1964-66 Ford XM/XP: Buyers guide

Photography by: Ellen Dewar

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1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP
1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP 1964-66 Ford XM/XP

Advice for buying a used 1964-66 Ford Falcon XM/XP...

1964-66 Ford XM/XP: Buyers guide
Buyers guide: 1964-66 Ford XM/XP

 

1964-66 Ford XM XP

Ford's glamorous, pillarless Falcon hardtop won hearts with its styling, but buyers generally bought the four-door...


WHAT IS IT?

Borrowed in significant degree from the superseded ’63½ US Falcon Sprint, but remaining slick and modern, the Falcon Hardtop was announced five months after the launch of the main XM range. Finally, Ford had something new and different to entice buyers away from Holden’s incredibly-successful EH, which was outselling the Falcon by four-to-one.

However, few people who were attracted to Ford showrooms by the Falcon Hardtop’s glamour actually drove away in one. It is estimated that Hardtops accounted for less than 10 percent of total XM/XP sales.

The entry-level Deluxe 170 manual cost £83 more than the equivalent four-door and, with automatic transmission, was 140kg heavier. Most of the extra weight was devoted to body strengthening to ensure that the pillar-less cars came close to matching their sedan counterparts for body rigidity.

Front and rear hardtop windows all wound to door level, allowing unimpeded over-the-shoulder vision for those in the front seat.

Deluxe models offered very basic equipment – even a heater/demister cost extra. The flashy Futura was most easily distinguished by ‘turbine’ hubcaps, whitewall tyres and extra body adornment as well as trim upgrades.

An automatic transmission was optional with the 170 cubic-inch (2.8-litre) engine but mandatory with the Super Pursuit 200 (3.3-litre) engine. XM Hardtops used a two-speed Fordomatic auto but for the XP range, a three-speed Borg-Warner unit was used. Another major advance, shared with the new Fairmont sedan from late-1965, was the availability of disc front brakes.

The standard drum brakes were adequate for normal driving but the benefits of the optional disc/drum set-up were obvious under hard usage.

With the introduction of the XM and certainly with the ‘Trim, taut and terrific’ XP model, Ford had finally produced robust Falcons suited to Australian conditions that laid to rest justified public concerns about the fragility of the earlier XK and XL models.

Although Ford in the US could have provided a coupe bodyshell to suit the XR shape, that car came with a central pillar and would have lacked the XM-XP’s open and airy appeal. Subsequent Falcon models therefore appeared without a two-door version until 1972 when the locally designed XA Hardtop was released.

ON THE ROAD

With period-correct crossply tyres you get indirect steering and minimal grip with lots of understeer. Radials, perhaps on wider rims than were fitted originally, combined with some sensible upgrading of springs, dampers, and bushes will make a distinct difference without detracting too much from the hardtop’s essential character.

Performance from a manual Deluxe with the 83kW engine will be slightly better than can be expected from either of the automatics.

The cabin feels big and airy and the seats provide decent lateral support. Access to the back seat is easy, but the hardtop’s reduced headroom can be an issue for taller drivers With all four windows wound down out of sight and breeze swirling through your hair you taste the freedom of the road in an XM-XP Hardtop.

THE COST FACTOR

XM-XP Hardtop values have grown at an extraordinary pace during the past decade. In 2002, the average value of a basic two-door sat below $10,000 and only Futuras of extraordinary quality had a hope of approaching $20,000. In the current market, 170 Deluxe automatics in average condition are above $15,000 and exceptional cars are offered for close to $40,000.

Engine capacity doesn’t make a huge difference as neither engine delivers any degree of excitement. The three-speed auto is preferable to either the column manual or two-speed auto.

CHECKLIST

Hardtops have become sufficiently valuable to justify the cost of proper body repairs, but be wary of older, poor-quality rust-repairs. Look at the lower sections of mudguards – especially behind the rear wheel-arches – sills, boot and cabin floors. Some rust-repair panels, including replacement floorpans, are locally available and parts shared with US Falcons can be imported. Full sets of body rubbers cost around $1500 and good second-hand mudguards have sold for around $100.

Virtually everything required to rebuild a tired six-cylinder Falcon engine is available and reasonably cheap. Fitting a slightly larger carburettor in conjunction with exhaust extractors will deliver a lift in performance and improve fuel economy. The two-speed transmission can be jerky on the 1-2 up-change but a slow shift or vibrations indicate transmission problems. Upgrading to the later three-speed auto is less expensive than fixing a two-speed.

XM/XP suspensions are basic and cheap to fix. Sagging front coils are cheaply replaced or upgraded. Replacement ball joints to fix a creaking front end cost about $40 each. Sagging at the rear indicates weary spring leaves. Replacement brake drums cost around $100 each but parts to upgrade to front discs cost only $500.

Original-pattern trim, door trims and hood lining are available. With a full kit costing $3000-5000, a car with a well-preserved interior will save money. Reproduction rubber kits, dash knobs, brand new door handles, window winders and horn rings are available. Check that rear window winders haven’t seized due to limited use.

Late XPs came with an alternator and owners recommend swapping rather than rebuilding the original generator. Starter motors can jam if worn or the battery isn’t fully charged.


SPECIFICATIONS

1964-66 Ford XM XP

Body: 2-door hardtop
Engine: Pursuit 170 – 2.8 litre; Super Pursuit 200 – 3.3 litre
Gearbox: 3-speed manual; optional 2-speed Fordomatic auto (XM), 3-speed Borg Warner auto (XP)
Suspension: Independent with wishbones, coils, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar (f); live axle with semi-elliptic springs and telescopic dampers (r)
Brakes: Power-assisted drums (f/r), disc front optional XP
Price: $4000-$40,000

 

*****


More reviews:

> Full buyer's guide: Ford Falcon XM/XP

> Buyer's guide: Ford Falcon XL/XM

 


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