One of the coolest things about custom cars is how they can evolve over time to accomplish totally different goals. The 1961 Ford Falcon seen here is a pretty good example of that. Owned by Darvin Hodges of Independence, Missouri, this Ford was built at home with the help of Hodges’ son and brother, making the transition from drag racer to show machine.
Hodges grew up in the ‘60s, and back then, he got his kicks in a 1957 Ford four-door that he took to the local drag races. Later on, he traded the Ford for a big-block 1972 Chevrolet Nova, which he fixed-up to deliver low-11-second passes.
By the time Hodges got this Ford Falcon in 1998, it looked like he would continue his passion for speed by building another dragster. However, before the car was complete, he switched gears to a show build instead.
When Hodges first got the car, it wasn’t exactly pretty, so went about buying up a number of donor cars to help piece together what he imagined in his head.
The Ford Falcon’s new hood was one of the more difficult pieces to acquire, requiring almost two years of searching before a suitable part was found. Custom bits include fenders that are welded to the cowl, creating a single, solid piece of metal. There’s also a newly fabricated roll pan to give the front end a cleaner look, complemented by a rear bumper that’s sectioned and welded to the body.
The exterior is covered in bright green paint, which the owner lovingly refers to as “Money Green.” Hodges’ brother Doug takes credit for the paint respray and body work.
Under the wheel tubs sit 15-inch Weld Racing wheels, while under the skin is a tube chassis conversion from the original unibody. Ladder bar-type suspension is up front, while coilovers are in the rear. A narrowed 9-inch rear end puts the power down, while Wilwood disc brakes throw the anchor.
Hodges decided to outsource the Ford Falcon interior work to Independence Classics, which added custom black vinyl upholstery. There’s also a Vintage Air A/C system and a Carriage Works steering wheel mounted to a GM tilt steering column, while a full roll cage remains as a nod to the car’s original trajectory.
Speaking of which, the Ford Falcon was actually first powered by a Chevy engine, but Hodges eventually replaced the blasphemous lump with a Ford EFI 5.0L HO (“High Output”) V8, one of the Blue Oval brand’s most-popular engine choices among hot rodders. The 5.0L connects to a Ford AOD (automatic overdrive) four-speed transmission.
Fully unleashed, the owner thinks the combo is potent enough to slingshot the Ford Falcon down the 1320 in about 11 seconds. However, for the moment, he’s content to take home the goods on the show circuit, including a recent win at the Back To The 50’s car show in the Ford Performance/Street Rodder Best Ford In A Ford category.