The cars we loved.
The end of the line for any performance car is always sad news. Even sadder is the demise of an entire division. In America fans of Pontiac Oldsmobile, Saturn and Mercury were saddened when those marques disappeared. In Australia a similar fate will befall Ford’s home grown products. Of the Fords that will likely be missed most by performance fans, the Falcon will leave the biggest hole in the heart. The Australian built Falcon is the latest in a long list of Ford cars named after birds that will fly away indefinitely.
As bird cars go, the Falcon is Ford’s longest running consecutive nameplate, lasting 56 years in production. Well after America saw its last Falcon by the early ’70s, the car continued in Australia in sedan, estate, ute and sometimes a coupe variant.
There are currently 6 major trim levels of the Falcon with engines ranging from the 2.0 EcoBoost four cylinder all the way up to a turbocharged 4.0 inline six. The Falcon could always be had in mild to wild versions and was comparable to the American Ford Taurus in size. Like the Taurus the Falcon could be a respectable near luxury car in its middle model trims, but unlike any Taurus all Falcons were rear wheel drive.
Thats where Ford Performance Version (FPV) steps in. When going beyond the sportier versions of the standard Falcon XR6, FPV cars provided the ultimate in factory blessed performance cars for hard core enthusiast. FPV cars typically used turbocharging, supercharging or just more displacement to create track tuned road going sedans and utes with 400 or more horsepower.
For all intents and purposes these were the closest you could get to a four door Mustang. Ford even used Mustang nomenclature to differentiate ultimate versions of these cars like Cobra or Boss on many occasions. Many FPV version of the Falcon made the Mustang look tame by comparison with plenty of ducts, foils, wings and big diffusers, but had the performance to back it up. Like Holden’s hot Commodore SS (another car to stop production in 2017), the Falcon FPV cars provided modern pony car performance with two extra doors. The final FPV Falcons are shaping up with a bit more restraint and ironically looks the most like a candidate for export.
As Ford’s Australian production starts to wind down, the company saw fit to give the Falcon a final reskin before sending it of to that big performance car park in the sky. New Falcons as of 2014 got a Fusion like front end treatment, while the FVP cars like the GT F will be Mustang-like up front and Fusion derived in back. They will also be powered by a 5.0 Supercharged V8 similar to the Mustang GT and ride on 19 inch alloy wheels.
Renderings show similar grille and headlight treatments with nearly the same bulged hood. It would have been great if Ford would have kept Falcon production to export as a Galaxy 500 in America (or the Falcon). It would not have to be a high volume car like the Chevrolet SS and would offer a Blue Oval alternative to the SS and Dodge Charger R/T.
Everyone knows the current front wheel drive Taurus would never fulfill the role that a classic rear wheel drive sedan would amongst gearheads. So here’s to the Falcon and Ford’s nearly 90 years of producing cars in Australia.