XM Ford Falcon (1964-65)
The XM series Falcon range was introduced in February 1964, as a replacement for the XL series Falcon. Unlike previous models, the ’64 XM range was one of the first models to receive locally focused engineering efforts and tested on Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
For buyers, this meant the Falcon XM was promoted as a locally manufactured, stronger more rugged iteration, well suited to the harsher Australian conditions. Infact Ford Australia’s marketing material promoted the new Falcon as certified “Golden Quality” tougher, more durable than ever before, with a bold new look of leadership.
The XM was the first Falcon to offer the choice of three engines. The 144ci (2.4l), the 170ci (2.8l) and the newly introduced 200ci (3.3l) version of the Falcon Six, often referred to as the “Super Pursuit”.
The 144ci and 170ci were retained from the previous models, however both received small power increases, up 6hp (96hp) for the 144ci and 10hp (111hp) for the 170ci. Performance for the 200ci Super Pursuit was a respectable 121 hp (90 kW). Both the Futura and Deluxe models were available with either the 170ci as standard or the 200ci as an option. Compression ratios across all engines was 8.7:1 except the 144ci which was available in both high and low compression (7.5:1)
Transmissions remained largely unchanged from the models, with Ford offering the 3-speed manual transmission and Fords 2-speed Ford-o-Matic.
Numerous changes to the suspension were made, which included new front upper wishbones, stronger ball joints, repositioned rear leaf spring hangers, and more durable coil over shocks. Larger axle shafts were fitted as well as strengthened engine mounts. Commercial vehicles (utilities and sedan deliveries) were fitted with a 7 leaf spring rear end, as opposed to the regular 6 leaf to accommodate heavily loads.
Exterior styling changes were a significant departure away from the US influenced contemporary styling of both the XK and XL. A distinctive new front end saw the introduction of heavy chrome work, a complete redesign of the grille, as well as the introduction of new headlight assembles and a larger front bumper.
The rear of the vehicle was also heavily redesigned, with the introduction of new rear quarter panels, which housed newly modified tail lights, which gave the car a longer, sleeker, more upmarket appearance. In addition, larger, more pronounced stainless side mouldings were added as well as a fake bonnet scoop and new engine-size badges. Overall the XM Falcon was considerably different from its predecessors.
On the inside, a number of enhancements were introduced. The Deluxe model came with optional extras such as a padded dashboard, armrests, carpeted floor, dual horns and a cigarette lighter. The largely inefficient vacuum operated windscreen wiper units were removed and an upgraded, two-speed electric operated unit fitted as standard.
The instrument cluster was revised, seats improved and once again the Futura featured distinctive trim with bucket seats with a centre console.
Ford Australia now offered more body styles and models than ever before with the XM Falcon being available as a sedan, station wagon, sedan delivery (panel van) and utility. In July 1964 they released the all new 2-door hardtop.
The 2-door variant of the XM Falcon was available in both Deluxe and Futura trim, with options of either the 170ci or 200ci super pursuit. Whilst the hardtop shared many of the same body panels as the sedan, the roof line, c pillar, doors, windscreens and side glass were all unique. The pillarless design gave the hardtop a sleek, stylish look that introduced a level of sophistication to the Australian motoring landscape never before seen.
Pricing started at £1,051, making it one of the most affordable vehicles in its class within Australia. A total of 47,039 vehicles were sold, before being replaced by the XP Falcon in March 1965.