The origination of the Ford Falcon was tied to the Thunderbird that was produced a few years earlier. The designers of the Thunderbird also initiated the design of the Falcon. The Falcon was called XK T-Bird in its early inception. This was a code name that was used to confuse the competition.
Before the use of computers and highpowered software, clay models were used to design new vehicles. Twenty different clay models were made for the car that would eventually become the Falcon. Clay models had limitations, and the designers of the Falcon created three fiberglass models. The see through fiberglass models made it easier for management to envision what the final product would look like.
The three fiberglass models used in the development of the Falcon had different design themes. One was named the Cougar, the second was called the Falcon, and third was called the Valkyrie. Designers just named the cars for identification purposes as the final name for a new vehicle was management’s call.
The initial XK T-Bird designation for the Falcon survived when the 1960 Falcon tooling was shipped to Australia. The XK designation was picked up off the drawings and used to identify the first Australian Falcons in 1962.
The Falcon name was used on early design models for the new-sized Ford, but it was not officially designated the Falcon until 1958. Ford hired an advertising agency to search names for their new compact. A list of bird names was searched and Falcon wasdeclared the winner.
There are different stories about how Ford acquired the right to use the Falcon name. One version is that Chrysler had rights to the name because it had been used on a1955 experimental sports car. Henry Ford II apparently telephoned Chrysler management and acquired the right to use the Falcon name.
Another version is that Chrysler and Ford were unaware that each gompany was considering the Falcon name. Both companies independently settled on the name, but the Ford Company registered the name 20 minutes before Chrysler. Whether Chrysler would have ever used the Falcon name is unknown.