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Ford Fairmont

XC Fairmont GXL

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 the introduction of the Fairmont GXL – the first time an Australian car manufacturer had a crack at building a European-style sports/luxury sedan.

Also, Ford’s response to the July 1, 1976 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 GXL was available with a revised 4.1 high-compression 92kW/289Nm six-cylinder engine or two V8s – the 4.9 and 5.8, developing 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 GXL guise, with its four-wheel disc brakes, lowered suspension and well-equipped interior, it was a convincing effort.

Sadly though, the GXL replaced the once-hallowed GT in the local line-up, while the Futura also vanished.

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 had square headlights (a Falcon first) on both Fairmont models. Also giving the XC away from the outside are redesigned tail-lights 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.

The Fairmont Ghia replaced the GXL from the XD series onward.

Standard features: four-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels, Limited Slip Differential, sports instrumentation, velour seats, reclining bucket seats, intermittent wipers, tinted glass, extra chrome and courtesy lights, rear window demister, left-hand side mirror, front folding armrest, childproof door locks, carpet, clock, AM radio with power aerial, map pockets, radial tyres, hazard flashers, halogen headlights, dual horns.

Engine options: 151kW/364Nm 4.9L V8 and 162kW/429Nm 5.8 V8.

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