The Falcon and the Corvair - compacts in miniature
by Doug Breithaupt with images by Rob Gras, Bill Manzke, Dan Davis and Kimmo Sahakangas

In the fall of 1959, the new American cars for 1960 were introduced. While there were many interesting models, two cars from Ford and Chevrolet were of particular interest. Ford offered the Falcon and Chevy offered the Corvair. While both were noteworthy for being compact cars by American standards, they were also quite different. The Corvair was more innovative from a technological standpoint, featuring an air-cooled 6-cylinder rear engine design. Of course, Porsche, Volkswagen and Renault had provide GM with plenty of inspiration. The Falcon was more conventional but still offered styling and size not common from a U.S. automaker. The Falcon also moved to Argentina and Australia, where it still continues as a model, long after being retired elsewhere. Both the Corvair and Falcon were offered in a variety of configurations including coupes, sedans, wagons and even small pick-up trucks. The Corvair also came as a van and the Falcon as a sedan delivery. The story of both cars has been told many times and the purpose of this article is not to try and repeat those details. Rather it is to the small-scale versions of both cars that this focus now moves.


While neither Corvair nor Falcon models are plentiful in small-scale, the unique nature of the Corvair generated more interest from toy car makers. The original Corvair sedan of 1960 was done by Hubley in a casting featuring good detail. The 1:87 scale models by Ingap and MPC lack windows or interiors and were likely intended for model railroad layouts. The best first generation Corvair model comes from Racing Champions. Part of the recent Mint Editions series, the stylish Monza offers engine detail and came in civilian and police versions. The Italian-styled second generation Corvair of 1965-69 has been largely overlooked. Only a rare version by Mego existed until the recent hot rod casting by Hot Wheels was produced in 2002. Two Corvair concept cars have been done. The Monza concept influenced the styling of the 1968 Corvette and both Guisval and Zylmex produced interesting examples. The Monza Spider inspired the Mach 5 of Speed Racer fame. Chevrolet produced three Astro concept cars with the first based on Corvair mechanicals. Corgi, Tin Toys, Playart and Yat Ming all offered the Astro 1. The Playtart and Yat Ming castings are essentially same, one of several links between these two companies. No Corvair convertible, wagon, pick-up or van models seem to exist in small-scale.

Astro 1 - Yat Ming

1960 Corvair 700 sedan - Hubley (Bill Manzke)

1960 Corvair 700 sedan - Ingap (Kimmo Sahakangas)

1960 Corvair 700 Sedan - MPC

1960 Corvair Monza - Racing Champions

1960 Corvair Monza police - Racing Champions

1965 Corvair 'Vairy8' - Hot Wheels

1965 Corvair Monza - Mego (Rob Gras)

Corvair Monza GT concept - Guisval (Rob Gras)

Corvair Monza GT concept - Zylmex (Rob Gras)

Astro 1 - Corgi Rocket (Rob Gras)

Astro 1 - Playart (Dan Davis)

Astro 1 - Tin Toys (Rob Gras)


Hubley also produced a Falcon Coupe to compliment the Corvair Sedan of 1960. For it's time, the detail is quite good. Tootsietoy offered another Falcon Coupe in several colors but without windows, interior or base. Fun Ho! of New Zealand did a Falcon Coupe much like the Tootsietoy version. Some of the best Falcon models come from Buby of Argentina. Offered in a variety of colors and in racing trim, Buby produced a very nice casting of the 1963 Falcon Sedan. Speed wheels were added later to compete better with other toy car producers. Argentina continued to produce Falcon models after the Falcon was replaced by the Ford Pinto in North America. The popularity of the Falcon brought another example from Galgo, this time in the form of an Argentine stock car racer. The addition of a pointed nose gives the car an interesting look. Ford Australia also continued to produce the Falcon and still offers this model. Recently, Aussie diecast companies like Cooee and Biante have offered classic Falcon models as well as current examples. The Cooee Road Rager shown here represents a 1971 GTHO Phase III, a muscle car that is seldom seen outside Australia. Matchbox offered a new Ford/Australia Falcon model several years ago. This Falcon represents a model used in Australian Touring Car racing and is certain to become a special interest Matchbox model for collectors in future.

1960 Falcon Coupe - Hubley (Kimmo Sahakangas)

1960 Falcon 2-door - Tootsietoy

1963 Falcon - Fun Ho (Kimmo Sahakangas)

1963 Falcon Sedan - Buby (Rob Gras)

1963 Falcon Sedan - Buby

1963 Falcon Sedan racer - Buby (Rob Gras)

1965 Falcon racer - Galgo (Rob Gras)

1971 Falcon GTHO Phase III - Cooee Road Ragers

1996 Ford Falcon racer - Matchbox

Johnny Lightning was planning to offer a Ford Falcon Ranchero pick-up and Wagon in 2004 but those plans are currently on hold. Both Corvair and Falcon models are now getting more interest in collector car circles, especially those with racing history. The Ford Falcon Sprint model or turbocharged Corvair Corsa and Yenko Stinger models would be excellent choices for small-scale vintage racers.

In 1970, the Falcon and Corvair gave way to the Pinto and Vega for North American markets. The success of these replacements can be measured in the fact that even fewer small-scale examples of the Pinto and Vega have been produced. That story will be saved for a later date.

Special thanks to all the collectors who provided additional images for this story. Without images by Rob Gras, Bill Manzke, Dan Davis and Kimmo Sahakangas, this story would be far less interesting.