XT Ford Falcon (1968-69)
March 1968 saw the release of the new XT model as the second iteration of the second generation of Ford’s Australian Falcons. The XT was aesthetically a minor facelift of the 1966 XR Falcon, which is unsurprising given Ford’s large investment in the development of the XR. With the styling of the XR being heavily influenced by Ford America’s Mustang, the XT continued this trend.
Ford commercials at the time proclaimed the XT as being “more Mustang” due to borrowed elements like the sweeping chrome strip that ran from front to back. This was raised up higher to run along the top of the fenders and beneath the windows. It also had a new grill design that was simpler and sleeker than the mesh-effect grill of the previous model. The tail lights were still round but no longer recessed, and featured a rectangular central light contributing to the more modern aesthetic.
The engines were also upgraded, with two all new inline-sixes and a 5L (302 cu) Mustang V8. The six-cylinders were increased from 2.8L (170 cu) to 3.1L (188 cu) and from 3.3L (200 cu) to 3.6L (221 cu). The 5L (302 cu) V8 was optioned on the Falcon, Falcon 500 and Fairmont, and was fitted as standard on the GT models. From the XT onward, Ford stated all engine capacity in litres rather than cubic inches.
Transmission options included a 3-speed manual, 3-speed automatic and 3-speed SelectShift Cruis-o-matic, which could be driven in manual or automatic modes. All manual transmissions had synchromesh on first gear as standard, and an all synchromesh gearbox was optioned. Only the GT would be available with a 4-speed manual box.
The new Falcon range benefited from the addition of a padded steering wheel hub and door pillars, safety designed controls for instruments and doors, and more importantly a dual braking system. The XT also came with wider tyres with Ford stating, “the wide-track, is still the widest in its class.”
On the inside, interiors were high quality vinyl with passenger compartments being heavily insulated for improved sound deadening. Bench seats were still fitted across the range, except on the Fairmonts and GT models which had bucket seats as standard.
Across the range, there were seven passenger models and three commercial ones available. The Falcon, Falcon 500 and Fairmont were all available as a sedan or wagon. At the time, Ford Australia were trying to capitalise on the luxury status of the Falcon brand. Commercials from the time stated, “No effort has been spared to make this new Falcon the roomiest, quietest, most comfortable car in its class”. Station wagons boasted a huge load space of 7 ft long by nearly 5 ft wide and 3 ft high with the rear seats collapsed and the tailgate closed. The top of the line Fairmont wagons had disc brakes fitted as standard as well as electric tailgates. The large loading areas were also evident across the commercial range – including panel vans and utility models.
The XT Falcon GT was released in May 1968, seeing only subtle differences from the XR GT. The second of the Falcon GTs to make it to market was fitted with the Windsor 5L (302 cu) and a four-barrel carburettor which saw a 5bhp power increase from the XR GT. Fitted with a four-speed manual gearbox as standard, the XT GT would be the first GT model optioned with 3-speed automatic transmission. It sat on slightly wider rims than those of the XR GT and was available in a wider range of colours (the XR GT being available in only “GT Gold”). The XT GTs were equipped with additional driving lights for the first time. These would become synonymous with the GT models.
Between March 1968 and June 1969, Ford-Australia built 79,290 XT Falcons until they were superseded by the XW in 1969.