1962 Ford Futura - Reader Ride

By: Luis Rivera with Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

Presented by

ford futura front ford futura front
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luis rivera luis rivera
receipts receipts

Growing up on the other side of the world led to a life-long attachment

Everything is not quite as it seems with this car. I’m Argentinian by nationality and the Ford Falcon was produced in Argentina from 1962 through to 1991 – so, having gown up there, I have fond memories of them. These models were very common when I was a child.Mine is of course an Australian car, but very similar to the upmarket models I grew up with.

Incredibly, the Argentinian cars over those near three decades were essentially the same platform from the 1960s, though engines and sheet metal were updated over time.

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They were very popular over there and were known to be unbreakable, with a huge following. They ran six-cylinder engines in 170 cubic inches (2.8lt and then many variants, including up to 221ci (3.6lt) were offered over the decades.

Several model names were used along the way, including Futura, Sprint, Ghia plus Rural station wagon, and of course a Ranchero utility.

We didn’t have a car when I was younger, so in some ways this was unfinished business!

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This is my second time around with this range. I bought an XL Falcon as my first classic vehicle back when I was 19 or 20, from my best friend. He and his father had restored it. Unfortunately I had to sell when it came time to buy my first house. It was something that I really missed.

This one turned up and I couldn’t let her go. The timing wasn’t right, but the car was. I was always looking, keeping an eye on the market. An alert turned up on my phone during a meeting, and I quickly excused myself as there was an urgent phone call to make!

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The owner, Keith, was turning 90 and his niece was helping to advertise it. It was the history of the car that really got me. It was his mother’s car and he had looked after it since 1987. Grace was her name and she bought it new. Of course the car is now called Grace, as well.

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Grace ticked a few option boxes, including for the 170 Pursuit engine

There are lots of little signs that Keith loves tinkering and was fastidious in how he cared for the car. An example is the spotlight brackets he fabricated, designed to go around the bumpers, rather than drill into them.

We got on well and I think he understood that I was going to respect and look after the car. We keep in touch and I keep him informed on its progress, such as when we do up the brakes or clean out the fuel system.

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One of the things he said when I first inspected the car was, "You’re going to think this is really strange: sometimes I just drive the car out of the garage, grab a beer and just stare at it." I responded that it wasn’t strange at all, as that’s exactly what I would be doing!

This car was optioned with the 170 Pursuit (2.8lt) engine plus the very expensive radio. It cost 66 pounds and the beautiful thing is it still works. It’s a two-speed automatic and has a few more period extras such as the sun visor and upmarket hubcaps. The boot mat was another option and it’s still there.

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Huge steering wheel and lounge seating set the tone

Keith was very proud of the fact that all the original receipts had been kept, including for the 30 pound deposit. All up it cost over 1400 pounds – a lot of money back then. It’s wonderful to see those details and the history they represent.

There’s even a period map of Melbourne, probably used to get around when the car was new.

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What’s it like to drive? If you want to go fast round corners, it’s not the car for that.

When you get in and start up, she just purrs – everything is smooth and easy. There’s the wonderful big steering wheel. And the seats – they don’t curve around you like a modern seat, they’re more like a couch. It’s a wonderful cruising machine and it just brings you joy.

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From Unique Cars #451, April 2021

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