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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, and the first to offer the HO (Handling Option) homologation model. The XW Falcon 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 Falcon GT was based on the Fairmont trim specification, and received a number of performance upgrades to make the car competitive in Australian production touring car racing. Ford’s efforts to succeed in motorsport 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 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.

XW GT and GT-HO 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

XW GT and GT-HO production numbers:

The majority of sources agree on the total GT and GT-HO production numbers. However, there are a number of sources that disagree on the precise breakdown of numbers within the GT-HO phases. The numbers stated below are reflective of the majority of sources sighted. If you have further sources clarifying the numbers, please contact us so this guide can be updated..

XW Falcon GT: 2,287

XW Falcon GT-HO (Total): 662

- XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I (Windsor): 260

- XW Falcon GT-HO Phase I ½: 115

- XW Falcon GT-HO Phase II: 287 

1. Exterior features - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

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 origins.
  • The GT was available only as a 4-door sedan.
  • Side body stripe decals (which were a delete option) ran the full length of the car above the wheel arches (just below the body panel crease). The XW's stripe takes a distinctive down turn at the front guard end with “Super Roo” logos incorporated into that vertical part of the decal.
  • Twin Quartz-iodine driving lights were 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). These were a delete option.
  • 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 right side 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.
  • Twin exhaust pipes.
  • Optional black or parchment vinyl roof.
  • Colour keyed bullet racing mirror (driver's side only).
  • Optional sunroof.
  • 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 around February 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.

GT-HO only:

  • The only distinguishing feature of the GT-HO from the exterior was the black plastic front spoiler. Many non-HO GTs have been fitted with this feature aftermarket.
2. Interior features and trim options - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO
  • All XW GT and GT-HO vehicles had 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 (e.g. "K2" or "B2"). There are believed to be only 14 XW GT / GT-HOs made with dark saddle trim and cloth inserts. Some of those cars had a spectrum coloured insert known as “Hawaiian pack”.
  • Black deep pile carpeting applied to all cars regardless of trim colour.
  • Teak woodgrain panels were integrated into the dashboard and door cards (as applied to Fairmont vehicles).
  • A “351 High Performance” badge was applied to the centre console below the dash.
  • A Padded 3-spoke wood rimmed steering wheel with rim squeeze horn button was fitted (the wheel containing a neoprene strip insert).
  • Instruments included the following:
    • Speedometer calibrated to 140 mph;
    • Tachometer calibrated to 6,000 RPM (Windsor) and 8000 rpm (Cleveland);
    • Fuel;
    • Oil pressure;
    • Water temp gauge;
    • Ignition, high beam and brake warning system lights;
    • Electric analogue clock).
  • Rear folding centre arm rest
  • Optional push-button radio.
  • Optional SelectAire air-conditioning system.
  • GT and GT-HO differences: The only difference between the Standard GT and GT-HO on the inside was the badge printed on the glovebox lid woodgrain panel. The GT had "GT". The GT-HO had "GT-HO".
3. Paint colours and codes - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

The below tables contains the colours available for the XW GT and GT-HO, including the production numbers in each of those colours (where available). 

The data below has been obtained from three main sources:

1. Australian Classic Car History Services;

2. Unique Cars and Parts; and

3. Gavin Farmer's book "Falcon GT & GT-HO - The total performance years"

Data from Unique Cars and Parts has been placed in brackets "( )". There are minor production number discrepencies between the two sources. Where the data is unknown, a "?" has been placed in the table.

Release date Paint colours
From May 1969 Polar White, Candy Apple Red, Dark Green Metallic, Gold Metallic, Silver Metallic, Starlight Blue Metallic, Track Red, Electric Blue, Onyx Black. 
From July 1969 Diamond White, Candy Apple Red, Reef Green, Grecian Gold Metallic, Silver Fox Metallic, Starlight Blue Metallic.
From July 1970 Red, Ultra White, Monza Green, Track Red, Yellow Ochre, Bronze Wine, Imperial Burgundy, True Blue, Lime Frost, Opal Glow.

 

Paint code   Name GT GT-HO Total
R Diamond White 634 123 (119)* 757
G Candy Apple Red 402 114 (102) 514
Y Grecian Gold Metallic 274 61 335
M Reef Green 292 72 (60) 364
K Starlight Blue Metallic 241 58 (56) 299
8 Silver Fox Metallic 213 43 (42) 256
F117 Brambles Red   9 (18)  
H Track Red 19 37 (36) 56
A Polar White 21 7 (6) 28
S Electric Blue 8 13 (12) 21
F099 Shell Yellow ? (2) 2
T True Blue 0 3 (2) 3
F161 Royal Umber ? (1) 1
F280/Y280 Zircon Green ? (1) 5
FI Belrose Green ? (1) (1)
B Onyx Black 4 2 (1) 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
Spec Special Order ? ? 16
None No code   20 20

 

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 in the gallery).


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 under 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 below for a 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 = vehicle's 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 (on both the 1969 and 1970 data plate types). 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 further detail.

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 have 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 have a larger, more square shaped data plate affixed by 4 rivets to the upper passenger's side bulkhead / firewall.

The data plate contains a number of codes as outlined 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 (floor shift)

B = Three speed T-bar automatic transmission (floor shift)

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

3. Paint code:

The XW GT paint codes are detailed at section 3 of this guide.

4. Trim code:

B = Black

K = Dark Saddle.

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

5. Model Code:

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

GT: 18938

GT-HO: 18939

6. SVO Code:

Some XW GTs and GT-HOs were also stamped with a Special Vehicle Order ("SVO") number. Those numbers were generally issued to vehicles with a special requests for paintwork, or fitment of a unique accessory from the factory.

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. However, automatic engines 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. However, 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 (as opposed to the 2V heads available on lower specification engines).
  • The Windsor block was fitted with heads that were thinner and had parallel valve stems (and smaller valves as a result).
  • The 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. The Cleveland covers also had a dimple in the front outer corner, and “Power by Ford” stamped into the top face.
  • The Windsor engines had more rounded covers, secured by 6 bolts each, and like the Cleveland had “Power by Ford” stamped into the top face.
  • The 351 Cleveland engines 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 the front of the passenger rocker cover) on engines fitted to Australian vehicles. The ‘C’ stood for ‘Canada’, as engines built for Canada could be exported to Australia without import duty being charged, as both were Commonwealth countries. The ‘CK’ engines are otherwise identical to their US counterparts. On the Cleveland’s this will be:
    • CK608 A1 70-1 = manual transmission, D block, 4V heads; or
    • CK609 A1 70-1 = auto transmission, D block, 4V 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 the manifold). 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 engine block / thermostat horizontally, on 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 / thermostat vertically, 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.
8. Original documentation - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

In this section, we've provided scans of original XW GT documentation, such as advertisements, brochures or other historical images. If you have information or materials which you believe would be valuable to this section, please get in touch with us.

9. South African XW Fairmont GT

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”, and all fitted with a black vinyl roof as standard. 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 thinner twin-stripe which ran down the same side body panel crease. The fairmont GT also relocated the "351 Hig Performance GT" badges to the rear guards (as opposed to the front guards on the Falcon GT). There were a number of other subtle visual differences.

The Fairmont GT was powered by the same 351ci cleveland V8 engine. However, in the form of the XW 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.

10. References - Ford Falcon XW GT and GT-HO

1. www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au

2. www.aus-ford-uk.co.uk

3. www.safairmontgt.com.au

4. www.australianmusclecarsales.com.au

5. www.aussiexport.com

6. www.musclecarsales.com.au

7. www.falcongt.info

8. www.fomoco.com.au

9. www.australianclassiccarhistoryservices.com.au

10. www.justmusclecars.com.au

11. Farmer, G, 2004, Falcon GT and GT-HO - The Total Performance Years, Ilinga Books, Bridgewater, SA Australia

12. Kennedy, E. and Quinn, A. 2004, Ford Falcon GT 1967 – 2004, Marque Publishing Company Pty Ltd, Wyoming NSW Australia