BUYING USED: XR6 TURBO
How to buy a good example of Ford Australia’s giant-killing turbo-six Falcon
WE LIKE to think of ourselves as a V8 tribe here in Australia. And that’s true to an extent; we do love the bass boom of a big-inch bent-eight and the sort of hand-of-god thrust that comes with it. But as somebody once said (and I don’t think it was Adolf Hitler) if we forget where we came from, we may never get to where we’re going. Or something. Point is, when you get down to the Adam and Eve stuff, it was six pots in a row that got the whole Aussie muscle car thing started way back when.
The Holden EH S4 is generally credited with being the first factory Bathurst special. Peter Brock won his first Bathurst in a Torana GTR XU-1. The VL Commodore Turbo rewrote the book on post-ulp performance when it launched in 1986. Six-bangers, all of them. And then there’s the big daddy of all Aussie sixes, the Falcon XR6 Turbo.
So while we’re making grand statements, chew on this one: The turbocharged Barra six stands as the best locally developed and built engine. Ever. Okay, it depends on who you talk to and which side of the whole Ford-holden fence you dangle your legs over, but the fact is, the boosted Barra was world-class when it was new and not much has changed in the past 15 years.
The other clever piece of work was fitting the turbo donk to what was basically a family-spec Falcon and calling it an XR6 Turbo. Marketing genius, and a godsend to all of those who wanted a fast four-door but didn’t need the full-swank interior, the loony bodykit or the FPV badge. Throw in the 17-inch alloys and some jazzy cloth seat-inserts and you had yourself one hell of a thing back in 2002.