The XA Falcon was the first Falcon wholly designed and manufactured in Australia Introduced in August 1972 the XA GT was devoid of most of the identifying marks that distinguished previous GTs from base Falcons
The Falcon GT is a much loved car that, strange as it may seem, had its origins back in the mid-1960s as the Ford Cortina GT. The GT Cortina was introduced to compete against BMC's Mini Cooper 'S', with the Cortina GT 500 especially built to compete at Bathurst in 1965 - which it duly won.
Ford then took the GT concept to its larger Falcon range, with the first being the XRGT. Ford followed with the XTGT in 1968 and the XWGT in 1969, when it gained the 5.76-litre 'Windsor 351' V8.
In late 1970 the XYGT was introduced. Visually it was almost identical to the previous GTs apart from a distinctive bonnet scoop. This was attached to the engine, not the bonnet, and the feature soon earned the nickname of 'The Shaker', after the "shake" that the scoop had when the car was revved. The shaker was lifted from the USA where it was used on the 1969-70 Boss 302 Mustang. The Ford press release of the day said, "The Shaker, which is mounted onto the air cleaner, protrudes through a weather sealed hole in the bonnet and actually moves when the engine is revved. Hence the expression, "shaker". In strict terms it is a functional air cleaner."
Ford claimed a restyled front on the GT, with new black painted grille with a new GT badge and twin quartz driving lights. Other minor modifications included flush fitting bonnet lock pins and black anti-glare panels, waist high striping along both sides of the car which carried a 351-GT decal alongside a smaller more sedate version of the Superoo high performance emblem and wide low profile radial ply tyres on 6JJ steel wheels.
The XYGT ran the same running gear as the previous GT with the only real differences being a smaller carby and, for the first time, two optional diff ratios. Performance was similar to the XWGT. Options available included a sunroof, a 36 gallon fuel tank (standard tank was 16.4 gallons despite previously being 36 gallons), three-speed T-bar auto transmission, air conditioning, tape deck, radio, power aerial and mag wheels. While the XYGT was a popular car the ultimate manifestation of the XY Falcon GT was finally released in September 1971, when the XYGT-HO Phase III hit the streets. Visually identical to the XYGT, with the exception of the air dam and a wing on the boot lid, the Phase III was the fastest four-door production car in the world at the time, capable of 234km/h, with a theoretical top speed of 322 km/h!
Released in March 1972, the XA Falcon was the first wholly Australian designed and manufactured Falcon. The GT version had a dramatic new body, that was missing all the traditional identifying marks of previous GT models. It was a comparatively ordinary looking car that was aimed at a broader market. It used the same 351 engine, four speed manual and three-speed auto transmissions of the XY.
The XAGT did not have the "hero look" of the XYGT, being more polished and stylish, and also lacked the power and speed of the previous model. It had a top speed some 20 km/h slower than the Phase III. Star of the XAGT range was to be the new Phase IV which was killed off, due to political overkill from the Government of the day that feared (incorrectly) that car manufacturers were going to produce virtual street racers. Ford built a small number of Phase IV prototypes (rumored to be no more than four), one of which at least was later used in racing. A two-door hardtop XA was released in August 1972, which included a GT version, which was the same as the four door in all aspects other than height, width and number of doors.