1 Mar 1972
The XA – the third all-new bodied Falcon – may have been the first wholly Australian-designed big Ford, but it became one of the low-points of the series after the XY highs.
The GTs were watered down by power cuts and weight increases, the modish ‘70s “Coke-bottle” styling dated quickly and seriously curtailed vision, non-power steered models were hopelessly heavy to manoeuvre, space efficiency for the size of the car was poor and quality control took a nose dive.
Sales were strong though, buoyed by the XA’s unexpectedly good road manners and widely perceived size suitability against the softer and smaller-seeming Holden HQ as well as the VH Valiant’s vastness. Leyland’s criminally underrated P76 was also a rival from 1973.
The Falcon’s cabin was also uniquely Australian, with a stylish but unergonomic wraparound dash that was set too high for shorter drivers.
A development of the XY’s engines, their outputs are: 97kW/258Nm 3.3, 116kW/325Nm 4.1, 127kW/339Nm 4.1 2V, 179kW/414Nm 4.9 V8 and 194kW/481Nm 5.8 V8.
From August ’72 a two-door Falcon returned. Dubbed Hardtop, it suffered from its low-seating and high window line, seriously affecting vision and thus putting buyers off.
As Holden also found out with the stunningly pretty HQ Monaro two-door, Aussie interest in two-doors was flailing fast – with the exception of the muscular-looking Chrysler Charger.
But Ford was obviously not happy with the XA’s look or presentation and ceased production in late ’73 after a record 152,609 Falcon, 500, GS, Futura, Fairmont, GT and Hardtop models were rolled out.