Ford Falcon GT

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Ford XY Falcon GT

The Ford Falcon GT is an automobile which was produced by Ford Australia from 1967 to 1976, briefly in 1992, again in 1997, and then from 2003 to the present day with intermittent limited edition anniversary models offered in between. Since 2003 the car has been marketed as the FPV GT but FPV continue to release anniversary editions commemorating the release of the original 1967 model. The Falcon GT is inextricably linked with the history of Australian muscle car production and with the evolution of Australian domestic motor racing.

Overview[edit]

The GT was introduced as a performance variant of the Australian Ford Falcon XR series in 1967. GT variants were also offered in: 1968 XT, 1969 XW, 1971 XY, 1972 XA, 1973 XB models. HO (Handling Options) variants released with XW and XY model ranges, further modified for performance and were essentially homologation specials for motor racing. A XA version of the HO was abandoned in the early stage of development due to public pressure in 1972 after an infamous newspaper campaign.

After a rest of sixteen years the GT badge was revived for a 25th anniversary edition of the 1992 EB series Falcon with a 30th anniversary version offered in 1997 on the EL Falcon. From 2003 the GT badge was inherited by Ford Australia's performance tuning arm, Ford Performance Vehicles and the FPV GT has been offered continuously since 2003 on the BA, BF (2006) and FG (2008) model ranges. The GT badge will be discontinued at the launch of the final 2014 Falcon model.[1]


Falcon (XR) GT[edit]

The 1967 XR series was a major shift in the evolution of the Falcon, then still being adapted from its American counterpart for Australian release. The car was noticeably larger compared to the XP model range. For the first time Ford Australia offered a V8 engine on the range, the 289-cubic-inch engine then in use on the Ford Mustang.

Australian Police force took advantage of the option of the powerful V8 engine, with Ford offering a Police Interceptor Pack Falcon, Ford Australia Managing Director, Bill Bourke, then introduced the GT, based around the success of GT versions of the Ford Cortina. The GT Falcon would be marketed in exactly the same way as the GT Cortinas with the competition arm of Ford Australia preparing production racing cars to race at the Bathurst 500.

A charcoal interior consisting of ZA Fairlane bucket seats, wood-grained steering wheel, dash and matching gear knob and special Stewart-Warner instrumentation added to the sporty specification. The XR GT was available in the exclusive GT Gold only, however, 8 were produced in "Gallaher Silver" for promotion of the Gallaher tobacco brand. 5 XR GT's were also finished in a selection of colors at the request of teams to enter them in racing events, with the 1967 Gallaher 500 winning XR GT painted in Ivy Green.

The factory racing team, led by veteran driver/engineer Harry Firth entered two cars, one for himself and Fred Gibson and the other for the Geoghegan brothers, Ian and Leo, though both supplied their own pit crew and each 'team' prepared their own cars. After a day long battle against three Alfa Romeos at Bathurst in 1967, the team emerged with a 1–2 team victory (with Firth and Gibson winning by 11 seconds) which captured the public imagination and sales figures soared. The move forced General Motors-Holden's and Chrysler Australia to respond with their own performance editions of their large sedan in 1968 when neither had such vehicles planned, beginning the era of the Australian muscle car.[2]

Falcon (XT) GT[edit]

The XT Falcon saw an increase in capacity of the Windsor V8 to 302c.i. The Color range was also increased, and sales double the amount of the previous range. The XT won the Teams Prize in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon finishing 3rd, 5th and 8th in the event, against more rally focused opposition.[3]

Falcon (XW) GT[edit]

Ford introduced the HO (handling options) package in the 1969 XW model range, creating a 2-tier range, with the HO package essentially a road registerable racing car for the leading production touring car teams to exploit. With the XW Range, the Windsor V8 was now offered in a bigger 351c.i displacement, producing 290 BHP (217KW) and 385 ft/lbs. of torque.

GT-HO Phase I[edit]

The first GT-HO variant produced 300 bhp (225KW) due to a larger carburetor, and changes to the camshaft and intake. There were also changes made to the suspension, including stiffer shock absorbers, springs and larger diameter roll bars. Despite the changes made, at the 1969 Hardie-Ferodo 500 poor tire performance meant that drivers had to pit regularly over the opposition. However, a privately entered XW GT-HO of Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland claimed second outright.[4]

GT-HO Phase II[edit]

In 1970, the Cleveland V8 engine replaced the previous Windsor engines, the 351c.i. Cleveland engine was first used in a small batch of Phase 1 specification XW GT's, these are retrospectively referred to as "Phase 1.5s". Ford modified the engine in the Phase II, with a larger carburetor (700cfm) over the Cleveland's original 600cfm version. Allan Moffat claimed his first Bathurst win at the hands of a Phase II at the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500, with Bruce McPhee second, giving Ford Works Team a 1,2 finish.

Falcon (XY) GT[edit]

Main article: Ford Falcon (XY) GT

Almost 1 year after the release of the XY Falcon, Ford released the 1971 XY GT. Among the visual changes to the normal falcon range, the XY received the "Shaker scoop" ram-air intake from the 1969-70 Mach 1 Mustang. A XY GT starred in the Australian movie Running on Empty, as a GT-HO Phase III.

GT-HO Phase III[edit]

The homolgation specials reached their zenith with the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III in 1971, a car which Allan Moffat used to defeat all opposition in the 1971 Bathurst enduro and would remain the fastest four-door production saloon in the world until the introduction of the Lotus Carlton 19 years later.

A fear campaign against the homolgation specials started with headlines of "160 MPH Street Cars soon!" led to Ford dropping production with the planned Falcon GT HO Phase IV.[5] For their own part, touring car racing regulations were altered, creating the 1973 Group C regulations, which allowed production cars to be modified for racing independently of the road going cars, reducing pressure on manufacturers to put racing modifications into the road cars.

A Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III was the most expensive Australian vehicle sold at auction selling for A$750,000.[6] A previous sale had been for A$683,650.[7]


Falcon (XA) GT[edit]

The GT model was continued with the new Australian designed XA, and for the first time, the GT was available as a 2-door Hardtop. The GT received unique front fenders with dummy air vents on the leading edges, and a bonnet featuring NACA-style ducts. Purchasers were now offered a larger range of colour combinations, with the GT black-outs on the bonnet and lower edges of the car now available in silver.

GT-HO Phase IV[edit]

See also: Supercar scare

Ford developed the HO series further with the XA Falcon, and were ready to produce the Phase IV to homologate the car for Group E Series Production Touring Cars racing, including the 1972 Hardie-Ferodo 500. On Sunday, 25 June 1972, the front page of The Sun-Herald carried the head-line ‘‘160 mph ‘super cars’ soon’’, with the sub-text, minister "horrified!". This set off a chain of responses from the Minister for Transport, Milton Morris, who called for the ban of these supercars just three days after the new article.

On Thursday 29 June, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) announced that the end of the current Group E Series Production Touring Cars regulations, which would be replaced by new Group C regulations for 1973. Group C allowed modified versions of road cars to compete, removing the need for manufactures to develop road-going race specials.

The following Sunday, 2 July, Ford announced the cancellation of the Phase IV program. At this stage, one production car had been sent down the line, and three XA GT sedans were in various stages of construction to Phase IV specs at Ford Special Vehicles, Ford's internal race division. Only one of these cars was ever used in competition, with one sold to rally driver Bruce Hodgson, and eventually was destroyed in a crash in 1981. The other two are in the hands of collectors, with the car intended for Allan Moffat now in Australian collector and founder of Bowden's detailing products David Bowden's collection.[8][9]

The sole production car was not sold until the following year, by Jack Brabham Ford, to a Sydney, Australia based owner, whom then had the car re-sprayed form its original Calypso Green to Zircon Green. The car went through a number of owners, until the current owner who had the car restored to factory specifications, in a build documented by an Australian Fords publication.


Falcon (XB) GT[edit]

Launched in September 1973, the XB GT was to be the last Falcon GT for almost 20 years until the 25th Anniversary EBII GT in October 1992. The XB GT received a new aggressive front end with a the twin nostril bonnet, similar to the style found on the '71-'73 Mach 1 Mustang. The XB was the most popular GT model built by Ford with a total of 2,899 (1950 sedans and 949 hardtops) sold. In August 1975, Ford introduced the John Goss Special , a limited edition hardtop with a unique color scheme and several GT appearance and interior features, to celebrate the fact that Goss was the only driver to win both the Australian Grand Prix and the Bathurst 1000.[10]

Motorsport[edit]

The Falcon GT saw considerable success in the Australian Touring Car Championship, Australian Manufacturers' Championship and the Bathurst 500/Bathurst 1000. The Ford Works Team was dealt with the task of running the Falcon GT in the early years.


Ford Falcon GT Specifications – produced by Ford Australia[edit]

Based on Falcon model Years Engine Notes
XR 1967[11]-68[12] 289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8 – 225 bhp (168 kW), sourced from the Ford Mustang[13] All but thirteen XR GTs were painted in the colour 'GT Gold', eight were "Gallaher Silver" and five were "Russet Bronze, Sultan Maroon, Polar White, Avis White and Ivy Green". The non-gold GTs, while having the same specifications, are the rarest of the early Australian muscle cars.
XT 1968–69 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 – 239 bhp (178 kW)[14]
XW 1969–70 351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland and Windsor V8[15] – 290 bhp (220 kW) and 385 lb·ft (522 N·m)

The XW GT HO – 300 bhp (220 kW)

2,287 XW Falcon GTs and 662 XW GTHOs were built.[16] The limited production, high-performance Falcon GTHO was released two months after the mainstream models. A further development, the GTHO Phase II was released in August 1970.[17]
XY (see XY GT) 1970–72 351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland V8[18] 300 bhp (220 kW) with the XY GT HO Phase III having 380 bhp (280 kW) Variant: Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III
XA 1972–73 351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland V8, 224 kW (300 hp) @ 5400 rpm 515 N·m (380 lb·ft) @ 3400 rpm[19] Both 2-door Hardtop and 4-door Sedan versions

Production of GTHO Phase IV commenced in mid-June 1972, four vehicles were built when production was stopped due to a "Supercar scare".[5] Three were built as race cars for the Bathurst 500 in October, and one made it off the production line for sale to the public.[20]

XB 1973–76 351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland V8, 224 kW (300 hp) @ 5400 rpm 515 N·m (380 lb·ft) @ 3400 rpm[21] Both 2-door Hardtop and 4-door Sedan versions

There were no XC—EA GT vehicles produced.



Ford Falcon GT Specifications– produced by Tickford[edit]

Tickford Vehicle Engineering produced the following models.

Based on Falcon model Years Engine Notes
EB II 1992[22] Tickford engineered Windsor 302 cu in (4.95 L) 5.0 V8, sequentially injected OHV, two valves per cylinder

200 kW (270 hp) @ 5700 rpm & 420 N·m (310 lb·ft) @ 3700 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto[22]

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first original Falcon GT Ford re-introduced the Falcon GT with 250[22] or 300[23] units
EL 1997[24] Tickford engineered Windsor 302 cu in (4.95 L) 5.0 V8 The 30th anniversary EL GT was based loosely on the Fairmont Ghia rather than the XR models, with 272 built[22]


FPV GT Specifications – produced by Ford Performance Vehicles[edit]

Ford Performance Vehicles produced the FPV GT, currently with three variants, the GT, the GT-P (a higher-specification version of the regular GT) and the GT-E (more focused on luxury rather than performance).

FPV have produced the following GT models

Based on Falcon model Years Engine Notes
BA 2003–2005 5.4 L (330 cu in) Boss 290 V8 producing 290 kW (390 hp) at 5500 rpm 520 N·m (380 lb·ft) of torque at 4500 rpm GT and GT-P variants, 2004 BA MkII update
BF 2005–2007 5.4 L (330 cu in) Boss 290 V8 4-valve DOHC, 389 hp (290 kW) and 384 lbft (521 Nm)

GT Cobra motor produced 405 hp (302 kW) and 398 lbft (540 Nm)

GT and GT-P, 2006 BF MkII update GT and GT-P

A trio of limited-editions released in 2007 included the GT 40th Anniversary[25] and the GT Cobra.[26]

FG 2008 on 5.4 L (330 cu in) Boss 315 V8 producing 315 kW (428 PS; 422 hp) at 6,500 rpm and 551 N·m (406 lb·ft) of torque at 4,750 rpm.

From October 2010
302 cu in (4.95 L) 5.0 V8 supercharged alloy quad cam engine producing 335 kW (449 hp) at 5750–6000 rpm 570 N·m (420 lb·ft) of torque between 2200 & 5500 rpm.[27]

GT, GT-P, GT-E and GT R-spec variants

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fpr.com.au/news/2013/11/11/ford-falcon-xr8-to-return-in-2014
  2. ^ http://www.australianclassiccarhistoryservices.com.au/xr-gt.html
  3. ^ http://www.fpv.com.au/fpv_history#
  4. ^ http://www.gt351.com.au/XW_GT.php
  5. ^ a b The Sun-Herald ran a front page lead article (with banner headline in large capital letters) on Sunday 25 June 1972: "160mph 'Super Cars' Soon". A copy of that front page is shown at the start of a www.gtho4.com Phase IV documentary
  6. ^ Joshua Dowling, (3 June 2007), $750,000 for 36-year-old Ford Falcon, Brisbane Times
  7. ^ Ford GTHO sets new auction record for a 'muscle car' at Bonhams & Goodman's first collectors' cars auction for 2007 – Melbourne, Sydney and Perth – 25 March 2007, (1 February 2007), Bonhams & Goodman announcements at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-feature/why-they-killed-off-the-aussie-supercar-20120622-20sfx.html
  9. ^ http://www.gtho4.com/gtho4.html
  10. ^ http://www.fpv.com.au/fpv_history
  11. ^ Graham Smith, (22 January 2009), Ford Falcon GT 1967: buyers guide, Herald Sun
  12. ^ Ford Falcon XR GT Technical Specifications at Unique Cars and Parts
  13. ^ The Ford Falcon GT Story at Unique Cars and Parts
  14. ^ Ford Falcon XT GT at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 15 April 2010
  15. ^ Ford Falcon XW GT Identification at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 20 September 2010
  16. ^ Ford Falcon XW GTHO technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 1 February 2010
  17. ^ Ford Falcon XW GT at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 1 February 2010
  18. ^ Ford Falcon XY GT Technical Specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 20 September 2010
  19. ^ Ford Falcon XA GT technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieve on 21 September 2010
  20. ^ John Wright, (1987), The Final Finest Phase, Super Ford, 1987, pp. 20–27 at Unique Cars and Parts
  21. ^ Ford Falcon XB GT technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 21 September 2010
  22. ^ a b c d Warner, Gary. "Falcon GT – style and substance (if you can find one)". FastLane. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  23. ^ Ford EB GT Identification at Unique Cars and Parts
  24. ^ Ford EL GT Identification at Unique Cars and Parts
  25. ^ Jez Spinks, (2 March 2007), FPV unveils Australia's own GT 40, Drive
  26. ^ Joshua Dowling, (6 February 2008), New Car Road Test: FPV GT Cobra, The Sydney Morning Herald
  27. ^ Ford Performance Vehicles, (2 September 2010), News & Media: FPV announces supercharged V8 engine program

External links[edit]