GT: The Falcon Legend.
By Jarah Weinreich
The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is to be transformed like never before, to pay homage to an Australian legend with GT: The Falcon Legend. Over the next three months, the Museum's feature floor will be packed out with a spectacular array of Falcon GTs from the golden age of the Australian muscle car.
In May 1967, Ford Australia launched the vehicle that started it all, the XR GT. Visually, there was little to distinguish it from the standard Falcon. However, the performance levels achieved by coupling the 289 Mustang V8 engine to a four-speed manual transmission left little doubt that the XR GT was something special. In October 1967, the reason for its creation became clear when it took the "King of the Mountain" title at Bathurst, a sign of things to come which would establish a new breed of Australian performance car.
1968 saw the launch of the XT GT. The 302 cubic inch V8 became standard and automatic transmission was also offered as an option. While the XT failed at Bathurst it did win the Teams Prize in the 1968 London - Sydney Marathon.
In 1969 the XW was introduced and in pursuit of Bathurst glory the HO variant developed, initially with the Windsor 351V8 and later with the Cleveland V8 in the Phase II.
Australia`s most famous muscle car followed with the XY model and in particular the HO, commonly referred to as the Phase III, the superb 1971 XY GTHO featured in the display has covered just 29,000 original miles (46,000 km/s) from new, and is considered to be one of the finest Phase III Falcons in existence.
With the unveiling of the 1972 XA GT the GTHO version was killed off after the "Supercar scare". The Falcon GT was, for the first time, available as a 2 door Hardtop or four-door. Two famed wins at Bathurst in 1973 and 1974 confirmed the XA's pedigree.
As the years passed, the Falcon GT became further removed from the standard car on which it was based, and the styling became noticeably more aggressive. The XB GT, became the most commercially successful variation, with 2,899 examples sold however emissions regulations had taken the edge of it as a true performance car. The example on display dates from 1974, and features a unique two-tone green paint scheme. It was specially prepared for the Melbourne Motor Show, and was thereafter owned by a local service station proprietor, during which time it competed in the street car class at Symmons Plains.
In 1992, Ford re-introduced the all-new GT, which would pave the way for the highly successful modern Ford Performance Vehicles range. Our display features the last of the GT Falcon line, the 2014 Ford Falcon GTF. Powered by a tuned version of the Australian-developed 5.0 litre V8, the GTF is very much a modern take on the Australian muscle car. With just 550 examples scheduled to be built, the GTF is a future classic and a fitting swansong to the Falcon story. Covering a unique era, the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania's GT: The Falcon Legend is a unique opportunity to see a spectacular display of these iconic Australian vehicles.