Ghia’s 1963 Ford Falcon Clan Is an Italian Take On an American Classic
The Ford Falcon is not getting the respect it deserves. There wouldn’t be a Ford Mustang at all without the Falcon donating its foundations. An honest little car with an economic mind; it amazed Ford’s brass by selling like hot cakes after launch. It even, in a roundabout fashion, formed the basis of a long-standing Australian muscle car scene. But the first-generation Falcon wagon just wasn’t that exciting. Blame the fact that he was powered by a pair of miserable (and rather miserable) inline sixes and held back by a frumpy style. That is until Turin’s Carrozzeria Ghia got their hands on the bird of the Blue Oval.
Yes, the wild looking fastback you’re looking at is actually based on Falcon. Ghia had originally played with a similar idea on a Fiat chassis, the 2300-based Club. Maybe an American manufacturer would be interested in a sleek European design using a cost-effective platform? The Ghia Clan translated the basic idea of the Fastback Club into the high-performance chassis of the Falcon Sprint, which packed Ford’s 260-cubic-inch V-8 just like its kissing cousin, the Mustang.
The huge liftback opens up to reveal massive cargo space, but the two-door profile is jagged – there’s a bit of grand touring flavor. Not that the proportions are classically beautiful. The greenhouse dominates the body below the profile waistline, the overhangs are immense, the front is rather simple considering the wild ambition of the overall design. That said, luggage racks aren’t typically used as dressy design cues, but here they help communicate the sophisticated utility of the clan.
Ghia was hopeful that Ford would buy the design and put it into production. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but a bigger paycheck awaited Ghia. Rather than selling just a design or two to Dearborn, Ford bought the whole business in 1970. Ghia has become a captive design house and also a trim level on many Fords, especially in Europe. In the early 2000s, the current design house was closed, although the name remained in use for a few more years.