The cars we loved.
Of all the car markets in the world, Australia might be the most interesting. It represents the convergence of multiple car legacy’s and cultures. For instance, many Japanese built cars sold in the Pacific Rim markets are available here there while cars from Korea and China are sold there as well. In addition to the mainstream European makes, the American Big Three are also represented. The American influence has produced a Ford vs. Chevy equilivant in Australia in the form of a Holden vs. Ford struggle. The rivalry has produced as storied a history as any in America and in many ways continues the heritage of the muscle car wars, even as Detroit was distracted by fuel crises and bankruptcies. Fans of either brand have been known to get more than just vocal over their preferences. The competition only intensifies which each passing model year.
Where coupes may have been the weapons of choice generations ago in muscle-car eras America, in Australia powerful cars are more likely to come in the form of sedans and utes (a El Camino-like car-pickup hybrid). One of the most potent weapons on the Ford side of the war is the popular Falcon sedan. While the original Falcon spawned the Mustang in 1960’s America, in Australia it evolved into a full-fledged performance car that would combine the virtues the Mustang GT’s straight line performance with the practicality and sophistication of a Taurus.
To gain footing in its perpetual war with Holden, Ford’s in house hot rod team Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) unleashed a concept Falcon at the 2010 Australian International Motor Show. The concept was based on the then all new for 2007 7th generation Falcon. This was a significant step for Ford, as a new supercharged V8 was used in the new Falcon GT range making Ford performance history. While the Falcon GT was an impressive car, the FPV-GT Black was an evolution mostly in style. The all black sedan was dressed in stealth bomber livery with no chrome in sight. It looked like a two door version interpretation of a modern day Mad Max sedan or Darth Vaders personal ground transport. Even the taillights were tinted to the extent that they could look black (on the concept car). So popular was the concept that Ford decided to build a limited edition run of only 125 cars.
The 2011 production car called the Falcon FPV GT stayed true to the concept’s striking theme. About the only thing to standout on the all-black car was the bright red Brembo calipers hiding behind the 19 in black rims. The mat black striping of the FPV GT Black was designed to recall the Boss Mustangs of the past. With the exception of blackout treatments inside and out, the Falcon FPV GT Black was like any other 7th generation Falcon mechanically.
That meant that it was powered by the same potent 5.0 aluminum block V8 found in other Falcon GT series cars. The Supercharged Boss 335 produced a tire smoking 449 hp managed via a six-speed manual transmission. While not as smooth or polished as BMWs, Falcon GT’s were more than brute muscle cars with four doors. They had a sophisticated independent double wishbone front and control blade rear suspensions. Crossed drilled ventilated rotors added to the race car look while keeping stopping distances short. In all the FPV GT Black was one of the rarest production Falcons and represented the top of a line of cars that represented raw performance (GT,GT-P) and performance with luxury (GT-E).
On occasion Australian engineered cars would find their way to America (Holden as Pontiac for instance), but Ford has yet to bring over any of it’s Falcons to the States. Doing so would not upset the balance between the similar sized Fusion and to way too big Taurus. The Falcon could easily be rebranded as a sportier version of the Fusion, especially since they are similarly sized and share some components. That’s more unlikely to happen now that the Fusion has gotten a makeover and aspires to look Aston Martin like. Ford of Australia will be forced to decide under which platform the next Falcon would belong to. The ongoing cost pressures for “world car” platforms will likely result it another rear drive platform like the one from the Mustang being selected. In an odd way the upscale look of the 2013 Fusion would make a good argument for the innards of the Falcon GT under the skin of the second generation Fusion. Whatever it would be, it has to be rear wheel drive. A Fusion SVO GT might be the closest we can come to having this impressive sedan in North America. Chevy SS look out. We can only dream for now.