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Ford Fairmont

XA Fairmont

Ford logo1 Mar 1972

The XA – the third all-new bodied Falcon – may have been the first wholly Australian-designed big Ford, but it became one of the low points of the series after the XY highs.

The modish '70s “Coke-bottle” styling dated quickly and seriously curtailed vision, non-power steered models were hopelessly heavy to manoeuvre, space efficiency for the size of the car was poor and quality control took a nosedive.

Sales were strong though, buoyed by the XA’s unexpectedly good road manners and widely perceived size suitability against the softer and seemingly smaller Holden HQ as well as the VH Valiant’s vastness. Leyland’s criminally underrated P76 was also a rival from 1973.

The XA’s cabin was also uniquely Australian, with a stylish but unergonomic wraparound dash that was set too high for shorter drivers.

A development of the XY’s engines, its outputs are: 97kW/258Nm 3.3, 116kW/325Nm 4.1, 127kW/339Nm 4.1 2V, 179kW/414Nm 4.9 V8 and 194kW/481Nm 5.8 V8.

From August '72 a two-door Falcon returned, and the first Fairmont Hardtop. It suffered from its low-seating and high window line, seriously affecting vision and thus putting buyers off.

As Holden also found out with the stunningly pretty HQ Monaro two-door, Aussie interest in two-doors was flailing fast – with the exception of the muscular-looking Chrysler Charger.

Ford was obviously not happy with the XA’s look or presentation though, and ceased production in late '73 after a record 152,609 Falcon, 500, GS, Futura, Fairmont, GT and Hardtop models were rolled out.

Ford models