This time 10 years ago Ford Australia was celebrating a milestone in the development of the Ford Falcon.

For the 50th anniversary since the first XK Falcon rolled off the assembly line Ford Australia produced a 50th Anniversary range of six models — with unique colours and branding.

Six years later the last Falcon rolled off the assembly line as Ford adopted its 'One Ford' global product development plan announced in 2008.

See an XA Falcon being assembled at Wiri.


There had been hopes the Falcon might form part of that 'One Ford' plan — but in the end the global company decided instead to replace the Falcon in New Zealand and Australia with two models — the European built Ford Mondeo and the US built Ford Mustang.

The first XK model Falcon rolled off the production line at Ford's Broadmeadows assembly plant in Campbellfield, near Melbourne, on June 28, 1960.

The plant was part of Ford's plans to build an Australian car to compete with Holden rather than assembling vehicles such as the Consul, Zephyr and some United States models.

The XK Falcon was an Australian version of the North American Falcon and went on sale on September 14, 1960. It had a 144ci (2.36l) in-line six cylinder engine that can trace its basic architecture right through to the last 4.0-litre DOHC 24-valve units.

It developed 90hp (67kW) and 138ft-lb (187Nm) of torque and had either a three-speed manual gearbox or something Holden couldn't offer at the time — an automatic with all of two speeds.

The new Falcon was also offered in New Zealand in competition to the popular Holdens of the time, and the British designed Ford Zephyrs and Zodiacs.

By comparison the 1960 FB Holden had a 138ci (2.16l) straight six engine making 75hp (56kW) and Ford's Mark II Zephyr had a 156ci (2.55l) straight six making 86hp (64kW).

The Falcon was lighter, but bigger, but wasn't as suitable initially for Australian and New Zealand conditions.


Future models addressed this issue.

The first generation Falcon progressed through XL, XM and XP versions until the new shape XR Falcon appeared in 1966. The first V8 model powered by the 289ci (4.7l) Mustang engine appeared in 1967 — the birth of the GT.

1967 XR GT - the birth of a legend.
1967 XR GT - the birth of a legend.

By the launch of the XR the Falcon was now being assembled in New Zealand at Ford's Seaview plant in Wellington.

Ford New Zealand was expanding, and built a new plant at Wiri in Auckland where Falcon production shifted in 1972.

The Mustang inspired XR, XT, XW and XY models that ran until 1972 are the foundation of the Falcon's muscle car reputation built on the back of Bathurst successes.

A flock of 1971 XY GTHO Phase 3 Falcons in their natural habitat.
A flock of 1971 XY GTHO Phase 3 Falcons in their natural habitat.

They were followed by the XA, XB and XC from 1972 until 1978.


The third generation models were the first to be 'all Australian' as the Americans had dropped the Falcon from its range.

Styling still had hints of Mustang and the Ford Torino.

The new cars were bigger than the outgoing models, but had much of the same engine and drivetrain choices.

The fourth generation ran from 1979-1988 — The XD, XE, XF, XG and XH models.
This range bore more resemblance to Ford Europe's offerings — most notably the Granada.
In 1982 the XF was the first Falcon since the XP to not offer a V8. It was also the start of engine development for better economy and to run on unleaded fuel.

In 1988 the decade of the fifth generation EA, EB, EB II, ED, EF and EL Falcons was to reign.

Styling was still European — now the Ford Scorpio.


New 3.2 litre and 3.9 litre engines were offered and in 1991 the V8 was reintroduced.

As we headed towards a new century, vehicle safety and driver and passenger refinements were the order of the day — and the E models received upgraded power steering, ABS brakes and suspension refinements.

Over the next 12 years the sixth generation falcon paved the way for the modern big car.
The AU was around for fours years before being superseded by the BA and then the BA II.

The BA range was a major upgrade of the AU and included the launch of the now famous Barra straight six. The turbo models proved V8 beaters.

The BF looked similar, but the powertrain was further refined and more new electronic aids were added.

Ford Falcon bowed out with the FG and FG X range that ran for another eight years.
Ford Australia was now back into performance mode — with XR6 Turbo and XR8 models on offer — as well as other Ford performance vehicles and Tickford options.


The Geelong factory produced its last Australian-made straight-six and V8 engines on September 26, 2016 and assembly at Broadmeadows ended on October 7, 2016, ending Ford's 88 year history in Australia and 56 years of the Falcon.

Ford FG Falcon GE6 Turbo.
Ford FG Falcon GE6 Turbo.

With a bit of irony, the October date was Bathurst 1000 weekend, won by Mark Winterbottom and Dean Canto in an FG X Falcon — holding off a trio of Holden Commodores.

New Zealand had ended assembly of Ford vehicles in 1997.