XT Ford Falcon GT (1968-69)

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Vehicle Overview

The XT GT was released in March 1968, and was the second GT Falcon to make it to production, following on from its predecessor, the XR GT. Developed as the high-performance luxury model of the XT Falcon range, it was based on the Falcon sedan body shape. The previous XR GT saw only a short run of almost 600 units and was considered a somewhat limited edition. This time around though, the GT was given a permanent position in the Falcon range.

The only real cosmetic differences between the XT and the previous XR models were the addition of a new grill and rear light design. The XT range was advertised as “more Mustang” which involved some slight styling changes, such as the chrome side strip running higher along the fender tops. Though the body shape was not radically different, the XT model saw the addition of a new more powerful V8 engine to the range, the Windsor 5L 302 (cu) which replaced the 289 (cu) V8s of the previous model.

This gave the XT GT about 5 bhp more than its predecessor with the engine capable of outputting 230 bhp and 310 Ib-ft of torque. This equated to a top speed of about 130 mph. Though not significantly more powerful than the 289, the 302 Windsor engine would become a permanent and a popular addition to the Falcon range.

Ford said in its commercials that although the XT GT seemed “sort of brutish, behind the wheel it’s actually pretty sophisticated.” This suggests that Ford wasn’t only aiming this car at the street-racing crowd, but that it was intended as the luxury Falcon model with a little extra under the bonnet.

Aside from the larger V8 engine, performance upgrades that the GT received over the basic XT model were significant. They included a limited slip differential with 3:1 final drive ratio which was exclusive to the GT. Stiffer suspension and front anti-roll bar were fitted to compensate for the additional power. Wider 6-inch wheels allowed for fatter 185 tyres and 11-inch power-assisted disc brakes on the front improved braking performance considerably. The XT GT would be the first Falcon to have dual-system brakes added for additional safety.

The XT GT was optioned with four-speed all-synchro manual transmission as standard, as well as a three-speed automatic version with a floor mounted “T-bar” shifter. Although all the previous XR GTs would be fitted with a Hurst shifter from the factory, the XTs would not. Despite the shifter being noticeably shorter on the XT, many would say that the gear change was much more refined and less agricultural than the previous model. This would be the first GT model to be fitted with additional driving lights which would over time become synonymous with the GT brand.

The interior of the XT GT featured heavy-duty vinyl and had the added luxury of reclining bucket seats, which were only optioned on the more basic Falcons at the time. The steering wheel and instrument-packed dash sported wood grain, with safety padding added to the windscreens A-pillars.

Unlike its predecessor, the XR (which was only available in one colour – “GT Gold”) the XT GT was available in at least five different factory colour schemes – Springtime Yellow, Polar White, Candy Apple Red, GT Silver, Stratosphere Grey, GT Gold, Zircon Green and Brambles Red. GT Gold was still the most produced colour outselling the others, while Polar White and Zircon Green were also popular choices.

Surprisingly, given the XT GT’s performance specs and racing credentials, reviewers at the time commented on its versatility. In the September 1968 issue of Wheels magazine, the journalist was quoted as saying “just as the Falcon is a thunderous GT, it has an entirely schizophrenic nature which … can become the mildest and least obtrusive shopping buggy.”

Ford built 1,415 XT Falcon GT’s between 1968 and 1969 before they were eventually replaced by the XW GT in May, 1969.