Ford Falcon GT
|Ford Falcon GT|
|Body and chassis|
The Ford Falcon GT is an automobile that was produced by Ford Australia from 1967 to 1976, by a joint-venture with Tickford in 1992 and 1997, and by a new joint venture with Prodrive from 2003 to 2014 with intermittent limited edition anniversary models offered in between. The Falcon GT is inextricably linked with the history of Australian muscle car production and with the evolution of Australian domestic motor racing.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Falcon (XR) GT
- 3 Falcon (XT) GT
- 4 Falcon (XW) GT
- 5 Falcon (XY) GT
- 6 Falcon (XA) GT
- 7 Falcon (XB) GT
- 8 Falcon (EB II & EL) GT
- 9 Falcon (BA to FG) GT
- 10 Specifications
- 11 Motorsport
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The GT model was introduced as a performance variant of the Australian Ford Falcon XR series in 1967. They were also offered with the 1968 XT; 1969 XW, 1971 XY, 1972 XA, 1973 XB Falcon ranges. GT-HO ("Handling Option") versions were released with the XW and XY Falcon series, with were essentially further modified homologation specials for motor racing. An XA series HO was abandoned in the early stage of development due to public pressure in 1972 after an infamous newspaper campaign against excessive top speed.
In 1992, after a sixteen-year absence since the last model, the badge resurfaced with the GT 25th Anniversary model based EB II series Falcon, which was followed by a GT 30th Anniversary model in 1997. Both of these cars were developed by Tickford Vehicle Engineering (TVE) who then opted to instead establish the Ford Tickford Experience (FTE) brand as a more sophisticated alternative to high performance rival, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), by marketing the "T series" based on the AU Falcon and Failane range.
From 2003, with Tickford bought out by Prodrive, FTE was replaced by the new owner's Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) joint venture with Ford Australia. This change led to the GT badge becoming a permanent fixture of the Falcon range with the aim of more closely competing against rival Holden's, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV). FPV's operations ended in 2014, as part of Ford Australia's end of location production by 2016, with the launch of the last GT-F "351".
Falcon (XR) GT
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 to the public exclusively with a manual transmission and in the exclusive "GT Gold" paint, with a total of 596 units built. A fleet of 8 units was produced in "Gallaher Silver" for promotion of the Gallaher tobacco brand, which had a small keyhole in the right-rear quarter panel under one of the tailights that activated an alarm system connected to the doors and boot. A further 5 units 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.
Falcon (XT) GT
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.
Falcon (XW) GT
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
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.
GT-HO Phase II
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
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
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. 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.
Falcon (XA) GT
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
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 news 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.
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
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.
Falcon (EB II & EL) GT
In 1991, Ford Australia entered in a joint venture with Tickford, establishing Tickford Vehicle Engineering (TVE) as its high performance arm. Apart from developing Falcon's XR sports models and fitting certain accessories to the Falcon and Fairlane range (e.g. LPG systems and sunroofs), TVE took advantage of the return of a V8 powerplant since 1982 by releasing a "25th Anniversary" and "30th Anniversary" edition of the Falcon GT.
The anniversary years are based from the time of the introduction of the very first Falcon GT in 1967 (based on the XR series), and became the first time that a Falcon GT was again available since the last GT of 1973-1976(based on the XB series). These GT's represented, for the first time, a shift from extreme performance to a refined grand tourer vehicle, as highlighted by their interiors based on the luxury-oriented Fairmont Ghia models.
Falcon (BA to FG) GT
After FTE's relative lack of success with its AU series based T-series models sold between 1999 and 2002, the Falcon GT nameplate returned permanently with Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), a new joint venture between Prodrive and Ford Australia established in 2003. The GT range was thus available with the BA (2002), BF (2006) and FG (2008) series. The model range generally comprised the base GT (whose subsequent derivate GS justified the absence of a Falcon XR8), higher performance and specification GT-P. In 2008, it was expanded with the luxury-oriented variant GT-E and between 2007 and 2014 the range was also bolstered by various limited editions. Those BF series Falcon included the:
- GT "40th Anniversary" (March 2007; 200 sedans) to commemorate the first Falcon GT of 1967; it featured: special interior and colour accents, distinctive 19-inch alloy wheels and "R-Spec" handling package
- GT "Cobra" (October 2007; 400 sedans and 100 utes) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original Falcon Cobra's 1-2 finish at the 1977 Bathurst 1000; it featured: engine power upgrade from 290 kW to 302 kW and 540 Nm of torque, and "R-Spec" handling package
- GT "5th Anniversary" (October 2008; 200 sedans) to commemorate FPV's fifth birthday; launched at the Sydney Motorshow it featured: Lightning Strike (silver) or Silhouette (black) exterior paint with unique striping package, special multi-spoke alloy wheels in Alpine Silver, six piston Brembo brakes and a luxury Nudo leather interior.
- GT "Black" (August 2011; 125 sedans) unveiled at Sydney Motorshow  it was available only Silhouette and was completely painted in that colour (including alloy wheels, exhaust tips and exterior trims) with new matte black stripes, and was powered by a Boss 335 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine with a maximum power output of 335 kW
- GT "R-spec" (August 2012; 350 sedans and 75 utes) unveiled at Sydney Motorshow, it was primarily available in Silhouette and striking red highlights and a "C" stripe down each side, echoing the 2012 Mustang Laguna Seca, and featured the above V8 supercharged engine, "R-Spec" handling package plus wider (9-inch) rear wheels and launch control and could be optioned with an upgraded Brembo braking system
- GT-F "351" (June 2014; 550 sedans and 120 utes) as the "F"inal GT Falcon with its "351" badge representing its engine output but also paying tribute to the 351 cubic inch displacement of the engines used in the XW to XB models of the Falcon GT. It inherited the GT R-spec's chassis enhancements and featured black highlights throughout including new matte black stripes.
Ford (XR to XB)
|Based on Falcon model||Years||Engine||Notes|
|XR||1967-68||289 cu in (4,736 cc) Windsor V8 – 225 bhp (168 kW), sourced from the Ford Mustang||593 units built all manual and in "GT Gold" paint. A further 8 were painted in "Gallaher Silver" and 5 others were painted in "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 (4,949 cc) V8 – 239 bhp (178 kW)|
|XW||1969–70||351 cu in (5,752 cc) Cleveland and Windsor V8 – 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. 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.|
|XY (see XY GT)||1970–72||351 cu in (5,752 cc) Cleveland V8 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 (5,752 cc) Cleveland V8, 224 kW (300 hp) @ 5400 rpm 515 N·m (380 lb·ft) @ 3400 rpm||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". 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.
|XB||1973–76||351 cu in (5,752 cc) Cleveland V8, 224 kW (300 hp) @ 5400 rpm 515 N·m (380 lb·ft) @ 3400 rpm||Both 2-door Hardtop and 4-door Sedan versions
Tickford (EBII and EL)
These vehicles ended a 16-year absence of the GT nameplate from the Falcon range.
|Based on Falcon model||Years||Engine||Notes|
|EB II||1992||Tickford engineered Windsor 302 cu in (4,950 cc) 5.0 V8, sequentially injected OHV, two valves per cylinder
200 kW (270 hp) @ 5700 rpm & 420 N·m (310 lb·ft) @ 3700 rpm
|Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first original Falcon GT, with a total production of 265 units taking a more refined grand tourer approach. The interior was in fact based on that of the Fairmont Ghia.|
|EL||1997||Tickford engineered Windsor 302 cu in (4,950 cc) 5.0 V8||The 30th anniversary EL GT continued the refined grand tourer role of its EB II predecessor, with 272 units built.|
FPV (BA to FG)
From 2003, these vehicles marked the permanent return of Falcon GT models, following FTE's futile attempt to establish its T-series (based on the AU series Falcon) sold between 1999 and 2002.
|Based on Falcon model||Years||Engine||Notes|
|BA||2003–2005||5,400 cc (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 (in BA MkII guise from 2014)|
|BF||2005–2007||5,400 cc (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 (in BF MkII guise from 2006)
Limited editions included the: 2007 GT "40th Anniversary" (200 units), 2008 GT "Cobra R-spec" (400 units) and 2008 GT "5th Anniversary" (200 units).
|FG||2008-2014||5,400 cc (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.
||GT, GT-P, GT-E
Limited editions included the: 2011 GT "Black" (125 units), 2012 GT "R-spec" (350 units) and the final 2014 GT-F "351" (550 units of which 50 exported).
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.
- Falcongt.info Falcongt.info
- "Back on Track". Ford GT Greats (Sydney): 006.
- 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 Gtho4.com Phase IV documentary
- Joshua Dowling, (3 June 2007), $750,000 for 36-year-old Ford Falcon, Brisbane Times
- 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
- Spinks, Jez (2 March 2007). "FPV unveils Australia's own GT 40". News.drive.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- Joshua Dowling, (6 February 2008), New Car Road Test: FPV GT Cobra, The Sydney Morning Herald
- "FPV GTF 351: The Last Falcon GT Arrives". The Motor Report. 10 June 2011.
- Graham Smith, (22 January 2009), Ford Falcon GT 1967: buyers guide, Herald Sun
- Ford Falcon XR GT Technical Specifications at Unique Cars and Parts
- The Ford Falcon GT Story at Unique Cars and Parts
- Ford Falcon XT GT at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 15 April 2010
- Ford Falcon XW GT Identification at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 20 September 2010
- Ford Falcon XW GTHO technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 1 February 2010
- Ford Falcon XW GT at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 1 February 2010
- Ford Falcon XY GT Technical Specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 20 September 2010
- Ford Falcon XA GT technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieve on 21 September 2010
- John Wright, (1987), The Final Finest Phase, Super Ford, 1987, pp. 20–27 at Unique Cars and Parts
- Ford Falcon XB GT technical specifications at Unique Cars and Parts Retrieved on 21 September 2010
- Warner, Gary. "Falcon GT – style and substance (if you can find one)". FastLane. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Ford EL GT Identification at Unique Cars and Parts
- Ford Performance Vehicles, (2 September 2010), News & Media: FPV announces supercharged V8 engine program
- Supercars.net forum, retrieved 11 September 2006
- Allan Moffat's 1971 XY GTHO, Bowden's Own at the Wayback Machine
- Falcon GT Club
- The Ford Falcon GT Story at Unique Cars and Parts
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