Vale - The Ford Falcon

Submitted: Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 08:07
ThreadID: 133565 Views:4539 Replies:13 FollowUps:12
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At approximately 10am this morning the last Australian made Ford Falcon will roll off the production line at Ford’s Broadmeadow factory in Geelong, ending Ford’s 91-year manufacturing association in Australia which commenced at Geelong in 1925.

This last vehicle to head out the doors will be a blue Falcon XR6 sedan which will be kept by Ford as a museum piece…

I would be surprised if we don’t have any in the ExplorOz community that at one time didn’t walk through the front gates of this establishment, perhaps as a young apprentice learning a trade; a tool maker or fitter and turner, or maybe a detailer, perhaps even a “bean-counter” writing up the ledgers, or a supervisor on the floor ushering another Ford out the door and into a sales showroom.

Without doubt many will have an Australian made Ford vehicle parked in the driveway at home.

Debated by politicians’; endorsed by the Board Members of Ford, Holden, and Toyota, and cheered on by those who feel that protecting this part of Australian industry is not worth the cost – the economic case and rationale for the closure of Australia’s motor vehicle manufacturing industry has been made, its fate well and truly decided…

But, Australian pride and human capital can never be measured by a profit and loss statement viewed in a Foreign Boardroom...

And as the doors close at Ford, time will roll around quickly and before long the lights will be switched off at Holden’s Australian manufacturing plant.

As a “Holden Man” I stand unified with Ford Falcon enthusiast’s today and look back with pride and pay tribute to all the workers who helped create an Australian Icon…

The closure of the Ford factory and later next year, Holden’s establishment, is a sad indictment on Australia’s Leaders, both political and business, and the view they hold on manufacturing in Australia.

For me, the Bathurst 1000 will not be the same without an Australian made Falcon or Commodore to cheer across the finish line…

Vale the Ford Falcon, and Australian Manufacturing…!

But to finish want might rightly be described as a “rant” on a more cheery note – what was your favourite Ford Falcon model, and why?

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Reply By: Gundarooster - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 08:21

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 08:21
Not a Ford Man but the wifes cousin was, he drove a Phase 2 to 2nd at Bathurst in 1969!
Favourite Ford even was the Red Phase 3 HOeee!

AnswerID: 604957

Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 13:55

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 13:55
When Holden close, I wonder if the massive tariffs that were imposed on imported vehicles to protect our Union controlled automotive industry will be lifted?

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 22:41

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 22:41
Well they were not massive - actually since the Button Plan in the 80s actually quite small but there were rules that made it difficult for individuals to import new cars privately that would have been in competition with local products.

Most but not quite all of the restrictions whether they be financial or policy will be lifted.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:00

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:00
Two holdens myself and lots of other family members had one or the other. We did have an XD for 18 years from new. And unfortunately went to an overseas mob for the current car. All were new and lasted more than a decade each.

Favourite falcon was of course the GT XY Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 3 especially in blue.Well I did have a red HK that I did up and painted Midnight Blue (metallic flecks at that) didn't I (from new for 15 years)!!!

Note that an XY GT was passed in at auction for $500,000. (

AnswerID: 604958

Reply By: Michael H9 - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:20

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:20
Did you mean to say least ugliest Falcon? :-) Back then, for me, it was a choice between a brick being driven by a nerdy looking American in glasses or a cool looking Torana driven by Brocky. I've never owned a Ford in 30 cars.....blame the closure on me. :-)
AnswerID: 604959

Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:34

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:34
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one person's dream; another's nightmare - I guess?

And talking of nightmare's, I'm sure all Canadian's feel it is a recurring bad dream each time someone refers to them as American. Of course, Alan Moffatt was a Canadian, and whilst being a great rival of Brock in the early years, the pair did partner in the mid-eighties, driving Commodores…

Two great drivers, two great brands…

Whilst consensus on the best, the worst, heaven forbid, even the ugliest, may never be reached, the Australian vehicle manufacturing has been torpedoed and regardless of the badge on the front, we are all going down on the same ship!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: tazbaz - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:23

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:23
My favourite is the 1970 XW with that hint of Mustang. When I got my first proper paying job at age 20 I walked into the most reputable Ford dealer in Adelaide , set upon buying a brand new XW. The salesman swaggered over to me and said "you couldn't afford one of these lad". So i walked out and went to another dealer and bought one, that day.
Its a crying shame that we have lost our manufacturing industry in the name of "free trade".
My brother worked on the production line of a automotive component parts manufacturer. He had a disability and this job was everything to him. Nowadays he would be having an unfulfilled life on a disability pension paid for by the taxpayer. All in the name of "free trade".
What if there was a war and we needed to make things here? We couldn't and we would suffer. All in the name of "free trade"
The economic modelling used to justify these "free trade agreements" do not take into account the human realities and welfare.
AnswerID: 604960

Reply By: Member - mechpete - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:27

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 09:27
yes what a sad day for Aussies
I started my apprenticeship at the Ford dealers in Shepparton xmas 68 the start of the XW XY gt era I did however pre deliver the last 2 XT falcons that come to Shepp ,
many memories for ever
AnswerID: 604961

Reply By: Member - Witi Repartee - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 10:06

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 10:06
Ive never owned either a Ford or a Holden and feel I havent missed out on much. Over priced and under specced Govt subsidized....
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 22:03

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 22:03
Toyota have had massive government subsidies as well!

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Reply By: gbc - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 10:14

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 10:14
xa/xb/xc coupe. My car in the garage if I ever had one would be an XC Cobra, white with blue stripes please.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 14:24

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 14:24
Yeh while the loss of manufacturing in Australia in general is sad, the Australian car industry mostly run by the Americans never was competitive in real terms ......
The only reason they ever sold Australian built cars in volume was because of the huge freight penalties and import tariffs that applied to the imports.
The imported vehicles always where better designed, built and equipped than the locally made stuff ...... even the American imports from the same manufacturers.
Apart from the early six cylinder Holdens, pretty much every other car built in Australia by GM or Ford was a low rent version of something they where making overseas. .... Ok some of em we put huge engines in ... that was fun.
Both continued right up to current doing what they did in the US ...... While the Japanese and the Europeans where bringing out new, from the ground up models one after the other ..... the American run Australian factories just pushed out the same old rope in different packaging year after year ...... with many of the same known problems ...... Ford simply could not put a door handle on the falcon that did not break and the oil pump in the inline six had the same oil pressure relief spring problem that the aftermarket suppliers fixed decades earlier.
Safety inovation such as seat belts, side intrusion, and collapseable steering columns where only introduced when legally mandated. When Holden was fitting side intrusion protection in the doors of the Kingswood, the 1 tonner ( which never carried 1 tonne) did not get side intrusion because it was not compulsory on commercials.
When the first pollution requirements where mandated, polution gear was just slapped onto existing engines, with a resultant loss of power and fuel economy, while the Japanese and European imports had new, efficient, cleaner engine designs already in production.
When Ford knew their in line six was past its "use by date", they wrung another 10 years out of it by getting the Japs to design a better head for it.
The Americans simply did not want to spend any more than they absolutely had to on the Australian industry.
That extends to the manufacturing plants ...... while the Japanese and the Europeans where building their businesses by building better and more efficient manufacturing plants and updating them whenever new tech was available ...... The Americans kept flogging the same old equipment and methods as long as they possibly could.
As for the Japanese ...... hell they could probably fulfill the entire Australian annual demand out their Asian factories in a matter of weeks.
Yes the demise of the Australian automotive industry and the loss of jobs is a sad thing ..... but it was born with a fatal genetic disease, the Australian government has been throwing money down the bottomless hole that is the car industry for decades, but that is nothing more than flogging a dying horse.
As for Bathurst ...... this Holden/Falcon thing is a fabrication ....... if it was still Production Touring Car, Ford and Holden probably would not get a look in ... it would be be a real race with many manufacturersand many cars of diferent sizes and shapes in with a chance for outright.
Remember Mini Copper took the first 9 places in 66 ..... that put a hole in the British designed mk1 Cortina 3 year winning streak.
Yeh all very sad ...... but times change.

AnswerID: 604980

Follow Up By: Colcam42 - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 14:15

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 14:15
Hi all, yes, the "Button Plan" has finally done it's job, wasn't that Bob Hawkes doing? and him a labour man.
I worked in a Chrysler Australia manufacturing plant many years ago, (1964, Sigma and Dodge Phoenix assembly line), it was obvious back then that the poor efficiency of that factory couldn't be sustained forever. It later became Mitsubishi and the end is of course well known. I often wonder how the buyers of the last ten Sigma cars got on, we were patching up bits left around to make the cut for the final days production. I think some of those were given away to charity auction just as the Holden Cruze yesterday.
Wonder what Bob thinks about it all now?
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 15:03

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 15:03
The Button car plan ( Oh don't get me started) also had us all driving small FWD cars ( which the Australian plants where not geared up to build) instead of the six cylinders that where pretty much standard.

Sure many of the cars are now 4 cylinders, but have similar engine capacities and are as big and heavy if not bigger.

The wifes RAV is longer taller and heavier than the early falcon and holden sixes, and the 2.4 litre motor makes more power than the small V8s of the time.

People that would have driven smallish 6 cylinder station wagons back then, now drive 4wd SUV type vehicle like the prado and the kluger or even full sized 4wds (which never go off road or tow anything).

AND many more of them drive their kids to and from school ...... often not to the nearest school ... where in the day most kids would have walked, caught the buss or ridden a bike to school.

OH and those big SUVs have similar fuel consumption to the smaller light weight 6 cylinders of the day ...... so have we gained much. ..... apart from airconditioning.

FollowupID: 874777

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 23:12

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 23:12
Oh please! The politicians, it seems to this long suffering taxpayer, frankly couldn't have done more for the auto industry in Australia. The money that was poured down its throat that would have been much spent in the hands of the tax payer is just a national crime.

There should have been much more stringent conditions on the money handed to car manufacturers to enable efficiencies and exports. The product, particularly since Button in the 1980's was pretty uniformly good and certainly much better than their US parents. In fact, probably since about 2000, the cars were really world class, but the combination of the unions and the foreign board rooms never let them develop either the efficiencies or the exports to guarantee their viability.

And for all the Button naysayers, without Button & Hawke, we'd have lost the car industry by the 1990's.

My two penneth worth.
FollowupID: 874780

Reply By: Member - Racey - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 17:09

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 17:09
Yes it is somewhat sad that we are loosing part of Australian industry. An interesting article in today's paper, every falcon cost the tax payer, that is us, $7000. This could not be sustained.
AnswerID: 604984

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 23:10

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 23:10
I haven't seen a decent economic evaluation of government input to the car construction industry Racey. Was the $7K/vehicle a net loss - ie did it into account income tax paid by employees, company tax, the thousands employed downstream in parts manufacture, the millions spent by employees on goods and services, etc etc?

What is galling is that the policy, such as it is, doesn't appear to have been applied in other areas - for example greenhouse gas reduction, and ethanol production (just two examples which come immediately to mind). So far taxpayers have subsidised carbon polluters to the tune of $2B+. Ethanol subsidies amount to ~$100M per annum. No doubt there are many more examples of huge govt subsidies based on flimsy "economic" principles.

Short term thinking and complacency by our politicians will eventually come unstuck. We can't rely on primary production forever.
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Follow Up By: GREG T11 - Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 22:56

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 22:56
It was a grant given towards develop the ecoboost 4 cyl in the falcon, so yes it was a nett loss to the taxpayer. That figure supposedly did not involve the run of the mill 6 cyl which no one wanted either.

On the other hand there was a lot of other wasted stimulus packages being flaunted at the time as well. Some if not most dwarfing what our car industry got.
School halls were an absolute rort, roof insulation the list goes on.

Everyone seems to be after a cut, I don't know what the issue is these days but it seems people seem to believe that any time a flood hits that they can claim on a government at some level. Example a farmer in Tassie wants the govt to compensate him because his levee banks gave way. Seriously what is the go, you bought the land most likely on a floodplain, Huh

Why is Australia turning into sooks ?
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 18:30

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 18:30
And talking about Falcons and Holdens.

For those old enough to remember... “Ted Bulpitt”, actor Ross Higgins, of Kingswood Country, passed away today!

Whilst he was a Holden man through and through, perhaps today was all too much for him to bear given the same fate is about to be suffered by Holden!

RIP Ted…!

And on that note, I’m heading home for a beer and to see if I can find an episode of Kingswood Country to watch…such is Friday night in our household!

Cheers, Baz – The Landy (Not the BLOODY Kingswood)
AnswerID: 604987

Reply By: Paul and Mel - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 21:08

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 21:08
Don't you park that bloody valiant in my driveway! haha. Funny show. Being a Holden man myself I did have a soft spot for the XE ESP Ghia, when I was 18 or 19 I wanted a dark grey one, 351 4 speed. Couldn't afford one though so my 1958 FC sedan had to do.
AnswerID: 604994

Follow Up By: Rob J8 - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 00:11

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 00:11
I had four Falcon 6 cylinder as taxis in Perth from 1978-99.
The XE was the best having done 830,000 on the same engine. wore out four autos but same engine when I sold it.
Our first car for towing our caravan was an XE Fairmont but for some reason it didn't have the same grunt as the taxi.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 06:06

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 06:06
Dad had the xf Fairmont for many years. In the end he ordered new door handles each major service due to the chassis flex. It saved him breaking them at inopportune times in between.
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Reply By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 07:59

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 07:59
If the impact of the end of manufacturing by Ford in Australia has been to shift the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadow to Geelong then it really has been an Earth shattering event.

Cheers, Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

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AnswerID: 605002

Reply By: Member - pete g1 - Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 22:35

Saturday, Oct 08, 2016 at 22:35
Ford blue blood runs deep, our family having owned 12 Falcon wagons since 1985 to now, XE, XF(3), EA, ED, EF(3, 2 being XR6), EL, BF(3) with 2 BA & BF sedans, plus an AX ute & an XP sedan.

This is from a bloke who grew up with Holdens & raced HQ holdens for 10 yrs.

Falcons were the only vehicles with the durability, body strength & sufficient rated towing capacity !!

As for Ford's closure..

.....some things in life just pith you off, you know why, but there's no-one you can boot in the backside & have them see reason....

I lament the collapse of Australian manufacturing, at any level, questioning where it will be in 10 years time ?

It only induces ugly thoughts, let alone any hope of our youth gaining meaningful empolyment.

But, we're all to blame..


What did you buy this week that wasn't made in any "aaahh soo land" north of us? Automotive, domestic appliances & hardware, commercial building materials food produce...just try and buy purely Aussie made/grown products, it will do your head in.

Baz, you're spot on with..

""The closure of the Ford factory and later next year, Holden’s establishment, is a sad indictment on Australia’s Leaders, both political and business, and the view they hold on manufacturing in Australia.""

Thank #@%%#$^(*%$#$% there's plenty of Aussie reds in private & Aussie Corporate control !!!

I'll drink to that !

cheers possums

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AnswerID: 605011

Follow Up By: Paul and Mel - Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 20:45

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2016 at 20:45
Yep I'm hearin' ya. The job I was on today I was cursing at the poor galvanising job on the bolts I was trying to adjust (chinese made rag-bolts) and the traffic guys asked where they were made, told them then showed them an off cut of conduit made in India. They were gobsmacked to say the least. Manufacturing in Australia is dead, service is the only thing left.
FollowupID: 874837

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