Fantasy Friday – Ford Falcon XP Coupe

Fantasy Friday is for cars that you might want to add to your dream garage, featuring a car that’s actually for sale right now. This week: the Ford Falcon XP Coupe.

It was the early 1980’s and I was taking some additional trumpet lessons from a teacher not far from my home in Macleod, a suburb of Melbourne.

The teacher had this old red car sitting in the driveway and the big bird-like hood ornament (an option, not shown on any of these cars) grabbed my eye as soon as I walked up the driveway. When I walked further and saw the full side profile of the car – it was the more rare coupe version – I was instantly smitten. I’ve been a fan of the Ford Falcon XP Coupe ever since.

Red XP

Ford bought it’s Falcon model to Australia from the USA in 1960. The first cars met with tempered success. The cars were considered a little too flimsy for the rough roads that marked our country in the early days. Ford Australia sorted that out, making the cars a bit more durable.

The XP Falcon was released in 1965, right when the Falcon nameplate was teetering on the edge. They must have done it right because the XP went on to win Wheels Magazine Car Of The Year and over the next 40 years, the Falcon became a legend on roads, racetracks and boulevards around the country.

The Ford Falcon XP came to market with three engines – 2.3 litres, 2.8 litres and 3.3 litres. All were straight-six cylinder engines. The larger ‘170 Pursuit’ and ‘200 Super Pursuit’ engines were most common in the coupe. Buyers could choose between a 3-speed manual gearbox or either of two automatic transmissions, a 2-speed or 3-speed.

WhiteXP

The styling of the XP Falcon – both the outside and inside – retained a lot of American influence. The white-over-red is still a popular theme on restored XP’s today. Another popular modern-day XP configuration is the transplanting of a big V8 into the spacious engine bay, which would certainly add a bit more punch as well as a soundtrack to suit the car’s star quality looks.

SilverXP

For Sale

Being the darling of an era commands a higher price.

That red XP Coupe I saw in my early teenage years came up for sale a few years later for the princely sum of $3000. I should have bought it then.

This white XP Coupe – the higher spec Futura model – is currently advertised at carsales.com.au for $45,000!!!! It’s a genuine one-owner car in original condition and it does look pretty well preserved.

XPFalcon-1

And check out the front-on engine bay photo. So spacious you can reach down past the engine and pick up some pebbles off the ground. Amazing.

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3 Comments

  1. In the US Ford made a Futura that was a 289 that was a wonderful car to drive I do belive Pat Moss drove one in Europe rally , fast nimble and unequal upper and lower control arms . I do miss the 64 Farlaine 289 I had best looking car I ever owned that was US made , Maybe the Tiger I had 67 mark 2 was a wish I had again as well though it did get very light above 130 MPH . So much to wish for from so little money =/ .

  2. My only experience with Falcons was a 1960 Falcon (USA), 3-speed manual, 6-cyl. I believe you when you say they wouldn’t hold up to Australian conditions, but a very smooth ride on American highways. The engine left a little to be desired though. This was back when the engines had a breather tube sticking down, no PCV. It smoked out that tube so bad from blow-by someone once came running over when I was parking the car to tell me my car was on fire. 🙂 I miss that car. It gave us our first chance at real mobility, we blazed a smoke trail many thousands of miles long.

  3. That was the thing about American cars of that era…even with a 6-cylinder engine, the engine bay had so much room you could get to anything and you could almost crawl in there to work it. Compared to today’s cars where even in a 4-cylinder engine bay you can barely fit your hands and the tools into some spaces without taking a lot of other parts out first.

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