Best OF THE Best
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.