XY Ford Falcon GT (1970 -71)

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Vehicle Overview

The XY Ford Falcon GT is, to many people, the ultimate Falcon GT. It was perhaps Ford Australia’s best example of an uncompromising balance of performance and looks, taking the showy striped and decaled “GT” styling to the extreme. The XY GT is commonly known as “The Shaker” because of how its air scoop protrudes through the bonnet and shakes during engine idle.

The XY Falcon was released in 1970 just over a year after the release of its predecessor the XW. The development of the XW involved a large $10 million investment by Ford, so unsurprisingly the XY was much the same, receiving only a minor facelift. Visible differences between the XY GT and XW GT were its all plastic grill, revised rear lights, shaker bonnet, which also a feature on the GT-HO Phase III, and thinner cosmetic side stripes.

The XY GT was optioned with Ford’s Cleveland 351 (cu) V8 engine which replaced the Windsor 351 in the XW GT-HO Phase II. The Windsor 351 was a stroked version of the Windsor 302 engine, whereas the Cleveland was built for purpose as a 351. The heavier engine block and the forged, rather than cast, crankshaft gave the Cleveland greater headroom for adaptation than the Windsor which had almost reached its capacity. The 351 Cleveland would be Ford’s high-performance engine of choice from this point on and remained in production in Australia until 1982. Though the 351 Cleveland engine was available across the range of XY Falcons, the GT had higher compression, four-barrel carbs rather than the stock two-barrel and a low restriction exhaust system. This significantly increased the 351’s output from 250bhp to 300bhp, and 355Ib-ft of torque to 380Ib-ft.

The XY GT featured a 4-speed manual transmission as standard although it could be optioned with Ford’s 3-speed C4 automatic transmission. Ride quality was improved over the stock models with beefed up suspension and the addition of a front anti-roll bar. The XY GT came with steel slotted wheels but buyers also had the option of 5-spoke Bathurst globes. Both wheel choices were fitted with E70 redline radial tyres. Braking was taken care of by power-assisted 11.25-inch disc brakes at the front and 10-inch drums at the rear.

The XY GT is revered because of its muscle car styling and outright power on the open road. However, some claim, maybe surprisingly, that it was also well adapted to town driving, especially when paired with the automatic gearbox. It’s also recognized for its high build quality, comfort and interior fittings, which were shared with Ford’s luxury Fairmont models. The XY GT interior was trimmed in heavy duty vinyl, with padded doors and a wood grain accent on the dash to match the GT steering wheel. The instrument panel was fitted with more gauges than the standard Falcon, and featured a speedometer, tachometer, as well as oil pressure, temperature, fuel gauges and various warning lamps.

A homologation special of the XY GT known as the GT-HO Phase III was released in 1971 with a limited production of only 300 units. The super high performance Phase III was an instant classic and, at the time of release, it was the fastest four-door production sedan in the world. The Phase III looked almost identical to the standard GT except for its GT-HO badges and rear spoiler, however there were extensive modifications under the bonnet. The Phase III would go on to dominate Australian motor sport in the following years.

Between September 1970 and December 1971, Ford Australia produced 1,557 units of the XY GT Falcon before it was replaced with the XA GT in March 1972.