Jim Smart
February 1, 2008
Photos By: John Roper

Step By Step

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Zach Gerich never expected to wind up with a classic Ford the likes of this '64 Falcon Futura hardtop clad in Dodge Magnum Red Metallic. Getting there wasn't easy. First, he had to find it, which was made easier thanks to the Internet. He was cruising a local message board when he read about this Falcon hardtop that was a mere 50 miles from his doorstep. When he got there, the car was disappointing, clad in gray primer and in ragged condition.

Zach saw promise in something few others did, so he bought the car and hauled it home. He stripped away layers of paint and primer to discover pure, undamaged steel underneath. He and his father, Edward, went to work in the family garage, building something really cool together. For one thing, Zach wanted his Futura to be distinctive, a ride apart from the rest. He chose the Dodge color pallet instead of Ford's. Rather than period wheels from the '60s, he opted for late-model 17x8-inch Bullitts, which tuck nicely in those wheelwells.

On the surface, Zach's Falcon is striking. He didn't get away from what Ford stylists infused into the car's design. He stayed with those well-known anodized aluminum and die-cast chrome appointments we're so fond of with '64-'65 Falcons, yet he shaved the hood and grille to help clean up the front end for a custom look. He lowered the ride height to give the Falcon a road-hugger demeanor. Shelby underride traction bars provide purpose and make the car look track-ready.

Inside, Zach kept the car's nuances clean, tasteful, and simple. That's buckskin and burgundy sports vinyl, which gets us away from factory original material yet respects the original bench-seat persona. A Grant steering wheel looks terrific painted to match the car's exterior and feels good in your hands. Did you see where Zach deleted the dashpad for a real road-racer look? When he hits the road, he gets real euphoria from a Kenwood amp and CD changer, with speakers in the kickpanels and rear package shelf. Underdash is a late-model Mustang accelerator pedal with cable throttle control instead of the Falcon's original mechanical bellcrank setup.

Underhood is the unexpected-a powerful supercharged 5.0 roller tappet small-block with carburetion on top. Although the supercharger of choice for blow-through applications has usually been the Paxton, Zach decided to try something different-a ProCharger. Although ATI ProCharger has been known as a late-model, fuel-injected application blower, ATI's early product line was for carbureted applications. Zach saw the benefits to running a ProCharger P600B instead of the Paxton. This is a really cool gear-driven centrifugal supercharger. It makes the most of air flow, delivers nicely, and is reliable. That's a billet gear case for solid dependability. ProCharger's engineers examined all the issues facing enthusiasts when they developed this supercharger.

Zach will tell you getting the 5.0 High Output properly tuned has been challenging because a supercharger changes everything. He's still working on achieving just the right combination of parts. In the valley is a Ford Racing Performance Parts hydraulic roller camshaft for improved efficiencyand performance. On top are old, yet effective, performance standbys-ported '69 351W iron cylinder heads with 1.94/1.60-inch stainless steel valves. Comp Cams 1.6:1 roller rockers reduce internal friction and improve lift. K-Motion valvesprings eliminate bouncy-bounce at high rpm.

Deep inside, Zach did those things engine builders should think of: He removed stress risers, micropolished and chamfered the crank, modified the oiling system, examined all the failure potential, and focused on areas that can mean trouble later on. Speed-Pro forged-aluminum flat-top pistons carefully fitted with Plasma Moly rings squeeze the mixture at 9.0:1. This gets tricky considering compression ratio and boosted air. Zach's still working on it.

Step By Step

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For over-the-road cruising potential, Zach fitted his Falcon with a Tremec T-5 five-speed and Hurst shifter. We like what he did with the shifter boot-a custom-made leather-wrap design that ties in with the buckskin interior. Where most people would have gone with a 9-inch Ford rearend, Zach used an 8.8-inch late-model Mustang rear with 3.27 gears and a Traction-Lok. All it took was setting up the axlehousing with the appropriate leaf-spring mounts to get the correct pinion angle.

All in all, Zach built himself a nice road car that's ready for cruising and ready for racing, depending on his mood. As he begins to iron out the kinks and learn what works best, he'll come to enjoy the car even more and wind up with a ride to be envied anywhere he goes.

The Details

  • '64 Falcon Futura Hardtop
  • Owner: Zach Gerich, Ennis, TX
  • Engine

  • '89 5.0 small-block V-8
  • 4.000-inch bore
  • 3.000-inch stroke
  • Forged TRW flat-top pistons
  • 9.0:1 compression
  • Shotpeened and polished stock connecting rods
  • Ported 351W iron heads, 1.94/1.60-inch Manley stainless valves
  • 750-cfm Holley double-pumper
  • Edelbrock Victor Jr. single-plane high-rise
  • Ford Racing hydraulic roller camshaft (0.512/0.512 inch, 288/226 duration)
  • Comp Cams 1.6:1 roller rockers
  • Ford Racing 6.272-inch pushrods
  • Crane Cams 7/16-inch rocker studs
  • ATI ProCharger P600B centrifugal supercharger
  • Late-Model Ford alternator
  • Transmission

  • Tremec World Class T-5 five-speed
  • Hurst shifter
  • Rearend

  • 8.8-inch (from late-model Mustang)
  • 3.27 gears
  • Traction-Lok
  • Exhaust

  • Patriot shorty headers, 1-1/2-inch primaries, 2-1/2-inch collectors
  • Custom 2-1/2-inch dual exhaust
  • Flowmaster Series 40 two-chamber mufflers
  • Suspension

  • Front: Stock coil-on-upper arm, Shelby drop, KYB gas adjustable shocks
  • Rear: Stock leaf spring, Shelby underride traction bars
  • Brakes

  • Front: 10-1/2-inch disc
  • Rear:10-inch drum (late-model Mustang)
  • Wheels

  • Front: '01-'04 Ford Mustang "Bullitt" aluminum, 17x8-inch
  • Rear: '01-'04 Ford Mustang "Bullitt" aluminum, 17x8-inch
  • Tires

  • Front: Toyo Proxes4, P215/50ZR17
  • Rear: Toyo Proxes4, P215/50ZR17
  • Interior

  • Custom buckskin and sports vinyl, Grant steering wheel in {{{Dodge Magnum}}} Red, Kenwood amp with CD changer, Hurst shifter with custom leather wrap, Late Model Mustang accelerator pedal with cable, dashpad deleted
  • Exterior

  • Dodge Magnum Red paint by owner and father, recessed hood vents, shaved grille and trunk emblems