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:
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.
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|
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.
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
Y = 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:
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.
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)
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).
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.
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.
T = 351ci / 5.8l V8 (All states except NSW)
H = 351ci / 5.8l V8 (NSW emissions complied)
F = 250ci / 4.1l 6-cylinder with cast iron head (pre-July 1980)
W = 250ci / 4.1l 6-cylinder with alloy head (July 1980 onward)
L = 4-speed single rail manual transmission
B = 3-speed T-bar automatic transmission
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.
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.
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