The Ecobird: Jack Malloy’s EcoBoost-Powered 1961 Ford Falcon

You can go to just about any show and count on seeing certain vehicles on display. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those builds or the people who proudly own them, but not everyone is a fan of coloring within the lines. Jack Malloy’s “Ecobird” 1961 Ford Falcon is something that you don’t see at most car shows.

The Falcon was created and marketed as a compact car that would fill the role as a second car for your typical family. Ford churned out multiple versions of the Falcon during its run and equipped them with small displacement engines. Basically, the Falcon was an affordable car that anybody could drive.

Jack and his father had always wanted to build something that was just a little different. After looking at a lot of different classic cars the Falcon got their attention. Now, they could have gone down the V8 swap road with this car using a modern Coyote-based mill, but that would have been too easy. Jack decided that Ford’s EcoBoost engine would be a better fit for their vision of something unique, plus it would be in line with the Falcon’s small-displacement engine heritage.

So, Jack was on the lookout for a Falcon to use as the foundation for his project. Like so many other project cars, Jack found his in the most unlikely of locations, a side street at a car show.

“We found this car at the Back To The 50s car show in 2021. I always tried to look at every Falcon I saw, and I found this car on a side street as we were walking around the show. I really looked the car over, I crawled underneath it, was examining the interior, and just took it all in because it was such a solid car. An older gentleman came over to us and said it was for sale, but we didn’t believe him. He pulled out the keys and let us sit in the car. At that point, we started talking and worked out a deal to purchase the car,” Jack says.

The Falcon was whisked away to Chicago where Jack started gathering parts and coming up with a plan. Platinum Custom Cars was brought into the fold to help make Jack’s dream become a reality. A 2015 Mustang sacrificed its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine for the project. The engine received a tune from another Ford product, a Focus RS, unlocking 450 horsepower. A TREMEC five-speed transmission was matched to the EcoBoost engine.

Under the Ecobird’s skin, you’ll find numerous custom touches that were added by Platinum Custom Cars. A TCI independent front suspension with tubular control arms, rack and pinion steering, and coilover shocks replaced the OEM parts. A custom firewall and core support had to be fabricated so the EcoBoost engine and BMW intercooler would fit in between the front fenders. In the rear, a narrowed 9” rearend was swapped into the car, along with coilover shocks and a custom tri-link suspension. The rear of the Falcon was also mini tubed to make room for the big 3030 Autosport wheel and tire package.

Inside the Ecobird you’ll find a custom interior that’s highlighted by Dakota Digital gauges. The seats were created by Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors. Carriage House made the door and quarter panel trim. Jack rides in comfort inside the Ecobird thanks to Vintage Air A/C, and he listens to his music through a Bluetooth stereo system from Retro-Sound.

“My favorite part of the car are the wheels. We were having a hard time with wheel choice and saw the 3030 Wheels on the Power Tour and fell in love with what they offer. These are a three-piece wheel and they just set the tone for the car,” Jack states.

Pulling off a build like this can be a challenge when the car you start with is in rough shape. Thankfully, Jack didn’t have to deal with those types of issues. When the team at Platinum Custom Cars stripped the paint off the Ecobird there was just one dent that needed pulled. The car was perfect and that helped the build move a lot quicker than expected.

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“I really want to thank my dad Bill for everything he did to make this build come to life. He used to have a Pro Mod and let me clean the wheelie bars when I was a kid. Spending time with him at the track is what got me into cars, and I enjoy the time we spend together doing car-related things,” Jack explains.

Jack Malloy’s Ecobird is an ultra-cool build because it mixes modern technology with the spirit of a classic car. The vision that Jack had of building something different is ingrained in this car, and the execution of the build is top-notch. It goes to show that you don’t have to build what everybody else builds to have a rad ride.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. Brian enjoys anything loud, fast, and fun.
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