History of the Ford Falcon GT

We have two GT351 history descriptions for you. The first is an overview from 1968 and the second is a video documentary series.

GTHistory

In 1968 the XR Falcon model began the legend that was to be the GT. This family car muscled out 225HP thanks to the 289 Windsor V8. The start of the Falcon GT’s was only sold in one colour – Gold. 596 of these made it into production. The GT versions of the Falcon are probably the most famous of the breed, and certainly among the most desirable and collectable today.

What inspired Ford of Australia to produce such a car can be reduced to a single word: Bathurst. In its early years, the annual 500 mile race at the mountain road course of Mount Panorama attracted many entrants driving a wide variety of foreign and domestic cars, including the first purpose built local Ford ‘race’ car, the Cortina GT500. But Ford wanted to showcase their domestic product, and with the Victoria Police requesting Ford build pursuit specials, it was logical that the GT would evolve.

1968 would see the General release the all-new Holden HK – arguably the most ambitious series to date, bringing a large array of additional models and new mechanical features including an imported V8 engine. The HK also introduced the soon-to-be famous “Kingswood” name for the volume-selling model. The HK was bigger, lower, heavier and more rounded in appearance.

The two major model additions were the Brougham luxury variant and the Monaro sports coupe. The V8 engine was available on all models and proved such a success that a significant number of Holden buyers were still specifying ‘bent-iron’ engines more than 20 years later.

Obviously for fans of Unique and Classic cars, it was the sleek, pillarless two-door Monaro that was the highlight of the range. Introduced six months after the rest of the HK range, it would quickly take pride of place in Holden dealer showrooms across the country.

Its ‘boy racer’ appeal was universal – a tribute to the foresight of the then GMH Managing Director Max Wilson, who was instrumental in the development of the Monaro design and engineering concept and who recognised its long-term potential.

The new Monaro boasted potent performance and looked every inch the part with its long, wide body, flared wheel arches and sweeping roofline modelled on the Oldsmobile Tornado. Of the three Monaro models released, the most sought after then, and now, was the potent ‘Bathurst-bred’ GTS 327, fitted with a US-built 5.3-litre V8.

While the upmarket Premier was retained (and featured a different roofline to lesser models), the General released an extended version of the HK sedan, the Brougham, in July. It was over 20 inches longer than the Premier and featured the Chevrolet-built ‘307’ V8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering and the most plush Hoiden interior to-date.

The Brougham name would be dropped in favour of Statesman from the HQ onwards, making the Brougham a rather difficult car to obtain, particularly one in good condition. Much like the Ford Landau, this lesser known Aussie car was one of the first to become collectable and, naturally, remains highly sought after today.

1968 would see Torana bodies being made in Australia for the first time, while work progresses on a V8 engine plant at Fishermans Bend. And just when it seemed things couldn’t get any better for the General, Bruce MePhee and Barry Mulholland, driving a Monaro, won the Hardie-Ferodo 1000, giving Holden its first victory in the annual Bathurst endurance race.

1968 would mark the year that Toyota would introduce one of Australia’s, if not the world’s, most popular cars – the Toyota Corolla. By then, Toyota was rapidly gaining a reputation for building innovative, reliable and quality built affordable cars, while the British car manufacturers were quickly gaining a reputation for building yester-tech unreliable and underpowered jalopies.

In other motoring news, the sales figures for 1967 are released, showing that 430,379 motor vehicles were sold in Australia; The latest edition of the UBD Sydney street directory shows about 25,000 streets in the city spread out over 862 square miles; John Lennon traded in his psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V for a 230 kmh Iso-Rivolta; Young Aussie racing drivers Greg Cusack, Leo Geoghegan, Kevin Bartlett and John Harvey are tipped as stars of the future.

History Documentary

The history of the Ford Falcon GT is a 6 part 1998 video documentary on the Australian Ford Falcon GT & GTHO (phases 1-4), its success on the showroom and at Mount Panorama.

Includes interviews with Ford personnel, racing celebrities, and rare archive footage.

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 1

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 2

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 3

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 4

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 5

History of the Ford Falcon GT – Part 6

History of the Ford Falcon GT Links

1968 History

In 1968 the XR Falcon model began the legend that was to be the GT. This family car muscled out 225HP thanks to the 289 Windsor V8. The start of the Falcon GT’s was only sold in one colour – Gold. 596 of these made it into production. The GT versions of the Falcon are probably the most famous of the breed, and certainly among the most desirable and collectable today.

What inspired Ford of Australia to produce such a car can be reduced to a single word: Bathurst. In its early years, the annual 500 mile race at the mountain road course of Mount Panorama attracted many entrants driving a wide variety of foreign and domestic cars, including the first purpose built local Ford ‘race’ car, the Cortina GT500. But Ford wanted to showcase their domestic product, and with the Victoria Police requesting Ford build pursuit specials, it was logical that the GT would evolve.

1968 would see the General release the all-new Holden HK – arguably the most ambitious series to date, bringing a large array of additional models and new mechanical features including an imported V8 engine. The HK also introduced the soon-to-be famous “Kingswood” name for the volume-selling model. The HK was bigger, lower, heavier and more rounded in appearance.

The two major model additions were the Brougham luxury variant and the Monaro sports coupe. The V8 engine was available on all models and proved such a success that a significant number of Holden buyers were still specifying ‘bent-iron’ engines more than 20 years later.

Obviously for fans of Unique and Classic cars, it was the sleek, pillarless two-door Monaro that was the highlight of the range. Introduced six months after the rest of the HK range, it would quickly take pride of place in Holden dealer showrooms across the country.

Its ‘boy racer’ appeal was universal – a tribute to the foresight of the then GMH Managing Director Max Wilson, who was instrumental in the development of the Monaro design and engineering concept and who recognised its long-term potential.

The new Monaro boasted potent performance and looked every inch the part with its long, wide body, flared wheel arches and sweeping roofline modelled on the Oldsmobile Tornado. Of the three Monaro models released, the most sought after then, and now, was the potent ‘Bathurst-bred’ GTS 327, fitted with a US-built 5.3-litre V8.

While the upmarket Premier was retained (and featured a different roofline to lesser models), the General released an extended version of the HK sedan, the Brougham, in July. It was over 20 inches longer than the Premier and featured the Chevrolet-built ‘307’ V8 engine, automatic transmission, power steering and the most plush Hoiden interior to-date.

The Brougham name would be dropped in favour of Statesman from the HQ onwards, making the Brougham a rather difficult car to obtain, particularly one in good condition. Much like the Ford Landau, this lesser known Aussie car was one of the first to become collectable and, naturally, remains highly sought after today.

1968 would see Torana bodies being made in Australia for the first time, while work progresses on a V8 engine plant at Fishermans Bend. And just when it seemed things couldn’t get any better for the General, Bruce MePhee and Barry Mulholland, driving a Monaro, won the Hardie-Ferodo 1000, giving Holden its first victory in the annual Bathurst endurance race.

1968 would mark the year that Toyota would introduce one of Australia’s, if not the world’s, most popular cars – the Toyota Corolla. By then, Toyota was rapidly gaining a reputation for building innovative, reliable and quality built affordable cars, while the British car manufacturers were quickly gaining a reputation for building yester-tech unreliable and underpowered jalopies.

In other motoring news, the sales figures for 1967 are released, showing that 430,379 motor vehicles were sold in Australia; The latest edition of the UBD Sydney street directory shows about 25,000 streets in the city spread out over 862 square miles; John Lennon traded in his psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V for a 230 kmh Iso-Rivolta; Young Aussie racing drivers Greg Cusack, Leo Geoghegan, Kevin Bartlett and John Harvey are tipped as stars of the future.