Ford AU Falcon
|Ford AU Falcon|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company of Australia|
|Also called||Ford AU Fairmont
|Production||September 1998 – September 2002|
|Assembly||Campbellfield, Victoria, Australia|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door utility
5-door station wagon
|Related||Ford AU Fairlane
Ford AU LTD
|Engine||4.0 L Intech I6
4.0 L Intech Dedicated LPG I6
4.0 L Intech VCT I6
5.0 L Windsor V8
5.6 L Windsor V8
|Wheelbase||2,793 mm (110.0 in)–3,096 mm (121.9 in)|
|Length||4,907 mm (193.2 in)–5,077 mm (199.9 in)|
|Width||1,870 mm (74 in)–1,871 mm (73.7 in)|
|Height||1,870 mm (74 in)–1,871 mm (73.7 in)|
|Curb weight||1,437 kg (3,168 lb)–1,645 kg (3,627 lb)|
|Predecessor||Ford EL Falcon|
|Successor||Ford BA Falcon|
The Ford AU Falcon and Fairmont are the first of the sixth generation series of the Ford Falcon, a full-size car produced by Ford Australia. Replacing the EL Falcon, the last of the fifth generation Falcons, the AU series launch in September 1998, being replaced in September 2002 by the BA range of Fords.
The AU sported a radically different design that was dubbed "New Edge", to attract the younger generation with its "out there" looks. Other changes included a 35 kg (77 lb) reduction in weight for the base car, 17.5 per cent stiffer bodyshell, and an eight per cent improvement in fuel consumption.
History of development
The AU Falcon was developed after considering proposals to replace the Falcon platform with one derived from an overseas model, such as the American Ford Taurus, European Ford Scorpio, or the Japanese Mazda 929. These were eliminated in favour of a substantial redesign of the Australian platform, due to concerns about towing, interior size, and local employment. Design started in 1994 and the program cost 700 million Australian Dollars before product launch. It was launched under the slogan "You've come a long way baby". The AU featured Ford's New Edge design style, and an optional IRS, for the first time on a Falcon. The IRS was a double wishbone design on an isolated subframe, standard fitment on the XR6 VCT, XR8 and Fairmont Ghia, and was an option on most other sedan models (although not with limited slip differential - this combination was reserved for IRS XR models).
Sales of the AU did not match those of the previous model, the EL Falcon, partly due to a lack of enthusiasm by customers for the New Edge styling, alteration of fleet sale pricing, and the long term decline in the market for large cars.
Series II and III
Many of these issues were addressed with the AU Series II (April 2000) and Series III (November 2001) updates, which brought with them minor styling changes that gave the cheaper models styling features from the Fairmont, a laminated firewall to reduce NVH and incremental power upgrades for the V8, among other things.
The XR8 got two performance gains early Series 2 XR8's got a handbuilt 5Litre making 200kw while late S2 and early S3 XR8's got the handbuilt 220kw V8 on par with early T series Falcons
During this period the Windsor was phased out of production with the last being sent to Australia. These Windsors were then hand assembled by Tickford Engineering and turned into the most powerful normally aspirated EFI Windsor V8 made in the world. It was stroked to 5.6 litres and boasted 250 kW (335 hp) and 500 N·m (369 lb·ft) of torque. The six cylinder engine was not forgotten during this period, with the XR6 version receiving VCT, making 172 kW (231 hp) . The same engine, detuned to 168 kW (225 hp) through the use of a quieter exhaust system, was fitted to the Fairmont Ghia.
The base model AU Falcon was called the Forte, which was the replacement of the old GLi and was marketed to fleets and families. When new, the car was priced at $30,690 AUD. Automatic transmission was standard.
The more 'up-spec' model was called the Falcon Futura and was also marketed to families. The Futura differed from the Forte in having a body coloured grille, ABS, cruise control, alloy wheels and a digital clock fitted in the centre console (Series I Only). The price of the car when new was $34,990.
A limited edition Falcon Classic model was released in June 1999. It was an independent model from the Forte and Futura which featured the AU Falcon Utility Vehicle's grille painted body colour, 'Classic' badging, alloy wheels, a low level spoiler, and a 'warm charcoal' interior. The price when new was $30,690.
The Ford Falcon S, for Sports, was designed as an entry-level sports edition, with added features such as a painted grille, alloy wheels, S decals on the rear quarters and bootlid, and a high level spoiler. The colour choices were limited to Hot Chilli Red, Liquid Silver, Dynamic White, Galaxy (Metallic Blue) and Silhouette (Black) and the car was a sedan only model.
The Fairmont was the entry level luxury model of the AU range. It had all of the qualities of the Futura but included extra features such as a honeycomb grille, a 80 second headlamp off delay, wood grain inserts, unique 15" wheels, dual horns, Fairmont badging on the boot lid, and an analogue clock. The Fairmont was offered in sedan and station wagon bodystyles. Above the Fairmont was the Fairmont Ghia, which was the highest non-performance specification model in the range. It had additional features that included unique wheels and more wood grain inserts. Fairmont & Fairmont Ghia models were not badged as Falcons.
The XR Series was the performance end of the range, comprising the XR6, XR6 VCT, XR6 VCT Sprint, and the XR8, which was the "hero" car of the range, all series 1 XR's could have the option of a Tickford Bodykit and Bi-Spoiler rear wing, while Series 2 and 3 had a redesigned front nose cone with a intergrated bodykit. all XR's got a unique nose cone not shared with other AU's and gives it, its signiture quad headlight look, Series 1 XR8's had 185kw and 412 nm V8, while early Series 2 got a handbuilt V8 with 200kw and 420 nm, late Series 2 and series 3 had the handbuilt 5litre V8 which made 220kw and 435 nm of torque
The AU Falcon utility vehicles range was launched in June 1999. It offered Falcon XL, XLS, XR6 and XR8 style side utility models, a cab-chassis model and a cab-chassis with factory fitted drop-side tray. The latter was the first tray utility vehicle that Ford Australia had produced for several years.
The body of the AU Falcon utility differed in design from the competing Holden Ute in that the cargo tray was separate from the cab, whereas the tray was an integral part of the body shell in the Holden. As a result, this allowed the rear to accept different after market body types, including tray decks, service bodies, and camper van shells. Unlike the sedan, the AU Falcon utility vehicles were very popular.
FTE T Series
Towards the top end of the market were the T-Series models, the Falcon XR8 based TE50, the Fairmont Ghia based TS50 and the Fairlane based TL50. These were marketed under the FTE name, FTE being an acronym for Ford Tickford Experience, a joint venture between Ford Australia and Tickford.
Due to inadequate sales of Ford performance sedans and Holdens succsess with its 5.7 litre GM produced v8, Ford were forced to up the ante with a run of higher performance sedans that could give buyers a comparable between the two brands and aid the sales largely the fault of the ailing XR series.
Tickford immediately began development of the 5 litre Windsor beginning with the addition of a longer-throw crankshaft stretching out the capacity to 5.6 litres (342ci). The power was upped to 250kw (from 220kw) and the torque upped to 500Nm. This gave birth to the FTE TS50, TL50 and TE50.
Only Three T3 TL 50's were made and only one was built in 2002 the other two were made in 2001, making the TL50 one of the rarest Fords built in Australia
 The FTE T Series models, which were produced from 1999 to 2002, featured hand-built engines with an engraved plaque bearing the name of the engine builder.
Paul Radisich and Glenn Seton, each driving a racing-modified XR8, came 4th and 5th in the 2000 V8 Supercar Championship Series. The car was runner up in the 2000 FAI 1000. Marcos Ambrose finished 3rd in the 2002 V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Privateer racer Trevor Haines raced a TE50 to 13th place in the 2002 Australian GT Production Car Championship, and later the team finished 9th outright and a Class 5 win in the 2002 Bathurst 24 Hour.
- "AU Falcon - A Dedicated Australian". Web Publications Pty Limited. 1998-09-03. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- Kenwright, Joe (2005-04-01). "Holden VT/VX Commodore (1997-2002) AND Ford Falcon AU (1998-2002)". CarPoint Australia. ninemsn. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Smith, Graham (2009-01-22). "Ford Falcon AU – 1998-2000: model watch". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
- The new Falcon, Fairmont and XR (AU sales brochure FCL 7384), November 1998, pages 13-14
- Ford AU Falcon Futura Review
- Ford Classic Speculation Pages, True Blue Ford.com
- Ford AU Ute, New Car Buyer No 15, 2000, pages 30-33
- Ford Tickford Experience set for Launch in October Retrieved from www.autoweb.com.au on 29 November 2008
- FTE Questions & Answers Retrieved from www.internetarchive.com on 29 November 2008
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ford AU Falcon.|
|Ford Motor Company of Australia automobile timeline, 1980s–present|
|Full-size||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / Fairmont||Falcon / G Series|
|Fairlane / LTD||Fairlane / LTD||Fairlane / LTD|
|Falcon Ute||Falcon Ute||Falcon Ute|