Updated: Jan 21
The Proto “Pony” car.
In the early 60s Ford came to John Holman and Ralph Moody to help the performance along on the new little Falcon. Holman & Moody would develop the first ever V8 Powered Falcons. These little cars were pony cars before the term existed.
The modified Falcons were called the Challengers I, II, & III. Beating Dodge to the name by 7 years. Challengers I & III would go on to be raced at the International level while Challenger II became the proto type for the up and coming Falcon Sprint.
Falcon fastback never saw production, but Ford decided to produce the in-house Falcon Sprint instead. The Challenger name would live on in the 1963 "Sprint". The top engine option was the Fairlane's 164 hp "Challenger" 260 CID.
The original Challenger III would compete and beat pure bred sports cars like the Cobras & Ferraris. The Challenger cars would even go on to compete in FIA International events.
Lujie Lesovsky built and sculpted the lines of the challengers. the factory falcon body was sectioned to lower the body line and the aluminum fastback top was hand formed.
The power came from a Ford 289ci engine through a four speed transmission to the 3.50:1 rear gear. The suspension was built of heavier duty components and stiffer Springs. Stopping power came from the Airhart disc brakes on all four corners.
Marvin Panch while running at the 12 hours of Sebring in 1962.
“I could pass any of the production cars at will and almost keep up with the proto types.”