Ford Falcon XY GT - Buyer's Guide

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Coventry Studios

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Always in demand, Ford XY Falcon GTs have seen their prices recover and, in some cases, run completely off the scale

 

Ford Falcon XY GT

In the pantheon of Australian muscle cars, there is one stand-out when it comes to desirability and value: the Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III. However rarity – only 300 built and less than half that surviving – has helped to ensure it’s also at the top of the unaffordable list. Well, for most mere mortals. Values have popped over the half million mark a number of times over the years.

Built in far greater numbers (1557), was the GT, which started production earlier and shared much of the HO’s basic spec. Yes the differences were significant – engine prep and transmission spec, to name a couple – but the big 351 Cleveland, the legendary shaker air scoop and those rugged good looks were still there.

You could argue that popularity is self-perpetuating, which might help to explain why an XY will always sell for substantially more than its near cousin and predecessor, the XW. In any case, GTs have been drawn along in the market wake of their HO cousins. Placing an all-encompassing value across the board is impossible, but our in-house valuer Cliff Chambers puts the range at around $45,000 to $175,000. Now here’s the catch: that’s a range and doesn’t cover ever contingency. For example we imagine the prime example you see here, owned by Paul Rujanoski, could easily crack the $200k barrier. We have in fact seen one go at auction for $250k. Much will depend on the condition and history of the individual car, and even the auction itself.

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Just as an aside, tribute cars have now become such an accepted part of the market that we’re now including them in our 2018 value charts. The number for a condition one car is $72,000 – a lot of money, but you need to remember that the cost of building a good one could easily exceed that figure.

So, assuming you’re in the market, what are you looking for? Without doubt the car everyone dreams of finding is the one-owner unrestored original that’s somehow dodged getting a smack in traffic, or copping a bad case of tin worm, and is in presentable and running condition. It will have all the books and receipts from day one and, as icing on the cake, a shot of it with the proud owner the day it was picked up from the dealership. The odds? Extreme. That would be a car that could set a new price record.

In reality, you’re most likely to be presented with a restored example, or one needing remedial work – sometimes a combination of both. In any case, there is good reason to give a restored car as close an inspection as you would one needing a freshen-up. Why? Because shiny paint can hide a lot of sins and what the owner feels is acceptable might not make the grade in your eyes.

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With these cars, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting some expert advice and, at minimum, a reference to decode the ID numbers when you are serious about buying. While there’s nothing wrong with a replica or tribute car, there have been some ugly cases of crooks passing them off as the real thing.

Even choosing your expert can be a process. What you need is someone who really knows what they’re looking at (preferably with hands-on building experience), as there are some weird twists and turns when it comes to assessing older cars. For example the strict tracking and cataloguing of components we expect today in a production line today simply wasn’t in place back in the early seventies.

Rujanoski pointed this out when we first featured his GT way back in issue 351. "There are actually a few XW bits on it because Ford was using up XW parts when my car was built," he said. "A lot of people pick up on the bootlid because there are some different holes and brackets, and you can argue about that ’til the cows come home because one bootlid is different to another – I’ve seen unrestored cars built in the same month with different bootlids. People on the production line, like my old man – straight off the boat – would rather have gone to lunch than worry about a bootlid on a production car."

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Financially, buying the right car can be a solid decision. Sure the market has seen some wild highs and lows since the GFC in 2007, but for the time being it shows an ability to recover. Even with its higher production numbers than a Phase III, a GT remains a rare beast for which demand shows no sign of buttoning off.

But really the payoff is in the drive. These are – particularly in manual form – a machine with a fair bit of brute in the DNA. Compared to a modern car, they’re loud, rough, boisterous and have a surprising turn of speed. What more could you want?


VALUE RANGE: FALCON XY GT

Fair $45,000
Good $115,00
Excellent $175,000

(Note: concours cars will demand more)

 

FALCON XY GT BUYER'S CHECKLIST

BODY & CHASSIS
The checks you make when assessing a GT are the same as you undertake when looking at any car. The major difference comes once you are happy with the car's basic presentation. At that point the final and very intensive inspection must handed over to an acknowledged and objective authority. Cars that display serious rust to an authentic body shell will probably justify the cost of extensive restoration. Those that were not properly repaired after a major crash in years past or were repaired using a non-authentic body shell will be worth considerably less than the rusty car and might not be viable at all.

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ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Finding a GT with all of its original mechanical components in situ has become the Holy Grail for collectors. This where you should go in armed with all possible reaearch and, preferably, someone who really knows what they're looking at. Don't discount automatics - they had a repuation for being a smoother drive while suffering little or nothing meaningful in the way of performance loss. Values are generally a little lower than for manuals, but the difference is not huge.

SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Cars that aren't driven very far or fast might not have been treated to new bushings or shock absorbers for many decades and a sudden burst of activity will reveal deficiencies. More than 50mm of free-play at the top of the wheel rim should prompt examination of all steering components. Likewise the brakes. If you find a pedal that feels mushy or excessively hard at start-up or that sinks to the floor after a few stops, negotiate harder on the price.

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INTERIOR & ELECTRICS
The popularity of these cars means that there is a good supply of compnents, including electrics and trim and the prices tend not to be too absurd. Complete sets of dash fascia panels can be found, ditto instrument inserts and switches. You can even get replacement drive-belts for the optional 8-Track cassette player...

1970-71 Ford Falcon XY GT Specs

NUMBER MADE: 1557
BODY STYLES: steel integrated body/chassis four-door sedan
ENGINE: 5763cc V8 with overhead valves and single downdraft carburettor
POWER & TORQUE: 224kW @ 5400rpm, 515Nm @ 3400rpm
PERFORMANCE: 0-96km/h 6.4 seconds, 0-400 metres
14.4 seconds; 217km/h top speed
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual or 3-speed auto
SUSPENSION: Independent with coil springs, anti-roll bar and telescopic shock absorbers (f) Live axle with semi-elliptic springs, anti-roll bar and telescopic shock absorbers (r)
BRAKES: disc front/drum rear with power assistance
TYRES: ER70H14 radial

 

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