1967 saw the first of eight GT Falcon models ignited the muscle car war in Australia. Borrowed heavily from similar-under-the-skin Mustangs, including 289ci V8, many engineers who worked on the program praise the XR GT as the best of them all. In the beginning the GT Falcon was predominantly sold in one colour – gold. However customers could also order by request other colours available such as Gallaher Silver, Avis White, Ivy Green, Russet Bronze, Sultan Maroon or Polar White. The GT versions of the Falcon are probably the most famous of the breed and certainly the most desirable and collectable today.
1968 XT GT
Introduced in May 1968, the XT GT was a continuation of the theme, although it was available in a greater range of colours. Driving lights were introduced to the grille, a feature that was to become a trademark for all subsequent GTs. In a straight line, the XT turned a 16.3-second quarter mile and offered a top speed of 189km/h but the HK Monaro GTS 327 out-cubed it and outran it.
1970 XW GT
In May 1969 the first of the XW GTs rolled off the Broadmeadows assembly line. Ford upped the ante with the XW by fitting the 351 cubic inch (5.8 litre) Windsor V8 with an output of 290bhp (217kw) and 385ft/lbs of torque. The XT GT was replaced in June 1969 with the first GTHO version which followed in August. Ford sold 2287 XW GTs and 662 XW GTHOs in 17 months. The XW GT’s trademark is its 351ci Windsor V8 and driver’s side bonnet air intake. XW GTHO Phase II introduced the rear wing - again borrowed from Mustang and the 351ci Cleveland V8.
1971 XY GT
The XY arrived in November 1970. The regular GTs 15.7-second quarter mile and thundering 225km/h top speed is overshadowed by the Phase III’s 14.4-second quarter mile and thundering 225km/h+ top speed.
The bonnet shaker air scoop added to the visual drama along with other cosmetic improvements such as front and rear spoilers the GT Australians all remember. Today, the XY GT Falcon is seen by many Australian car collectors as the definitive “Aussie Muscle Car”.
1973 XA GT
The XA replaced the XY in March 1972. The Australian designed XA GT is lighter and less outrageous (no body extras) than the XY. A Phase IV GTHO version was engineered
but axed because of the so called ‘Super Car Scare’. Many of those parts were sold off as the RPO 83 option, but the XA GT offered no more muscle than the XY GT. Marketed
under the ‘Born on the Wind’ slogan, the XA was a great success for Ford of Australia and a confident statement of its independence.
1974 XB GT
By the time the XB GT arrived in late October 1973 Ford had gone cold on the concept. The XB was a GT by name only, relying more on colourful graphics than real horsepower to make its point. The GT nameplate was killed off with the face-lifted XC, although the big 351 V8 survived until the XE ESP.
While it suffered from falling performance at the hands of emission regulations, it excelled in the Grand Tourer role, being comfortable and refined, with good handling, great brakes and V8 performance. The last XB rolled off the production line in 1976.
1975-76 Falcon XB
John Goss became famous racing with Kevin Bartlett around Mount Panorama at Bathurst in the 1970’s. Along side “KB” he won the James Hardie 1000km race at Mount Panorama in 1974 in a very close race and in August 1975 Ford released a run of XB based John Goss Special Limited Edition Hardtops. Powered by the 302ci with either an automatic or manual transmission, the car was available in two different paint schemes, blue and white or green and white.
Despite the choice of only two colours there were many selections of stripes and decals, colour-coded front and rear bumpers (similar to the GT’s) and rally pack type
wheels could also be optioned. Some individual dealers took it upon themselves to introduce other special components to the John Goss Special like front and rear spoilers and interior options, all at a hefty cost to the consumer. Sports handling suspension was fitted, as was a rally instrument pack. Only 260 were produced between 1975 and 1976.
1979 XC Cobra
In 1978 Ford were keen to complete a successful model run-out of the XC model to clear dealer’s floors for the new car. This included the slow-selling XC Hardtop, which even in 5.8 litre GXL form had hardly excited the performance car market and had nothing like the cache of the earlier GT versions.
Credit for the Falcon Cobra concept goes to Edsel Ford, a great grandson of Henry Ford, who at the time was working as Assistant Managing Director of Ford Australia. This role was considered an important training opportunity for the young American, as part of his grooming to take a senior role in Ford’s future global management team. In typically brash American fashion, Edsel figured the ‘rub off’ from such a revered Ford performance name like “Cobra”, as used on the Ford V8-powered sports cars and Mustangs developed by Caroll Shelby in the 1960’s, would be just the thing to inject some excitement into the brand and would assist greatly in clearing Ford’s remaining stock of slow-selling XC Hardtops.
1992 EB GT
The EB revived all the old GT cues: body kit, rear-wing bonnet vent, hotter-than-stock V8 and sharper-than-stock handling. Not as quick as it could have been though and the
leather and walnut interior showed the muscle car business was not as raw and performance-orientated as it used to be.
Tickford built a total of just 265 EB GT’s including 15 for New Zealand; price: $62,500 in 1992 and 1993. Back then a Fairmont Ghia V8 sold for about $43,000 and today would cost around $49,990.00. It was good to see the GT back even if it was a prisoner of its past. Design rules and market realities mean today’s GT can never be the rip-snorting street racer the legendary GTHO’s were (built to win at Bathurst, Ford lost money on them). But it would seem, somehow, more legitimate if the GT was a regular member of the Falcon family, rather than a badge dusted off by Ford’s marketing department on suitable anniversaries.
1997 EL GT
Three decades after it first defined the Aussie performance car and five years after Ford resurrected the most evocative name in our automotive lexicon, the GT Falcon is back and wilder than ever. The EL GT clearly picked up where the EB GT left off. Look hard at the EL GT and you can see that traces of Ford’s so-called ‘Edge Design’ have crept in. Whereas the EB GT’s rear-wing arched across the boot in a graceful curve, the EL version features more upright endplates topped with a thin ridge and the foil section is almost parallel to the boot lid. The new bumper also featured a sharp crease design element that could mean more edge on the all-new Falcon next year.
2003 BA GT
Years 2003/04 and it’s back again the GT; synonymous with Australia’s first V8 Supercar. The definitive Ford muscle machine, with a history as long as Conrod Straight. Redefined for the 21st Century, with power and torque on tap from the 290-kilowat Boss 290 V8.
However, it’s not just about power because the GT’s handling ability and total safety package establish a new benchmark for an Australian-built high performance car. FPV engineering developments to the drive line, suspension and brakes make it a true driver’s car and a worthy heir to the badge. GTP P is for premium. If you crave even more of what the new GT stands for, a higher specification has been: the new GTP. You’ll want for nothing with an even more impressive combination of features. The GTP packs the same potent 290-kilowatt Boss 290 V8 engine as the GT but with the addition of distinctive 7-spoke alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, dual-zone climate control, prestige audio system and performance seats.
2004 FPV GT-P
Towards the end of 2004 Ford Performance Vehicles released the Mk II GT and GTP Falcons, the first shipment of which hit New Zealand in November 2004. The external changes made to the Mk II were minimal with unequal body stripes and the Boss 290 hood decal to distinguish the models. Internally, the FPV performance seats received improved support and the dash-mounted oil temperature and pressure gauges set off the
cockpit array. The engine remains unchanged but for a new blue colour to the plenum and rocker covers. The transmission and handling package is where big inroads were made. The optional Tremec T56 6-speed, close-ratio, short-throw manual transmission with a 3.46 : 1 final drive makes this car a driver’s dream.
The Mk II also sports the larger 19” wheels with bigger 4-pot double acting Brembo brakes all around for improved handling. Nowhere in the world can you buy a high performance muscle car of this calibre for under $NZ 100,000.
2005 FPV BF GT
October 2005 saw the release of the next car out of the FPV stable - the BF GT Falcon. Ostensibly the same platform as the BAII above, bar a few external embellishments. Yet another beauty from the sharp end of Ford Australia. The model shown is the BFII GT 40th Anniversary Model - a sought after car in anyone’s language.
2008 FPV FG GT
October 2008 is the date FPV are said to release the GT and GTP in the new FG range. Ford sales have soared sought after the introduction of the FG Falcon. The subtle changes are just enough to wet the appetite of current and new GT Falcon owners alike.
2014 GT F
The FPV GT F, the final high performance Falcon to be built by Ford Australia has finally arrived. 550 GT F sedans and 120 GT F Pursuit utes have been produced and only 50 sedans and 3 utes are on their way to NZ. Celebrating 47 years of V8 power the last GT F packs 351kW and 570Nm of torque.