Video: Tom McCleary’s 1961 Ford Falcon Wagon Gasser

Today’s local drag strips are littered with the top-of-the-line models and the next-best-thing. The heavy-weight, high horsepower cars heave their drivers down the track with gusto accompanied by the music of superchargers and turbos. The days of the purpose-built, stripped-down, street cars of yesterday seem to becoming more and more rare. However, events such as the Street Rod Nationals pay homage to the dying breed that gave birth to drag racing by giving the world a closer look at over 11.000 Street Rods, Muscle Cars, and Custom Classics.

Tom McCleary of Louisville, Kentucky recently gave Holley Performance a walk-around his 1961 Ford Falcon Wagon, The Knugget. Its original deluxe trim along with the natural patina that it has developed over the years seems to be the only authentic parts of the Falcon as most of the drive train and suspension seems to have been borrowed from other decommissioned Fords.

This gasser is fitted with 114-feet of roll cage piping, a fresh interior, a naturally aspirated 351 Windsor stroked out to a massive 408 cubic-inches, a C6 transmission, and a 9-inch rear end. Oh and who could miss the straight front axle that came from an old Econoline that gives the wagon its incredible gasser stance.

While there is nothing wrong with pushing the new breed to the very limit, there is just something about the good-ole-days at the track where “free-mods” such as weight reduction seemed to be the deciding factors between the winners and losers. The nostalgia created by the sound of thumping engines that have been tweaked to the breaking point of natural aspiration and the smell of partially burnt race fuel in the air was the unmistakable beginning of drag racing, and it’s always nice to see a car built to keep with tradition, while also standing out from the crowd.

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