The XW represented the first real attempt to more definitely differentiate the Australian Falcon from the styling of its US equivalent. In fact, the Australian designers did such a good job that many thought the XW to be an entirely new model, rather than merely a facelift of the XR/XT.
The basic structure remained the same, but the Australian car replaced the traditional round tail lamps once and for all with modern, horizontally split lenses, and introduced a heavier grille, with wrap around indicators and side lights, producing a distinctive and now unique design.
The recessing of the rear windscreen helped add to the changed appearance of the car, while the interior also benefitted from a more masculine approach, featuring deep-set instruments housed in a square dash. Ford dubbed the new grille a "Power Mouth", a pretty accurate description, the squared off styling with recessed and offset grille making the XW appear far more muscular than any previous Falcon.
But the XW was much more than a grille and tail light "make over", with almost all the external panels being altered. Inside the interior was almost entirely re-designed. Front bucket seats were an option across the entire model range, and naturally were standard fitment on the Fairmont's and GT's.
The dash now boasted thicker crash padding and recessed knobs, each with a protective rubber facing. Ford's press statement of the day likened the interior to that of a modern day jet airliner - a long stretch maybe - however the design really was outstanding for the time.
Mechanical changes were also made, the most important and impressive being the fitting of the stroked version of the 302, the awesome 351ci (5.7litre) V8 engine in various versions, a full 49ci larger than the biggest engine fitted to the US version.
The legend of the GT was about to explode. The Australian Falcon had finally come of age.