PURELY AS a product, the FGX Falcon felt sadly ready to go, or at least be completely overhauled or replaced, and the smart Ford fans knew it.
Aside from a band of passionate employees who kept at it, Ford corporately had given up on Falcon long ago, letting it wither on the vine without the meaningful investment it direly needed. In the end, while the Sprints were a welcome last hurrah, a new generation Falcon was long overdue. So it was hard and horrible to farewell the FGX Falcon, but more so as a symbol for what was lost with it, rather than the product itself. For me anyway.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of the Aussie-built Holden Commodore. It’s a tragedy for the loss of jobs, national pride and the product itself. Thanks to continued investment from The General, the Aussie-made Commodore is not just at the top of its game, but at the top of its class. Take the badges off both an LS3 SS-V Redline and Mustang GT and drive them back-to-back, and if you’re anything like us, you’d take the four-door. It’s the better muscle car. And yet the one from the country with just 24m people.
What a waste it is for this car to be discontinued, and what a sad thing it is for the talented people who engineer and build it. I feel upset in a sense, but I also don’t understand the politics and economics of public investment in manufacturing. Mostly, it just feels a bit surreal and I’m unwilling to accept that as of October 20, 2017, you can’t buy an SS Commodore anymore. It seems like a big, cruel joke someone’s pulling.
But it’s very real. And of course, Holden is uniquely Australian in a way Ford never was, if nothing for perception. Having Holden turn into a reseller of imported cars is a difficult loss to explain, but an enormous one.
This issue – 12 months exactly after we so-longed Falcon – we’ve tried to celebrate rather than mourn what we’ve been lucky to have: generations of awesome locally-built cars. We’ve cooked up 60 pages of exclusive Holden content. We’ve gotten the 10 best Commodores back together for one last blast; spoken to Mark Skaife and John Harvey; and even driven the ‘new’ one. We’re enormously proud of this issue, yet somehow also embarrassed we haven’t done more. In fairness, it was always going to feel that way.