Best OF THE Best

Street Machine - - Your Stuff -

BY THE time you read this, pro­duc­tion of the Aussie Fal­con will be over, but – to coin a phrase – old Fal­cons never die, they just go faster! Here’s our pick of the most iconic ex­am­ples of the breed.

JANE/FIRTH XL FAL­CON

AL­MOST from the start, the Aussie Fal­con was as­so­ci­ated with suc­cess at the high­est level of tin-top rac­ing, with no less a pair­ing than Harry Firth and Bob Jane win­ning the Arm­strong 500 (the pre­de­ces­sor of the Bathurst 1000) at Phillip Is­land in a 170ci XL.

XW & XY GTHO

THE XY GTHO is to Aus­tralian mus­cle cars what Muham­mad Ali is to box­ing – newer mod­els may have even­tu­ally ap­peared that were faster and just plain bet­ter, but it sim­ply didn’t mat­ter – the rep­u­ta­tion they es­tab­lished was so strong that they are and will al­ways be The Great­est.

XA GTHO PHASE IV

A MA­JOR fac­tor in ce­ment­ing the GTHO’S rep­u­ta­tion was the fact that the next in the line – the XA Phase IV – was snuffed out by govern­ment wowserism be­fore it could reach the show­room. More grunt, bet­ter aero and a wider track would have equalled one hell of a car. As it was, just four sedans where made.

MAD MAX PUR­SUIT SPE­CIAL

THE YANKS stopped mak­ing Fal­cons in 1970, but thanks to Ge­orge Miller’s Mad Max, the next gen­er­a­tion of Aussie Fal­con was im­mor­talised for­ever as one of the most fa­mous movie cars of all time. A gen­uine XB GT hard­top was fit­ted with an Ar­cadi­pane front, fake blower and more to cre­ate The In­ter­cep­tor.

DICK JOHN­SON’S GREENS’-TUF XE

THE 80s were a tough time for Ford fans in Oz. Sure, Fal­con sales were go­ing gang­busters, but the V8 was dropped early in the decade, and while Holden was mak­ing hay with the Brock/ HDT con­nec­tion, Ford had noth­ing to of­fer. Luck­ily for them, Dick John­son emerged in the Group C era as Ford Aus­tralia’s ul­ti­mate hero.

TROY & CLAY­TON HIL­LIER’S XP COUPE

THERE have been some tough early Fal­cons on the street ma­chine scene, but they had noth­ing on Troy and Clay­ton’s XP. Built in just four months out of their work­shop in Ten­ter­field, NSW, the golden-hued hard­top looked like it had been carved out of solid metal.

BEN & JOEGATT’S XA FAL­CON COUPE

THE most fa­mous Fal­con drag car is also one of the most en­dur­ing drag cars in Oz: Ben Gatt’s XA coupe. The car de­buted in 1988 and be­came a leg­end of the Wild Bunch, the pre­de­ces­sor to to­day’s Top Doorslam­mers, and Ben con­tin­ues to race it to­day.

CHRIS CHRIS­TOU’S XY GTHO

ONE of the orig­i­nal burnout leg­ends, Chris and his Phase III sent SM sales sky­rock­et­ing when they ap­peared on the Aug/sep ’89 cover. Chris took out the Street Ma­chine Summernats burnout comp in 1990 and 1991, and will be back on the pad to cel­e­brate the event’s 30th birth­day next year.

MARK SGARAVIZZI’S XD FAL­CON

ONCE upon a time, dudes sim­ply en­tered their street car in burnout comps, but Mark Sgaravizzi’s XD (SM, Jul-aug 1987) fore­shad­owed the era of pur­pose-built, mas­sively over­pow­ered skid cars: blaz­ing paint, Group C-style bodykit, mas­sive rub­ber and a 340ci fuel-in­jected Cleve­land ca­pa­ble of 11,000rpm.

HOWARD ASTILL’S ROCK SOLID XA

IN THE new world of late-80s street and show cars, Holden fans had the Web­ster broth­ers, and the Ford boys had Howard Astill. Rock Solid took out Peo­ple’s Choice at Summernats 2, 1989 and was re­vamped as Rock II, scor­ing Top Judged and Grand Cham­pion at Summernats 4, 1991.

MARK MIOCEVICH’S XB FAL­CON

FATGT starred on the cover of SM in May 2004, with the head­line Baby Got Back, and promptly be­came very hard to find in the newsagents. The XB boasts a pro tour­ing-style driv­e­line and a su­per-san­i­tary en­gine bay. The build may be al­most 15 years old, but its im­proved-factory vibe is bang-on trend.

ADAM LEBRESE’S XC COUPE

LEBRESE cars are all about stance, style and in­no­va­tion, and Adam’s coupe had all three in spades. Orig­i­nally built in sil­ver, the car won a trip to SEMA on de­but at Mo­torex 2011. It was then re­built in white in 2012 and took out SMOTY the same year.

ERIC BANA’S XB COUPE

AC­TOR Eric Bana bought his coupe at age 15, re­stored it twice him­self, had it pro­fes­sion­ally done a third time and then binned it at Targa Tas­ma­nia 2007, as doc­u­mented in the won­der­ful Love The Beast doco. Eric got back on the tools, and with some ex­pert help had the car up and run­ning again in 2012.

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