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Ford Falcon, XK to XC

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Ford Falcon XK to XC

Australian’s can thank Charles Smith for ensuring the country had a worthy competitor to the ever popular Holden’s of the 1960’s. Prior to 1955, Ford Australia had been assembling British made Zephyr’s, but in 1955 the decision was made to manufacture the Zephyr entirely in Australia. In 1958 Smith, then Ford Australia’s managing director, took a trip to the US and, upon seeing mock-up’s for the new compact Falcon being designed for the US and Canadian markets, quickly realised this was much better suited to Australia than the dowdy Zephyr. Two years later the XK Falcon made its debut, and became an instant success, in many ways appearing far more modern that the FB/EK Holden’s that were still sporting 1950’s style tail fins.

Both the XK and its successor, the XL, were entirely US designs, although some modifications were made to ensure suitability to Australian driving conditions. Australian designers continued to look at ways of improving the car, particularly in light of some minor reliability issues mainly relating to the tough Aussie conditions the cars were operating in. Changes ushered in on the XM included modified front and rear suspension layouts and improvements to the braking system, clutch, rear axle, engine mounts and exhaust. To prove just how thorough the design team had been, Ford management (under the leadership of Deputy Managing Director Bill Bourke) devised a very clever marketing initiative, the Falcon XP “Durability Run”.

Five Falcon’s were pushed to the limit around Victoria’s You Yang’s proving facility, the goal was to rack up an incredible 70,000 miles at an average speed of 70 miles per hour! Despite the audacity of the undertaking, and the fact that some of the cars rolled, after 8½ days all five would finish, with an average speed a little over 71 mph. Little wonder the XP would take out that years “Wheels Car of the Year” award. The XR was to follow, ushering in the era of the GT, but by 1971 the US had taken the decision to drop the Falcon from it’s line-up. More than up to the challenge, Ford Australia were to design the wonderfully modern XA, arguably the first All Australian Falcon (albeit that Ford designers had spent the summer of ’68 working in the US on a clay model). Improvements such as four-wheel disc brakes were added to subsequent XB and XC models, the XC bringing Ford arguably Mount Panorama’s most famous victory in 1977.

Leading for most of the race, Alan Moffat’s (number 1) car started to experience mechanical problems and was limping to the finish. Colin Bond, following in the number 2 car, quickly closed the gap. In a remarkable display of sportsmanship he remained behind Moffat, riding as wingman to ensure Ford would take out a 1–2 victory, and the ultimate photo opportunity.

Also see: Bathurst Memorable Moments | The Ford Falcon Story | The History of Ford (USA Edition)
Ford Falcon XK  

Ford Falcon XK

1960 - 1962
The XK was the first Falcon released, and was based very much on the equivalent U.S. Falcon, copying its styling almost without change. More>>
Ford Falcon XL  

Ford Falcon XL

1962 - 1964
The tail lamps were revised and the rear roof line was changed to reflect Ford's Thunderbird style theme. More>>
Ford Falcon XM  

Ford Falcon XM

1964 - 1965
The XM was another styling facelift of the original XK, with a much heavier and impressive front grille. More>>
Ford Falcon XP  

Ford Falcon XP

1965 - 1966
The XP was the last facelift of the original Falcon and featured an aggressive, squared off look to the front end and more solid styling overall. More>>
Ford Falcon XR  

Ford Falcon XR

1966 - 1968
The new XR range again followed a US design, hoping to capitalise on the phenomenal success of the Mustang. More>>
Ford Falcon XT  

Ford Falcon XT

1968 - 1969
The XT Falcon was a mild restyle of the previous model, with a barely altered grille, but distinctive new tail lamps, circular lamps still, but cut by large rectangular indicator lenses. More>>
Ford Falcon XW  

Ford Falcon XW

1969 - 1970
The XW represented the first real attempt to more definitely differentiate the Australian Falcon from the styling of its U.S. equivalent. More>>
Ford Falcon XY  

Ford Falcon XY

1970 - 1972
The XY marked the apogee of the second generation Falcons, superior in performance to its competitors, better built, fitted with a range of locally designed six cylinder engines, and in GT form, producing the ultimate and fastest Falcon of them all. More>>
Ford Falcon XA  

Ford Falcon XA

1972 - 1973
The XA model was the first Falcon completely designed and built in Australia. More>>
Ford Falcon XB  

Ford Falcon XB

1973 - 1976
The XB featured a slight restyle of the previous model, featuring a cleaner but more aggressive front end with a forward sloping bonnet. More>>
Ford Falcon XB GS  

Ford Falcon XB GS - Grand Sport Rally Pack

1973 - 1976
The Grand Sport rally pack was itself nothing more than dressing up – even Ford admitted as much. The only practical inclusions in the pack were the complete instrumentation which included tacho, oil, fuel, temperature gauges and voltmeter. More>>
Ford Falcon XC

Ford Falcon XC

1976 - 1979
The XC was a further re-style of the third generation Falcon. The refined look was achieved by reducing the slope of the grille and introducing large rectangular headlamps. More>>
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