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2016 HCOTY Nominee: Last Ford Falcon

Joel Strickland December 27, 2016 Featured, Hooniversal Car of the Year 3 Comments

Let me start by saying that I am nominating the last ever Ford Falcon Sprint as the HCOTY but when it comes to voting you really should vote for the Bowman Odyssey rig because it really is something special. Regardless I will still try and convince you to vote for the Falcon as it is still a worthy nominee.

The Falcon is as much an Aussie icon as Vegemite, Kangaroos and Drop bears or as we call them Koalas.  It was first released in Australia in 1960’s. Ford Australia needed a competitor to Holden as it was loosing sales.

So on a trip to Detroit Ford execs were shown the US Ford Falcon and a deal was done to bring it to Australia for local sales.

It was built out of Candian designed Factory in Cambellfield, Victoria, why we needed a factory that was designed to repel snow off its roof I’l never know.

The first model, which is pictured above, was called the XK and was US spec and built in Australia. Over the next few years as the models changed Ford began to develop the cars for Australian conditions, with 1964 the first year that the Falcon was designed down under. In 1966 to prove the durability of the Falcon it ran the car in the ultimate reliability trial at it’s proving grounds just outside of Melbourne, over a massive  70,000 mi (110,000 km).

In 1966, it was make or break time for the Ford Australia and the Falcon so to prove it’s durability, the company ran the newely developed XP model in the ultimate reliability trial at it’s proving grounds just outside of Melbourne, over a massive  70,000 mi (110,000 km). It paid off as the rest they say is history,

Sadly the year this Aussie icon became a part of history this year as Ford Australia closed down production of the Falcon and the famous name plate was retired on October 7th, after 56 years of constant production.

But Ford did go out with a bang by building a run of 1400 limited edition Falcon Sprint models in both XR6 & XR8 spec. XR6 runs Ford’s turbocharged 4L in-line six cylinder the XR8 runs a Supercharged 5.0-litre V8.

It is the XR8 Sprint which is my nomination for Redusernab Car of the Year.

Having driven a lot of different model Falcon’s over the years, some good and some bad, namely the AU Falcon. In mopinionon this is the best ever Falcon.

When I got behind the wheel of this XR8 sprint and started it up, I hoped I was going to be driving something special and how right I was.

You see Ford spent a lot of time and money getting this final tribute to the Falcon right, the engineers spend time getting the balance, ride and power just right. I can tell you it was money well spent, after taking the XR8 for a spirited drive in the hills on some twisty roads, I know a rear wheel drive muscle car that corners you would never have guessed it, I could not believe just how good it handled and oh the sound for the supercharger is just music to a petrol head’s ears.

The XR8 sits so planted on the roads thanks to the sticky Pirelli tyres on the 19inch rims and the suspension keeps the car hugging the road. The rear end really did not feel twitchy at all.

Under the bonnet of the XR8 is Ford’s 5 litre V8 Coyote engine but with one of Harrop engineerings Superchargers that helps it develop 462hp (345 kW) and 575 Nm.

When I had the car I did arrange to put the last Falcon alongside one the first ever Falcons so you could see the progress and changes over the year. The model below is a first generation 1965 XP Ford Falcon Deluxe.

So after seven generations this iconic Aussie car disappear from showrooms, but what a way to go out. So I ask you to vote, when the times comes after January 1, for a car that should have a fitting treatment after being such an important part of Australian history… The vote is in your hands…..

 

  • outback_ute

    Good call Joel. Mind you, you could have nominated the ute! Save that one for next year with the Commodore then.

    • outback_ute

      PS, you might be wondering how they managed to put a supercharger on a Coyote V8 and get ‘only’ 462 hp, well they don’t advertise the overboost number because it is not a continuous rating despite running for longer than you could likely keep the throttle pinned in one of these. On a dyno test it put more power to the rollers than the HSV GTS rated at 580hp.

  • ptschett

    A worthy car, but doesn’t this unfortunately fail the “you could have bought it new in a dealership somewhere in the world” test?

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