Ford Falcon XL
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The XL Ford Falcon and Futura were introduced mid-August, 1962
. Both had many engineering changes as well as new styling. In keeping with the basic economy car concept, Falcon for '62 avoided any restyling that might have required expensive changes in body sheet metal. Yet, the XL looked considerably different and few people would have confused it with the 1960
There was a new grille and new parking lights, now mounted in the bumper. There were new front fenders, slightly higher in profile, and a new "air-scoop" trim on the hood. At the rear, the tail lamps were larger. However interior and exterior dimensions remained unchanged.
The XL Falcon's wheelbase was 109.5 inches, overall length 181.1 inches. Falcon's model line-up consisted of four-door sedans and four-door wagons in standard and deluxe trim, both were called XL. The deluxe series was fitted with a trim package consisting of stainless steel window frame cappings, side trim, more expensive interior trim plus rear seat arm rests, ash trays and other refinements.
Squire Station Wagon
Two additional models, available in deluxe trim only, were the Falcon Squire four-door station wagon with simulated (read fake) wood trim exterior, and the Futura, a two-door sedan with distinctive exterior trim and a special interior with vinyl-covered individual bucket-type front seats divided by a central "consol" containing an extra glove box.
Mechanically, there were numerous improvements made to the XL, but no major changes. On both the 144-cubic-inch 85-horsepower and the 170-cubic-inch 101-horse-power engines, smoother, quieter operation resulted from the addition of a torsional vibration damper and a leaf-spring type rear engine mounting. A new carburettor with improved economy and a new choke action were also added.
Falcon's aluminium pistons were redesigned for 1962
, improved in six different ways. There was also a new starter motor that was sealed and operated more quietly. The suspension was improved by fitting a heavier front stabiliser strut and bracket with an insulator pad of rubber installed in the top mounting pocket of each coil spring.
All Falcon models could be optioned with either three-speed manual column shift transmission or the familiar two-speed and torque-converter Fordomatic transmission. As mentioned, the XL introduced a few styling changes to differentiate it from the XK
. Most notable was the grille, altering from a concave to a convex shape with recessed headlights and bumper mounted indicators.
Ball Joint Suspension
The tail lamps were revised and the rear roof line was changed to reflect Ford's "Thunderbird" style theme, which in turn created a wider rear pillar and larger rear window. But the most serious changes were made under the skin, with significant mechanical upgrades - a new gearbox, clutch, starter, air and oil filters and improved braking. The suspension
modifications already mentioned were an attempt to sort out the problematic (weak) front suspension
for which the Falcon was getting plenty of bad publicity.
But perhaps more significant than any of these changes was the fact that the Australian facelifted Falcon went to market before the US iterations. By now Ford was very much committed to making the Falcon a success, and by releasing the XL when they did, they were able to steal the march on the Generals new EJ
model, beating them to launch by just a few days. However the EJ Holden
was rather more than a mere "facelift", which prompted Ford to boast that the XL Falcon had 734 new parts. The carburettors were modified to provide better fuel consumption, quieter engine operation and a higher top speed. Ford also claimed the higher second gear fitted to the manual gearbox gave better "flexibility" in traffic.
The Armstrong 500
The XL would go on to out-sell the XK by over 7000 units, and Harry Firth
and Bob Jane
would go on to win the 1962 Armstrong 500
(the pre-cursor to the Bathurst 1000). Also introduced with the XL was the upmarket "Futura" model, along with a new marketing slogan, "Trim, Taut, Terrific". Even the wagon would go upmarket, the Squire model being introduced, it fitted with Americana style fake wood (fibreglass) panels along each side. Strangely this would not prove to be the success, and the Squire would only carry over to the XM
model before being dropped prior to the release of the XP