It’s long been a mystery why the XA series Ford Falcons for years struggled to get anything like the market traction of the preceding XYs, given the later car’s significance in local manufacturing history. From the point of view of a Ford historian it was, after all, the first Falcon to have a complete clean-sheet body design done specifically for this market.
Sure, the XY and its predecessors had features unique to Australia, but they nevertheless were derived from the XR, which itself was largely borrowed from the American mothership.
Back in 1968, a trio of Ford Australia staffers went to Dearborn in the USA to begin work on the new XA series. They were Jack Telnack, Brian Rossi and Alan Jackson - an American and two Brits! That may not sound like a promising start to an ‘Australian’ design. However the car was penned specifically for our market - albeit using the XY platform - and it was the catalyst for the funding of a complete local design centre employing local staff. As Gavin Farmer points out in his book, Falcon GT & GT-HO - The Total Performance Years, this was a milestone in the brand’s history.
Initially, the plan was for a sedan, ute, wagon and variants. However the hardtop was not initially part
Sister magazine Wheels dissected the new range as a cover story in April 1972, pointing out the cars overall were good ‘middle of the road’ fare that were slightly larger than the XY equivalents, despite the identical wheelbase. Of the GT, the magazine said it “continues its role as the high performance touring car with lowered suspension, wide sports wheels, 300hp, 351 cid engine with four-speed gearbox and quartz iodine driving lights.
“A complete range of instruments, including a clock, is standard and the interior is finished to the same standard as the Fairmont.”
The story went on to point out the Fairlane had been delayed a month, while the Cortina sixes would buffer the lower and of the market and might even steal a few sales from Falcon. As for the Hardtop, that was to feature six months later on the October cover of Wheels.