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This information guide covers the Australian Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO vehicles. The XW was the third generation Falcon GT produced by Ford Australia, and the first to offer the HO (Handling Option) homologation model. The XW GT was sold exclusively to the Australian market, however, CKD kits were exported to South Africa from 1970 where the vehicle was sold as the “Fairmont GT”.

The XW GT was based on the Fairmont trim specification, and received a significant number of performance upgrades to make the car competitive in Australian production touring car racing. Ford’s efforts to succeed culminated in the GT-HO vehicles which were produced in sufficient numbers to allow the cars to compete in Class E touring car events, and more specifically to allow the cars to compete and win the famous Bathurst endurance race at Mount Panorama. An outright victory at Bathurst was achieved in the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500, with Allan Moffat at the wheel of a XW GT-HO Phase II. The performance specifications, racing success and relative scarcity of the XW GTs have made the cars highly desirable among collectors, particularly in Australia.

This guide provides a detailed outline of the XW GTs specifications and unique features. If you have additional information that could improve this guide, please contact the author by clicking the button above.

Period of manufacture:

XW Falcon GT: May 1969 – October 1970

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I: July 1969 – March 1970 (officially released in August 1969)

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I ½: March 1969 – April 1970

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase II: June 1970 – October 1970

Note, a pilot batch of 11 XW GTs were sent down the production line in May 1969. Of those 11, 4 were retained by Ford Motor Company, with the remaining cars sent to various dealers to be sold off.

Production numbers:

XW Falcon GT: 2,287

XW Falcon GT-HO (Total): 662

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I (Windsor): 201 (Kennedy) 375 – may include 1.5 (Unique cars)

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I ½: 50 (Kennedy) 57 (falcongt.info)

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase II: 411 (Kennedy) 287 (unique cars) 292 (falcongt.info)

1. Exterior features - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO
  • Styling of the XW falcon was the responsibility of Jack Telnack who led the XW design team. The car was significantly differentiated from the XR, moving further away from its US-derived original design (It was a design from Dearborn Michigan).
  • Available only as a 4-door sedan.
  • Side body stripe decals ran the full length of the car above the wheel arches (just below the body panel crease), taking a down turn at the front guard with “Super Roo” logos. The down turn at the front guard was unique to the XW GT. The stripes could be deleted as an option.
  • Twin Quartz-iodine driving lights incorporated into the front grille.
  • Offset bonnet scoop (directing  airflow to the brake master cylinder)
  • Bonnet locking pins (one pin fitted to each side of the bonnet held by steel wire).
  • Blacked out grille.
  • Blacked out sill panels, bonnet panels (a delete option), upper door frames and rear tail light panel
  • “Ford GT” badge on front passenger-side grille.
  • “351 High Performance GT” red and chrome finish badges applied to front guards and rear trunk blackout panel.
  • “Falcon” text badge across the rear passenger trunk lid blackout panel.
  • Front and rear bumper over-riders were a common optional accessory.
  • Rear spoiler.
  • Twin exhaust pipes
  • Optional black of parchment vinyl roof.
  • Colour keyed bullet racing mirror.
  • Chrome plated mesh stone guards over headlights.
  • Wheels and tyres:
    • From introduction to February 1970: 6 inch x 14 inch Kelsey Hayes riveted ‘12 slot’ steel rims.  with ER 70 x 14 HR Dunlop SP or Olympic ‘Wide Ride’ radial ply tyres
    • From February 1970 (Falcon GT.info says May 1970): 6 inch x 14 inch Kelsey Hayes riveted ‘5 slot’ steel rims with ER 70 x 14 HR Dunlop SP or Olympic ‘Wide Ride’ radial ply tyres

Hubcaps for both wheels were plain, flat dishes. The Canadian riveted wheels have a reputation for having pressing splits where the hub sticks through the rim. The rivets can be seen on the top-side of the rims (by inspecting under the tyres).

GT-HO:

  • The only distinuguishing feature of the GT-HO from the exterior was the black plastic front spoiler lower spoiler. Many GTs have been retrofitted with this feature.

Note, delete options were also available. Items such as hood pins, body stripes, Super Roo decals, bonnet blackout panels etc could all be opted out of by a purchaser. 

2. Interior features and trim options - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO
  • Fairmont specification trim.
  • Door card and seat trim colours included:
    • Dark Saddle Vinyl (trim code “K”); or
    • Black Vinyl (trim code “B”).

Seat vinyl trim included woven insert panels on the squab and backs, or optional cloth insert panels. If cloth insert panels were optioned, a “2” would follow the trim code on the vehicle’s data plate. Note, the XW trim colour “Dark Saddle” is actually lighter than the XY GT’s Dark Saddle trim.

There are believed to be only 14 GTs/GT-Hos made with dark saddle trim and cloth inserts (see Australian Muscle Car Magazine April 2015). Some of these cars had a spectrum coloured insert known as “Hawaiian pack”.

There were also 3 XW GTS made with burgundy trim (Code []) and one with grey trim (Code []).

  • Black deep pile carpeting was applied to all XW GTs.
  • Teak woodgrain panels integrated into the dashboard and door cards (as applied to Fairmont specification).
  • GT-HO had “GT-HO” on glovebox
  • Standard GT had “GT” on the glovebox
  • Both had “351 High Performance” badge on the centre console.
  • Padded 3-spoke wood rimmed steering wheel with rim squeeze horn button (the wheel containing a neoprene strip insert).
  • Instruments:
    • Speedometer calibrated to 140 mph
    • Tach calibrated to 6,000 RPM for Windsor’s and 8000 rpm for Cleveland’s.
    • Fuel
    • oil pressure
    • Water temp gauges
    • Ignition, high beam and brake warning system lights
    • Electric analogue clock).
  • Teak woodgrain panels
  • Rear folding centre arm rest
  • Optional push-button radio (note – provision was made for the fitting of a radio in the dashboard design).
  • Optional SelectAire air-conditioning.
3. Paint colours and codes - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

The below chart outlines the colours available for the XW GT and GT-HO. 

The chart includes the production numbers in each of the colours, and the numbers built in either GT or HO form. Note, there are a number of discrepencies between different sources on each of these, and we have provided a short summary of those discrepencies below the table in this section.

Paint code   Name GT GT-HO Total
R Diamond White 634 123 757
G Candy Apple Red 402 114 514
Y Grecian Gold Metallic 274 61 335
M Reef Green 292 72 364
K Starlight Blue Metallic 241 58 299
8 Silver Fox Metallic 213 43 256
F117 Brambles Red   9  
H Track Red 19 37 56
A Polar White 21 7 28
S Electric Blue 8 13 21
F099 Shell Yellow ? ? 2
T True Blue 0 3 3
F161 Royal Umber ? ? 1
F280/Y280 Zircon Green ? ? 5

 

 

Paint code Name GT GT-HO Total
FI Belrose Green ? 0 ?
B Onyx Black 4 2 6
F Vintage Burgundy   1 3 4
C Imperial Burgundy  3 0 3
Q Lime Frost 2 0 2
N Opal Glow 1 0 1
F289 Surfer Orange ? ? 3
Y145  Woodsman Green  ? ? 2
Y016 RACWA Yellow ? ? 1
Y264 Fanta Orange ? ? 1
None No code   20  
Spec Special Order ? ? 16

 

 
4. Body prefix, serial number and chassis number - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

1. VIN / chassis number:

This is a 7-digit code commencing with either “GL” or “GJ”, followed by a 4-digit unique chassis number, followed by “C”.

For example: GJ1234 C or GL1234 C

GL = Manual transmission

GJ = Automatic transmission

Location: The chassis number is stamped into the vehicle’s passenger side front shock tower. For vehicles built in 1970, it is also embossed on the vehicle’s data plate (see 1970 data plate image).


2. Engine number

The chassis number should match the engine number on an original vehicle. On most XW GT motors, the engine number is stamped into the engine block behind the alternator (at the front of the block). The stamping can be viewed just below the oil dipstick collar, below where the driver's side head meets the block. However, on early Phase 1.5 Cleveland engines, the engine number was located on the front passenger side of the block, above the fuel pump. See images in the gallery for further detail.


3. Body prefix and serial number:

The XW Falcon GT has a body prefix number followed by the serial number in the following format: “JG33AB12345” (see table below for the breakdown)

  • J = Country of production (Australia)
  • G = Assembly plant (Broadmeadows
  • 33 = Model (Falcon GT Sedan)
  • A = Year of manufacture (See below for year codes)
  • B = Month of manufacture (See below month codes)
  • 12345 = unique serial number

Date Codes:

  Year code Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1969 J J U M P B R A G C K D E
1970 K L Y S T J U M P B Y A G

Location: The body prefix followed by the serial number is embossed into the top left of the vehicle data plate. It is found on both the 1969 and 1970 data plates. The prefix and serial number is also stamped into the front face of the passenger side radiator support panel (slam panel). See the images for examples and further detail. By way of a side note, some enthusiasts have suggested that late XW GTs were fitted with XY radiator support panels, whilst some early XYs were fitted with XW radiator support panels.

5. Vehicle data plate - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

The data plates applied to the XW GT and GT-HO differed between 1969 and 1970 models. 

1969 vehicles: These had a small rectangular data plate affixed by 2 rivets to the front face of the driver’s side radiator support panel (slam panel).

1970 vehicles: These have a larger, more square shaped data plate affixed by 4 rivets to the passenger side of the bulkhead / firewall.

The data plates have a number of codes detailed below (excluding those codes covered in the previous section of this guide):

1. Engine code:

T = 351 4V

H = 351 HO engine

2. Transmission code:

L = Four speed manual transmission

B = floor shift T-bar automatic transmission

It is rumored that there was one special order automatic GT-HO built. Although Ford’s records suggest that vehicle was a manual, its data plate was stamped "B". The remainder of the GT-HOs were all Code "L" 4-speed manuals.

3. Paint code:

The various paint codes available have been outlined at section 3 of this guide above.

4. Trim code:

B = Black

K = Dark Saddle.

If the trim code was followed by a “2”, the vehicle was optioned with cloth seat inserts. See section 2 of this guide for further details and examples of all trim types. 

5. Model Code:

The following model codes applied, confirming the vehicle's identity as either a GT or GT-HO:

GT: 18938

GT-HO: 18939

6. SVO Code:

Some XW GTs and GT-HOs were also stamped with a SVO (Special vehicle order) number. Those numbers were generally issued to vehicles with a special request for paintwork, or fitment of a unique accessory from the factory. See the images for an example of the SVO codes.

6. Windsor and Cleveland 351ci engine differences - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

All XW Falcon GT and GT-HOs were fitted with a 351ci V8 engine, being either:

1. The Windsor V8 (Fitted up to February 1970). The engine was named after the production plant from which it was derived in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

2. The Cleveland V8 (fitted from around January/February 1970 onward). The engine was named after the production plant from which it is derived in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Despite sharing the same cubic capacity, the Windsor and Cleveland engines were substantially different units. The means of differentiating each has been outlined below:

 Air cleaner:

  • All Cleveland engines came with a polished open element air cleaner, whether or not the cars were fitted with an automatic or manual transmission.
  • Windsor powered GTs had two different air cleaners fitted. Vehicles fitted with a 4-speed manual transmission had the same open element air cleaner as applied to all Cleveland engines. Automatic engines, however, were fitted with a large blue air cleaner box without the open sides. This air cleaner box is of a design shared only with the ZC Fairlane (if optioned with a 351ci 4V engine).

 

Block:

  • The engine blocks shared the exact same block length, cylinder bore spacing (being 4.38 inches), the same block deck height, conrod length, cylinder head bolt pattern and crank to cam spacing.
  • The Cleveland block was slightly narrower than the Windsor, and was also heavier than the Windsor at 254kg (vs 213 kg for the Windsor).

 

Cylinder heads:

  • The Cleveland block had canted / tilted cylinder heads, with splayed valves set at slightly opposing angles to one another. The heads appear bigger / wider than the Windsor heads, and had “4” cast into the corner of the heads (see image). The casting confirmed the heads are US-specification 4V chamber heads
  • The Windsor block was fitted with heads that were thinner and had parallel valve stems (and smaller valves as a result).
  • Cleveland had 2.19 inch intake valves and 1.71 inch exhaust valves.
  • The Windsor had 1.875 inch intake valves, and 1.6 inch exhaust valves.

 

Valve / rocker covers

  • The Cleveland engines have more square shaped rocker covers secured by 8 bolts each, and those rocker covers are wider than the Windsor’s covers, and had a dimple in the front outer corner, and “Power by Ford” stamped into the top.
  • The Windsor engines had more rounded covers, secured by 6 bolts each, and had “Power by Ford” stamped into the metal.
  • For Cleveland engines The 351C’s built in the U.S. and shipped for export acquired the letter ‘C’ in front of the ‘K’, and this is what appeared on the paper tag on engines fitted in Australia. . This ‘C’ stood for ‘Canada’ as engines built for Canada could be exported to Australia without Australia paying import duty, as both were Commonwealth countries. The ‘CK’ engines are identical to their US counterparts. On the Cleveland’s this will be:
    • CK608 A1 70-1 – manual transmission, D block, 4 heads; or
    • CK609 A1 70-1 – auto transmission, D block, 4 heads.
  • The Windsor engines had a tag “K208-SA” on the front of the passenger side rocker cover.

 

Inlet manifold:

  • The Cleveland has a dry inlet manifold (i.e., no coolant passes through). Instead, coolant passes across the engine in a cast extension to the front of the engine block.
  • The Windsor engine had coolant passages which passed between the heads through the inlet manifold casting.

 

Timing chain and water pump locations:

  • Windsor: The timing chain is mounted forward of the block face, with the water pump mounted on the timing chain cover casting. Therefore, on the Windsor the top radiator hose connects to the block horizontally, into the thermostat as fitted to the front of the inlet manifold.
  • Cleveland: At the front of the block the casting extension created for the coolant extends forward to include the timing chain cavity. The timing chain cavity has a flat plate which is bolted over it, and the water pump is bolted onto that plate. Therefore, on the Cleveland engine the radiator hose connects to the engine block vertically, into the thermostat on top of the casting extension piece.
7. Mechanical specifications - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

This section of the guide provides details of the various mechanical features applicable to the XW Falcon GT. We have separated the below details from the engine specifications, which are dealt with in greater detail in the next section of this guide.

XW Falcon GT - Windsor powered (up to February 1970)

  • Engine: 351ci Windsor V8. 10.7:1 compression ratio, producing 290 bhp (217kw) at 4800 RPM. 385lbs-ft (520 Nm) torque at 3200 rpm. 
  • Distributor: Single point.
  • Carburettor: Autolife 450cfm carburettor with cast iron inlet manifold.
  • Differential: 9 inch limited slip differential with final drive of 3.25:1. Tail shaft was 2.75 inches diameter. Diff was a 9 inch removable carrier type with limited slip ‘tracktion lock’ and a 28-spline axle
  • Fuel capacity: 36.4 imperial gallon (164l) fuel tank.
  • Clutch: 9.25 inch dry plate clutch (twin plate).
  • Alternator: 55 amp.
  • Front suspension: Independent angle poised ball joint, macpherson strut, higher rate coil springs, wishbone and increased diameter anti-roll bar, heavy duty shocks. Firmer ride and reduced ride height compared to the standard falcon. Spring and damper rates were recalibrated.
  • Rear suspension: Longitudinal semi-illiptic five leaf springs + Iso claom attached to rear axle, . Rear springing revised to give firmer ride and reduce ride height by 1 3/8 inch. + high control shock absorbers. GT had Hotchkiss Type with semi illiptic leaf springs, telescopic dampers and live axles (GTHO were the same but with anti roll bar).
  • Tyres: Wide-oval radial ply tyres. E70HR x 14” wide oval  radial ply tyres. Modern Motor Magazine article says these are Dunlop Aquajets.
  • Exhaust: Cast iron exhaust manifold with low restriction twin exhaust. Twin exhaust pipes exiting under each side of the rear bumpers.
  • Steering: Recirculating ball with 16:1 ratio. Power assistance was optional. Symmetrical linkage with anti-friction bearings throughout. New energy absorbing steering column. Optional power steering.
  • Brakes:
    • Servo assisted
    • Front: 11.25 inch (285mm) discs. These were centrifugally ventilated servo assisted power discs. Kelsey Hayes “Turbo-cooled” 11.25” diameter floating caliper power assisted disc brakes (Front).
    • Rear: 10 inch (254mm) cast iron drums. Proportioning valve was also fitted (not sure if this was just Phase II GT-HO from info on p.57 on Ewan Kennedy book). These were hydraulically operated servo assisted drum brakes.
    • Brakes are dual circuit and twin servo vacuum boosted.
  • Wheels: GT and GT-HO had 6 inch X 14 inch 6JJ steel 12-slot wheels with chrome dress trims and hubcap (not the phase II though – see below). 5-stud pattern.
  • Transmission: Full-synchro top loader 4-speed or 3-speed FMX auto (T-bar) – auto was optional.
    • Ratios Auto: 2.40 / 1.47 / 1.00 / R 2.20
    • Ratios Manual: 2.78 / 1.93 / 1.36 / 1.00 / R 2.78

 

XW Falcon GT - Cleveland powered (From March - October 1970)

  • Engine: 351ci Cleveland V8. 11:1 compression ratio,  producing 300 bhp (224kw) / 380lbs-ft (513Nm) torque at 3400 RPM, with hydraulic valve lifters.
  • Distributor: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Carburettor: Ford Autolite '4300' 650 cfm four barrel downdraught carburettor
  • Differential: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Fuel capacity: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Clutch: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Alternator: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Front and rear suspension: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Tyres: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Exhaust: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Steering: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Brakes: As per Windsor GT (see above).
  • Transmission: As per Windsor GT (see above).

 

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 1

  • Engine: 351ci Windsor V8 with 10.7:1 compression ratio producing 300bhp (225kw) at 5400rpm. and  380lbs-ft (515Nm) (one says 513) of torque at 3400 rpm. The Phase 1 had a different grind on the camshaft for longer duration valve opening.
  • Distributor: As per standard GT (see above).
  • 380 lbs-ft torque at 3400rpm
  • Carburettor: Holley 600cfm four-barrel carburettor and Ford "Buddy Bar" aluminium inlet manifold.
  • Differential: 3.0:1 final drive ratio (Gt Book says 3.25:1). Diff was a 9 inch removable carrier type with limited slip ‘tracktion lock’ and a 31-spline axle (note, GT book suggests its still 28 spline). Tail shaft was increased in diameter from 2.75 to 3 inches.
  • Fuel capacity: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Clutch: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Alternator: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Front and rear suspension: As per standard GT (see above). However, a 3/4 inch sway bar was installed at the rear.
  • Tyres: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Exhaust: As per standard GT (see above)
  • Steering: As per standard GT (see above)
  • Brakes: As per standard GT (see above)
  • Transmission: Top loader Full-synchro 4-speed manual only on GT-HO.

 

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 1.5 (GT-HOs built during March / April 1970)

  • The Phase 1.5 XW GT was mechanically somilar to the Phase 1 GT-HO (see specs above). However, the car was fitted with the Cleveland V8 engine block in place of the Windsor. This engine was essentially a stock crate cleveland engine block with Phase 1 running gear, and still retained hydraulic valve lifters (as opposed to the solid lifters fitted to Phase 2 Cleveland engines). Only 84 1.5s are believed to have been produced.

 

XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 2 (commenced production in June 1970)

  • Engine: 351ci Cleveland V8 with 11:1 compression ratio producing 300bhp (224kw) / 380lbs-ft (515Nm) torque at 5400rpm. The engine was fittted wirgh a high performance camshaft and cast iron inley manifold. Heavy duty valve springs, alternator, regulator and push rods. Engine had solid cam lifters. Solid camshaft & lifters, bigger push rods, guide plates;
  • Distributor: Twin point distributor
  • 380 lbs-ft torque at 3400rpm
  • Carburettor: Ford 750cfm four barrel downdraught Holley carburettor;
  • Differential: 3.5:1 final drive ratio. Diff was a 9 inch removable carrier type with limited slip ‘tracktion lock’ and a Daytona 31-spline axle. 3.5 inch Tail shaft with larger universal joints.
  • Fuel capacity: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Clutch: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Alternator: Heavy duty alternator.
  • Front and rear suspension: A larger front and rear sway bar was installed (3/4 inch), and revised front and rear spring rates with super duty shock absorbers;
  • Tyres: As per standard GT (see above).
  • Exhaust: As per standard GT (see above)
  • Steering: As per standard GT (see above). However, the Phase II had a unique upper control arm and spindle to provide an increased front track; 
  • Brakes: As per standard GT (see above). However, the rear brakes did not have dust shields fitted. Rears were 2 1/2 inch wide and finned rear drum brakes;
  • Transmission: Top loader Full-synchro 4-speed manual only on GT-HO. Phase II GT-HOs had revised gear ratios as outlined below, being the close ratio gearbox.
Original documentation - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

Coming soon.

South African XW Fairmont GT - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

Ford of South Africa sourced the Falcon for the local market from the late 1960s, and interest grew around the performance specification GT models built in Australia. Initially, two XW GTs were sent to South Africa for evaluation by the Ford subsidiary in Port Elizabeth, and this subsequently resulted in an order of 340 XW CKD kits being dispatched from Geelong.

The parts that were shipped from Australia included body panels and interior trim. Heavier components including the engine and transmission were shipped directly from the USA.

There were, however, some fundamental differences between the Australian and South African cars. To start with, the South African vehicles were badged as the “Fairmont GT”. Unlike the Australian GT with its thick side-stripe decal, “351 GT” text, Super-roo logo and distinctive downturn on the front guard, the Fairmont GT had a simple and much thinner twin-stripe which ran down the same side body panel crease.

The Fairmont GT was powered by the same 351ci cleveland V8 engine. However, it had a single twin throat carby (as opposed to the 4-barrel carby), and was only available with the cruisomatic 3-speed automatic transmission. The power of the XW Fairmont GT was therefore down on the Australian XW Falcon GT, at 260hp vs 300hp.

A separate guide will be produced for the XW Fairmont GT, as there is too much information to list in this one section of the XW GT guide. Check back soon for a link.

References - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

Coming soon.