DragRaceCanada’s newest off season post to the Lucas Oil Hotzone features rare bird sightings!….

There are certainly not many of them out there but we would argue that the early 1960’s model Ford Falcon is very much iconically correct.  

Within the province of Ontario, drag racing fans have been treated to a couple of cool efforts in recent seasons, courtesy of Peter Nolan and Frank Roberts.   While the final finish between these two cars is comparatively vast — both machines are pretty remarkable within their own rite.

Peter Nolan (and his wife Elaine) who are from Bradford own a meticulously maintained 1962 Falcon.  

This machine, which they have been campaigning together since first completing it’s build in 2006, has seen quite a bit of evolution.  It is an all steel car (other than the hood and scoop) and has full glass. 

 

“We started racing it over a decade ago — but it still looks brand new,” said Peter Nolan, who is now a retired transmission mechanic. “We work very hard at taking care of it and we use up a lot of Meguiars to keep it shiny (he laughed).”

The Falcon was originally built for the OCSA’s 8.90 class category, which is a local circuit they frequented and ran well at.  In fact using a 580 CID Steve Schmidt motor — they racked up some 320 passes.  Standing out too is the race cars sparkling look which has over the years also earned the team a number of car show awards — including being named Best Race Car, Best Paint, Best Interior and People’s Choice at Performance World.

In it’s present day form, the car is considerably quicker and faster then it started out to be.  In 2018 Peter beefed up both his engine and drivetrain program to the point that the car could now be run (should he choose to) as a Top Sportsman.

“The chassis is by Bear’s Performance (Windsor) — it’s a Strange kit and the roll cage is by Joe Roy,” Peter continued.  “We upgraded our motor program last season – we now race with a 632 CID engine with Big Chief heads that was also built by Steve Schmidt.  We ran some 8.40’s last year which is the quickest the car has gone but with all that power (1300 HP) now we did run into some tire spin issues.  But now that we’ve identified that problem we are going to go to a bigger tire to address that.”

Following the most recent upgrade process, Peter’s Falcon is now certified to run 7.50 secs and running into the 7-seconds zone is an objective he has set for himself this coming season.

While the Nolan’s Falcon radiates beauty, in contrast a 1961 Falcon raced by Frank Roberts (Shelbourne) — is certainly more beastly. 

Frank’s car, which has somewhat of a “rat rod” look was first completed back in 2017.   

Like the Nolan’s, Frank is a frequent runner at St. Thomas, Cayuga Dragway and Grand Bend tracks racing his car – but within ET brackets.

“To be honest when I first started this project — this Falcon was pretty much rusted out,” Roberts revealed.  “I had brought it with intentions to restore it — but there was for a time a big question — could it ever be saved?  Eventually I was able to salvage the body — so then I decided to continue on and save the chassis.  Then I faced the reality that a restored rusty Falcon really isn’t  worth anything.  So I then decided to make it a drag racer.  I had a ’64 Impala which I raced before — so I swapped out the motor and drivetrain from that.  That’s a SBC with a 6-71.  With this Falcon, which is about 1000 lbs lighter, I ended up having a considerately quicker race car.”

Frank also revealed that he is not really a “rat rod” fan and is still sitting on the fence a bit about that finish. 

“This current look wasn’t my first intention,” he explained.  “I have thought about painting it — but the fans seem to really like it and to be honest it’s pretty low maintenance — and if I happen to dent it — so what (he laughed).”

Frank also admitted that making his Falcon’s stock chassis work at the drag strip was and is a continuing challenge.  

“After I built it and when I first hit the race track I found out quickly that with less then 500 lbs over the rear axle — it wanted to spin the tires a lot,” he added.  “So I worked hard to try to make it a “big tire” car.  I was able to move things around and while it’s still not perfect, now with a 4.10 gear I seem to have found something more to the car’s liking.”

To date the little Falcon (which is also all steel and tips the scales at 2800 lbs) has run a best of 10.11 secs. 

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler