This identification guide has been drafted for the Ford Falcon XE 'Dick Johnson Grand Prix’, produced by James Faneco's ‘Country Dealer Team’ ("CDT"), with naming rights provided by famous Australian racing driver Dick Johnson. Classis Register also keeps an informal register of the Falcon XE Grand Prix here. These original Dick Johnson cars were produced in Scoresby, Victoria at the CDT factory, and were produced in both turbo and non-turbo versions. The majority of cars delivered to CDT for modification reportedly started life as Falcon S Packs, with a 4-speed manual transmission, 4 wheel disc brakes and an LSD rear end.

It is rumoured that there was initially a plan to produce the 'Dick Johnson Grand Prix' in numbers sufficient to qualify the car to enter the Australian Touring Car Championship ("ATCC").  It has been suggested the decision to do this was made in response to Ford’s plan to end local V8 production, which would have left Dick Johnson and other Ford drivers without a competitive local entry in the ATCC. The only viable alternative was to have a turbo 6 Falcon developed to remain competitive. Several sources suggest Dick Johnson himself had the intention to produce the required number of cars to qualify it for his own racing team. Although Dick may have chosen to compete with the car had the opportunity arisen, the decision to develop the Grand Prix as a basis for motorsport entry is believed to have been made by CDT, who had extensive experience doing the same with Holdens. Dick Johnson (among other drivers at the time) was reportedly approached by CDT simply to provide naming rights to boost the cars profile. Some of this information was confirmed by Dick Johnson in an interview in Australian Muscle Car Magazine (2008). Unfortunately, actual production of the Grand Prix fell well short of larger targets, and following regulation changes to the ‘Group A’ format, Dick Johnson made the decision to use the Ford Mustang, before moving to the Ford Sierra RS500.

Despite the modifications on these cars not being undertaken in the Ford factory, they were available for sale through certain participating Ford dealerships. Ford still provided a warranty for all Ford components, whilst CDT provided a full 20,000 km / 12 month warranty for all parts and accessories applied / fitted in the conversion. The turbo version came with further warranties from CDT to cover the additional engine and transmission modifications.

Some confusion surrounds the Dick Johnson CDT built cars and those rumoured to be produced by Mike Vine Turbos ("MVT") of Brisbane in around 1987 - 1988. An article in 'Car Australia' magazine (believed to be from the late 80s) confirms that MVT planned to produce their own version of the XE Grand Prix. Many enthusiasts have also strongly suggested MVT produced additional Grand Prix cars. However, Mike Vine himself has since confirmed in 'Australian Muscle Car Magazine' (2008) that MVT only made enhancements to existing Grand Prix cars, and never produced their own version of the Grand Prix. We have also tracked down a magazine article from "Turbo magazine' believed to be from the late 1980s, who visited MVT whilst they were undertaking modifications to Dick Johnson car number 002, which is consistent with Mike Vines' words. Given that Mike Vine himself has confirmed this, we are inclined to believe this version of events, and have dedicated section 7 of this guide outlining the available modifications from MVT, which according to Mike were applied to around 20 cars in the XE Grand Prix batch, to varying degrees.

 

Number produced:

A variety of production numbers are thrown around on forums and in magazines, ranging from around 20 through to 50 units. According to Motor Magazine of March 1983, 25 units had been produced by December of 1982, with production continuing at the same rate at the time the article was written. As the XE was only launched in March 1982, and production of the Grand Prix is believed to have begun in late 1982, it is possible that a figure of around 50 units was achieved. Australian Muscle Car Magazine notes that 43 cars were produced, with 12 as non turbo, and 6 produced in red. A production figure of 43 units is also regularly quoted as the highest car number ever seen, and we have recently cited this particular car for sale during 2016.

 

Period of Manufacture:

Late 1982 - May 1983 (estimate only – end date based on car number 43, which is widely regarded as the last built).

 

Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the button at the top of this page, or comment below.

 



1. External Features - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The Dick Johnson Grand Prix Falcon had a number of unique external characteristics as noted below:

  • CDT body kit, including wheel arch flares, front air dam and rear spoiler.
  • The vast majority of Grand Prix cars were painted ‘True Blue’ (formally known as ‘Zenith Blue’). It is believed that 6 cars were painted 'Monza Red'. See the paint colour / codes section of this guide for further details and the relevant paint codes.
  • ‘Grand Prix’ decals located top of front fenders (below the A-pillar), lower front air dam and left rear boot lid. There appear to be some inconsistencies in the placing of decals, with some owners reporting that they were not applied consistently to every car.
  • ‘Dick Johnson’ signature decals located underneath front fender 'Grand Prix' decals.
  • ‘Turbo’ decal located on rear right boot lid (on the turbo cars).
  • Gold pin stripe running down the middle body line crease of the car (on several cars, this pin-stripe is seen to continue around the front and back of the car).
  • The majority of cars were fitted with gold ‘Enkei’ racing wheels (15 inch x 8 inch at the front, 15 inch x 9 inch at the rear). The genuine Enkei wheels were in 3 pieces, and had 20 bolts on the face. Some exceptions may exist and customers could specify alternative wheels when purchasing.
  • Originally fitted with 'Goodrich Competition' 225/50 VR15 front tyres and 245/50 VR15 rear tyres.
  • Tinted side windows, laminated front windscreen.
  • Optional Bosch fog lamps fitted to front of CDT air dam kit.
  • Single bonnet vent, (slightly offset to the driver’s side).
  • Based on the XE Falcon body (several revisions from the XD included revised tail light lenses, front indicator lens design and bonnet/grille design).
2. Interior Features - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix had the following features (which may vary as noted):

  • Unique blue/grey seat trim was applied to the Grand Prix. 'Modern Motor Magazine' of March 1983 confirmed that ‘Scheel’ seats similar to that of the ESP spec cars were installed and uniquely trimmed in the Blue-grey fabric. SSA (Scheel) logos appeared on the face of the seat backrest. However, we have seen several cars that appear genuine with the grey / dark grey striped Scheel trim like the Falcon ESPs. We believe that the grey trim may have been applied to cars which were refurbished by Mike Vine Turbos, but this is not confirmed. 
  • A 'CDT Performance Vehicles' plaque should be present on the passenger side dashboard (top left of the glovebox lid), confirming the vehicle’s unique CDT build number.
  • The non-turbo was available with a 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmission, however, the turbo car was only available with a 4-speed manual.
  • 4 Spoke steering wheel with unique centre badge stating "Grand Prix Limited Edition".
  • Bel remote radar detector (first time offered as standard equipment on an Australian car).
  • On the turbo powered cars, a single boost gauge was mounted behind the steering wheel (in front of the factory instruments). Two cars seen were fitted with 'VDO' brand gauges, however, types may vary, and many cars have now been fitted with the triple gauge cluster which sits on top of the central dashboard, providing additional instrumentation.
  • AM/FM radio cassette came standard (as was applied to the standard XD Falcon).
  • Any of the original Ford options for the XE could be specified for the Grand Prix, such as air conditioning, power steering, Ghia door trims, ESP features, etc. Therefore, some inconsistencies in interior options may exist between cars.
3. Paint Colours / Codes - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The XE Grand Prix was only available in two colours:

Colour Description
Monza Red (Code "K") We have not cited a chassis plate for one of the red cars, however, the Ford red applied is believed to be "Monza Red".
Zenith Blue   (Code: "Y005") This is known colloquially as ‘True Blue’. This was likely chosen due to Dick Johnson’s blue V8 Falcon of the 1980 – 1982 ATCC.

 

The vast majority of cars were produced in the Zenith Blue colour, with a small number (supposedly 6 cars) being produced in red. During early production (early 1983), Modern Motor Magazine reported that blue was the primary colour, with a ‘Candy Apple Red’ colour planned for the future. We believe that the candy apple red never made it onto any cars, but instead a Monza Red was applied to 6 cars (see Australian Muscle Car Magazine, 2008). Please contact us if you have any further information with respect to paint colours and codes - we are looking for additional images of red cars in particular.

4. Vehicle Data / Chassis Plate Codes - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The Grand Prix cars had standard XE twin compliance plates which were located on the passenger side inner wing and are spaced apart, one in front of the suspension tower and one behind it. The ADR codes plate was on the left and the options plate was on the right (as you face the car from the passenger side).

Both plates contained the ‘Body Prefix’ and a ‘Serial Number’ (chassis number) of the car, which are allocated in the factory. The same serial number should be stamped into the top of the passenger side suspension strut tower / inner mudguard panel (between the tower and the mudguard edge).

As the Dick Johnson Grand Prix cars started off as standard XD Falcon 4.1l sedans, the following information should be visible on a genuine vehicle’s compliance plate (noting of course that this information would have applied to the majority of standard XE Falcons):

Model Number: 18233 (GL Sedan)

Engine Code: W (4.1l inline 6)

Transmission Code: L (4-speed manual floor shift)

Paint: "Y005" (blue) or "K" (red)

CDT Build Numbers / Plates - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

Compliance and CDT build number plates were applied to the Grand Prix as follows:

- Main CDT compliance plate:

CDT provided its own vehicle compliance / ID plate confirming the CDT build number, as well as containing the vehicle’s chassis number (duplicated from the vehicle’s original data plate and body stamping). An example of this plate is provided in the images.

- Turbo compliance plate:

Turbo cars also received a compliance plate for the Garrett turbocharger. This plate was placed directly up against or nearby the CDT compliance plate, and again confirmed the chassis number of the vehicle to which it was applied.

Both of the abovementioned plates must of course match up with the VIN provided on the CDT ID-plate and the factory Ford chassis plate. Several examples are provided in the images.

- CDT build number plate locations:

The vehicle’s CDT build number is printed in three locations (all are detailed in the images):

  1. The build number is stamped on the abovementioned CDT compliance plate.
  2. On Turbo cars, a CDT build # plate is located on the engine’s inlet manifold (a dark grey manifold on carburettor cars, silver manifold on injected cars). On Non-turbo cars, the CDT build # plate is believed to be located on the vehicle’s rocker cover. Some examples of the turbo car are provided in the images.
  3. A CDT build # plate is located on the vehicle’s glovebox lid (top left corner of the lid face).
5. Engine Numbers - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The engine number of the car will have little relevance, as it is a new unit installed by CDT out of the factory (the factory engine was removed when the modifications took place). It is therefore not possible to determine if a Grand Prix falcon is ‘matching numbers’ as such. This particular section on the number has only been included for reference.

The engine number on the XE Grand Prix Turbo is located on the front driver’s side of the engine, at the top of the block. You will see a small flat edge jutting out from the block, containing the stamped number. An example of the engine number location has been provided in the images. If someone out there has better photographs, please pass these on so we can improve this section.

6. Mechanical Features - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix
  • All engines started off as stock carburettor 4.1 litre 6 cylinder units, and were heavily modified. Turbo charging was optional (bringing output to 190kw), and constituted the majority of Grand Prix cars.
  • Non-turbo cars; had the carburettor and manifold blue printed, hand machined, and assembled to match exactly the designers specifications. The original distributor is similarly treated, and the motor was dynometer tuned and tested.
  • Turbo cars; the blue-printing is taken further to include the not only the manifold and carby, but the entire head itself. A Normal Air Garrett T04B Turbocharger and waste-gate with its associated special components was fitted. To handle the turbocharging, a heavy duty clutch (pressure and driver plates) were fitted, as well as an oil cooler and a 2.5 inch exhaust system. Each engine received more than 100 hours of personalised attention.
  • Single Stromberg CD175 carburettor was fitted as standard, however, around 6 cars are believed to be fuel injected. Note, many cars have now been upgraded to twin carby configuration or fuel injection as offered by Mike Vine Turbos. The fuel injection system for the turbo motors were designed by HKS in Japan.
  • Non-turbo cars were available in 4 speed manual or automatic transmission. Turbo cars were only available in a 4 speed manual.
  • Dick Johnson suspension and handling pack (produced by Lovells). This included heavier springs (coil all round), lower ride height, uprated shock absorbers and 60% heavier front anti-roll bar.
  • Rear limited slip differential (as applied to the Falcon ESP).
  • Power assisted 4 wheel ventilated disc brakes.
  • Heavy duty radiator.
  • Long range 80l fuel tank.
  • Laminated front windscreen.
  • Fitted with gold ‘Enkei’ racing wheels (15 inch x 8 inches wide at the front, 9 inches wide at the rear). The genuine Enkei wheels were in 3 pieces, and had 20 bolts on the face. (Some exceptions apply).
  • Fitted with 225/50 VR15 front tyres and 245/50 VR15 rear tyres - Goodrich Comp T/A.
  • The battery was moved from the engine bay to the boot.
7. Mike Vine Turbos Modifications - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson

As noted in the introduction, it is our understanding that Mike Vine Turbos undertook work on existing Grand Prix Falcons, and did not produce additional cars themselves (although it is clear from early articles that the intention to produce their own may have been there - see the article here). However, Mike Vine himself has confirmed in Australian Muscle Car Magazine (2008) that around 20 Grand Prix cars were enhanced by MVT, and this is backed up by a 'Turbo' magazine article (images attached) which clearly states that MVT was enhancing CDT car number 2. Some of the possible MVT enhancements are outlined below. Note, each customer would have likely specified different tune options - therefore, not all MVT enhanced cars will be the same.

  • Revised single or twin Stromberg carburettor setup (depending on the tune stage package selected), and also offered with a fuel injection option. MVT developed the ADR27 compliant twin carby setup which was previously non-compliant when the Grand Prix model was launched.
  • 5 speed manual Toyota Supra gearbox upgrade was available, and also offered a strengthened automatic transmission to be fitted to the Turbo cars (GP turbo models were originally only available with a manual transmission).
  • 240 km/h Stewart Warner speedometer fitted.
  • Original Grand Prix cars were fitted with blue/grey striped fabric applied to Scheel seats with Scheel SSA badges on the back rests. MVT is believed to have re trimmed some of the cars in grey and black velour stripe, which explains a number of cars seen with that material.
  • DJ cars had power steering as an option with the standard XD power steering Pump. MVT cars had an XF power steering pump installed for improved performance.
  • DJ cars had a single bonnet vent (slightly offset to the driver’s side). MVT cars are believed to have offered additional vent locations / positions from the original, explaining why several cars have multiple bonnet vents.
  • Both CDT and any relevant MVT compliance plates should be present if the car has been modified by MVT.
8. Media Publications / Documentation - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

We have collected a number of original magazine articles / brochures relating to the Dick Johnson Grand Prix Turbo. If anyone has access to any original advertisements, documentation or other material that may be relevant in this section, please send them through to us so we can place this documentation here for others to benefit from. The majority of material here has been obtained from Modern Motor Magazine of March 1983.

Please note, all documentation placed here is not owned by Classic Register, and is for historical interest purposes only. Upon request from any original copyright owner, the material will be removed. Please contact us by email if you have any concerns. 

References - Ford Falcon XE Dick Johnson Grand Prix

The following sources, among input from many owners and enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.