The Falcon name has gone from Australian showrooms and race tracks. But it will always be remembered as Ford Australia’s much-loved home-grown car, especially amongst fans of Australian touring cars who saw the Falcon race across six decades.
In the 50th anniversary of the Falcon’s first Australian Touring Car Championship win, SupercarXtra Magazine issue #128, a Ford special edition, celebrates the history of the Falcon.
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When that last Falcon crossed the line in Newcastle in 2018, it had been 58 years since the first left an Australian touring car grid.
In that time 14 of Ford’s Bathurst wins and 17 of its Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) titles have been grasped, grabbed, stolen or simply run away with in racers wearing the badge. The Mustang Supercar may have history on its side and will continue to build on that into the Gen3 era, but it still has big shoes to fill.
Ford might have shone during Australian touring car racing’s Appendix J era, but it would be an even more definitive presence as the late 1960s came into view.
In the new Improved Production category of 1965 – the class that now determined the Australian Touring Car Championship – its V8-powered Mustang became the weapon of choice, winning five straight ATCC titles between 1965 and 1969.
In the Series Production category that had ownership of the Bathurst 500 and other events, the Falcon would once again become Ford’s front-line racer and make an even bigger impact.
When the new XR GT finished one-two in its first time out at Bathurst in 1967, the first win for a V8 at the Mountain, it set a Bathurst-winning blueprint that still prevails today.
Dominant Bathurst victories in 1970 and 1971 for its XW and XY successors, plus countless other Series Production wins, would cement this generation of Falcon as a touring car legend of legends. But it would only just sneak in an ATCC title.
While Falcons did contest Improved Production events during the early 1970s, including Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan’s famous Super Falcon, they never managed to truly get one over the Mustangs, the other American muscle cars that had owned the category from the start. But when the ATCC and Bathurst were brought together under the same wing for 1973’s new production-based Group C formula – stripping the Mustangs and other American muscle cars of their status as Australian touring cars’ premier attraction – it would be Ford factory driver Allan Moffat and his mighty XY GTHO Phase III that claimed the maiden Group C title, giving the soon-to-be superseded Falcon racer a final battle victory.
Through seven generations, issue #128 revisits the highlights of an Australian touring car legend, the Falcon.