Rob Blackbourn's top buys for Aussie classics

By: Rob Blackbourn

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ford falcon xr ford falcon xr

Rob chooses his top three home grown classics

Ford XR Falcon 500 V8

The Aussie Falcon really came of age with the ‘Mustang-bred’ XR model. Its fresh shapely body styling won approving nods all round. Perhaps more importantly, thanks to the previous XP model’s clean durability record doubters were finally coming to believe that the Aussie Falcon was truly ‘Trim, taut and terrific’, a car that was engineered and built to meet the demanding duties that family cars were expected to perform in our wide brown land.

But as always with me it’s all about the engine. The XR Falcon gets a big tick from me because for the first time a post-war Australian family car, the entry-level model, offered a V8 engine option – the sweet 289 Windsor.

| Read next: Ford Falcon XR - 50 years of GT 


Chrysler R-Series Valiant


Although way too young to need my own family car when the R-Series Valiant arrived here in 1962, I was so smitten that I would have loved my dad to trade the family Holden in on one. First the performance available from the amazing 225-cube Slant Six motor made competing Holdens and Falcons look pathetic by comparison. Then there was the flamboyant styling. While Chrysler had been the style kings of Detroit since the late 1950s, its sensational Plymouths, Dodges and De Sotos had been exotics, beyond the reach of ordinary Aussie families. But with the R-Series we suddenly had a snazzy, affordable family car featuring a good serve of Chrysler’s styling chutzpah.


EH Holden Special wagon 179 manual


The arrival of the EJ/EH models marked the end of the era of derivative and dated looks for Australia’s own. The new wagons looked as good as the sedans. The EH’s new ‘red motors’ quickly pushed the EJ into the shadows, ending the 15-year run of the trusty old ‘grey motor’.

| Read more: Holden EH review

A 179 manual EH Special wagon was a handsome car that covered all the family’s needs – it was a six-seater with heaps of luggage space, a champion camper teamed with a tent and it was cheap to run and DIY-friendly to maintain.

Best of all with a 179 manual you finally had a Holden that could push the speedo needle to the magic ton (on a downhill run with a bit of tailwind).

Read more:

- Dave Morley's top three Aussie classics


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