Ford Falcon (XD)

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Ford Falcon (XD)
1979-82 XD Falcon Sedan==.jpg
Ford Falcon (XD) GL sedan
Manufacturer Ford Australia
Also called Ford Fairmont (XD)
Production March 1979 – March 1982
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
2-door coupé utility
2-door panel van
Layout FR layout
Engine 3.3 L I6
4.1 L I6
4.9 L V8
5.8 L V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic (column, floor)
3-speed manual (column)
4-speed manual (floor)
Predecessor Ford Falcon (XC)
Successor Ford Falcon (XE)

The Ford Falcon (XD) is an automobile which was produced by the Ford Motor Company of Australia between 1979 and 1982.[1] It was the twelfth Australian Ford Falcon series.


The Falcon XD was released in March 1979 [2] replacing the Falcon XC. It featured a new smaller body with no reduction in interior space.[2] Stylistically, the XD was strongly influenced by the European Ford Granada Mark II of 1977. The only common components shared between the Granada and the Falcon however were the headlights.[2] Unlike its predecessor, the XD range did not include a 2-door Hardtop model.

The base engine offered in the XD range was a 3.3-litre six cylinder engine. Other choices were a 4.1-litre (250 cu in) six cylinder, a 4.9-litre (302 cu in) eight cylinder and a 5.8-litre (351 cu in) eight cylinder engine. Transmissions available were a three speed column shift manual for six cylinder versions, the popular four speed manual floor shift, and the most popular transmission choice, the three speed automatic with the selector lever located either on the steering column or the floor.[3] All engines had a carburettor with electronic ignition. In June 1980 the 3.3 and 4.1 inline six's iron cylinder head was replaced by an alloy head.[4]

A total of 197,293 XD Falcons were built [3] prior to the XD being replaced by the Falcon XE in March 1982.[5]

Model range[edit]

The XD series was initially offered in five models:[6]

  • Falcon GL sedan
  • Falcon GL wagon
  • Fairmont sedan
  • Fairmont wagon
  • Fairmont Ghia sedan

Commercial variants of the XD Falcon were released in September 1979 [3] with four models offered:[1]

  • Falcon utility
  • Falcon van
  • Falcon GL utility
  • Falcon GL van

S-Pack option[edit]

An S-Pack option was introduced in 1980.[7] It included slotted wheels, pinstriping, 'S' badging and a tachometer.[8]

European Sports Pack (ESP) option[edit]

A European Sports Pack (ESP) was introduced in June 1980.[9] It was offered as an option on the Falcon GL Sedan,[10] and included “Bathurst” alloy wheels, sports suspension, “Scheel” front seats and the 4.1 litre alloy head six cylinder engine.[10] A European Sports Pack was also offered as an option on the Fairmont Ghia [11] from January 1981.[12]

Sundowner Van[edit]

A Sundowner Van was offered with standard equipment as in GL Van but also including the 4.1 litre engine, 4-speed manual fllor shift transmission, slotted steel wheels, sports instrumentation, front and rear spoilers, driving lights and exterior striping.[10]

XD Phase 5[edit]

1979 Ford XD Falcon Phase 5

With Ford no longer involved in motorsport, Ford Australia designer Wayne Draper saw an opportunity to provide teams with racing spoilers. He set up an aftermarket body styling company with Bob McWilliam, but remained a silent partner to avoid conflicts with Ford management. Between 1976 and 1978 they produced front splitters for XB and XC Falcon Hardtop race cars. Draper, who was a Senior Designer for the XD-XF Falcon, purchased the rights to the "HO" nameplate, as "homologated options". Draper then designed an aero kit and tested scale models of a XD Falcon in Ford's Wind tunnel. This became known as "XD Phase 5". The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport implemented a few changes (including using Dick Johnson's "bucket" wing) to the cars for homologation and HO/Phase Auto then produced the 25 cars required to allow the XD to race as a Group C Touring Car.

Motor Sport[edit]

Dick Johnson and John French won the 1981 James Hardie 1000 driving a Ford Falcon (XD)

Dick Johnson drove a 5.8 L (351 cu in) Group C Falcon XD, commonly called "Tru-Blu" (due to the cars blue paint and the name of the steel products from the main sponsor - Palmer Tube Mills),[13] to win the 1981 and 1982 Australian Touring Car Championships.[14][15] Johnson and co-driver John French also won the 1981 James Hardie 1000 driving an XD[16] when race was stopped by a pile-up on lap 121/163. For the first time in the history of racing at Bathurst, the race organisers declared the race over as more than 2/3 had been completed. French was driving Tru-Blu at the time of the accident and was well clear in first place, gradually increasing his lead on the second placed XD Falcon of Bob Morris (co-driver John Fitzpatrick).[17][18] Tru-Blu was rated at 306 kW (411 hp) and is now part of the David Bowden collection.[19][20]

Allan Moffat also raced an XD Falcon in the 1980 Bathurst 1000 when delays in approval of his Mazda RX-7 meant he would have to wait until the following season in 1981. Ford Australia had announced that they would not be taking part in racing due to a disagreement with CAMS over homologating the XD, which left AMR with no program and budget. By the end of the ATCC, Moffat still had no vehicle and it eventuated that he might miss the upcoming Bathurst 1000. Six weeks out from the race, Moffat put together a deal to run a 306 kW (410 hp) yellow XD Falcon. Lack of time limited its development and Moffat had to essentially use the practice sessions at Bathurst to test the car.[21] Recurring oil problems with the dry-sump system could not be eliminated during practice and on race day the vehicle was a DNF after only 2 laps due to the failure of the oil system. This was the last time Ford racing legend Allan Moffat would race a Falcon for many years and the yellow XD is also part of the David Bowden collection along with many of his other racing Falcons.[22]


  1. ^ a b Ford XD Falcon technical specifications, Retrieved on 5 June 2009
  2. ^ a b c Tony Davis, "1979 Ford Falcon XD", Aussie Cars, 1987, page 156
  3. ^ a b c Ford XD Falcon Retrieved from on 5 June 2009
  4. ^ "Ford XD Falcon Specifications". Aussie Fords. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Ewan Kennedy, Ford Falcon (2nd Edition), 1996, page 119
  6. ^ Ford XD Falcon brochure Retrieved from on 5 June 2009
  7. ^ John Ruggiero, 1982 XE Ford Fairmont Ghia ESP, Australian Muscle Car, Issue 65, January/February 2013, page 46
  8. ^ XD Falcon (1979 - 1982) Retrieved 17 April 2015
  9. ^ Blackwood, the XD Falcon, Retrieved 18 April 2015
  10. ^ a b c Ford Cars Catalogue September 1980, Ford Sales Company of Australia Limited
  11. ^ Ford Fairmont, Fairmont Ghia (sales brochure for XD series Ford Fairmont & Fairmont Ghia), Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited, March 1981, page 7
  12. ^ Ford Falcon ESP - Ford's Sleeper, Retrieved on 17 April 2015
  13. ^ Harris, Geoffrey (3 April 2014). "MOTORSPORT: One-time BRW rich-lister Ross Palmer broke". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Sam Hollier, Street Fords Issue's 86 and 111
  16. ^ Australian Motor Racing Yearbook, 1981/82
  17. ^ "DJR Cars & Technology - XD FALCON – TRU-BLU 2". DJR Team Penske. Dick Johnson Racing 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  18. ^ de Jong, Frank. "James Hardie 1000 Bathurst 1981". Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  19. ^ David, Bowden. "Dick Johnson's Tru Blu XD Falcon". 2013 Bowdens Own Pty Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Bowden, Dan (17 February 2014). "Dick Johnson reunited with Tru Blu at Lakeside". Bowdens Own Pty Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Allan Moffat - XD Falcon". Allan Moffat Racing. 
  22. ^ Bowden, Dan (16 March 2010). "Open Day #2 with Allan Moffat". Bowdens Own Pty Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2015.