The Ford Falcon is a Ford Australia-manufactured car, distributed across Australia and to some parts of Africa. Since its launch in 1960, the Falcon and its derivatives have sold over three million units in seven generations. It derives this demand from its appeal as a taxi vehicle, company fleet car, and a police car.
First Generation (1960-1966)
Ford executives in a bid to improve the faltering Ford sales came across the new Falcon in 1958 when they visited the Ford headquarters in Detroit. This new Falcon resulted in the manufacture of the first Ford Falcon generation. That was the Ford Falcon XK followed in sequence by the XL, XM, and XP models.
The XK model, the first Ford Falcon, was launched in September 1960. The original model was available in a four-door right-hand-drive sedan offered in both Falcon and Falcon Deluxe trim levels. The XK series featured a 3.56:1 rear axle ratio and 6.50x13 tyres, with a 2.4-litre carburetted engine generating 67 kW of peak power and 144 N.m torque. As an alternative to Holden, the Ford Falcon XK became an instant success.
The XL series released in 1962 came with some modifications to its exterior design, including a Thunderbird roofline. It also featured a heavier suspension system consisting of Fairlane parts. The XL series, however, maintained its 2.4-litre 67 kW carburetted engine.
The XM series was brought into the scene in 1964, being the first Falcon with a body designed in Australia to suit the Australian driving conditions. It sported raised rear taillights, a full wrap chrome grill on the front and a 2,781-mm wheelbase. It still retains the same 2.4-litre engine in the previous series.
Released in 1965, the Falcon XM came with three-speed automatic with front disk brakes and in various body types, including the deluxe hardtop and standard wagon Fairmont sedan, among others. With its high-performance 2.3-litre V8 engine (150 kW, 144 N.m), the XP won the Wheels Car of the Year Award in 1965.
Second Generation (1966- 1972)
The second-generation Ford Falcons had four models built, namely: the XR, XT, XW, and the XY models.
The XR released in 1966 was the first Australian-manufactured Ford Falcon to be fitted with a 4.7-litre V8 engine (150 kW, 144 N.m). With this high-performance engine, the Falcon XR introduced a variant Ford Falcon GT, the first Australian muscle car. The Falcon XR won a Wheels Car of the Year Award in 1966, which was Ford Falcon's second win in a row.
Ford introduced 1968 XT model into the Falcon scene with various changes in its body and engine. Offered mainly in the sedan body type, the Falcon XT featured a divided grille, a long indicator, and inset driving lights. Two engine choices were available, namely:
- 3.1-litre 156 kW engine with a torque of 221 N.m
- 4.9-litre 156 kW engine with a torque of 302 N.m
This 1969 release came in a GT sedan and a panel van design. Its body styling entailed raised ridges at the bottom of each front and buttressed C-pillar. It also sported a new dashboard fitted with fully-integrated air-conditioning. Its modified engine boasted of a 5.8-litre engine that produced 270 kW and a torque of 351 N.m for the GT variant.
The Ford Falcon series released the XY in 1969 with a sedan body, which sported modifications on the grille and taillights. It also featured bigger cylinders in its 3.3-litre engine (224 kW, 200 N.m) and 4.1-litre engine (224 kW, 250 N.m).
Third Generation (1972- 1979)
During this era, the Ford Falcon released three car models, namely: XA, XB, and XC.
Ford Falcon released the XA in 1972, which sported five-spoke Globe wheels for the GT model. It also featured twin driving lights, false vents, and radius rods on the rear suspension. It has maintained its predecessor's engine, the XY.
The XB was released in 1973, carrying forward most of the XA features. The GT modification included four-wheel disc brakes and a 5.8-litre 224 kW engine with a torque of 515 N.m. The power-assisted front brake was a feature shared among all XB models.
The XC was released in 1976, designed to comply with the then introduced pollution regulations. The engine options included the 3.3L, 4.1L, and 4.9L six-cylinder V8 engines. It featured a suspension designed around the radial-ply tyre.
Fourth Generation (1979-1988)
The fourth generation consisted of five models, including XD, XE, XF, XG, and XH.
Introduced in 1979, the XD took up a more European body style. Its engine specs were carried forward from the XC.
The XE launched in 1982 featured a Watt's linkage coil-sprung rear suspension and a range of five engines, viz.:
- 3.3-litre inline six-cylinder
- 4.1-litre inline six-cylinder
- 4.1-litre inline electronic fuel injected six-cylinder
- 4.9-litre V8
- 5.8-litre V8
This year, the XE outsold Holden, Ford's main rival.
Released in 1984, this was the first Ford model not to offer a V8 engine. It instead featured the options of a 3.3-litre and a 4.1-litre carburetted engine (97.5 kW, 316 N.m). This car was later on adjusted to run on unleaded petrol in 1986. It also featured power steering and four-wheel disc brakes during this period. It became the best-selling Ford Falcon model of all time, thanks to its fuel economisation upgrade.
The XG was released in 1993 with a major makeover on its body and engine. It also sported a new five-speed manual on its floor or a four-speed auto transmission, and a 4-litre 148 kW engine. Other updates to the Falcon XG included the instrument cluster and the centre console.
This 1996 release reintroduced the V8 engine with 4-litre and 5-litre options. It also had a facelift which included a domed roof and changes to the front suspension and rack and pinion.
Fifth Generation (1988- 1998)
The fifth-generation launched five Ford Falcon models, includingEA, EB, ED, EF, and EL.
The EA model was not only the first of the fifth-generation Falcon but was also the first Falcon model to go through wind tunnel testing. This 1988 release was only available in sedan and station wagon body styles. It came with three engine options:
- 3.2-litre CFI, base GL engine
- 3.9-litre CFI Luxury Fairmont engine
- 3.9-litre MPI engine
There was also the sports Falcon S pack and the upper-level luxury Fairmont Ghia engine.
This 1991 release brought about the reintroduction of the V8 engine option on an Australian Ford car, which was for sedans specifically. It also brought back the Ford GT model. More improvement features included its Smartlock system, anti-lock brakes, a lap-sash centre rear seatbelt, and foam-filled A-pillars. These features made the EB a more secure, electronically-enhanced, and generally-refined Ford Falcon.
The ED, which was introduced in 1993, reintroduced the Falcon Futura model. It featured safety-oriented specs, including anti-lock brakes, and cruise control. It also had body-coloured mirrors. Its engine was a 4-litre six-cylinder 148 kW machine.
The EF introduced in 1994 came with a makeover including a curvaceous body, new handles, and a remodelled interior that included cup holders. Safety was a primary consideration in its design, featuring the first airbag to be incorporated in an Australian car. The EF had a modified engine to generate up to 157 kW and a redesigned suspension for an improved ride.
The EL was the final E series model released in 1996. The EL's exterior featured remodelled bonnet front bumper, grille, and headlamps. Its engine was also modified with a refitted distributor as it maintained the 157 kW power. Other upgrades for the EL included the rear suspension and steering, reshaped seats, third-row accommodation for station wagon models, and an electric network to allow mobile phone usage.
Sixth Generation (1998- 2010)
The sixth-generation Falcon series introduced three models, namely: AU, BA, and BF.
The AU Falcon was released in 1998 with a range of eight models, namely: Forte, Fairmont, S, Futura, Fairmont Ghia, XR6, XR6 VCT, and VR8. The differentiation of these models was through their grille shapes and bonnet. The AU series sported enhancements such as upgraded braking systems, power upgrade for the V8 engine, and a laminated firewall.
Introduced into the scene in 2002, the BA Falcon was a significant upgrade from its predecessor. It entailed a more effective control-blade with independent rear suspension, two new V8 engines, and a modified inline-six engine. The car's interior and exterior also received design modifications. Its upgrade paid off as the BA went on to win the Wheels Car of the Year Award in 2002.
The BF released in 2005 was focused on its mechanical upgrade, maintaining most of its predecessor's exterior design. The 4-litre 190 kW six-cylinder V8 engine received minor updates within the VCT system to improve the engine noise, vibration, and harshness. It was also modified to economise fuel.
Seventh Generation (2008-2016)
2008 marked the start of the Falcon's final generation in Australia, releasing the FG and FG X models.
The FG went through various upgrades, including the power upgrade to 195 kilowatts. The XR6 models received a turbocharged engine that produced 270 kW. Among the FG models, the XR8 was the only Falcon with a V8 engine, which was a 5.4-litre 290 kW machine. The FG models were later updated in 2010, which featured iPod and Bluetooth integration in all car models except the XT, which got an 8-inch colour touchscreen. The FG's most notable achievement would be the safety upgrades, which included six airbags across all ranges. FG scored five stars in the Independent ANCAP crash safety testing due to these safety features.
FG X (2014)
The FG X was the final Ford Falcon in Australia, released in 2014, ending production in 2016. Created in response to the Ford Falcon enthusiasts, the FG X was the first Flacon to feature WiFi connectivity and DAB+ radio. It also had five engine options for its variant models, namely:
- 2-litre inline-four turbocharged 180kW
- 4-litre inline-six 195 kW
- 4-litre six inline LPG 198 kW
- 4-litre inline-six turbocharged 270 kW or 325 kW
- 5-litre V8 supercharged 335 kW or 345 kW