The XAbition show was held at Caribbean Gardens in Scoresby (Vic) and attracted a much better turnout than organisers had expected with around 50 cars on display. Great weather on the day helped of course and the large number of interested spectators included many passers by from the market.
Although the majority of cars on display were either the four or two door XA GT models, there was also a fair collection of older XW and XY GTs, several modern FPV Falcons, and even a Cobra tucked away in a corner.
The XA Falcon replaced the previous XT/XW/XY body style and was the first Falcon to be fully designed and built in Australia (although somewhat influenced by the Torino). The XA was released on 24th February 1972 with a four door GT model introduced only a few weeks later in March 1972. The two door pillarless GT hardtop model was released some months later in August 1972 at the London Motor Show (a demonstration of colonial cringe?).
The Falcon XA GT featured the 351 cc (5.8 litre) V8 producing a reputed 300 bhp (224kw) at 5400 rpm and a standing quarter mile in 15.8 seconds. Four speed manual transmission was standard but a three speed FMX automatic was optional.
Ford had plans for a Phase IV GTHO based on the XA GT but the concept was cancelled due to government pressure against so called supercars – Holden and Valiant were also caught up in the situation. Only three prototypes and one production Phase IV cars were built. Parts and features destined for the GTHO made their way into an XA GT “Special” model, sometimes referred to as the GT RPO83, including four wheel disc brakes and a larger 780 cfm Holley four barrel downdraught carburettor.
Although slightly heavier than the GT sedan, the GT hardtop was preferred for racing due to the increased possibilities in terms of fitting larger wheels and tyres under the bulging rear guards.
The disruption to the Phase IV program meant that motor racing teams stuck with the previous year’s XY Phase IIIs for the 1972 season and it wasn’t until the Manufacturers’ Championship event in August 1973 that the “works” hardtop XA GT Specials race cars were rolled out. Their debut was impressive with XA GTs winning the first three places (Gibson, Bartlett and Moffatt). XA GTs went on to win Bathurst in 1973 (Moffatt and Geoghegan) and in 1974 (Goss and Bartlett).
The Ford Falcon XA GT represents an important aspect of Australia’s motoring history and it was great to see so many fine examples on display at XAbition 2012.
Click here to visit the Falcon GT Club website.