Farewell Falcon - Editorial issue 393

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Thanks for the ride

Farewell Falcon - Editorial issue 393
Cars like the Falcon often end up being a lot more than transport,

I more or less grew up in a Falcon. And anyone who’s silly enough to have listened to me over recent months will already know that I’m near speechless with anger that we’re losing the ability to do an end-to-end development of a really good car. I’ve driven some high-end local product recently and fail to understand why we can’t keep producing it.

Yes I’ve heard the economic arguments. Still don’t get it. What are we going to do, stand around and make each other coffee for the rest of the millennium? A nation of baristas? Kerrist on a bloody crutch.

Something we’re losing is the progression and ambition locally-made cars represent. My family spent its early years with a succession of Anglia 105Es, tiny Brit Fords with fins. Very cute. As things got better, they moved up to the big Ford, the Falcon XL, bought in 1963. Though little at the time, I remember it well. Green, with a white roof, it was part of our lives for years. It was a substantial car in local terms – something to be treasured.

There were much sexier and faster cars on the road, but the Falcon was okay. It did the job. It was reliable and took us to school, or holidays, or the grandparents’ house. You always got there. I can’t help thinking it may have been undervalued because it never let us down.

With a bit of determination, it had been known to overtake lines of old Brit cars on the way to the Gold Coast.

Of the many stupid things you remember from your childhood, mine include father working on the Falcon and trying to teach some basics. How to read tyre pressures and raise them with a foot pump. That was while Mick the Collie-cross dog went madly yapping around the garage, closely followed by Greta the Dachshund.

Or reading a dipstick. Or lying under the car and carefully spotting any incipient rust with a brush dipped in Fish Oil.

To this day, I remember the sessions with the distributor cap off, carefully cleaning it out. As time and cars moved on, we even upgraded to strobe timing lights (we might have had a six-pot Cortina by then).

I wasn’t always a good pupil. There were other things to think about, particularly as you grow up through pubescence.

Somehow, though, an awful lot stuck. It’s one of the talents of being a kid, you become intellectual flypaper and retain everything, even when you’re not paying attention.

Now that I think of it, he showed me how to use an ignition timing light and twist the dizzy gently to work out exactly where the sweet spot is. And how to wind in a sparkplug so it’s not too tight. And how to clean and gap one.

The risk with all this is you become victim to nostalgia. By all reports the XL Falcon was a good but not great car. That’s not the point. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I can measure my personal history with part of the lineage of locally-built Falcons – in this case from 1963, when my parents were young and beautiful.

That’s now gone.

So it’s time to move on – what next?

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