This identification guide has been written for the Ford XD ESP, including the Falcon GL and Fairmont based vehicles in 6-cylinder and V8 form. Please follow this link if you are looking for information on the later model XE Fairmont Ghia ESP. An informal register of XD ESP cars is also kept here on Classic Register.

This guide aims to provide information regarding the original features applicable to the ESP vehicles. The ESP was an ‘option’ on the XD series, and it is worth noting early in this guide that the only way to confirm a vehicle’s authenticity with certainty is to enquire through Ford, and quote the vehicle’s chassis number / sido number. Ford will be able to confirm whether the vehicle was an ESP ‘option 54’ car from the vehicle’s original order sheet. We do not recommend purchasing a vehicle claiming to be an ESP without first making this enquiry. As this is the only certain means of verification, this guide has been produced as additional assistance for enthusiasts, providing details of the features and specifications applicable to genuine ESP cars.

Production numbers and period of manufacture

The XD ESP was produced from June 1980 – March 1982:

  • Falcon GL based ESP: February 1980 – September 1980
  • Fairmont Ghia based ESP: October 1980 – March 1982

Note, the earliest car we have sighted was built in February 1980, and this example was accompanied by a confirmation letter from Ford Australia, confirming the VIN and specifications. This vehicle is listed on the register we keep on this website. Some Falcon GL based vehicles sighted have been dated as late as "October 1980" on their compliance plate, despite Falcon based car production ending in September. We understand this is simply due to delayed compliance timing. No official production number records exist for the XD ESP, however, enthusiasts maintaining a register for the cars have noted that the figure is likely to be between 300 – 500 vehicles in total.

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. Please follow us on Facebook to support the continued production and maintenance of these guides.

1. Exterior Features - Ford XD ESP
  • All ESPs were based on the sedan body and will either be badged as Falcon GL or Fairmont Ghia:
    • Fairmont Ghia based cars had badging to that effect on the rear left trunk lid, and Ghia badges on the front mudguards. They were also dressed with wider side body mouldings with chrome inserts. Tinted side and rear glass was standard (as part of Option 40 which also included air-conditioning).
    • Falcon GL based cars had badging to that effect on the rear left trunk lid. The Falcon was also fitted with side body mouldings with a chrome insert, however, these mouldings were thinner than applied to the Fairmont Ghia. Tinted glass was an option on the Falcon (as per Option 40 noted above).
  • Body colour coded grille.
  • Tinted band laminated windscreen was standard.
  • Orange over red pin stripe running along the upper body crease.
  • All XD ESPs were single tone paint (as differentiated from the later XE ESPs). See section 3 of this guide for further details.
  • An engine capacity badge “5.8l” was often (but not always) applied to the front mudguards on V8 vehicles. From July 1980 onward, 6-cylinder vehicles had small square badges applied to the front guards, with “Alloy Head” printed on them, and badges denoting engine capacity were discontinued (however, may have been applied aftermarket or by dealers).
  • The ESPs chrome finishes around the window frames, tail lights and wing mirrors were finished in satin black (although bumper chroming and standard side mould chrome strips remained).
  • Front spoiler / clip was applied to all ESP cars.
  • Due to the revised suspension, ESP optioned cars sit approximately 1 inch lower than the standard Falcon GL.
  • 15 x 7 inch 5-spoke Bathurst Globe wheels were applied. Details with respect to casting marks can be seen in section 8 of this guide. The XD wheels have a more prominent lip edge when compared to earlier Globe rims, and also have push through centre caps (not held on by screws like earlier types).
  • The above wheels were fitted with Australian made ER60 H15 Uniroyal Wild Cat steel belt radial ply tyres.
  • S.E.V. Marchal fog lamps were factory fitted under the front bumper. These had black covers labelled with Marchal logos and text. These lamps are different to those applied to later XE ESPs.
  • 4.1l 6 cylinder cars had a 2” exhaust system, and V8 cars had a 2.5”. Both cars had single exit pipe ends.
  • Several vehicles were fitted with sunroofs. A typical example is provided in the images.
  • Towing pack options were available from the factory. See the spec sheet in section 8 for further details.
2. Interior Features - Ford XD ESP
  • ESPs were fitted with wool blend cloth Scheel front seats, with rear seats in matching trim colour (known as ‘tiger’ pattern).
  • The original trim code is displayed on the vehicle’s data plate on the passenger side of the engine bay (see images). New seat trim material can be sourced from “Global Trim”
  • Two trim colour options were available:
    • B or B1 = Black (The Fairmont Ghia based cars had black velour door cards with plush carpet base section (same design as the standard Fairmont Ghia). Falcon based cars had black vinyl door trims with a velour insert panel and plush carpet base section. Through the rest of the car: Black carpet, black vinyl seat backing, black cloth seat bolsters / headrests and black/grey tiger pattern in seat insert panels).
    • G or G1 = Medium Grey (The Fairmont Ghia based cars had grey velour door cards with plush carpet base section (same design as the standard Fairmont Ghia). Falcon based cars had grey vinyl door trims with a velour insert panel and plush carpet base section. Through the rest of the car: Grey carpet, grey vinyl seat backing, grey cloth seat bolsters / headrests and black/grey tiger pattern in seat insert panels).
  • Red backlit (red filtered light) instrument cluster and silver/grey instrument cluster surround (as opposed to standard black). The dashboard also featured a red LED clock. Factory T-Bar Automatic ESP's also had a RED Backlight "P R N D 2 1" panel on the dash.
  • Instruments included fuel, temperature, tachometer, speedometer, oil and voltage.
  • Fairmont Ghia based cars had the twin-spoke Fairmont Ghia steering wheel fitted, and Falcon based cars had the standard Falcon four-spoke wheel fitted.
  • Fairmont Ghia based cars came standard with remote control boot release, Front foot-well courtesy lights, Twin-spot map reading lamps, rear C-pillar courtesy lamps and a Ghia badge applied to the glovebox lid.
  • The following features were optional on the Falcon GL ESP, and standard on the Fairmont Ghia ESP:
    • AM/FM Push-button multiplex radio/stereo cassette with automatic aerial (A lower spec radio was also available on the GL).
    • Air-conditioning.
    • Power steering.
    • Remote control passenger wing mirror.
    • Rear inertia seat belts.
3. Paint Colours / Codes - Ford XD ESP

XD ESPs were all single-tone painted cars, unlike the later XE ESPs. The paint colours available are believed to be the same as those available on the XD Falcon and Fairmont Ghia vehicles in the relevant year. However, several colours are commonly sighted on ESPs, and have been separately listed below.

If you have additional information on the availability of XD ESP colours, please contact us or comment below.

XD ESP colours more commonly seen:

Paint code Paint colour name Years available
H Onyx Black Up to February 1981
K Monza Red 1980 - 1982
L Hermitage 1980 - 1982
4 Silver Grey 1980 - 1982
9 Sno White 1980 - 1982


Other colours available for the XD range during ESP production:

Paint code Paint colour name Years available
B Arctic Blue Up to February 1981
C Midnight Up to February 1981
D Mint Glaze Up to February 1981
E Galaxy Blue 1980 - 1982
F Blaze Blue Up to February 1981
G Marigold Up to February 1981
G Oxford Blue From March 1981
J Cinnamon Up to February 1981
M Martian Green From February 1981


XD range colours continued:

N Satellite Brown From February 1981
O Polaris Blue From February 1981
P Moon Dust From February 1981
Q Nutmeg Up to February 1981
R Raw Orange Up to February 1981
S Cosmic Gold From February 1981
T Wedgewood Up to February 1981
U Emerald Up to February 1981
V Oxford Blue Up to February 1981
W Venus Orange From February 1981
X Lemon Lime Up to February 1981
X Sahara Tan From February 1981
Y Lightning Yellow From February 1981
Z Burnt Orange Up to February 1981
2 Sahara Tan Up to February 1981
3 Gold Dust Up to February 1981
5 Silver Grey Metallic Up to February 1981
6 Dark Burgundy 1980 - 1982
7 Ghost Gum Up to February 1981
8 Sandstone Up to February 1981
4. Chassis / Serial Number - Ford XD ESP

Confirming your serial number is an Option 54 car:

The serial number is essential in determining whether a car is a genuine ESP optioned vehicle. Despite certain parts being rare, most features of the XD ESP can be replicated, and therefore making a chassis number enquiry with Ford should be a priority for any prudent purchaser.

As noted in the introduction, only the original Ford order sheet will confirm whether a particular vehicle was ordered with the ESP option (option 54). In the images we have included an example of the type of letter Ford can provide you with, which will confirm 'Option 54 - European Sports Pack'. As such, it is necessary to contact Ford to receive this confirmation. When enquiring, you will need to quote the 5-digit serial number and possibly the vehicle’s Sido number. You may also be required to provide proof of ownership (obviously, you will have to have the assistance of the seller if you’re a prospective purchaser).

The serial number is a 5-digit number unique to each vehicle, and will be followed by either a “C” (6-cylinder) or a “K” (8-cylinder).

Serial number location:

The serial number is located in 3 positions (see images for a better description):

1. On the vehicle’s data plate:

Located on the passenger side inner mudguard, there will be two data plates (one for vehicle options, and one for ADR compliance). Both will contain the serial number, however, it can be easily viewed under the title “Serial Number” in the foremost plate.

2. Stamped into the body:

The serial number as noted on the vehicle’s data plates should also be stamped into the metal of the passenger side engine bay, into the top of the inner passenger side mudguard (between the suspension strut and mudguard edge).

3. Stamped into the vehicle’s engine:

Ford also applied the chassis number to the engine, which will allow you to confirm whether the car is “matching numbers”. The location of the engine number will depend on which engine is fitted (6-cylinder or V8). This is detailed further in section 5 of this guide.

5. Body Prefix / Model Code - Ford XD ESP

The prefix body code is a 6-digit code that appears on the first row of the data plate (top left), and confirms the model and year/month of manufacture. The first 4 digits of this code will be either JG23 (Falcon) or JG32 (Fairmont Ghia). Importantly, the same code should prefix the vehicle’s engine number (See section 5 of this guide for engine number details).

Example: “JG32YP”   -   This decodes as follows:

J = Ford Australia

G = Broadmeadows plant (passenger vehicle)

32 = Fairmont Ghia

= 1981

P = April

Note: The 5th and 6th digit of the body prefix refers to the year and month of manufacture, per the below table:

    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1980 X B R A G C K D E L Y S T
1981 Y J U M P B R A G C K D E
1982 A L Y S T J U M P B R A G

Note, the month/year code in the Body Prefix above relates to the vehicle’s estimated ship date – being the date when the vehicle was estimated to be completed and shipped. As the body prefix was allocated at the commencement of production, this code may slightly differ (by a month or so) to the manufacture date stamped on the compliance plate. The latter represents the actual ship date.


Model codes:

As the ESP option was available on both the Falcon GL and Fairmont Ghia in the XD series (during different time periods), these codes will be relevant in determining a genuine vehicle. The model number is located on the foremost data plate in the engine bay (passenger side inner mudguard).

One of the following codes should appear under the heading “Model”, as shown in the images:

Falcon GL: 18933 (June 1980 up to October 1980)

Fairmont Ghia: 18938 (October 1980 – March 1982)

6. Engine Serial Number - Ford XD ESP

Engine serial number:

The engine serial number applied to an XD is the same as the vehicle’s serial / chassis number, thereby allowing you to confirm whether the engine fitted is the original matching number unit. This engine serial number is unique to each vehicle, and should be prefixed by the vehicle’s body prefix (as outlined in section 5 above).


Example: JG32AT12345


6-cylinder engine number location:

The engine number on a 4.1l 6 cylinder engine is located on the driver’s side of the engine block, at the front top of the engine. Look above the alternator, and just below and in front of the exhaust manifold, and you will see a square flat area where the number is stamped into the block.

V8 engine number location:

The engine number on a 5.8l V8 engine is on the driver’s side of the engine block, at the rear. On the vertical flange edge up against the gearbox, you will see a rectangular flat section on which the number is stamped.

7. Engine & gearbox codes - Ford XD ESP

Engine and transmission codes:

The XD ESP was available in 250ci 6-cylinder or 351ci V8, fitted with either a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. The relevant engine and transmission codes are positioned to the right of the model code on the second row of the foremost data plate (placed on the passenger side inner guard within the engine bay). The relevant codes that may appear, and their meaning, are outlined below, with several examples provided in the images.


Engine codes:

T = 351ci / 5.8l V8 (All states except NSW)

H = 351ci / 5.8l V8 (NSW emissions complied)

= 250ci / 4.1l 6-cylinder with cast iron head (pre-July 1980)

W = 250ci / 4.1l 6-cylinder with alloy head (July 1980 onward)


Transmission codes:

= 4-speed single rail manual transmission 

B = 3-speed T-bar automatic transmission


Sido Number:

This was a ford dealer order number attached to the vehicle’s chassis number. It may be relevant if you wish to track the vehicle's original delivery history through Ford. This can be also given to Ford to confirm the cars options.

8. Mechanical Features - Ford XD ESP
  • Available with two engine options:
    • Inline 6-cylinder 4.1l OHV (12-valve) carburettor, producing 105kw @ 3800 RPM. (Pre-July 1980 came with a cast iron head, July 1980 onward came with an alloy head). 
    • V8 5.8l OHV (16-valve) carburettor, producing 149kw @ 4,300 RPM.
  • Borg Warner 4-speed manual floor-shift transmission or Borg Warner ‘35-3’ 3-speed Auto (applied to the 6-cylinder) / C4 3-speed Auto (applied to the V8).
  • Bilstein gas filled shock absorbers with revised springs and ride height. (ESP vehicles are approximately 1 inch lower than a standard XD Falcon), but still ride on a leaf spring back end.
  • Rear traction rods (also called drag struts). These were mounted on a bracket above each rear leaf spring, and connect to a bracket welded to the chassis for increased chassis rigidity / suspension rigidity under extreme acceleration. If you look in the back wheel arch you can see where the rod connects to a bracket above each leaf spring, and connects to the chassis in front of the diff. See images for several examples.
  • 15 x 7 inch Bathurst Globe alloy wheels, fitted with Australian made ER60 H15 Uniroyal Wild Cat steel belt radial ply tyres. Genuine XD wheels can be identified by their date casting marks which should be close to the vehicle's production date, along with size casting marks on the inside of the rim, 
  • V8 engines were fitted with a Carter thermoquad four barrel carburettor.
  • 6-cylinder engines were fitted with a Bendix Stromberg single barrel downdraft carburettor.
  • Limited slip differential and four wheel servo assisted disc brakes standard (Front 286mm ventilated discs, rear 286mm ventilated discs).
  • Revised front steering geometry (including faster steering ratio) and sway bar / stabiliser bar.
  • All engine blocks were finished in a matt / semi-gloss engine black.
  • Unique V8 air cleaners were designed for the 351ci ESP, and they along with the rocker covers were painted silver. A commonly noted close match for the air cleaner paint is ‘Argent Silver’ (PPG code: 8568). Red displacement graphics were applied to the air cleaner and front ends of the rocker covers.
  • A factory fitted tow pack was available on the XD. Several towing packs were available as options (See image of spec sheet under section X).
  • All Fairmont Ghia 6-cylinder automatics were T-bar, whilst Falcon automatics had the option of column shift or T-bar.
  • It is believed that the 6-cylinder cars all received the new alloy head introduced in July 1980 (although, it is technically possible that a cast iron head engine may have been applied to very early cars).
9. Original Documentation - Ford XD ESP

Attached is a small collection of original brochures / advertisements for the XD ESP. The intention is to display these here for historical purposes.

If anyone has copies of early documentation (such as brochures, advertisements or specification sheets), please contact us so we can display the information. 

Please note, all documentation placed here is not owned by Classic Register, and is for historical reference and educational purposes only. Upon request from any original copyright owner, the material will be removed. 

10. References - Ford XD ESP

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.


Tony Waldron 1965's picture
My XD Fairmont Ghia ESP 351 came with Geni extractors and a full twin exhaust system, with 1 separate pipe to each side. It also came with the bonnet badge as well as what I understand as Fairlane side rubber. This rubber was placed on the car so as to bridge/hide the side crease moulding. The inside had electric windows front and back with a toggle switch controller fitted to the centre console where the drink holder or other junk was kept when not under the centre armrest holder compartment.
garycorby10_7286's picture
Re auto gearbox identification. I think you will find that 5.8ltr XD ESPs had an FMX 3 speed automatic not a C4 (I believe the C4 was phased out prior to the XC which also had an FMX. I also believe there was a 5.8 decal on the passenger side rocker cover, only the driver's side.