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.
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)
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).
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.
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 ).
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.
|G||Candy Apple Red||402||114||514|
|Y||Grecian Gold Metallic||274||61||335|
|K||Starlight Blue Metallic||241||58||299|
|8||Silver Fox Metallic||213||43||256|
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)
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.
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:
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.
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:
Valve / rocker covers
Timing chain and water pump locations:
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)
XW Falcon GT - Cleveland powered (From March - October 1970)
XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 1
XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 1.5 (GT-HOs built during March / April 1970)
XW Falcon GT-HO Phase 2 (commenced production in June 1970)
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.