In 1968 the XR model began the legend that was to be
the GT. This family car muscled out 225HP thanks to
the 289 Windsor V8. The start of the Falcon GT's was
only sold in one color - Gold.
596 of these made it
into production. The GT versions of the Falcon are
probably the most famous of the breed, and certainly
the most desirable and collectable today.
What inspired Ford of Australia to produce such a car
can be reduced to a single word: Bathurst. In its early
years, the annual 500 mile race at the mountain road course
of Mount Panorama, Bathurst attracted many entrants driving
a wide variety of foreign and domestic cars, including
the first purpose built local Ford 'race' car, the Cortina
In 1967, however, Ford were keen to showcase their current
image car, the Falcon, and with the arrival of the XR
model, which for the first time in the Australian Falcon
was available with a V8 engine, they set about planning
In many respects, the development
of the XR GT benefitted from the gathering of several
happy coincidences. First was having the right men at
the right place. Bill Bourke was the then Assistant General Manager of
Ford Australia and he was passionate about racing, and,
inspired by the success of racing V8s, both in Australia
and in his native U.S. he felt sure that a sporting
XR Falcon could be a winner.
He passed the idea over
to Harry Firth
was Ford's tuner and race car preparer
and had been so successful in developing the GT500 Cortina
and who had been working on beefing up the XR after a
request from the Victorian police for a heavy duty pursuit
Firth saw that, taking the best bits from the police package
and introducing some more horsepower in the engine, a
sporting Falcon GT could be developed. At the same time,
the news and media, especially live television, were focussing
on the annual Bathurst event and creating a valuable and
unique advertising opportunity for any manufacturer willing
and able to win the race by lasting the 500 miles.
And finally, Henry Ford II, had set Ford on its 'Total
Performance' track. Motor sport dominance was his aim.
If in the U.S. that meant Nascar and the dragstrips, and
in Europe it meant forest rallying and Le Mans, in Australia
it meant touring cars and conquering the Mountain.