Simanaitis Says

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YESTERDAY IN PART 1, the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally was contested by the likes of Paddy Hopkirk, Bo Ljungfeldt, Pat Carlsson née Moss, and Formula One World Champion Graham Hill. The second and fourth of these drove Ford Falcons. 

Today in Part 2, R&T’s Henry N. Manney III drives one of the Ford team cars, not exactly your run-of-the-mill compact. (I used to have a perfectly pleasant 1963 Falcon convertible.)

This and the following image from R&T, May 1964. 

Monte Carlo Falcon Sprints. Henry wrote, “The Falcons were fitted with every useful option, such as fiberglass bodywork, limited slip differentials, disc brakes, and an advantageous rear end ratio, while the engines were prepared with loving kindness to give a bit more bhp than last year.”

Henry continued, “It was, you see, a fairly serious effort and, for a sum of money which might have bought Indianapolis outright, Ford may advertise fastest time on all the special stages save one (tied with winner Paddy Hopkirk’s Cooper-S), second overall, class win over 2500 touring, class third ditto, and class first and second in over 2500 GT.”

The differences in Touring and Grand Touring classes amounted to the degree of production “options,” such as fiberglass bodywork (not exactly the sort of thing one finds on the shelves of one’s local Ford dealer).

Also, by the way, Henry’s comment about Indianapolis was prescient: Jim Clark’s Lotus-Ford was to win the Indy 500 in 1965. 

A Recon Beater. “We had some trouble,” Henry said, “in getting one of these super-special Falcon Sprints to try down at Monte as the individual I approached wanted me to promise that I wouldn’t say anything bad about it. Eventually we sorted that out… and were delivered one of the hard-used reconnaissance cars.” 

“I can see why the gentleman was somewhat nervous, because it showed signs of having been bashed on all four corners, the front bumper and grille bore a neat vee cause by Jopp hitting a tree head on, and the inside was a scrutineer’s nightmare of bare metal panels, fuel pump bombs, trodden-on maps, remains of box lunches, loose tools, jacks, studded tires, Hopkirk-Go-Home stickers, bits that had fallen off, and a half-full wine bottle.”

“There was no nonsense,” Henry wrote, “about the straight-arm driving position or the grand battery of instruments for practically everything, including a whacking great tach mounted rather in line of sight on the left side. No funny liddle lights for this rally team.”

But a Compact? Henry observed, “The first thing that I thought when creeping into the form-fitting driver’s seat was, ‘Good Grief, is this a compact?’… My main worry was knocking the corner off a building or perhaps sweeping a collection of pedestrians off the sidewalk, but reflecting that both of these things had probably been done already, and the marks would never show, carried on up the hill to La Turbie.” 

I know this road heading up the hill north of town. 

A Santa Maria Likening. The car had a proper intercom system for communicating pace notes and the like. Henry noted, “… but actually the engine noise was not the greatest contributor to the row. Reflecting the hard life lived by the car up to now, the fiberglass body set up a chorus of squeaks, chinks, rattles, groans and murmurs which sounded like the hold of the Santa Maria in the southwest trades.”

“The V-8,” Henry recalled, “plus complementary whines from the gearbox and limited-slip differential, beat an obbligato to this which was not at all objectionable, considering that there was not one scrap of sound-deadening material. Certainly it made less noise under full sail than an Alfa Veloce I used to own. And, just between you and me, the Falcon was more fun to drive.”

A Confession. Henry said, “… I think I had a bigger ball heaving the Ford about than any other car since my first Hotshot. It cornered flat, liking the tail to be kicked around on corners, the steering was both light and accurate, the straights were gobbled up at an astonishing speed, and the brakes hauled one down rapidly when required.”

Henry said, “At the speeds Mr. Ljungfeldt is traveling, conditions may be different, but then he seems to get results anyway. Really marvelous it was, and I shudder to think what a rally car it will make when the motive bits appear in something just a little bit smaller.”

Yr Fthful Svrt concluded, “I might even buy American again.” ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022    


  1. -Nate
    September 25, 2022

    *EXCELLENT* ! .

    I remember these cars from back when but these little story details are out standing .


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