1969-1970 Ford Falcon XW GT - Buyer's Guide

By: Cliff Chambers

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Ford's Broady brainstrust showed it was up for a proper stoush with the General when it played the 351 card

 

Ford Falcon XW GT

Early in 1969 there was only one performance car doing things to the minds of Australian car enthusiasts and that was Holden’s HK GTS327 Monaro. The Chev-engined coupe had won Bathurst and was turning heads across the country; making Ford’s XT GT look underwhelming and conservative. Then up showed ‘Super Roo’ – a cartoon character with big spinning wheels  glued to the mudguards of a new GT design.

Ford’s XW GT was the leader of a new and more aggressive model range. Its basic structure still came courtesy of Ford in the USA but local stylists created a distinctive shape with enough underbonnet space to accommodate the biggest of the company’s V8s. One prototype with a seven-litre, 428 cubic inch engine was built but there would be none for regular production XWs.

| 2019 Market Review: Ford Falcon XR, XT, XW, XY/GT/replica

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The GT engine had grown from 5.0 to 5.8 litres and was rated at 224kW. Four-speed manual transmission was standard in the GT, with three speed automatic an option.

The wheels – road and steering – were borrowed from the Mustang parts bin and, together with bonnet locking pins and a half-baked air-scoop that had no function apart from directing cool air in the direction of the brake master cylinder.

GTs were more expensive than a Fairmont but also shared their interior appointments with that car. The front bucket seats were trimmed in pleated vinyl and the dash used patterned vinyl to give the effect of timber veneer. A heater/demister was mandatory under new safety legislation and so too were front seat belts. The grille-mounted driving lights weren’t a safety requirement but a good idea in a car where the standard headlights were useless at more than 100km/h.

| Buyer's Guide: Ford Falcon XR/XT GT 

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As fuel prices soared during the 1970s, ageing GTs became almost worthless and many were treated very poorly. It would take resurgent awareness after the 1987 Stock Market Crash before people with an XW buried in the shed would take renewed interest.

 Since those days, XW GT values have moved steadily; behaving more like conventional investments than the mercurial Phase 3 GTHO or XC Cobras.

| Read next: Ford Falcon XY GT review

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Having survived the 2007-08 value slump which followed the 2004-06 value spike, XW GT values settled in the vicinity of $100,000 and since 2010 have put on 30-50 per cent. On that basis a manual XW in outstanding order might reach $160,000 however the majority seem to be automatic and $30-50,000 less. Colour can add thousands to the value of cars in similar condition and reference sites exist that detail the numbers of XWs in particular colours that were made. Check the paint code on the build plate to ensure authenticity has been maintained.

Overall authenticity is vital when asking or paying top money for a GT Falcon. If the motor’s been replaced or the body-shell isn’t all original then any thought of buying or selling for a premium price evaporates.

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VALUE RANGE: Ford Falcon XW GT (Four-speed)

Fair: $35,000
Good: $70,000
Excellent: $155,000

(Note: exceptional cars will demand more)

BUYER'S CHECKLIST

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Body & chassis

GT restorations often took place 20-30 years ago when the cars weren’t especially valuable and buyers weren’t overly concerned about authenticity. If corners were cut and non-genuine parts used the ripple effect can now have a huge influence on the size of the sale prices. Inspection by a GT specialist will be well worth the fee. Before spending your money, look for filler where metal should be and rust returning in places like the windscreen surround and wheel-arches.  Check sills, floor-pans, spring attachment points and between the boot lid and rear window. Good reproduction parts are available to rectify bodgy work. More serious is poor crash repairs causing poor panel alignment or kinked chassis rails. Quality rechroming is expensive.

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Engine & transmission

High GT prices need to be underpinned by authenticity and that means a car still having the same engine and transmission fitted when it left the factory. Some experts are even able to identify authentic ancillary components but having the ‘right’ engine is enough for most buyers. Bearing rumble at start-up, the ticking sound signifying worn cam lobes and oil smoke and leaks indicate an engine that needs work. That’s expensive but if it is the original motor and can be saved the cost is worthwhile.  Cars that are rarely driven can be hard to start and suffer the effects of stale fuel. Clogged radiators and perished hoses cause even pristine cars to overheat.

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Suspension & brakes

GT suspension is basic and keeping it in top condition is not expensive. Rear spring leaves crush and crack but a pair of new semi-elliptics costs around $1000, with matching front coils at $200-300 each. A brake pedal that feels mushy or goes to the floor after a few stops can be scary but not expensive to remedy. Less than $1500 should buy all the new brake components you need. Wobbly or binding steering can be remedied by spending $500 on a reco-ed steering box. Be cautious of cars with ultra-low profile tyres which will transmit shock loads that originally were damped by 70 Profile rubber.

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Interior & electrics

GT trim is hard wearing and some cars may still be running around with original seats and door panels. If not there are suppliers offering exchange door cards and reproduction seat material for a total outlay of $3500 or less. New vinyl hood-lining costs around $350 plus installation with carpet sets below $300. Manual window winders that are hard to move or have broken handles can be  replaced and remember to test the floor-mounted dip-switch to make sure you have high-beam lights. Fully replacing the seat belts and mounting bolts is a wise move and four belts cost less than $600.

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1969-1970 Ford Falcon XW GT specs

Number made: 2287 (exc. GTHOs)
Body styles: Steel integrated body/chassis four-door sedan
Engine: 5763cc V8 with overhead valves and downdraft carburettor
Power & torque: 217kW @ 4800rpm, 520Nm @ 3200rpm
Performance: 0-100km/h 7.8 seconds,
0-400 metres 15.6 seconds
Transmission: Four-speed manual, three-speed automatic
Suspension: Independent with coil springs, wishbones, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar (f) Live axle with leaf springs and telescopic shock absorbers (r)
Brakes: Disc (f) drum (r) power assisted
Tyres: ER70HR 14 radial

From Unique Cars #435, January 2020

 

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