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Ford does specialist cars to a T

T-time: Ford will add glamour to the Falcon and Fairlane range with limited numbers of specialty T-Series cars.

Ford will launch its T-Series cars in October with significant extra equipment to add to the cosmetic make-over

21 Jul 1999

FALCONS with up to 220kW on tap will be unleashed later this year through a new select group of dealers called Ford Tickford Experience.

The first T-Series Falcons are expected on sale straight after the Sydney motor show in October.

The locally-upgraded Tickford Falcons will be preceded by the new Cougar sports coupe, built in America and equipped with a tempting sub-$40,000 price tag. Powered by a V6 2.5-litre engine, the Mondeo-based Cougar has to fight for the attentions of Toyota Celica and Honda Prelude buyers.

The select group of dealers offer an insight into Ford's plans to overhaul its metropolitan dealer network, called Auto Collection.

This focuses intently on improving the customer experience across all aspects of business. That should mean better service for buyers of new and used cars as well as expanded courtesy systems for service customers and used parts buyers.

T-Series customers will purchase their vehicles through designated Ford Tickford Experience showrooms and have special service bays and personnel set aside to deal with them. Ford promises a higher level of customer care.

"The specialist products, expert dealer network and the focus on the total ownership experience will ensure FTE will appeal to people who love cars whether they are technically minded or not," said the president of Ford Australia, Mr Geoff Polites.

T-Series kicks off with the Cougar, though the three Falcon-based cars will form the backbone of the concept. They will be designated TE50, TS50 and the long wheelbase Fairlane based TL50 and sales will initially be limited to about 1000 cars a year, mainly due to the level of throughput available at Tickford Engineering's base north of Melbourne.

Despite the power upgrade to 220kW which is, we understand, as much as the aged Windsor engine can take, Ford claims it is not in a power race with HSV, nor is T-Series designed to compete head-on with Holden's specialty arm.

All T-Series Falcons and derivatives will use the same 5.0-litre Windsor engine though power outputs are enhanced significantly from today's 185kW to 200kW and 220kW, dependent on which model you choose.

Prices for even the least powerful T-Series Falcons will start about $50,000, roughly V8 Fairmont Ghia territory, though the exterior differences are acute compared with the standard Ghia's current blend-in look.

Although Ford has issued pictures of the Falcon-based cars, the Fairlane dress up kit remains a closely guarded secret.

The detailed specification of the T-Series Falcons is as follows: Falcon based TE50 (priced from about $50,000) * 200kW, 5.0-litre V8 engine * 17-inch Tickford alloy wheel with P235/345ZR17 tyres * Improved brake booster with bigger, grooved brake discs at the front and standard grooved discs at the rear * Independent rear suspension, modified settings and springs mated to Koni shock absorbers * Special instrument panel from high-series Falcon * Cloth trim for seats * Six-stacker CD player * T-Series front and rear bumpers with T-Series mesh grille * Hidden exhaust outlet * Drive and passenger front airbags * Black and grey Momo steering wheel Optional * Electronic sports shift automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted up and downshift buttons T-Series TS50: Specified as above but with the following extra features: * 220kW engine * 18-inch Tickford alloy wheels with P245/40ZR18 tyres * Aubergine leather seat facings with embossed Tickford logo Fairlane-based T-Series TL50, priced from about $70,000 As above but with: * 200kW engine * Front and rear bumper treatment with new grille * Electronic sports shift automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted up and downshift buttons * P245/40ZR18 tyres on 18-inch Tickford alloys * Power sunroof * Suspension tuned to match dynamics of the larger vehicle The engine upgrades consist of modifications to the respiratory system. The cylinder heads, manifolds, exhausts and engine management system are all upgraded by Tickford.

The engines arrive fully built-up from Windsor, Canada, and are then stripped of their cylinder heads and modified to produce up to 220kW.

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