XY Ford Falcon (1970-72)

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Vehicle Overview

The XY Falcon was introduced to the Australian market in October 1970 as the successor to the XW Falcon. It was the fourth and final model in the second generation of Falcons, which  consisted of the XR (1966-68), XT (1968-69), XW (1969-70) and finally the XY (1970-72). This would be the last of the Australian-made Falcons to take influence from the American models. From then on, all would be designed, developed and built in Australia.

Aesthetically, the differences between the XY and XW models were only minor compared to the major redesign which Ford had given the XW. The XY had an all plastic grill with a large central division and horizontal bars which spanned the entire front of the car. The tail lights were also redesigned, and now split into horizontal halves as opposed to the XWs horizontal thirds.

All models now came with higher powered engines. The inline-six engines saw an increased capacity from 188 cu to 200 cu in the 3.3L, and from 221 cu to 250 cu in the 4.1L. There was also a 4.1L (250 cu) 2V inline-six that had a twin venturi carburettor. This increased the bhp from 155 to 170, which almost equaled the output of the smaller 253 cu V8s in the Holden HQs. The 4.9L (302 cu) V8 was carried over from the XW, but the 5.7L (351cu) was an entirely new design.

Transmission options were 3- or 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. The 4-speed manual and 3-speed “T-bar” automatic were floor mounted. The wide variety of engine and transmission options available from Ford meant that even the lower powered engines when combined with the right gearbox could outperform some of the higher displacement V8s.

The interior of the Fairmont and GT models benefited from reclining bucket seats as standard. Additional features such as air-conditioning, electric windows, thick carpet and sports consoles were optioned across the range. Improvements were made to the suspension with increased efforts on creating a smoother, quieter, more comfortable ride.

Ford offered the grand sport or “GS package” for the Falcon 500, Futura and Fairmont sedans and wagons. This allowed customers to upgrade their basic models with GT styling and performance, including the full range of engine and transmission combinations, as well as more cosmetic items.

The now very rare and highly valuable XY phase-III GT-HOs were fitted with modified Cleveland 351 V8s. Rated at 300 bhp but widely considered to produce in excess of 350 bhp, they were at the time the fastest four-door production car in the world. With the rev-limiter disabled, the phase-III GT-HOs were capable of reaching 140 mph. Only a total of 300 XY phase-III GT-HOs were built between 1970 and 1971, and understandably are highly sought after by collectors at present. A number of XY phase-III GT-HOs have been known to sell for over $500,000 AUD.

The XY range consisted of sedans, wagons, as well as panel vans and utility models (utes). Interestingly, Ford Australia released a short run of only 432 4×4 utes. These much sought-after utes were designed with the forethought of creating a comfortable commercial vehicle that handled like a sedan. Far from a simple conversion of the stock Falcons, the development period of the XY 4×4 was such a headache for Ford Australia that the release was delayed until 1972. The majority of these utes were hand-built at Ford’s Brisbane plant, with the XY as the first production 4×4 ute made in Australia.

The XY Falcon would go on to be regarded by many as probably the best of the Australian-made Falcons for performance, design and build quality. Ford Australia produced a total of 118,666 units between 1970 and 1972 before replacing it with the XA Falcon launched in March 1972.

XY Ford Falcon station wagon

XY Ford Fairmont station wagon

XY Ford Falcon utility

XY Ford Futura sedan

XY Ford Falcon panelvan

XY Ford Falcon 500 sedan

XY Ford Falcon GT sedan

XY Ford Fairmont sedan

XY Ford Falcon 4x4