we ever thought about doing, but also one of the neatest things,” Riddell admits. “I have had people call me from all over the country who have seen this car and say, ‘It’s the coolest thing I have ever seen,’ and, ‘It’s so neat!’ And when you pull up to the grid where people haven’t seen it, they get so excited and start telling you about their grandmother’s or mom’s Falcon that they had in high school.”

Seeing photographs of the Falcon racers made Jack Telnack happy, too. He was global VP of design at Ford when he retired 15 years ago, but he started working as a designer there in 1958 and was head stylist for Lincoln-Mercury in 1966.

“It didn’t take me any time at all to recognize the car. I know that car,” he says. “He sectioned the body and that’s really cool.” Telnack especially likes the way the original taillights are grafted into the fiberglass body.

Read the rest of the story

Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
7/10/17 10:11 a.m.

What a pretty NASCAR! Now if only they all could start adding artful body lines to the cars, instead of them all looking alike.

stan
stan UltraDork
7/10/17 12:00 p.m.

> NASCAR.

One of the prettiest/coolest race cars I've seen...

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
7/10/17 3:45 p.m.

Saw this or one like it at Watkins Glen SVRA race last Sept.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/10/17 3:50 p.m.
jimbbski wrote: Saw this or one like it at Watkins Glen SVRA race last Sept.

What color was that one? In addition to this blue one, I remember there being a while one.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot HalfDork
7/10/17 4:00 p.m.

I saw a white one at Savannah historics in Oct. 2012 or 2013 IIRC.

Jimmah
Jimmah
7/11/17 12:00 a.m.

Cool car. So Riggins has been building race cars since he was 15 years old? That is impressive.

JimS
JimS New Reader
7/11/17 1:04 a.m.

Saw a white one at VIR vintage event this past fall.

Wagoneer
Wagoneer
7/12/17 5:21 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

David, this car is now white with a black hood. I photographed it at VIR last year.

V8 Road Racing West
V8 Road Racing West New Reader
7/15/18 10:53 a.m.

Great article and GREAT build!   We love V8 thunder road racers.   Check out this vintage Falcon I found on racing junk:   https://www.racingjunk.com/post/183009271?utm_campaign=website&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email

Keep up the great work!

Thanks!

Michael Cohen

V8 Road Racing West

GTXVette
GTXVette SuperDork
7/15/18 11:37 a.m.

the car guy that started my life passion with cars bought a new 63.5 sprint 260 3 speed. the 64 would be me but not at 180.

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