More R-Rated facts
I always read with amusement the various magazines stating the newly resourced, sneakily found and, at great danger to their very life, the newly exposed XA GT ‘facts’. I have just read the R-Rated article in AMC #88 and was actually impressed with the basic knowledge and background covered within.
Understandably, there are very few people around now who can say with authority what was actually produced at Broadmeadows back in the day. I have been an avid follower of the marque since the first Wheels magazine showed us their lines in 1971. I’ve had three examples and still have two, one since 1980.
Unfortunately ‘facts’ are not necessarily the same thing to all those who read them.
Yes, the 351 powered all XA GTs, but not all were the 4V ‘big port’ closed chamber 11.2:1 engines. As suggested there were 2V ‘small port’ open chamber 9.2:1 engines, but there is no mention of the 4V ‘big port’ open chamber 9.2:1 versions or the mention of the Australian 351 engines that were fitted along the way. The Aussie 351 was essentially a copy of the 2V version with 9.3:1 compression with blank cornered ‘small port’ heads. As stated, the ‘T’ on the identification plate refers to a 4-barrel 351, not 4V.
Cleveland engines were coupled to top-loader or FMX gearboxes, whereas the Aussie 351 received a single-rail gearbox, I don’t remember seeing any Aussie autos at the time. The Aussiepowered XA Falcons generally appeared with the round exhaust tips not the big oval ones.
The 12-slotters were back in favour for one reason or another; however, the ‘72 XA GT Falcons wore the Kelsey wheels (possibly left over from previous models) with only a small number running the ROH copies. In addition, the ‘72 versions had the hubcaps from the XW and XY GTs, while the vast majority of the ‘73 GT Falcons had the chrome bolt-on GT centres.
Yes, there were certainly a large number of colours available with the XA GT. I wish we could have some variations in the latest Falcon Sprint line-up from Broadmeadows today, else I wouldn’t be getting a black one. Having said that, I note the incomplete range of colours as I have one of two (that I know of) Emerald Fire factory painted XA GTs, one sedan and one hardtop, both delivered to Frontier Ford in Adelaide in June ‘73.
Whilst I have seen only a few XA GT sedans fitted with the 36-gallon long range fuel tanks, each with an owner telling of how it was a Phase IV pushed out the back door, there were a number fitted with the 28-gallon long range fuel tank, these could also be found in 351 Fairlanes and cars fitted with the Country Pack. They became easier to get with the XB and XC range of vehicles, but had the emission vent and return systems added.
Yes, all the RPO83 versions had the big port 4V Cleveland, top-loader, 780 Holley and the Head Mod 2” primary, one piece tri Y headers, but some were lucky to be fitted with the ‘twin-point’ distributor, solid lifters and matching camshaft, the famous ‘eared sump’ and the N Nodular Iron carrier 9” centre. Some were even luckier to have most of them fitted in one package, but very few did. The sumps were even found on 302 and 351 ambulances of the late ‘70s.
Regarding the ‘delete stripes’ option, I know of at least four, including a Lime Glaze RPO83 hardtop, that have a body-coloured bonnet with the delete stripes including the lower panels and the rear of the car – all body colour.
There was also no mention of the 140mph/240km/h speedo change or the 7000 and 8000rpm tacho changes. I know of RPOs with 240km/h and 8000rpm tachos as well as the 7000rpm 240km/h versions.
In the day the rule of thumb was black bonnet signified Cleveland (high performance), toploader/FMX, 140mph/8000rpm instruments and oval exhausts generally built in 1972. A plain bonnet generally signified an Aussie engine (milder performance), 140mph/7000rpm instrument pack mated to a single-rail gearbox and round exhaust tips. When it didn’t fit ‘The Rule’ it was time to be wary and really get dirty to check things out as they were the days of restamping and no-one wanted to get caught with a dud.
These additions are simply that, additional information from someone who has been chasing and researching the marque since its inception, when it showed the lines of the Torino and the Cyclone. This is merely extra information for the guys at ACCHS to use; after all, they are now chasing many models and makes and I’ve owned and researched only one. Hopefully this will add to their knowledge bank and not detract from the fine work they have done. I’m pretty sure this is too long to print, but I’d be happy to have it forwarded to ACCHS for their records and possibly Ford Broadmeadows in the hope to get a colour change to my ‘Sprint’.
Congratulations on a superb magazine, keep up the good work.
Mark Winter Via email