1971 Ford Falcon XY GS - Buyer's Guide

By: Main story: Guy Allen; Market review: Cliff Chambers - Unique Cars mag, Photography by: Alistair Brooke

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Wild Violet - it's the colour that screams seventies and these days is in big demand among collectors

 

1971 Ford Falcon XY GS

While every man, woman and their dog (with some reason) seems to go weak at the knees when they spot examples of the assorted Ford GT-HO Phase I, II and III hero cars, it’s actually refreshing to trip over something that’s a factory puzzle and a little different to the usually-accepted spec.

Take this XY Falcon 500 GS owned by Peter Chronakis. Built late in the series – in the twelfth month of 1971 – it’s had a host of GT parts thrown in ex-factory, according to its most recent owners. Why? Well there are a couple of possible explanations: one is it was a special order (most things could be done if you had ‘pull’ with the factory), and the other possible scenario is, since this was a late build, the plant was in the mood to use up some of the upmarket components sitting on the shelves. Maybe it was a combo of both, particularly if it was for a favoured customer.

| Read next: Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III review

ford-xy-falcon-5.jpgIs this the most-loved shape of all the Falcons? Probably

When XYs were new, not everyone necessarily wanted a GT with a 351 and ‘shaker’ air cleaner. For some, the whole idea was much too lairy and they certainly weren’t going to pay extra for it. As a result, you often got to see up-specced 500s, Futuras and Fairmonts getting around with what seemed like a limitless range of variations in the final vehicle.

| Buyer's guide: Ford Falcon XY GT

Whatever the explanation, this car apparently started life with a 302 (4.9lt) V8 running a top-loader four-speed manual transmission and nine-inch diff – much of the drivetrain expected in the upper echelon cars.

ford-xy-falcon-gs.jpgGS upgrades were available across several models

Incredibly, the majority of what you see here rolled off the assembly line: original spec, paint and interior trim, according to the owner. However Peter has indulged in a warm-up of the powerplant. While keeping it looking original, the 302ci internals have been stroked for 347ci (5.7lt). Ned Sassine from Hercules Competition Engines in Sydney did the honours, with Chris Baker in Orange refreshing the heads.

| 2017-18 Market review: Ford Falcon/Fairmont V8 1967-72

The plot was to go for plenty of torque rather than max power, so they ended up with a very healthy 620Nm reading on the dyno (up 50 per cent on stock) and horsepower somewhere over 400. Peter is delighted with the result, saying it’s a super-strong thing to drive.

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His relationship with Wild Violet Fords goes back a long way. "My dad bought me, back in 1971, a Wild Violet XY. And that got stolen when we went to Melbourne, in Moorabbin."  "Then I bought an XA GT, Wild Violet again, with black trim. So my association with the cars and the fashion has been since the seventies, when they first came out."

Peter happens to be a near neighbor of the Monaro owner you see on these pages, John Bertuzzi. The pair seem to have their own mini muscle car club going on in the neighborhood and can often be found with the shed doors open and a barbecue going full tilt.

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As for Peter and his GS, he decided he had to renew his association with chrome bumper Fords, well before the current price boom, which means it’s probably turned out to be a good investment. "When it came to buying one again, the GTs were out of my range. This is a unique car, being a GS Wild Violet with white trim. I bought it quite a few years ago and it came down from Queensland.

"This car has been with me for 15 years. A friend of mine owned it and I always wanted the car. When I saw it in Wild Violet and white trim, it reminded me of my old cars, so I said I’ve got to have it.

ford-xy-falcon-interior.jpgWhite interior is a stunning contrast to the Wild Violet paint

"It gets a lot of elbow grease to keep it looking this way, but I drive it every Sunday. It’s not there to be looked at – it’s driven."

MARKET REVIEW - XY GS V8

IF YOU ARE old enough to have ventured into an early-1970s Ford showroom – even on the end of a firm parental hand – you can’t escape the memory of being up close to a GS Pack Falcon. Most dealers didn’t get a chance to display GTs, so a GS 351 in Vermillion Fire or Wild Violet was near enough. Many have been turned into XY GT ‘replicas’ but that just makes intact survivors more valuable. It also ensures that authentic and untouched XYs with the GS Pack will offer more secure investment opportunities for buyers than any ‘replica’.

ford-xy-falcon-3.jpgKosma, Peter and Stefan Chronakis with their very special Falcon. We’d expect this car to break well past the valuations for a ‘normal’ Falcon GS V8 shown below

In XY guise, the GS V8 was available in any body style and the temptation to ignore obvious issues with wet-weather traction was too much for some owners who just had to specify their utes with a ‘351’ motor and manual transmission. GS V8 wagons and panel vans are exceptionally rare and documented cars sell for more than sedans in similar condition. Bright colours are a bonus, as are original-equipment accessories such as power windows and the nifty wind-back sunroof. Standard steel wheels were often replaced from new with alloys by ROH or Aunger. A basic Falcon with the 302 motor and GS Pack is also a rarity, so be prepared to pay the better part of $60,000. Falcons of this age with 351 engines are rarer again and spectacular examples might manage six figures. Originality is vital, as is verified history and these factors contribute significantly to the exceptional values generated by some cars. Good-quality restorations are OK too and should still appreciate fast enough to outrun inflation.

VALUE RANGE  - XY FALCON GS V8 AUTO

Fair $16,000
Goood $37,000
Excellent $55,000-plus (Note: concours & special cars will demand more)

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BUYER'S CHECKLIST - Ford Falcon XY V8

BODY & CHASSIS

XYs that were restored back when values were low could well be suffering recurrent rust in places that aren’t obvious. Typical problem areas are wheel arches. lower door skins, floor-pans, behind the rear window on sedans, boot gutters and station wagon tailgates. More serious and possibly structural is rust to the firewall and sub-frame mounts, in the turret (especially if the car has a vinyl roof), the inner sills and spring hangers. Reproduction panels are easily found but they aren’t all a ‘first time fit’ so join a Falcon club and find out which suppliers to avoid. Brightwork including bumpers is still being remanufactured but top-quality chrome costs big money.

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ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

Given the value of these and the premium for V8 versions, the most important under-bonnet check is close inspection of the Build Plate to confirm that the engine and chassis number are a match or at least the correct type of engine is fitted. A ‘Y’ stamped in the ‘Engine’segment of the ID plate denotes a 302 cubic inch (4.9-litre) V8, a ‘K’ says the original engine was a 351 (5.8-litre). Bearing rumble with smoke at start-up, a ticking sound signifying worn cam lobes and oil leaks indicate an engine that needs work. If it’s the original V8, budget to have it properly stripped, cleaned and rebuilt using quality parts because whatever you spend will be generously repaid.

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SUSPENSION & BRAKES

XY suspension is very basic and easily brought back to new condition or better. Rear spring leaves crush and crack but new springs and shocks are easily acquired. Fords of this age don’t have especially accurate or sensitive steering but be cautious of more than 50mm of free-play when stationary. Likewise a brake pedal that feels mushy or excessively hard before the brakes have even been used then sinks to the floor after moderate use. None of this is impossible to fix but factor the $1500 needed for a full brake job or $1000 to replace worn power steering into the amount you pay for the car.

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INTERIOR & ELECTRICS

The trim fitted to older Falcons was incredibly tough, but almost 50 years of use might turn the seats in an otherwise-sound car shabby. Ready-to-fit trim kits cost around $2000, new sets of door-trim panels $1500 and hood-lining around $200 plus installation. If the seat belts look ancient or aren’t there at all, a complete set of new belts will cost $1000-1200, Window mechanisms that bind can be repaired at home but be cautious of non-functioning electric windows if a car has these. Check the floor-mounted dip-switch to make sure you have high-beam lights.

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1970-1972 Ford Falcon XY V8 specs

NUMBER MADE: 118,666 (all XY)
BODY STYLES: steel integrated body/chassis four-door sedan, station wagon, panel van & utility
ENGINE: 4942cc or 5750cc V8 with overhead valves and single downdraft carburettor
POWER & TORQUE: 164 kW @ 4600rpm, 405Nm @ 2600rpm (302)
PERFORMANCE: 0-96km/h 9.2 seconds, 0-400 metres  17.6 seconds (302 auto)
TRANSMISSION: four-speed manual or three-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Independent with coil springs, anti-roll bar and telescopic shock absorbers (f) Live axle with semi-elliptic springs and telescopic shock absorbers (r)
BRAKES: disc front/drum rear with power assistance
TYRES: ER70H14 radial

right Kosma, Peter and Stefan Chronakis with their very special Falcon. We’d expect this car to break well past the valuations for a ‘normal’ Falcon GS V8 shown below.

left White interior is a stunning contrast to the Wild Violet paint.

 

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