Falcons Down Under: The Australian Ford Falcon, Part One


The XY, introduced in October 1970, was the final iteration of the second-generation Falcon platform and the first without a North American contemporary; the U.S. Falcon was discontinued before the start of the 1971 model year. The XY Falcon’s launch came on the heels of an equally significant milestone for Ford Australia. In August, Bill Bourke became president of the newly established Ford Asia-Pacific & South Africa, Inc., turning over his former duties to Brian Inglis, who became Ford Australia’s first Australian-born managing director.

1970 Ford XY Falcon front 3q Ford Motor Company
A basic XY Falcon sedan started at AU$2,435 (about US$2,740), which included a three-speed gearbox and the 200 cu. in. (3,280 cc) six with 130 hp (97 kW) and 190 lb-ft (258 N-m) of torque. The two-speed Fordomatic was dropped, so all automatic cars now got the three-speed C4 Cruise-O-Matic. With an overall length of 184.6 inches (4,689 mm) and an overall width of 73.6 inches (1,869 mm), the XY was 3.4 inches (86 mm) longer and 3.6 inches (91 mm) wider than the original XK Falcon and some 575 lb (260 kg) heavier. (Photo: Ford Motor Company)

Structurally, the XY Falcon was an evolution of the previous XW, distinguished chiefly by its new grille. However, in sharp contrast with the American Falcon, whose options list had been steadily pared down as it neared the end, the XY enjoyed a proliferation of new features and new powertrain options. The 200 cu. in. (3,280 cc) six was now standard and a new 250 cu. in. (4,092 cc) version was optional, offering a choice of single- or two-barrel carburetors and up to 170 gross horsepower (127 kW). If that wasn’t enough, both the 302 (4,942 cc) and a mildly tuned two-barrel 351C (5,765 cc) V8 were now available on the bread-and-butter sedans, making up to 250 hp (186 kW). There was even an ambitious but unsuccessful 4WD version of the Falcon ute.

The new XY GT was very similar to the previous GTHO Phase II, with the 351 Cleveland engine and a claimed 300 gross horsepower (224 kW). With its dramatic stripes and loud paint — the most popular hue was the vivid red-orange worn by the works racers, which Ford dubbed Vermilion Fire — the new GT would have been hard to miss even without its most dramatic feature: an obtrusive “shaker” hood scoop. Although the XY GT sold only 1,557 copies, thanks in part to a lofty base price of AU$4,250 (about US$4,780), it quickly became an Australian muscle car icon.

1970 Ford XY Falcon GT shaker scoop © 2011 John Howell (used with permission)
The “shaker” hood scoop of an XY Falcon GT, so named because it’s actually an extension of the engine air cleaner, protruding through a hole in the bonnet, and vibrates when the engine is running. Similar scoops were offered on various American Supercars of this period, including the Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang. (Photo © 2011 John Howell; used with permission)

The hottest XY was the new GTHO Phase III, now sporting front and rear spoilers; heavy-duty brakes, clutch, and driveline components; and a much hotter engine. Ford claimed the same 300 horsepower (224 kW) as the standard GT, but the retuned V8 was probably as powerful, if not more so, than the conceptually similar 351-HO in the North American Mustang Boss 351, which claimed 330 gross horsepower (246 kW).

Ford built 300 Phase IIIs for homologation and 13 XY GTHOs competed in the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500 that October. Although five of those cars failed to finish the race, the Phase III’s performance was enough to earn Allan Moffat his second Bathurst win. Phase III Falcons also claimed second, third, fifth, and sixth places. The Chrysler Valiant Charger E38, the Falcon’s main rival in Class E, managed no better than seventh place while Colin Bond’s Torana GTR XU-1, competing in Class D, earned fourth place overall.

1970 Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III front 3q Ford Motor Company
With hot cam timing, a new intake manifold, and a big 780 CFM Holley four-barrel carburetor (compared to a 600 CFM Autolite in standard GTs), the GTHO Phase III was a powerful car. Unofficial estimates put its output somewhere between 350 and 390 horsepower (261 and 291 kW), giving it a top speed of 142 mph (229 km/h) with the standard 3.25 axle. An extra AU$250 (about US$280) bought a “Quality Control” engine, assembled on a special line for closer tolerances — essentially a factory blueprinting job. (Photo: Ford Motor Company)

The XY’s racing exploits helped to make it the most popular Falcon to date, selling almost 119,000 units during its 15-month run.

In part two of this article, we’ll pick up the story with the introduction of the all-new third-generation Falcon, and the “Supercar Crisis” that rocked the Australian auto industry in 1972.



Setting aside the editorial ‘we,’ I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to reader John Howell, who not only encouraged me to move this story from the “Yeah, I should do that one of these days” category to the top of my list, but also graciously allowed me to use some of his photos and offered many valuable insights into the shape of the Australian motor industry.

Special thanks are also due to Ford Australia historian Michele Cook and Ford Archives and AV Assets manager Dean Weber for their assistance in gathering images for this story.


Background on the early history of the Australian motor industry and Ford Australia came from “Australia’s Year of Prosperity: G.M.-H. Chairman’s Review,” Cairns Post Saturday 11 August 1951, p. 5; “Biography: Gordon Morton McGregor” (July 2004, Ford Motor Company, media.ford. com/ print_doc.cfm?article_id = 18790, accessed 14 January 2011); Mary Broker, “Investment Guide: This Week: The Motor Industry,” The Australia Women’s Weekly Wednesday 18 December 1963, p. 10; M. Ann Capling and Brian Galligan, Beyond the Protective State: The Political Economy of Australia’s Manufacturing Industry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 197-217; “Car Manufacture in Australia: Case for Compensation,” The Argus Wednesday, 9 May 1945, p. 6; “Car Production in Australia,” Broken Hill Barrier Miner Wednesday 15 November 1944, p. 8; Jon G. Chittleborough, “Motor Vehicles,” Wilfried Priest, Kerrie Round, and Carol S. Ford, eds., Wakefield Companion to South Australian History (Kent Town, South Australia: Wakefield Press, 2001), pp. 363-365; David Chantrell, “Duncan & Fraser Ltd. 1865-1927: Ford Sales Structure in South Australia” (May 2009, www.duncanandfraser. com/ ford%20sales%20structure.html, accessed 19 January 2011); Ken Gross, “Stovebolt Six with an Aussie Accent: 1948 Holden,” Special Interest Autos #49 (February 1979), pp. 26-33, 62; “Highlights of Ford Australia” (press release) (2001, media.ford. com, accessed 30 January 2011); “In Australia, Motor Trade Development Employs Thousands,” The Argus Motor Show Supplement 18 May 1938; “Making of Cars: Opposition to Monopoly: Legal Aspect,” The Argus Wednesday, 3 January 1940, p. 1; “Popularity of Automobile: Great Progress in Australia,” Brisbane Courier-Mail Monday 23 October 1939, p. 11; Graham Robson, Cortina: The Story of Ford’s Best-Seller (Dorchester: Veloce Publishing Limited, Second Edition, 2007); “The History of Ford Australia” (no date, Fordspec, www.fordspec. com.au/ specifications/ history.php, accessed 13 January 2011); John Weinthal, “Ford Galaxie 500,” Australian Motor Sports June 1965, reprinted in Ford Galaxie & LTD 1960-1976 – Gold Portfolio, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 2003), pp. 70-72; “What Went Wrong?” (December 2008, The Mini Experience, miniexperience. com.au/ back-issues/issue-16/ factory-what-went-wrong.html, accessed 12 January 2011); Mary Wilkins and Franck Hill, American Business Abroad, Ford on Six Continents (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964); Stephen Yarrow, “Motoring the 1950s” (no date, Australia on CD, www.australiaoncd. com.au/ motoring_50s.htm, accessed 2 February 2011); Stephen Yarrow, “Motoring the 1970s” (no date, Australia on CD, www.australiaoncd. com.au/ motoring_70s.htm, accessed 28 February 2011); the Wikipedia® entries for Ford Motor Company of Australia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company_of_Australia, accessed 10 January 2011) — which draws heavily on Peter Begg, Geelong: The First 150 Years (Globe Press, 1990) — the Ford Zephyr (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Zephyr, accessed 20 January 2011), and Ford Motor Company of Canada (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company_of_Canada, accessed 12 January 2011); and an email to the author from Ford historian Michele Cook, 21 February 2011. John Howell’s remarks on Australian model designations in Part One are excerpted with permission from an email to the author on 22 December 2010.

Some statistical data on Australian roads and motor vehicle registrations came from the Official Year-Book of the Commonwealth of Australia, published annually by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (now the Australian Bureau of Statistics) and archived on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website (www.abs.gov.au, last accessed 2 March 2011). We consulted Nos. 18-1925, 32-1939, 38-1951, 46-1960, 52-1966, 57-1971, and 60-1974. For comparison to the United States, we consulted the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Statistics Summary to 1965 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1967) and Highway Statistics Summary to 1975 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1977), both of which were retrieved from the DOT website (www.fhwa. dot. gov, last accessed 3 March 2011).

Some additional details on Ford’s Broadmeadows factory came from “Place: Ford Motor Company Complex (Place No. 21)” (no date, Hume City Council, www.hume. vic. gov.au, accessed 2 February 2011).

The starting point for our research into the history of the Falcon itself was John Howell’s three-page timeline of Falcon history, 21 December 2010, and subsequent emails to the author. Detailed information on the Falcon’s various first-, second-, and third-generation iterations came from Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “1960-1966 Ford Falcon” (13 October 2007, HowStuffWorks.com, auto.howstuffworks. com/ 1960-1966-ford-falcon.htm, accessed 20 January 2011); “Cleveland 4V Engine” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au, accessed 12 February 2011); email from Ford Australia historian Michele Cook, 23 February 2011; “Falcon: The Ford Falcon Story” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts. com.au, accessed 20 January 2011); Paul Duchene, “Thunder from Down Under: How Australia’s Auto Industry Flexed Its Muscles” (4 February 2011, Hagerty.com, www.hagerty. com, accessed 14 March 2011); Craig Fitzgerald, “The Great Australian Road Car,” Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car July 2010; “Ford Commemorates 50 Years of Falcon” [press release], 29 April 2010; “Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase 4” (9 May 2010, www.gtho4.com/, accessed 5 February 2011); “Ford Falcon XA,” “Ford Falcon XA GT,” “Ford Falcon XB GT,” “Ford Falcon XC,” “Ford Falcon XD,” “Ford Falcon XE,” “Ford Falcon XF Specifications,” “Ford Falcon XW GT Technical Specifications,” and “Ford Falcon XY GT Technical Specifications” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts. com.au, accessed 29 January to 18 February 2011); “Ford Feature: A brief history of the Falcon’s 40 years” (28 June 2000, Fastlane, www.fastlane .com.au, accessed 10 January 2011); “Ford Special Builds: XA RPO83” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts. com.au, accessed 5 February 2011); Joe Kenwright, “History of the Ford 351 V8 Engine: Aussie Connection,” Unique Cars 15 August 2013, www.tradeuniquecars. com.au, accessed 11 March 2018; and “Warner Falcon Sprint V8”, Australian Muscle Car, No. 37, May-June 2008, pp. 44-63; Neil McDonald, “Ford Falcon Turns 50 Today,” Herald Sun 24 June 2010, www.carsguide. com.au, accessed 13 January 2011; John Mellor, “Ford Falcon (XC Falcon)” (no date, Go Auto, www.goauto. com.au, accessed 5 February 2011); Tim Monck-Mason and Quinn Hamill, “1967 Ford Falcon XR GT – The Original Aussie Muscle Car – 205,” New Zealand Classic Car 16 January 2008, reprinted on the web at www.classiccar. co.nz/ articles/ the-original-aussie-muscle-car- 1967-ford-falcon-xr-gt-205, accessed 2 March 2011; Mel Nichols, “New Car Exclusive: Phase 4 GTHO…World’s Fastest Four-Door!” Wheels August 1972, pp. 9-11; Mark Oastler, “Top Secret Superfords,” Australian Muscle Car No. 30 (March-April 2007), pp. 22-39; Traian Popescu, “Fast Fords – Then & Now: The Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase III and Taurus SHO” (13 May 2001, Sedan Ramblings, www.fantasycars .com/ sedans/ column/ sedans8_ford.html, accessed 31 January 2011); Graham Smith, “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Unique Cars December 1998; Bill Tuckey, “Ford Falcon’s life as a dog,” New Zealand Herald News 12 July 2000, www.nzherald. co.nz, accessed 13 January 2011; “Two Magic Letters” (2 June 2003, Fords, www.fords. com.au/article/ Australian-Stories-in-the-100-year-history-of-Ford, accessed 13 January 2011); “XA Falcon (1972-1973),” “XB Falcon (1973-1976),” “XC Falcon (1976-1979),” “XD Falcon (1979-1982),” “XE Falcon (1982-1984),” “XF Falcon (1984-1988), “XK Falcon (1960-1962),” “XL Falcon (1962-1964),” “XM Falcon (1964-1965),” “Falcon XM Technical Specifications,” “XP Falcon (1965-1966),” “XR Falcon (1966-1968),” “XT Falcon (1968-1969),” “XW Falcon (1969-1970),” and “XY Falcon (1970-1972),” (no date, Falconfacts.xfalcon.com, falconfacts.xfalcon .com/ falcon/xyfalcon.html, accessed 30 January to 18 March 2011); “XC Cobra” (2007, Aussie Coupes, www.aussiecoupes .com/ cobra.html, accessed 13 January 2011; “v8raccar,” “Ford Super Falcon 1970” (1 January 2010, V8Racecar, v8racecar.wordpress .com/ 2010/01/01/ford-super-falcon-1970/, accessed 30 January 2011); “v8racecar,” “The RPO83 – an HO by another name” (31 December 2009, V8Racecar, v8racecar.wordpress .com/ category/australian-muscle-cars/, accessed 5 February 2011); John Wright, “The Final Finest Phase,” Super Ford 1987, pp. 20-27, and “The first Australian Falcon (and what does it mean?),” www.caravancampingsales. com.au, accessed 28 January 2011; and the 1998 video documentary “History of the Ford Falcon GT,” transferred to digital format by Grubco Media, uploaded by Custom Tribute Clips, YouTube, https://youtu.be/ZWRrNyEuPlE (part 1 of 6), https://youtu.be/c6X6pCx0bVk (part 2 of 6), https://youtu.be/lOpMSaWjCJY (part 3 of 6), https://youtu.be/ZYyNcnIiSVI (part 4 of 6), https://youtu.be/VDlM8LvyE9U (part 5 of 6), and https://youtu.be/x6cW11veVN0 (part 6 of 6), uploaded 17 August 2007, accessed 28 January 2011.

Additional information on the 1972 “Super Car Crisis” came from “Author Evan Green dies,” Sydney Morning Herald 17 March 1996; Evan Green, “160 MPH ‘Super Cars’ Soon,” Sydney Sun Herald 25 June 1972; “Mr HDT’s Scrapbook 1” (no date, www.brock05 .com/ scrapbook1.php, accessed 13 January 2011); “Super Car Scare Conspiracy” (14 February 2009, Australian Motorsport Forums, www.australianmotorsportforums. com.au/ forum/ index.php?topic=2571.0, accessed 13 January 2011); “This Webpage is in Memory of a Great – Author / Rally Driver / Gentleman / Friend,” members.ozemail. com.au/ ~groggo/evan%20green.html, accessed 13 January 2011; and Bill Tuckey, “Evan Green had flair as journalist, rally driver, novelist,” Sydney Morning Herald 28 March 1996.

History and information on the U.S. Falcon came from “1970½ Falcon Is Really Fairlane: Not a stretched compact, name changed intermediate,” Road Test May 1970, reprinted in Falcon Performance Portfolio 1960-1970, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1998), pp. 132-137; “’70 Falcon,” New Cars 1970, reprinted in ibid, p. 131; the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “1960-1965 Ford Falcon” (30 September 2007, HowStuffWorks.com, auto.howstuffworks .com/ 1960-1965-ford-falcon.htm, accessed 13 January 2011); John R. Bond, “Road Test: Ford Falcon: Congratulations, Mr. Walker. A difficult job well done,” Road & Track November 1959, reprinted in Falcon Performance Portfolio 1960-1970, pp. 14-16. “Car Life Road Test: 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible,” Car Life October 1962, reprinted in ibid, pp. 50-53; “Car Life Road Test: Falcon Futura V-8: A 260-bhp experimental Fairlane V-8 is just the thing to transform the Falcon,” Car Life December 1962, reprinted in ibid, pp. 58-61; “Car Life Road Test: Falcon Ranchero V-8: Ford’s Fancy Funabout Is More than Mere Utility,” Car Life February 1966, reprinted in ibid, pp. 117-121; “Cars 1963 American Classic Award: New Car Classic,” Cars April 1963, reprinted in ibid, pp. 62-68; David Crippen, “The Reminiscences of Eugene [Gene] Bordinat, Jr.” (27 June 1984, Automotive Design Oral History Project, Benson Ford Research Center, Henry Ford Museum, www.autolife.umd. umich. edu/Design/ Bordinat_interview.htm (transcript), accessed 13 January 2011); “Design development of a car – the Ford Falcon,” Canadian Track & Traffic December 1960, reprinted in Falcon Performance Portfolio 1960-1970, pp. 26-28; “Falcon: ’62 Analysis,” Motor Life October 1961, reprinted in ibid, p. 47; “Ford Falcon Futura: With a generous dose of Mustang styling, is the Falcon now a better bargain than the runaway Horse?” Road Test March 1966, reprinted in ibid, pp. 110-113; “Ford Falcon: What is a Falcon?” Road Test March 1965, reprinted in ibid, pp. 102-105; David Halberstam, The Reckoning (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1986); Tim Howley, “Full Dress Falcon: 1963 Sprint V-8,” Special Interest Autos #67 (January-February 1982), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Postwar Fords (Hemmings Motor News Collector-Car Books), ed. Terry Ehrich (Bennington, VT: Hemmings Motor News, 2000), pp. 96-103; Robert E. McVay, “Falcons – A Pair: 120-hp V-8, 120-hp 6,” Motor Trend March 1966, reprinted in Falcon Performance Portfolio 1960-1970, pp. 114-116; “Road Test: Falcon Futura,” Motor Trend June 1961, reprinted in ibid, pp. 42-43; and Jim Wright, “MT Road Test: Falcon Sprint,” Motor Trend February 1964, reprinted in ibid, pp. 83-87.

Additional relevant information on the Falcon’s Mercury Comet sibling came from “Car Life Road Test: Comet Caliente: A Finer Filly for Track or Touring Is Posted for Mid-Range Sweepstakes,” Car Life January 1964, reprinted in Mercury Comet & Cyclone 1960-1970 (A Brooklands Road Test Limited Edition), ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1999), pp. 26-30; “Road & Track Road Test: Comet 170: A minor facelift and a larger engine for 1961,” Road & Track January 1961, reprinted in ibid, pp. 14-16; and “Ford Fairlane 260 Sports Coupe,” Car Life August 1962, reprinted in Ford Fairlane 1955-1970 Performance Portfolio, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1998), pp. 68–71. For comparison with the contemporary Mustang, we also consulted Chuck Koch, “RT/Test Report: End of the Trail: Corralled by squatters on its own range and saddled by too much weight, the Mustang as we know it will disappear next year and a final roundup shows why,” Road Test July 1973, reprinted in Mustang Muscle Portfolio 1967-1973, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 2000), pp. 131-133; Bob Kovacik and Paul Van Valkenburgh, “Showdown at Mustang Corral: Ford Mach 1 Road Test,” Sports Car Graphic October 1969, reprinted in ibid, pp. 90-94; and “Road Test: Mustang Boss 351: It’s possible that stylists can’t work in a sporty medium,” Car and Driver February 1971, reprinted in ibid, pp. 117-119.

Information about the Great Race at Bathurst and the Falcon’s competition career came from “Allan Moffat,” “Bathurst 1000 – The Great Race,” and “Bathurst 1970: Hardie-Ferodo 500” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au/ bathurst_1970.htm, accessed 13 January to 6 March 2011); Bathurst Regional Council, Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit Bathurst, “Bathurst 1000 History,” www.mount-panorama .com, accessed 28 January 2011; Frank de Jong, History of the European Touring Car Championship, n.d., homepage.mac. com/ frank_de_jong/ Race/ [now www.touringcarracing.net], accessed 5 February to 8 March 2011; “Falcon GT by the Years: 1977” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au, accessed 7 March 2011); Rich Fowler, “1977 Bathurst Falcons to fly again at 2010 Top Gear Live” (9 December 2009, Motorsport Retro, www.motorsportretro .com, accessed 20 February 2011), and “Moffat and Bond to recreate legendary one-two finish” (12 October 2010, Motorsport Retro, www.motorsportretro .com, accessed 6 March 2011); Beth Hall, “Great Race History” (September 2007, National Motor Racing Museum, www.nmrm .com.au, accessed 13 January 2011); “Hardie-Ferodo 500, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 1st October, 1972,” “Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 1st October, 1978,” “Hardie-Ferodo 500, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 3rd October, 1971,” “Hardie-Ferodo 500, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 5th October, 1969,” “Hardie-Ferodo 500, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 6th October, 1968,” “Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 1st October, 1973,” “Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 2nd October, 1977,” “Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 3rd October, 1976,” “Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 5th October, 1975,” and Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 6th October, 1974″ (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au, accessed 5—12 February 2011); “HDT Story: In the Beginning” (2009, HDT Official Website, www.hdt .com.au, accessed 4 February 2011); “Mr. HDT” and the James-Hardie Group, “The 1977 Bathurst Race – The Silver Jubilee Year” (no date, The Brock05 Shop, www.brock05 .com/ 77BathurstRace.php, accessed 6 March 2011); Nick Munting, “What Really Happened!” Chequered Flag April 1979, reprinted with permission of the author at www.allanmoffat .com.au, accessed 14 January 2011); Graham Smith, “Allan Moffat and Al Turner,” Unique Cars March 2001, reprinted with permission of the author at www.allanmoffat .com.au, accessed 14 January 2011; Michael Stahl, “To All Intense,” Wheels 1994, reprinted with permission of the author at www.allanmoffat .com.au, accessed 7 February 2011; and the Wikipedia entries for the Ford Works Team (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Works_Team_%28 Australia%29, accessed 13 February 2011) and the Holden Dealer Racing Team (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_Dealer_Racing_Team, accessed 5 February 2011).

Information on the Falcon’s most famous movie role — in Mad Max (producer: Byron Kennedy; director: George Miller; screenplay: George Miller and James McCausland; Australia: Village Roadshow Pictures, 1979) and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (producer: Byron Kennedy; director: George Miller; screenplay: Terry Hayes, George Miller, and Brian Hannant; Australia: Kennedy Miller Productions/Warner Bros., 1981) (and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (producer: George Miller; directors: George Miller and George Ogilvie; screenplay: George Miller and Terry Hayes, Australia: Kennedy Miller Productions, 1985), although there are few cars in the third film) — came from Peter Barton, “The History of the Mad Max Interceptor” (no date, Max Max Movies, www.madmaxmovies .com, accessed 13 March 2011); Gordon Hayes and Grant Hodgson, “Behind the Real Mad Max Cars” (2010, Mad Max Unlimited, www.lastinterceptor .com, accessed 5 February 2011). Some general information came from the rest of Peter Barton’s Max Max Movies site, the IMDb pages for Mad Max, Mad Max 2, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (www.imdb .com, accessed 18 March 2011), and from the Mad Max Wikipedia entry (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max, accessed 13 January 2011).

Also useful was the documentary film Love the Beast (produced by Eric Bana, Matt Hill, Peter Hill, and Brett Hardy; directed by Eric Bana; Australia: Pick Up Truck Pictures/Whyte House Productions, 2009). Additional technical information on Eric Bana’s car came from Ben Hosking, “1973 XB Ford Falcon Coupe – Extreme Makeover,” Hot Rod, April 2007, www.hotrod .com, accessed 5 February 2011.

Information on the Falcon’s leading competitors came from “Australian Hemi Six Engines: 215, 245, 265” (no date, Valiant.org, www.valiant.org/valiant/hemi-six.html, accessed 4 February 2011); Terry Bebbington, “EJ-EH Holden History and Information,” Australian Classic Car December 2003; “Buyers’ Guide: Specifications and Performance,” Australian Motor Manual April 1965, pp. 59-61; “Chronicles: 1977 in Review,” “Chronicles: 1978 in Review,” “Chrysler Valiant Charger,” “Chrysler Valiant Charger E38,” “Chrysler Valiant VG Pacer,” and “Chrysler Valiant VH” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au, accessed 4 February to 5 March 2011); “Chrysler Valiants, Valiant Chargers, Valiant Pacers, and other cars of Chrysler Australia” (no date, Valiant.org, www.valiant. org/ ausval.html, accessed 21 January 2011); “Golden Holdens: The 48-215 (FX) Holden: 1948-1953” (March 1998, Fastlane, www.fastlane .com.au, accessed 14 January 2011); HD Holden Data (no date, Holden Heaven, www.holden. org.au, accessed 13 January 2011; Holden History, “Holden Commodore VB,” “Holden FB,” “Holden FC,” “Holden HD,” “Holden HG,” “Holden HJ,” “Holden HK,” “Holden HQ,” “Holden HT Brougham,” “Holden HT Technical Specifications,” “Holden HX,” “Holden HZ,” “Holden Torana GTR-X Coupe,” “Holden Torana HB,” “Holden Torana LC,” “Holden Torana LC GTR XU-1,” “Holden Torana LH,” “Holden Torana LH L34 SL/R 5000,” “Holden Torana LJ,” “Holden Torana LJ GTR XU-1,” “Holden Torana LX,” and “Holden Torana LX A9X” (no date, Unique Cars and Parts, www.uniquecarsandparts .com.au, accessed 13 January to 6 March 2011); HoldenTorana.com, accessed 4 February 2011; Andrew Jamieson, “The HR Holden” (no date, Andrew’s Holden Pages, home.austarnet .com.au/ jamieson/hrpage.html, accessed 13 January 2011); Joe Kenwright, “VG Valiant Hemi Pacer 1970-71,” Australian Muscle Car No. 49 (May-June 2010), pp. 80-88; “Monaro History” (1999, Holden Heaven, holden.itgo .com/ monaro_history.html, accessed 5 February 2011); “The A9X story…” (2008, A9X Torana Club of Australia Inc., www.a9xclub. org.au, accessed 5 February 2011); and the Wikipedia entry for Australian Motor Industries (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Motor_Industries, accessed 13 January 2011).

Information on the Australian Design Rules, which establish safety and emissions standards for Australian cars, came from “Australian Design Rules” (19 January 2010, Australian Government: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, www.infrastructure. gov.au/roads/motor/ design/ index.aspx, accessed 14 February 2011) and “Summary of Emissions Requirements for New Petrol Passenger Cars in Australia 1972-2010” (31 July 2008, Australian Government: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, www.infrastructure. gov.au/roads/ environment/impact/ emission.aspx, accessed 5 February 2011). Information on the UNECE Vehicle Regulations came from “Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Technical Prescriptions for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts Which Can Be Fitted and/or Be Used on Wheeled Vehicles and the Conditions for Reciprocal Recognition of Approvals Granted on the Basis of those Prescriptions,” Revision 2, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee, 2 March 1958 (5 October 1995, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, www.unece.org, accessed 18 March 2011).

Other background details came from Chris Anderson, “Tin Liz Planned to Replace Asia’s Bullock,” Sydney Morning Herald 23 August 1970, p. 9; “Australia’s PMs” (no date, National Archives of Australia, primeministers. aa.gov.au, accessed 2 February 2011); “Ben Chifley: Prime Minister from 13 July 1945 to 19 December 1949” (no date, National Museum of Australia Canberra, www.nma. gov.au, accessed 10 January 2011); “Ford Forming New Subsidiary,” Pittsburgh Press 19 August 1970, p. 29; “Ford History” (no date, Asia Pacific Ford, www.asiapacific. ford .com, accessed 14 January 2011); “Ford Design VP Jack Telnack to Retire, Ending a Career of Nearly 40 Years” [press release], 15 September 1997; James B. Treece, “Edsel Ford: ‘I Want to Be Judged on My Ability,” Business Week 9 December 1991, www.businessweek .com, accessed 13 January 2011; and the Wikipedia entry on the Australian dollar (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_dollar, accessed 12 January 2011).

Historical exchange rate data for the U.S. dollar and the Australian pound and dollar were estimated based on data from Lawrence H. Officer, “Exchange Rates Between the United States Dollar and Forty-one Currencies” (2009, MeasuringWorth, https://www.measuringworth.org/exchangeglobal/; used with permission). The exchange rate values cited in the text represent the approximate equivalency in U.S. currency at the time, not contemporary U.S. manufacturer’s suggested retail prices. Please note that all exchange rate values are approximate, and presented solely for general informational purposes — this is an automotive history, not a treatise on currency trading or the value of money, and nothing in this article should be taken as financial advice of any kind!



Add a Comment
  1. I am a Holden man, but it is wonderful that the Australian Falcon story is shared. I just hope that the next Falcon will not be a Taurus, the Aussie Falcon just always needs to be rear wheel drive. By the way I absolutely adore your articles!

  2. Nice work on the Australian Falcon piece so far. It’s unusual and refreshing to read about the topic from the perspective of someone from outside of the Australian car culture who can take an informed look through a non-partisan lens, and not have their impressions gradually influenced by some 40 plus years of marketing, to say nothing of the schoolyard and BBQ mythologizing.

    1. all about falcons but what about furtura We have a 1962 2door and can’t find out anything please help

      1. The Futura was a Falcon trim series. It was introduced in the U.S. midway through the 1961 model year, initially priced $248 above than the base model. The Futura included bucket seats, vinyl upholstery, and a center console with a storage bin. It had a slightly different roofline and different wheel covers than other two-door Falcon sedans, but it was otherwise mechanically identical.

        In 1961 and 1962, the Futura was available only as a two-door sedan. In 1963, the Falcon Futura became a model, available in several different body styles.

        A Futura model was added to the Australian line with the XL Falcon. It was similar but not quite identical to the U.S. version; the initial XL Falcon Futura was available only as a four-door sedan, although a two-door hardtop was added with the XM line.

        I have a decent set of photos of a ’62 North American Futura, which you can see on the Ate Up With Motor Flickr page.

  3. So great to have you back! Just a quick trouble note, the end of page 5 after the Amazon ads is cut off on the right, including the commenting application (in Firefox 3.6.13), 1680×1050.

    1. Oops, a big block of text in the bibliography was messing with the border. It’s fixed for Firefox; IE and Opera are proving more difficult.

  4. Excellent article, Aaron… as a Falcon lover in the US I’ve always been curious about the Aussie Falcons (as well as those built and sold by Ford in other markets around the world) and your article has answered a number of questions that I had about them. Looking forward to the next installment!

  5. Thank you for the many excellent articles you have here! This is far and away my favorite automotive website, your writing and research are exceptional!

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Very good article and for someone not conversant with Aussie cars well researched Did anyone show you a pic of what Ford OZ wanted to do to the Zephyr god it was awful no surprise they got turned down. Having had experience of both the Zephyr was a better car. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Alas, I was not able to get a picture of the stillborn Zephyr Mark IIA (I did ask Ford Archives).

  7. Truly enjoyed reading stories of your Falcon. We in Argentina had similar development issues for the first 60s models since our roads were very rugged too. In the 70s we parted ways when local designers coyed with specific preferences dictated by the respective markets. My only Australian Falcon experience happened when I saw an 80s Aussie Falcon roaming the streets of Buenos Aires quite a few times. It very much looked like an early european Ford Granada.
    The car had local plates and was obviously RHD. I presume it was brought in by a member of the Australian Embassy, thus circumventing local laws. In Argentina we miss our Falcon but there is no market yet for a Segment D car.
    These days we build the Focus instead and Argentinians still hold the Ford brand very dear for the successful subsequent Falcon models built and for the fact that they built the first automotive plant in the country back in 1913.

  8. I would like to add a small but significant tidbit.

    Australian Design Rules mandated the taillamps to contain amber-coloured turn signal and red-coloured brake signal and night illumination. That requirement was introduced on the 1963 model year.

    That required some design changes to the taillamps on the Australian models thereafter.

    1. I don’t know what dates ADRs 1 (reversing lamps) and 6 (turn signals) were first drafted, but one of the interesting tidbits I found in the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s website was that they were initially just guidelines (however seriously manufacturers may have regarded them) — they didn’t start to become legal requirements until 1969. ADR1 didn’t become mandatory until 1 January 1972, ADR6 until 1 January 1973. However, Australia was a signatory of the 1958 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Vehicle Regulations agreement, which imposed its own international standards for headlamps, taillights, and signaling. (I must admit I’ve only glanced at the UNECE regulations, which are lengthy and very complex, and comparing them to the ADRs would be quite a project.)

  9. Great research and a really interesting read. Can anyone confirm the story that Ford Australia sold off their XK, XP dies to Ford Argentina? The Falcon was produced there till 1992, and it was basically an XK shell that was updated. The Ranchero (ute) uses short doors like the Aussie version, and the Rural (wagon) seems to have the short rear overhang of the Aussie wagon, but I stumbled on this great article looking to answer this question, so maybe one of the many Ford Falcon readers will know. Thanks, Scott.

    1. Dear Scott, XK dies were brought from the USA in 1963 for import substitution. However, I don’t know the case for the Ranchero and Rural (SW or Estate) versions.

  10. Hi,

    Great work on the site, the depth of the content is impressive.

    Just a quick correction. Page 3 of this article refers to “Chrysler’s AP5 Valiant, which offered an optional V8 engine”. The AP5 only had the slant six engine. The V8 was first made available in the AP6.

    1. Thanks, Stuart! That was a typo — I fixed it in the text.

  11. Hi Aaron,

    Found a minor typo on page 3

    Nevertheless, all five cars survived the brutal treatment, maintaining an average speed of 71.3 mph (144.8 km/h).

    Unsure which speed was achieved but 71mph is around 114kmh

    Great article and site, regards from an Australian reader!

    1. Whoops — that was pre-metricization, so it was 71.3 mph, which is 114.746 km/h. I’ll fix that in the text. Thanks!

  12. Just bumped into this article a bit over 10 years after it was published, during my research on early falcons.

    Fantastic detail thankyou Aaron.

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