XW Ford Falcon GT (1969-70)
Ford wanted to show they really meant business with the release of the XW GT in May 1969. Its new aggressive look combined with the larger Windsor V8 engine was a far cry from the subtle styling of its XT predecessor. With its lowered stance, blacked out bonnet with large air-scoop and thick GT stripes, it screamed performance. Ford proclaimed the XW GT was “designed to set the pace in the toughest competitive events,” as well as being “the highest possible level of luxury and comfort.”
Ford added the 351 (cu) Windsor V8 for the first time, which replaced the smaller displacement 302 (cu) Windsor engine used in the previous XT models. The 290 bhp Windsor 351 engine was fitted with a Ford four-barrel carburettor and dual exhaust system.
The XW GT sported a close ratio four-speed manual transmission and matching twin-plate heavy duty clutch. It was also optioned with a three-speed automatic transmission which proved popular, although the manual was standard. The GT sat lower than the rest of the XW Falcon range and was fitted with competition suspension and heavy duty shocks. Wide radial tyres were fitted as standard over 6-inch 12-slot steel rims. The XW GT featured power-assisted Kelsey-Hayes 11 ¼ inch disc brakes on the front and 10-inch drums on the back. This ensured greater safety and improved braking to accommodate for the added power.
The interior shared the same high level of luxury on offer in the XW Fairmont models. It came with heavy-duty vinyl bucket seats with woven padded inlays and front seat belts which were now required by law. The center sports console was a unique GT feature that was available only as an optioned extra across the rest of the XW range. The GT proved so popular that Ford offered a Grand Sport or “GS” options package. This offered GT styling and performance options for the lower priced XW models. This allowed buyers to give the lower cost Falcon models the GT look, as well as the sporty V8 engines and better braking that the GT offered.
Ford was keen to promote that although the GT model was powerful, it was also safe, and in turn added an extensive range of safety features to the interior. For eg, the steering column was now collapsible with a padded steering wheel hub, padded instrument panel, sun visors and door panels. The controls and instruments were also recessed, to improve visibility and prevent glare. On the outside, they kept the additional driving lights first seen on the XT GT to maintain visibility at high speed.
For a little more comfort and style, Ford offered a number of optional extras available with the GT. For example, power steering was now an option, as well as a floor-mounted “T-bar” shifter to compliment the cruise-o-matic transmission. Air conditioning, a push button radio, as well as tinted windscreens and vinyl roofs were also available as options.
As for finishes, the GT could be ordered in an ever expanding range of colours. Although white and candy-apple red were the most widely produced colours, Ford sold many green, blue and silver cars, as well as a beautiful and very “GT” Grecian gold. There were of course many one offs which are now considered some of the rarest.
The GT represented the luxury-performance bracket of Ford’s Falcon XW range, but it didn’t end there. Ford also released two high-performance competition GT-HO models of the XW GT. Released just two months after the GT, the GT-HO, which stands for “handling option”, was built for homologation and included extensive engine modifications over the standard GT model. The later XW GT-HO Phase II would also see the addition of the Cleveland 351 (cu) engine to the Falcon range.
Between June 1969 and October 1970, Ford Australia built 2,287 XW GTs before they were replaced with the XY model.