1 Aug 1976
It only took Ford 17 years for its Falcon to become Australia’s best-selling car at last – a feat the XC achieved during 1977 against the frankly hopeless HX Kingswood.
Part of the reason why was that Ford’s response to July 1 1976’s mandatory ADR 27A anti-pollution laws was to redevelop the Falcon engines with a cross-flow head for greater efficiency and better driveability – especially compared to the rough-running HX.
The revised 3.3 now produced 80kW/220Nm, the 4.1 low-compression 85kW/272Nm and the 4.1 high-compression 92kW/289Nm, while the 4.9 and 5.8 V8s developed 151kW/364Nm and 162kW/429Nm respectively.
Ford also fettled with the steering and suspension, to create what it advertised as “The Great Australian Road Car.” In top-line Fairmont GXL guise, with its four-wheel disc brakes, lowered suspension and well-equipped interior, it was.
Ford also addressed the XA/XB vision problems by expensively redesigning larger-windowed rear doors and installing an all-new dash with higher seats. Better flow through ventilation was also incorporated.
A less aggressive nose incorporating the model’s first-ever square headlights gives the XC Fairmont away.
All XCs boasted redesigned taillights with new separate reverse lights, and large (and unsightly) American-style chrome bumpers.
In April ’78 Ford responded to Holden’s successful “Radial Tuned Suspension” package that revitalised HZ Kingswood sales with the “XC 1/2”, with firmer suspension settings, more standard features and repositioned Ford badges.
This was the last of the overtly American design-influence Falcons. In all 171,082 XCs were built, before the completely rebodied, European-style XD Falcon took over in early 1979.