This guide covers both the V8 and 6-cylinder model European Sports Pack (ESP) optioned cars in the Ford XE range, all of which were based on the Fairmont Ghia. Please follow this link for information on the earlier XD series Falcon and Fairmont Ghia ESP. Classic Register also maintains a register of XE Ghia ESP cars here.

The ESP optioned cars generally demand far higher prices above others in the Ford XE range, and it is therefore important to understand the features to look for when confirming the originality of a vehicle. This guide provides detailed descriptions of the XE ESP features, including exterior, interior features, mechanical features and important engine and model code information.

The ESP was an option on the XE Fairmont Ghia, and it is worth noting that the only way to confirm a vehicle’s authenticity with certainty is to enquire through Ford, and quote the vehicle’s unique chassis number. Ford will be able to confirm whether the vehicle was an ESP optioned car (option 54) from the vehicle’s original order sheet. We do not recommend purchasing a vehicle without first making this enquiry. As that is the only means of verification carrying certainty, this guide has been produced to provide details of the features and specifications applicable to genuine ESP cars in order to confirm a vehicle's originality.

Production numbers and period of manufacture:

The XE ESP was produced from March 1982 – October 1984, with the model availability breakdown provided in the table below:

Engine  Transmission   Number built   Years available 
250CI (4.1l) 6-cylinder (Carburettor) Auto & manual < 300 (est.) 1982 - 1984
250CI (4.1l) 6-cylinder EFI Auto & manual < 500 (est.) 1983 - 1984
302CI (4.9l) V8 Manual Manual 100 1982
302CI (4.9l) V8 Automatic Auto 260 1982
351CI (5.8l) V8 Manual Manual 178 1982
  • V8 production stopped in November 1984 (the last official XE V8 car produced being a 302CI Fairmont Ghia ESP).
  • As noted in the table, the number of 6-cylinder vehicles has been based on estimates provided by several enthusiasts, however, there is no official manufacturing data to reference.
  • There is believed to be at least one 351CI car that was factory fitted with an automatic transmission (a special order car). Also, several ESPs were turbocharged aftermarket (whilst maintaining Ford warranty and original compliance) by companies such as Mike Vine Turbos. Those original cars with original compliance and warranty are particularly rare. 


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. Exterior Features - Ford XE ESP
  • As the ESP was based on the Fairmont Ghia, badging to this effect was applied to the rear left boot lid, with Ghia emblems on the lower front mudguards behind the wheel arches.
  • Engine capacity badges of 4.9l or 5.8l were often (but not always) applied under the front fender Ghia badges. This was possibly a dealer applied option. 6-cylinder cars from 1983 had an "EFI" badge applied in the same position.
  • 1982 model ESPs were de-chromed. All Fairmont Ghia chrome finishes around the window frames, tail lights and wing mirrors were finished in matt-black. Ghia side pin-stripes were also deleted on 1982 models. Cars built from 1983, however, were not de-chromed and retained the same chrome finishes and pin striping as the standard Fairmont Ghia.
  • Colour keyed front spoiler / clip was applied to all ESP cars. This is the same design as applied to the standard Fairmont Ghia and Falcon S.
  • Due to the revised suspension, ESP optioned cars sit approximately 1 inch lower than standard cars.
  • 1982 ESPs were available in two-tone paint, with the lower body colour always charcoal, and a variety of upper body colours available. 1983 – 1984 model ESPs were only available in single tone paints. These details are subject to special order exceptions. Further details of the paint colours and codes are provided in section 3 of this guide.
  • 1982 ESPs had unique black side body mouldings applied with an orange beading, also running around the bumpers. 1983 - 1984 XE ESPs had the standard Fairmont Ghia chrome beading on the bumpers as well as the wider Fairmont Ghia side body moulds. These later cars were not fitted with the moulding strip that ran between the rear bumper and wheel arch.
  • Bosch halogen fog lamps were available as a dealer fitted option, with black unlabelled covers. Dimensions are approximately: 17.5cm wide, 8.5 high, 7cm deep. Some have noted Marchal or Hella 181 lights were also applied, however, the vast majority of XE cars viewed during our research appear to be fitted with Bosch lamps.
  • 15” x 7” cross-spoked gold alloy wheels (known as ‘snowflake’ wheels) were applied to all XE ESPs. These wheels were produced in New Zealand by Ford. The wheel spokes were painted gold, with a close match to the original paint colour being “Goldrush Metallic” (Ford Code: 20). These wheels are slightly different to the standard Fairmont Ghia snowflake wheels. The Fairmont Ghia snowflake wheels have a machined face of the spokes. The ESP wheel has a cast finish face, and the spokes therefore appear less ‘flat’ than the Fairmont Ghia when inspected closely.
  • The wheels will have several casting marks on the inside of the rim. There should be a casting date corresponding with the vehicle’s production date, a Ford badge casting mark, and an “FNZ” casting mark, indicating Ford New Zealand.
  • Snowflake wheels were fitted with Australian made ER60 H15 Uniroyal Wild Cat steel belt radial ply tyres. This tyre option was only available via the ESP optioned cars.
  • There are also two different casting designs of the gold snowflake wheel, which will depend on the vehicle’s age:
    • Squared spoke connection: Where the spokes reach the rim, there is a square edge / right angle. These wheels were applied to many early/mid 1982 vehicles.
    • Round spoke connection: Where the spokes reach the rim, they curve onto the rim. These wheels were fitted to late 1982 vehicles, and all fuel injected 6 cylinder ESPs of 1983 - 1984.
  • 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 XE ESP’s were converted to 2-door coupes by a company named Spanmore in Melbourne. One of these 2 door XE ESPs is here on our register.
  • Many vehicles were fitted with dealer installed sunroofs. A typical example is provided in the images.
  • ‘Class 1’ towing pack was an option on the ESP, and therefore towbars appearing on cars may have been dealer/factory fitted.
2. Interior Features - Ford XE ESP
  • ESPs were fitted with cloth Scheel front seats, with rear seats and door cards in Fairmont Ghia spec and matching trim colour. The original trim code is displayed on the vehicle’s data plate on the passenger side of the engine bay (see images). New XE ESP seat trim material can be sourced from “Global Trim”
  • 1982 cars were available with two interior colour options:
    • Gunmetal Grey (Code M).
    • Sierra Tan (Code T).
  • 1983 – 1984 ESPs were only available with Gunmetal Grey trim colour.
  • Carpet colour matched the interior colour applied.
  • XE ESPs had a standard Fairmont Ghia instrument cluster and black plastic surround (unlike the XD’s silver surround). The cluster had green-blue backlit instruments (unlike the XDs which were backlit red). Instruments included fuel, temperature, tachometer, speedometer, oil and voltage.
  • Air conditioning, power steering, power antenna, electric mirrors and Ford radio cassette were all standard features. Additional interior options available on the ESP included electric windows and central locking (together ‘Option 34’) and a Phillips premium sound system (‘Option 41’) See images for detailed specifications of the sound system.
  • A small Ghia badge was applied to the left side of the glovebox lid (as per the Fairmont Ghia standard).
  • Distinctive 2-spoke steering wheel (applied to both the Fairmont Ghia and Fairlane models)
  • C-pillar courtesy lights, and a central interior light with two reading spot-lamps were standard on all ESPs (as applied to both Fairmont Ghia and Fairlane).
3. Paint Colours / Codes - Ford XE ESP

Colour schemes available on the XE ESP depend on the vehicle’s year. Note, special order colours were also available, and therefore although the below paint schemes represent the majority of cars, there may be some exceptions.

1982 XE ESP:

Vehicles were available in two-tone colours (the lower body colour always being Charcoal).

Paint colour Ford Code
Monza Red over Charcoal K
Sno white over Charcoal  9
Silver Grey over Charcoal  4
Chestnut over Charcoal  T
Hermitage over Charcoal L
All Charcoal  V







1983 – 1984 XE ESP:

Unlike the 1982 models, 1983-1984 vehicles were only available in single tone paint schemes. Although the 1982 colours continued to be available, we’ve sighted a number of other colours on ESPs that are less common. As the ESP was an option on the Fairmont Ghia, it was presumably possible to order the ESP option in any colour in which the Fairmont Ghia was available. We have listed below several colours sighted on those later cars, noting that this is not a comprehensive list. If you have another colour on your ESP, please let us know and send in some images so we can improve this section.

Paint colour Ford Code
Monza Red K
Sno white 9
Silver Grey 4
Chestnut T
Hermitage L
Charcoal  V
Ice Blue A
Green Jade  2
Sovereign 7



4. Chassis / Serial Number - Ford XE ESP

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 XE ESP can be replicated. Given the price premium genuine cars demand, the chassis number enquiry should be a priority for any prudent purchaser.

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

As noted in the introduction, only the original Ford order sheet will confirm whether a particular serial number was ordered with the ESP option. 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 the Sido number (see section 7). 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).

Chassis 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 most 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 and 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 (250, 302 or 351). This is detailed further in section 5 of this guide.

5. Body Prefix & Model Code - Ford XE ESP

Body Prefix:

The prefix body code is a 6-digit code that appears on the first row of the data plate (top left), and essentially confirms the information displayed elsewhere on the data plate. Importantly, the same code should prefix the vehicle’s engine number (See section 6 of this guide for engine number details).

Example: “JG32AM”   -   This decodes as follows:

J = Ford Australia

G = Broadmeadows plant (passenger vehicle)

32 = Fairmont Ghia

A = 1982

M = July

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
1982 A L Y S T J U M P B R A G
1983 B C K D E L Y S T J U M P
1984 C B R A G C K D E L Y S T

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 only available on the Fairmont Ghia in the XE series, it is essential that the model number confirms the same. The model number is located on the foremost data plate in the engine bay (passenger side inner mudguard).

The correct model code for the Fairmont Ghia is 18238. This should appear on the second row of the data plate, under the heading “Model”, as demonstrated in the images.

6. Engine Serial Number - Ford XE ESP

Engine serial number:

The engine serial number applied to an XE 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 serial number should be prefixed by the vehicle’s body prefix (as outlined in section 5 above) being JG32, followed by a date code, then the unique serial number.


For 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 4.9l or 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 XE ESP

Engine and transmission codes:

The engine and transmission codes are positioned to the right of the model code on the second row of the foremost data plate. The relevant codes that may appear, and their meaning, are outlined below, with several examples in the images.


Engine codes:

T = 351CI V8 (All states)

P = 302CI V8 (All states except NSW complied)

B = 302CI V8 (NSW specific emissions complied)

W = 250CI 6 cylinder (Carburettor: All states except NSW complied)

X = 250CI 6 cylinder (Carburettor: NSW specific emissions complied)

Y = 250CI 6 cylinder (Electronic fuel injection: All states)


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.

8. Mechanical Features - Ford XE ESP
  • Engine options are summarised in the below table:
Engine Type Power Transmission Years available
Inline 6-cylinder 4.1l OHV (12 valve) carburettor 105kw @ 3800 RPM Borg Warner ‘35-3’ 3-speed Auto or Borg Warner 4-speed manual 1982
Inline 6-cylinder 4.1l OHV (12 valve) electronic fuel injection 111kw @ 3800 RPM Borg Warner ‘35-3’ 3-speed Auto or  Borg Warner 4-speed manual 1983 &1984
Cleveland V-8 4.9l (302C) OHV (16 valve) carburettor 140kw @ 4500 RMP Borg Warner  C4 3-speed Auto or Borg Warner 4-speed manual 1982
Cleveland V-8 5.8l (351C) OHV (16 valve) carburettor 149kw @ 4300 RPM Borg Warner 4-speed manual only 1982
  • The 5.8l (351ci) engine was only available on ESP option cars (other than special orders such as police vehicles).
  • It is rumoured that one 5.8l engine was ordered with an automatic transmission (believed to have been an FMX 3-speed auto, a more heavy duty transmission).
  • The 1983 – 1984 fuel injected 6 cylinder cars used a Bosch LE II Jetronic fuel injection system. Non EFI 6-cylinder cars were fitted with a Weber 34ADM carburettor.
  • V8 engines were fitted with a Carter thermoquad four barrel carburettor.
  • Limited slip differential and four wheel disc brakes standard.
  • Bilstein gas shock absorbers and revised lower springs (ESP vehicles are approximately 1 inch lower than a standard XE).
  • Revised front steering geometry (including faster steering ratio) and sway bar / stabiliser bar.
  • All engine blocks were finished in a matt or semi-gloss engine black (as opposed to blue per earlier Ford 351 engines).
  • Unique V8 air cleaners were designed for the 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). Displacement graphics were applied to the air cleaner and front ends of the rocker covers (blue decals for 4.9l and red decals for 5.8l).
  • Some of the 302 V8 engine blocks applied to ESPs were known as ‘pillow’ blocks, due to their small pillow sections on the block walls, which were designed for improved engine cooling / water jacket capacity. These are slightly different in appearance to earlier block designs, but were not applied to all 302 cars, however, have certainly been cited in 302 ESPs.
  • If you’re unsure whether a vehicle has a 351 or 302 Cleveland, you can measure the stroke by taking a spark plug out, and put the clean dipstick in down the cylinder touching the top of the piston. Turn the motor over by hand until you reach top dead centre, and mark the dipstick. Then turn the motor until it’s at Bottom Dead Centre and mark again:
    • If the distance between marks is 3 Inches (76mm) = 302CI
    • If the distance between marks is 3.5 Inches (89mm) = 351CI
  • The ESP had a 900kg braked towing capacity, available as an option fitted with a tow bar, wiring harness with 7 pin connection and transmission oil cooler (for 6 cylinder automatics only). See spec sheet below in section 9 of this guide.
9. Original Documentation - Ford XE ESP

Attached is a small collection of original brochures / advertisements for the XE ESP. They are displayed 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 XE 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.


SV0XBF_7997's picture
Hi All, How do i find out what number built is my ESP from the 100 4.9ltr 4 speeds built?
Ky Fy's picture
Hi, my 2 friends purchased the last 2 manual 5.8 esp's from Denmac ford Darra, they told me they were #177, #178. I have a photo of them together, would like to find them Kyle