Dale Amy
August 20, 2012

The cooling demands of the stroked small-block, not to mention its air conditioning hardware, were also too much for the stock radiator, so an upgraded aluminum replacement from Northern is now onboard after the original split at one of the car's first big show outings. Early in 2010, John also swapped out his Top Loader transmission for a five-speed T-5. The result? "It's brought highway cruising down from 3,000 rpm to around 2,000," says John. "It has also contributed to lower engine temperatures and better gas mileage (17 mpg on the road with air conditioning)." This is important because John says he doesn't store and trailer his Falcon—he drives it. Having photographed it there, we can confirm that one of the places he drove was way up to Dearborn, Michigan, for the Falcon Club of America's 50th Anniversary celebration.

And this Falcon won't suffer the same fate as the two he owned (and sold) in his teen years. This one's a definite keeper, and John figures it will be his children who will eventually make the decision when to sell it, but only after he's gone.

No doubt about it: early Falcons were smoothly sculpted, with a look that has aged very gracefully. John Kutzlo's '63 hardtop now wears just about every piece of chrome or stainless trim ever conceived for the compact, including classic Cragars complete with spinners. And yes, those rear skins are just a little beefier than stock.

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The Details

John Kutzlo's '63 Falcon hardtop

Engine

  • 352ci small-block Ford
  • F-150 cast-iron 302 block
  • 4.060-inch bore
  • 3.400-inch stroke
  • Eagle crank and I-beam connecting rods, KB hypereutectic pistons
  • Stock 302 cast-iron heads with stainless steel valves
  • Comp Cams hydraulic flat tappet camshaft, 230/236 duration at 0.050,
  • 0.520/0.523 lift, 110-degree LSA
  • Edelbrock Performer 289 aluminum intake manifold
  • Barry Grant Street Demon 650-cfm
  • 9.7:1 compression ratio

Transmission

  • T-5 five-speed manual (PN 1352-208 Borg Wamer WC/T-5)
  • 11-inch hydraulic clutch
  • '84-'93 Ford F-150 aluminum bellhousing
  • Hurst Competition Plus shifter

Rearend

  • Ford 9-inch rearend with Traction-Lok limited-slip differential
  • 3.50 gears
  • 28-spline axles
  • 44-3/16-inch backing-plate-to-backing-plate
  • 49-3/16-inch outside of drum to outside of drum

Exhaust

  • Hooker Super Competition Headers with 15?8-inch primaries
  • 2-1/2-inch aluminized exhaust pipes and Flowmaster Super 40 mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Heidts Mustang II IFS frontend, with tubular control arm package, narrowed 5/8-inch, aluminum coilover adjustable shocks with chrome springs, antisway bar, stock spindles, stabilizer bar
  • Rear: Stock Falcon five-leaf springs moved to inside of original frame
  • Steering: '90 Mustang power-assisted rack-and-pinion
  • Other: Custom-made subframe connectors (McFabricators)

Brakes

  • Front: Heidts disc, GM calipers, Ford rotors
  • Rear: 10-inch drum brakes ('70-'71 Ford Torino)

Wheels

  • Front: Cragar S/S with spinners, 15x6 with 2-inch backspacing
  • Rear: Cragar S/S with spinners, 15x8 with 4-inch backspacing

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich Traction TA Radial, P205/60R15
  • Rear: BFGoodrich Traction TA Radial, P255/60R15

Interior

  • Restored by previous owner, Lonnie Creech; Grant wheel on ididit tilt steering column; Auto Meter tachometer; Vintage Air air conditioning; custom underdash aluminum panel for gauges and A/C ducts; AM/FM Stereo/Cassette-Custom Autosound Mfg.; Innovative Audio

Exterior

  • All steel body, basecoat/clearcoat Rangoon Red, bodywork by Lonnie Creech, paint by Dave and Mike's Auto Detail, Jeffersonville, IN