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Ford shows off Falcon XR8

Artistic pursuit: The public have been given a chance to see the new Ford FG X Falcon in the flesh at a gallery in Melbourne’s CBD.

First public outing of Ford’s new Falcon range at Melbourne charity exhibition


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6 Oct 2014

FORD has given the Australian public its first chance to meet the final Falcon in person, with its flagship XR8 headlining a charity fundraising event in Melbourne’s CBD last week.

The 5.0-litre supercharged Blue Oval sedan took centre stage at the CBD nightspot but featured alongside examples of its G6E, XR6 and XR6 Turbo siblings as well as other artwork by Ford’s local design team.

Many of the pieces on display were up for sale at the Outside the Oval exhibition, with proceeds going to juvenile diabetes charity JDRF, but customers won't be able to hand over cash for one of the vehicles until its official Australian launch later this year.

The XR8 was officially unveiled by the Victorian minister for manufacturing David Hodgett at the private viewing last Friday, but members of the public were invited to browse the free exhibition over the weekend.

Before unveiling the car, minister Hodgett said that during a recent trade mission to Detroit, a senior Ford global product development executive had told him Australia is producing “some of the world’s best designers and engineers” and the local development team is “second to none”.

“I think that is a testament to our Victorian universities and graduates,” he said.

“I’m enormously proud that Ford is keeping its centre of excellence here in Victoria along with the talented designers and engineers and test track… and it will continue to have input to international markets including the markets close-by China and India.” “That’s great for Ford and great for Victoria.” Works on display by the Ford design team were not limited to the automotive realm, but one of the most popular pieces on show was a bare Falcon shell known as a ‘body-in-white’, which had been decorated with portraits of Ford’s manufacturing staff.

Its creator and one of the event’s organisers, Peter Watson told GoAuto the shell was destined to be scrapped but the Melbourne stencil artist had rescued it after being invited to contribute a piece to the Outside the Oval exhibition.

“At the proving ground they use the body-in-whites for all different things so we didn’t even know in what kind of condition they would arrive, so these two bodies turned up and I used one as the sacrificial lamb,” he said.

“I pulled everything together to make one body and then the other one went back to Geelong to be scrapped. That’s the beauty of the car. That one is going to go in to the museum, not the crusher.” Mr Watson said the purpose of his work and the exhibition was to both celebrate what Ford has done in the past but also to look forward and be positive about the future.

“What we are showcasing here is the talent and the passion that the whole design team has got. We are showing the skill that we have got in Australia and at Ford. It’s there,” he said.

“One of the reasons for being at this venue is because RMIT is just around the corner so what we are saying is ‘look, we are still here’. Research and development and design is still here and we are going further and you can be a part of it.

“Come along and see the kind of work we do, see the passion that we’ve got, see the skills that we have. Come and join us, we are still hiring.

“At the design studio we are in the process of increasing our numbers quite healthily.“ But despite bearing the faces of employees who may not remain employed with Ford after the 2017 manufacturing cessation, Mr Watson said his work still had an optimistic tone and is representative of the loyalty of Ford workers.

“For me it’s about recognising the guys at the very coal-face. The guys who build the car and screw the nuts and bolts together, and the unsung heroes of the car,” he said.

“To me it’s a celebration of all things good. Some have said it could be a bit sad but all of the people’s faces on the car were volunteers. They wanted to get involved with this.

“I was expecting 40 or 50 might say yeah and I ended up with 380. There is a pride there.” The new Ford Falcon rolls into showrooms at the end of November this year with prices starting from $35,900 before on-road costs, or $52,490 for the flagship XR8 that headlined the exhibition.

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