Speculation as to what shape or form the 1968 Falcon
GT would take began with the release of the XT model
for that year. There was talk of Ford introducing
the massive 390ci. engine, but this was dismissed by
most people on the grounds of all that extra weight
up front causing enormous amounts of understeer.
believed the existing 4.7 liter V8 was far from fully
developed and that the new XT would feature this engine
in a higher state of tune; Racing Car News, for example,
predicted twin four-barrel carburetors and 300 bhp.
it arrived, the XT Falcon did, in fact, feature the
5 liter (302ci) engine, but with an output of 230
bhp at 4800 rpm - only 5 bhp more than the XRGT! Torque
was increased to 310 lb.ft. at 3800 rpm.
ratio was increased to 10.0 to 1 and, through the small
power increase (ostensibly, anyway) and the new final
drive ratio of 3.0 to 1, the new XT proved to be far
gutsier than its predecessor. It also had a refinement
in its road manners that many believed, quite rightly,
had been previously lacking.
to the new XT GT
included (apart from cosmetic exterior
differences) an increase in rim width to 6in, although
185 by 14 tires were still fitted, a limited-slip differential,
driving lights fitted standard, non-lift windscreen
wiper blades, further suspension modifications including
a front anti-roll bar, and for the first time, an automatic
transmission was available as an optional extra. Also,
it was available in a range of colors. Rumour had it
that Ford were going to release an XT
, but as far as we can tell only one prototype
With a top gear giving 24.25
mph per 1000 rpm, the theoretical maximum speed attainable
worked out to be 126 mph at 5200 rpm, and drivers believed
130 mph would be within reach on the long Conrod Straight
at Bathurst. In the acceleration department 0-100 mph
came up in 23.2 seconds, a figure no less than 6.9
seconds faster than the XR GT. In competition the XT
GT was not a resounding success.
the car's biggest success came in the field of rallying,
specifically the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon
a three-car works-entered team led by Harry Firth
the team's prize and the Vaughan/Forsyth/ Ellis car
finished third. The great strength of the body and
the reliability of the engine and transmission had
been convincingly demonstrated. The first major track
outing of the car was the “Datsun 3 Hour Trophy” at
Sandown Park, where an XT GT, in the hands of Don Toffolon
and Tom Roddy scored fourth place.
Meanwhile for Bathurst
there was not only a new major sponsor for the race,
but new cars from Ford and the General, everything
pointed to an exciting event. Holden's entrant was
the new Monaro two-door coupe in GTS 327 form.
Ford's were down on cubic capacity (302ci versus 327ci);
horsepower (250bhp versus 275bhp) and, additionally,
weighed exactly the same as the Monaro’s.
Despite this, seven Falcons contested the race in Class
D ($3001 to $4300), including a single XR GT and an XT GT
automatic. Of the remainder, three cars were
works-entered, these being driven by the Geoghegan
brothers, Fred Gibson and Barry Seton, and Jim McKeown
and Spencer Martin.
After only 35 minutes of racing
the M.Sayva/R.Wilkinson Falcon showed signs of overheating,
which did not auger well for the others. In fact, things
went very badly for the Ford’s, with brake, tire and overheating
troubles. Despite all this, the Gibson/Seton Falcon
was in the lead with only 15 laps to go. But overheating
struck this car as well, and finally the car blew a
piston and the Monaro of Bruce McPhee and Barry Mulholland
swept to victory.
The first Falcon home was, ironically,
the 1967 XR GT
of Stacey and McIntyre, which came in
seventh, one place in front of the Brauer/Harrod XT
GT. The first works car was that of the Geoghegan brothers,
who finished 12th. With a fastest lap of 2 min. 58
sec., the winning Monaro was five seconds per lap quicker
than the Falcons were in 1967, and three seconds faster
than the Gibson/Seton car in 1968. Also, the Monaro’s
were achieving 125-128 mph on Conrod Straight, whereas
the Falcons could only manage around 121 mph, 4 mph
slower than 1967!
Falcon Race Results 1968
Bathurst Race Results 1968
Bathurst Memorable Moments