Ford Falcon XC

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Ford Falcon XC


Ford Falcon XC

1976 - 1979
6 cyl. & V8
3.3 & 4.1 litre 6 cyl. / 4.9 & 5.8 litre V8
121 bhp (3.3 litre)
3/4 spd. man / 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
217 km/h
Number Built:
2 star
Ford Falcon XC
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2


More power and torque, better visibility, suspension refinements and simpler servicing heralded Ford's new clean, XC Falcon. The appearance changes reflected the basic necessities needed to identify a new model, but they certainly made it easier to separate XC from XB, than GM-H's changeover from HJ Holden to HX. Basically, of course, it was the same old Falcon - Ford was merely marking time until 1979 when its drastically revised and restyled XD hit the market.

The XC was built on the floor pan introduced in 1966 and was the third revision (like GM-H's HQ HJ HX line) since the XA Falcon was released. The special difference with this Falcon were the new six cylinder engines. The 200 and 250 CID (3.3 and 4.1 litres) were given a new crossflow head, which had bigger valves, revised cam timing, new manifolds and a substantial boost in power and torque.

ADR 27a

The changes were of course brought about by the need to comply with emission regulation ADR 27a, but where many thought the engines would lose power because of the clean-up - Ford engineers managed to reverse this trend by producing even more output - a factor which gave FoMoCo a hefty push-along in the competitive race between its cars and the General's cleaner Holden range.

GM-H engineers had estimated power was down by about seven percent across the board, while vehicle weight was reduced by a mere nine kilograms. Ford meanwhile upped vehicle weight (in the Falcon 500 versions) by about 93 kg, while engine output for the 4.1 litres six went up by 9kW to 92kW @ 3700rpm. On all engines except the 3.3 litre six torque was increased substantially. On the 4.1 torque was upped by 8.5Nm.

Ford said the four year engine clean-up program (and associated other projects) cost an estimated 16 million. Ford justified the need for this expenditure by asserting that the medium car market had stabilised after a noticeable decline. At the time Ford's Managing Director was Brian Inglis, and he claimed the company was looking to equal, or better, the success of the XB Falcon, of which more than 170,000 iterations were sold. Ford even revised the 1976 model line-up by dropping the GT and Futura. Big shoes to fill, and while the newly introduced Fairmont GXL was a very good car - it was never going to be a suitable replacement for the GT.

Ford had hoped the Fairmont GXL would appeal to the young, middle-management executive types. It was lavishly equipped and trimmed, and came with the 4.1 litre six as standard, with T-bar auto, sports suspension, slippery diff, four-wheel disc brakes and additional sound insulation. It was suitably pricey too - with a sticker price of around $7600 at launch. Generally prices on the XC only rose by about $190 on average - this being made up by natural price increases and about $100 for the 'emissionising' of the engines. The Falcon 500 went up about $180 and Fairmont by $230. The price increases, however, meant quite meaningful additions to the standard equipment levels of all cars, a point which Ford's Brian Inglis pushed hard when the XC was launched.

Styling Changes

Inglis claimed Ford aimed to dominate the medium market by its 'value-for-money' approach to vehicle pricing. The 500 may have been around $130 dearer than the equivalent Kingswood HX, but equipment levels were higher - standard kit including bucket seats, heated rear screen, radial tyres and halogen headlamps. The refined look was achieved by reducing the slope of the grille and introducing large rectangular headlamps on some models. The bonnet line was softened and more substantial bumpers fitted. The coke bottle effect was reduced by altering the style line running through the rear doors.

The base model Falcon's retained the round headlights of their forebears, however the Fairmont was blessed with wonderfully elegant rectangular headlights. The rectangular headlights made the XC look cleaner and certainly more refined. With later models, Ford would black out much of the chrome work, giving the car a more menacing appearance. The upmarket models also gained far better seating, now affording better under-knee and lumbar support. For the well heeled, there were also electric windows and remote rear-view mirror.

One of the more popular models from the XC lineup was the Fairmont wagon, affording a huge luggage capacity and plenty of power on tap courtesy of the 4.1 litre six cylinder engine. The GS and Fairmont hardtop models remained, although they were rather more subdued than previous iterations. A new grille was used, and the Fairmont version also gained the handsome rectangular headlights. However the interior was rather more refined, and in being so lost a little of the sportiness one had come to expect from a hardtop.

Both models of the hardtop struggled to sell, and Ford introduced the limited edition Cobra as the last of the two door version, and to help them move the remaining 2 door coupe body shells. The Cobra would be the last of the performance Ford's for a time, and used the worldwide publicity gained by the success of Caroll Shelby for its inspiration. In all, 400 were built and individually numbered (that number coinciding with the number of two door body shells remaining). All Cobra's were painted with the same colour scheme, white with mid blue stripes and a cobra snake decal on the front fender. In addition, each Cobra had a numbered plaque to help with identification, something very important to collectors today.

In a move away from imperial measurement, the Ford range was now badged as 3.3, 4.1, 4.9 and 5.8 litre instead of the previously used cubic inch capacity. Strangely, Ford's second longest running model, the Futura, was dropped from the XC lineup. So, much more regrettably, was the GT (the GXL was "supposed" to be the replacement, but it would fail to capture the hearts and minds of the Ford enthusiasts). Mid way through the life of the XC, Ford made some radical improvements to the car's suspension to allow for radial tyres, and these models tend to be known as the 'XC and a half'.

The later XCs are easily identified by the introduction of the the classic Ford oval badge on the centre of the grille, its first use on an Australian Ford.
Falcon XC Coupe

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Also see:

Falcon XC Cobra
Falcon XC Specifications
Fairmont XC Brochure
Ford 1979 Model Lineup
Ford Falcon Commercials
Falcon/Fairlane Identification Guide
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
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i'm mick
Posted Recently
I have a '78 yellow ute. 250,4on floor,gs grille,bonnet & dash,rollbar,graphics,armorlites,been like this since 1990. Still uae it regularly!
Posted Recently
I have a 1977 xc 500, was 250 three on tree, which now is 302, c4 t-bar with GS dash , grille & bonnett. It's a white 4 door, and are hoping to re-do the paint in the near future. Great car!
Posted Recently
hey all i got my xc 77 gxl fairmont factory 351 fmx 9" full electric black inside black vynal roof gotta have square lights . im doing a full rebuild already done the body the engine bay is done from the ugly blue .now going a sexy candy red should be ready 4 next year hot rod show
Posted Recently
this is to grahm... wats engine? rust? and wat price u looking at?
Posted Recently
Just looking to sell a family XC 1976 Vinyl top with 10,200 km (genuine) - any ideas who would want such a car?
Posted Recently
No, the last Futura until the ED was the XB. I know this because we owned a Sky View Blue one new in 1975.
Posted Recently
Does anyone have info on a special model/Option of the xb called Granada. It has vinyl roof with Granada badge. It also seems like it may have a last run of the xb as the seat trim is a little different with cloth inserts????
Posted Recently
can u tell me the points setting for a 250 crossflow pl;ease
Posted Recently
Just purchased a 1978 XC Falcon with log books and Delivery Dockets, with little rust straight body, the vinal roof is perfect, from a bloke who has owned from new, my plan for this car is to bring it back to showroom condition. would like to keep an eye the progress. [email protected] *** be happy to share and advise
Posted Recently
Xf head bolts straight on ,xf manifold will not fit iron head.
Posted Recently
ey i got a qestion can u put a xf alloy head on to the xc falcon engine since ther both 4.1 litter and bottom end cam and if you cant put it on does the xf manifold with the webber bolt straight on to the cast iron head cheers love xc since i was about 13 n 5 years later i got 1 fukin mad cars
Posted Recently
I have always loved the XC model since the first car i ever owned. My current XC is a 1977 Fairmont GXL with matching number 351 with all options including factory moon roof and electric windows. Currently getting a ground up rebuild with peformance upgrades.
Fred Numshaw
Posted Recently
Hi my name is Fred Numshaw. I own a 1979 XC Falcon sedan and she is beautiful condition. My wife jill thinks it'sthe best car we have ever owned, a real luxuary saloon. I bought it brand new and you would think It only came out of the showroom yesterday. I Also have a xp 351 top loader aswell as an Ea, Ef, Ba and FG. My pride and joy is my Xy GTHO phase 3 shaker Indi orange 4 spd manual. thanks regards Fred Numshaw
Posted Recently
Gday im a 1 yr old kid whos a big fan of the falcon i have a XA Falcon, XB FAIRMONT GS and i have just bought a XC Fairmont GS WAGON Hey wozza if u wont proof that there was an xb future look a the XB BROCHURE it shows the xb models and accessories the brochure is on this website also imy dad has a Copper Bronze Xb Futura
Posted Recently
I had a 75 XB GS Fairmont Wagon and it had 4.9 badges.
Posted Recently
I think at least the XW model also had engine badges in litres, not cubic inches, e.g. '3.5' instead of '250'. Went back to cubic inches with the XY.
Also, from memory the XA had the last Futura on offer (until the ED). Can't recall ever seeing an XB Futura.
Posted Recently
the last of the sexy "coke bottle" shaped line which included xa and xb
came in falcon, fairmont, glx gs and coupe and used 4.1 6 cyl, 4.9 V8 and 5.8 V8. they did't have a gt falcon in this line up but 5 under cover GT coupes rolled out of the factory when the coupes were first being made
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