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Ford Falcon

XR Falcon

1 Sep 1966

Billed as the “Mustang-bred” Falcon, the handsome, long-nose short-tailed XR model was the second generation big Ford, with longer and wider American styling remodelled significantly for local tastes.

The roomier interior was also completely fresh and featured seatbelts as standard.

Again available in four-door sedan, wagon, ute and panel van variants, the smallest engine and two-door models were dropped, a 149kW/382Nm 4.7-litre/289cu OHV V8 was introduced, ‘500’ replaced Deluxe as the Ford family car favourite and a long options list was now available.

But as the six-cylinder engines by and large remained the same, they had to work much harder to haul the heavier Falcon around.

In April ’67 the legendary gold-painted GT sedan was launched, featuring 168kW, a taller differential, quicker steering, radial tyres, disc brakes, lowered suspension and go-faster stripes.

The GT was an absolute sensation, upstaging Holden, which had recovered some lost sales with its popular HR revamp from April ’66 but still could not offer a V8. The XR also spawned the super-successful, super-profitable Fairlane from March ’67, a prestige sedan built on a stretched version of the Falcon wagon’s wheelbase.

Ford was awarded with another Wheels Car of the Year gong too, the Falcon’s last for 36 years.

All in all, 90,810 XRs were produced. Years later a Ford boss of the time cited the XR as the “car that saved Ford” and “a turning point” for the Australian arm.

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