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
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.|
|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|
|T||True Blue||0||3 (2)||3|
|B||Onyx Black||4||2 (1)||6|
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)
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.
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:
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.
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”, 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.
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
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