Achieving the perfect mixture of show-stopping craftsmanship and incredible performance is a rare thing indeed.Generally you get one or the other in a custom built vehicle, but this 1964 Ford Falcon, built by US12 Speed and Custom for owner Henry Braddock III, elegantly combines equal parts of both beauty and beast. In order to properly explain why this extraordinary car exists, we need to take a look back to what inspired Henry to have it built and how it came to be in the first place.
Back in the 1960s Henry Braddock of Sawyer, Michigan had just started St. Joe Tool Company. In his spare time, he was racing a bright red 1966 Chevy II he considered to be a fast car on the street, but no matter what he tried, he just could not get the thing to win on the drag strip running against the likes of “Grumpy” Bill Jenkins and other drag racing heroes of the day. Henry’s Hamburgers, a drive-in style joint, in Benton Harbor is where all the racers from the area used to hang out, and one night Braddock had a run-in with a fellow wearing overalls who wanted to see just how fast his Chevy was. The man said he’d give him an 18 car-length head start and wagered him $400, an offer that seemed like easy money. Henry simply couldn’t it turn down. Well, that racer’s name was Vaughn Kubert, and he ended up beating Henry in a 1964 Ford Falcon that he had gotten from none other than Dick Brannan, the man Behind Ford’s Drag Racing Program at the time. Despite the loss, Henry and Vaughn became best friends, and it was at that point Henry switched from his old Chevy II to a 1968 Ford Cobra Jet set up by Vaughn. With that car, he started beating out the opponents in every race he went to, actually winning the Super Stock Eliminator class at his local track four years straight. Needless to say from that point on he became a Ford guy when it came to racing, and he always remembered the 1964 Ford Falcon that put such a whooping on him that one fateful night.
Many years later, in 2011, Mr. Braddock decided to build a tribute car in honor of Dick Brannan, so he found a relatively rust-free Falcon Sprint in Connecticut. As it so often happens, the car went to a couple different shops because Henry wasn’t happy with the work being done. That changed, however, when he saw a Camaro that Rocky and the guys at US12 had just finished. He pulled the Falcon from the place it was being worked on and sent it to US12. That’s when things started to snowball like they tend to do, and he ultimately decided he wanted to build the baddest Falcon of all time.
The guys at US12 ended up cutting out all the previous work and fabricated a full custom chassis out of chromoly tubing on their frame table before permanently mating the body to it. To save some weight, the entire front clip, doors, and deck lid were replaced with fiberglass components, leaving only the roof, quarters, and tail pan in steel. The bumpers are also steel, but have been tucked and smoothed with the rear being opened up in the middle to allow the custom wheelie bars to pass through. Once the bodywork was finished and all trim holes had been filled on the exterior of the car, an aluminum spoiler was added to the rear of the vehicle and the car was painted in a gorgeous Brandywine Candy from House of Kolor. Then Billy D, the designer and artist at US12, went to work on the car imitating all the trim and badging in paint with his airbrush gun and hand lettering all the graphics and gold leaf before the car was cleared.
With a chassis that could now handle virtually any amount of power that they put in it, Henry sought out the advice of the man who builds some of some of the world’s most capable Ford engines: Jon Kaase. The combo Kaase recommended was a Siamese 460 big block based engine that was bored out and given a Bryant Racing stroker crank, resulting in a 596ci monster. The assembled block was then topped with a set of Kaase’s renowned Boss Nine aluminum cylinder heads, fitted with a 2.30-inch intake and 1.90-inch exhaust valves to flow an absurd amount of air. The resulting combo assembled by ACR Performance had a very streetable 9.5:1 compression ratio and would make around 1,000 hp naturally aspirated breathing through a carburetor, but that simply wasn’t good enough for Henry. He decided on twin-turbocharging the mill and making it fuel injected. So US12 went to work fabricating a custom set of headers and charge piping out of stainless to plumb in two 76mm Bullseye Power turbos, Turbosmart waste gates, a Procharger blow-off valve, and a custom air to water intercooler from Precision Turbo. To support all this added horsepower potential, the 16-gallon fuel cell was equipped with Magna Fuel pumps, massive, 225cc injectors were installed in the intake manifold, and a billet Wilson throttle body was bolted on for it to breathe through. Fast EFI was chosen to manage this impressive set up, and at 22 pounds of boost it should be putting out a whopping 2,800 hp and 2,400 lb-ft. of torque – though they haven’t gotten an accurate dyno reading due to the tires spinning no matter how tightly they strap it down.
In order to handle this power, a rather serious transmission was needed. Henry called on the guys at FTI Performance to build a Pro Series Powerglide transmission with a manual valve body that directs power through a carbon fiber drive shaft to a four-linked Strange 9-inch with a spool and a 3.50:1 gear along and robust 35 spline axles that deliver power to the ground through a set of Weld Magnum 15”X16” wheels wrapped in 33”X17” Goodyear Eagle drag racing slicks.
Despite the fact that the car is clearly a performance machine, it was actually built to be friendly on the street, so the car got a full interior. Billy D from US12 made all the tinwork inside and covered it in leather, while the aluminum racing seats were padded and had covers stitched up by Barry’s upholstery. The steel dash was retained but was completely smoothed of all holes including the glove box door, and a Racepak Iq3 display was mounted right behind the steering wheel. The car even has power windows, and the red window tint adds to the nostalgic feel.
This car was finished in 2014 and made it’s debut at the Detroit Autorama that year, where it was shown to Dick Brannan the first time. It ended up sweeping the show, taking all five first place awards in its class. Since then, it has gone to a number of shows, racking up even more awards, even going so far as to be picked by a Chevy club for their top award at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. The car has yet to be taken down the strip, but it has driven a number of miles on the street, where it has proven to be flat out violent. It comes up on boost almost immediately, alleviating large amounts of smoke from the slicks as a result Ultimately the power needs to be dialed back and the boost ramped up more gradually so that the tires can handle it, but once this thing gets properly tuned, the quarter mile probably won’t seem nearly as long as it used to for Henry.