Ford Falcon

The Ford Falcon Story: The XT Falcon

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Ford Falcon XL
The Falcon XT, with "More More Mustang"...

More More Mustang

It was pretty obvious that the XT Falcon was only a minor facelift, with many left scratching their heads trying to figure out what exactly the differences were over the XR Falcon. The association of the XR with the ever popular Mustang seemed to be working, and so the marketing department decided that, as far as the XT was concerned, there was "More, More Mustang".

The most significant of the external changes was to the grille, the designers opting for a less fussy arrangement that made the front of the car appear much cleaner. At the back, horizontally rectangular indicators bisected the large round tail lights.

A full width black decorative moulding ran between the lights, which accentuated the width of the Falcon. And as for the "More Mustang" aspect, each of the engines had been boosted in capacity, the output of the new 302ci V8 surpassing the silky smooth 289ci. (For a complete rundown on the changes, we suggest you review the XT Falcon Technical Specifications). There was even a "High Performance" version of the 302 fitted to the XT Falcon GT.

But it wasn't just the V8 that came in for an overhaul, in fact all the engines were increased in capacity. The 170ci was increased to 188 (3.1 liters), and the 200 grew to 221 (3.6 liters). To effect the changes, the engineers added one inch to the block deck height and modified the camshaft to allow for the increased stroke and for conrod clearance.

Pursuit and Super Pursuit No More

If the Mustang was based on the Falcon,
how could there be more Mustang?

No doubt few realised, or cared...

While the new engines were indeed far greater in power and performance to their predecessors, they were not a match for those being fitted to the Valiant's. There was little point referring to an engine as a "Super Pursuit", when it had no chance of ever catching.

The 188ci and 221ci afforded 114bhp and 135bhp respectively, certainly no match for the 160bhp on tap from the Valiant's slant-six. But it was an improvement. And better still, Ford now offered a much more varied transmission choice.

For those that chose the manual, first gear now had synchromesh of first, making driving in traffic a much more pleasurable experience.

And while they stuck with the Ford-O-Matic 3 speed transmission, you could now option the "Cruise-O-Matic", a transmission that afforded better flexibility for the driver by using a psuedo manual mode. By selecting 2nd gear, it locked out 1st, which allowed greater traction in slippery conditions - particularly at the boat ramp.

The XT was to get some other safety kit, such as a dual circuit braking system, new padded steering wheel hub, recessed interior door handles. The venerable "bench" seats were still the standard fitment on all but the Fairmont's and GT's, many buyers of the Falcon and Falcon 500's were now ticking the option box for the sumptuos Ford reclining bucket seats.

Yes, the XT Falcon was only a minor facelift, but judged by the technical innovations now on offer, it was a credible improvement on the outgoing XR Falcon.

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