XD Falcon (1979 – 1982)

Posted in Falcon / Fairmont | 0 comments

Holden decided to ditch its Kingswood in the late 1970s. There was a world oil crisis, and the decision was made to redesign the smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient Opel Rekord from Europe.

But the upcoming XD Falcon proposal was another big Ford; it was high waisted and had lots of steel. So Ford considered existing European and American cars, but they were unsuitable. The decision was made to reskin the XC Falcon, which was yet to be unveiled. It was known as the Blackwood project, and had the same floorplan and front suspension as the XC. In order for XD to compete with Commodore, every effort was made to use lighter parts and no expense was spared. Aluminium was used wherever possible, as was lots of plastic, notably for the energy absorbing bumpers, grille and fuel tank. A world first for a mass produced car, the plastic fuel tank shaved several kilograms off the car, and could be moulded into any shape.

The car, featuring popular European styling, was much smaller than its predecessor, however the interior had the same amount of space due to a more efficient layout. The dash was made from plastic with a simplified layout, there was a new electronic cableless speedometer and fashionable see-through head rests. Carried over was the unloved umbrella handbrake as well as the horn button on the steering column stalk. A lower waistline gave the car a big glasshouse look. Even though the Falcon was Australian designed, the grille and headlights were taken straight from the European Granada.

The model line-up was simplified to the GL, Fairmont and new upmarket Fairmont Ghia sedan, which had alloy wheels, velour upholstery and full electrics. A local first, the wagon got a rear windscreen wiper as standard. The new ute and panel van were introduced six months later. A popular seller, the VB Commodore was shorter, narrower and lighter than the XD. But despite all this, the Falcon’s fuel economy was better. This was because Holden hadn’t significantly improved their engine – they thought they had already beaten Falcon. Even so, it would still be a couple of years before Falcon became number one.

The XD was upgraded in June 1980, known as XD 1/2. The main feature of this model was electronic ignition and an alloy cylinder head, engineered by Honda. It was 22 kilograms lighter than the old iron head and fuel economy was greatly improved. XD 1/2 can be identified by Alloy Head badges on the front fender. At the same time, the European Sports Pack (ESP) Falcon was released, considered to be a modern version of the GT. Based on the GL, the ESP came with fog lamps, low profile steel-belted radials with 15 inch Globe alloy wheels, body coloured grille and a front spoiler. There were suspension modifications, limited slip differential, and four wheel disc brakes, and the standard engine was the 4.1L 4 speed. Performance was respectable (from the 5.8 V8), but didn’t match the GT-HO. Not long after, the ESP was based on Fairmont Ghia.


XD Falcon Photos (photos are cropped, click to enlarge)
Ford XD Falcon
On Sale: March 1979 – March 1982 (XD 1/2: June 1980)
How do I know it’s an XD? New square shaped European body, with square headlights, Ford badge in centre of black grille, metal door handles
Models available:
Falcon:
Falcon GL:
Fairmont:
Fairmont Ghia:
Falcon ESP:
F’mont Ghia ESP:
ute, van
sedan, wagon, ute, van
sedan, wagon
sedan
sedan
sedan
Option packs/prototypes/limited editions:
‘S’ PackMoonraker:

Mystere:

Phase 5 GTHO:

Sundowner:

(Option Pack) Slotted wheels, pinstripes, ‘S’ badge, tachometer. Was introduced with the XD 1/2 update.
(Prototype) Based on V8 Fairmont Ghia, produced as 1979 Sydney Motor Show special to promote James Bond film Moonraker. Different grille, paint job, alloy wheels, spoiler.
(Prototype) Experimental version of the XD. Star alloy wheels, spoiler, roof spoiler, body-coloured mirrors. June 1979.
(Aftermarket Prototype) Made by Phase Autos, Laverton. Radical body kit with huge wheel flairs and spoiler, modified engine producing 225kW. Very few were built. Mid 1980.
(Option Pack) Decals,
What’s new? Lots of plastic instead of steel, alloy head (XD 1/2)
Falcon Firsts: Plastic bumpers, plastic fuel tank: a world first, standard rear wiper on wagon.
Prices at introduction: Falcon GL sedan – $6600, Fairmont Ghia sedan – $9558
Total XDs built: 206974
Transmission: 3 speed manual, 4 speed manual, 3 speed automatic
Engines:
3.3L 6 cyl
Bore and stroke: 93 x 80 mm
Power: 82kW at 4000rpm
Torque: 228Nm at 2400rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Bendix single-barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
4.1L 6 cyl
Bore and stroke: 93 x 99 mm
Power: 94kW at 3600rpm
Torque: 295Nm at 1800rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Bendix single-barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 9.0:1
4.9L V8
Bore and stroke: 102 x 76 mm
Power: 140kW at 4500rpm
Torque: 344Nm at 3200rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Carter four barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 9.2:1
5.8L V8
Bore and stroke: 102 x 89 mm
Power: 149kW at 4300rpm
Torque: 415Nm at 3000rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Carter four barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 8.9:1
3.3L Alloy Head 6 cyl
Bore and stroke: 93 x 80 mm
Power: 84kW at 4000rpm
Torque: 230Nm at 2400rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Bendix single-barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 9.15:1
4.1L Alloy Head 6 cyl
Bore and stroke: 93 x 99 mm
Power: 94kW at 3600rpm
Torque: 305Nm at 2000rpm
Pushrod overhead valve, 2 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: Bendix single-barrel carburettor
Compression ratio: 9.35:1
Fuel consumption: AS2077 City/Highway per 100km: 13.5L/9.5L (Falcon GL 3.3, 3 speed auto)
Performance:
(Falcon 4.1L sedan, three speed auto):
Top speeds in gears
1st: 90km/h
2nd: 138km/h
3rd: 175km/h
0-100km/h: 13 seconds
Standing 400m: 18.5 seconds

(Falcon 5.8L V8 sedan, four speed manual):
Top speeds in gears
1st: 80km/h
2nd: 110km/h
3rd: 150km/h
4th: 207km/h
0-100km/h: 8.6 seconds
Standing 400m: 16.1 seconds
Suspension:
Front
Fully independent. Double wishbone with brake reaction strut in tension. Spring and shock absorber mounted on upper arm. Anti-roll bar. Dual durometer brake reaction strut bush

Rear
Floating axle. Hotchkiss rear suspension. Inclined shock absorber units. Anti-roll bar (sedan only)
Brakes:
Front
Ventilated disc 286 x 24mm single piston, self-adjusting floating caliper

Rear
GL and Fairmont – 254 x 44mm self-adjusting duo servo drums, Fairmont Ghia – ventilated disc 286 x 24mm single piston, self-adjusting floating caliper
Steering: Manual: recirculating ball, 5.2 turns lock-to-lock, Power: recirculating ball, hydraulically assisted, 2.6 turns lock-to-lock
Wheels: 5.50 x 14 steel, 6.00 x 14 steel, 6.00 x 14 alloy, 7.00 x 15 alloy
Tyres: Steel belted radials: Falcon GL 3.3/4.1: CR78 S14 4-ply, optional ER78 S14 4 ply, ER70 H14 6 ply. Fairmont 4.1 sedan, GL/Fairmont 3.3/4.1 wagon: ER78 S14 4 ply 6 inch rims, optional ER70 H14 6 inch rims. GL/Fairmont V8, Ghia sedan: ER70 H14 6 ply 6 inch rims.
Dimensions:


Length:
Width:
Height:
Wheelbase:
Front track:
Rear track:
Kerb weight:
Turning circle:
Fuel tank:
Boot space:
Sedan
4737mm
1860mm
1374mm
2818mm
1552mm
1527mm
1367kg, alloy head – 1345kg
11.5m
76 litres
427 litres
Wagon
4980mm
1860mm
1397mm
2946mm
1552mm
1527mm
1492kg
12.4m
76 litres
Interior dimensions:


Front headroom:
Rear headroom:
Front shoulder room:
Rear shoulder room:
Front hip room:
Rear hip room:
Front legroom:
Rear legroom:
Sedan
956mm
954mm
1519mm
1520mm
1518mm
1518mm
1047mm
982mm
Features:
Awards:
Rivals: Holden VB/VC/VH Commodore, CM Valiant