AUSTRALIA IN 1972 finally saw a Falcon that could be described as ‘Home Grown’. The new XA owed little to the USA and a lot to local buyer expectations. The body was complex and distinctive with a higher waistline and smaller windows than the XW-XY. Bulging wheel-arches provided room for oversized race rubber if required and subtle bonnet ducts replaced its predecessor’s ‘shaker’. inside was a dash that looked interesting to the observer but was criticised by people who owned XAs as less practical than previous designs. The XA GT sedan remained a winner in practical terms and even today these cars deal easily with traffic or long trips. Those looking for a reason why the XA will in general cost more than the XB model which follows only need to walk around and then drive factory-stock examples of both cars.

Visually the XA is more striking; defined by its chrome-plated bumpers and more intensive use of matt black paint. However under the bonnet is where the big difference lies. Plant the foot and the XA’s version of the 351 cubic inch (5.8-litre) Cleveland V8 will unleash all of its claimed 300 horsepower (224kW) and disappear in a cloud of rubber smoke. The XB arrived in the market with those numbers on the specification sheet but something obviously different under the bonnet. The effects of new emission controls translated into sluggish response and extended acceleration times..

More than 1800 four-door XA GTs were built during a relatively brief life-span. Today they appear regularly in a market where prices are stable and at levels close to the best the XA has ever achieved. Prices in the $120-150,000 range are sustainable, but only for cars with verifiable history and in excellent condition.