Les Bateman’s 1965 2 door sedan

“Bad Bird” Found Me!

I like to say that my ’65 Ford Falcon (aka “Bad Bird”) pro-street is a car that found me, instead of me finding it. It’s a long story, but the Readers Digest version goes something like this:

In 2015 I was in the second year of what turned out to be a failed car restoration, a project that was only supposed to take 12 months to complete but was closing in on 24 months with no end in sight. The builder acquired this ’65 Falcon in an estate sale, and knew I was frustrated at the pace of my project. The biggest car show of the year (for me) was coming up in August (Hot August Nights, Reno, NV) and so to appease me he while the restoration was being “completed” he offered to let me use the Falcon. I spent 10 days with the Falcon, driving from the San Fernando Valley to Reno, and then to the different venues at the show, showing it off, etc. and came to really appreciate it. I had a similar opportunity to use it several weeks later, this time going to Pleasanton for the Good-Guys car show, and came to really like the car even more.

Finally my car restoration was “completed” in September 2015 and while it looked pretty good I wasn’t satisfied and came to the conclusion I never would be. With that in mind I put my car in the November Mecum Auction, held in Anaheim. At the same time the builder put the ’65 Falcon into the auction as well; when it was all over my car went to a new owner and the ’65 Falcon didn’t sell. The builder offered to sell me the Falcon for what he had into it (I knew what he had paid for it) and the deal was struck.
With all the cars I’ve bought and sold over the years this is the first time a car has found me, instead of the other way around. Perhaps it’s a sign.

In a related story, the person who set the car up for track / street happened to see a picture of the Falcon when I had it in the Good-Guys Pleasanton Car Show and managed to track me down a couple of weeks later. As a result of that contact I now have original photos of the work he did which are part of the photo-album I carry in the car.

As for the particulars, the ’65 was really built more for the strip than for the show and I’ve been busy changing it up for street use. It now has a Blue-Print 302 Cleveland V8, full roller, .030 over, 390HP, Griffin radiator, front disc brakes, cold air induction, MSD distributor/coil, Headman headers, Flowmaster exhaust with electric cut-outs, power steering, B&M AOD, shortened 9” rear with 3:73 gears, mini-tubbed, posi-traction, two-bar coil-over shocks with a pan-hard bar, and a 22 gallon gas tank for long trips (gone is the 12 gallon fuel cell that was in the trunk when I bought the car).