History of the Ford Falcon GT (part 3 of 6)
1998 video documentary on the Australian Ford Falcon GT & GTHO (phases
1-4), its success on the showroom and at Mount Panorama. Includes
interviews with Ford personnel, racing celebrities, and rare archive
Crazy Falcon GT Burnout
Craziest driveway burnout in the history of burnouts.
The Ford Falcon GT is an automobile which was produced by Ford Australia
from 1967 to 1976 and 2003 to the present day with intermittent limited
edition anniversary models offered in between. Since 2003 the car has been
marketed as the FPV GT but FPV continue to release anniversary editions
commemorating the release of the original 1967 model. The Falcon GT is
inextricably linked with the history of Australian muscle car production
and with the evolution of Australian domestic motor racing.
The GT was introduced as a performance variant of the Australian Ford
Falcon XR series in 1967. GT variants were also offered in: 1968 XT, 1969
XW, 1971 XY, 1972 XA, 1973 XB models. HO (Handling Options) variants
released with XW and XY model ranges, further modified for performance and
were essentially homologation specials for motor racing. A XA version of
the HO was abandoned in the early stage of development due to public
pressure in 1972 after an infamous newspaper campaign.
After a rest of sixteen years the GT badge was revived for a 25th
anniversary edition of the 1992 EB series Falcon with a 30th anniversary
version offered in 1997 on the EL Falcon. From 2003 the GT badge was
inherited by Ford Australia's performance tuning arm, Ford Performance
Vehicles and the FPV GT has been offered continuously since 2003 on the BA,
BF (2006) and FG (2008) model ranges.
The 1967 XR series was a major shift in the evolution of the Falcon, then
still being adapted from its American counterpart for Australian release.
The car was noticeably larger compared to the XP model range. For the first
time Ford Australia offered a V8 engine on the range, the 289-cubic-inch
engine then in use on the Ford Mustang. As part of the introduction
a new high-performance version, the GT was introduced, based around the
success of GT versions of the Ford Cortina. The GT Falcon would be marketed
in exactly the same way as the GT Cortinas with the competition arm of Ford
Australia preparing production racing cars to race at the Bathurst 500. The
factory racing team, led by veteran driver/engineer Harry Firth entered two
cars, one for himself and Fred Gibson and the other for the Geoghegan
brothers, Ian and Leo. After a day long battle against three Alfa Romeos at
Bathurst in 1967, the team emerged with a 1--2 team victory which captured
the public imagination and sales figures soared. The move forced General
Motors-Holden's and Chrysler Australia to respond with their own
performance editions of their large sedan in 1968 when neither had such
vehicles planned, beginning the era of the Australian muscle car.
Over the next five years each of the three manufacturers produced faster and faster variants. Engine capacity increased,
first to 302 cubic inches displaced, then finally 351 c.i.d. Ford
introduced the HO (handling options) package in the 1969 XW model range,
essentially producing road registerable racing cars for the leading
production touring car teams to exploit. these homolgation specials reached
their zenith with the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III in 1971, a car which Allan
Moffat used to smash all opposition in the 1971 Bathurst enduro and would
remain the fastest four-door production saloon in the world until the
introduction of the Lotus Carlton 19 years later.
A fear campaign against the homolgation specials started with headlines of
"160 MPH Street Cars soon!" led to Ford dropping production with the
planned Falcon GT HO Phase IV. For their own part, touring car racing
regulations were altered, creating the 1973 Group C regulations, which
allowed production cars to be modified for racing independently of the road
going cars, reducing pressure on manufacturers to put racing modifications
into the road cars.
A Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III was the most expensive Australian vehicle sold
at auction selling for $A750.000. A previous sale had been for $A683,650.
In 1971 a Phase III won the Bathurst 500 driven by Allan Moffat.