1969 Ford XW Falcon 500 Wagon - Reader Rides

By: Guy Allen and owner, Photography by: Guy Allen and owner

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Bought new on Christmas eve in 1969, this old hauler is the epitome of great family transport

1969 Ford XW Falcon 500 Wagon - Reader Rides
1969 Ford XW Falcon 500 Wagon

Owner Shane Jenkins had been on the blower to tell us about his unassuming Ford wagon, which he reckoned had a good story behind it. And he was right.

Often over-shadowed by the later XY series, Ford’s XW was launched in 1969 with the company at pains to point out how many changes had been made over its predecessors.

"Home grown after a research, design and retooling investment of some ten million dollars. Styling has changed to a bold, action look featuring big wrap-around turn, stop and park lights that can be seen from all points of the compass," said the factory blurb.

It went on: "All Falcon engines are now higher powered and have more torque for greater flexibility and response in all speed ranges. Falcon’s new wider track is unmatched in its field – it brings you even greater stability, safer handling and steadier cornering under all road conditions. Wider 5-inch wheels and performance and load-rated tyres give greater traction and a smoother ride."

Maybe George Last, the first owner of this car, got caught up in the excitement when he strolled into a Gundagai dealer on Christmas Eve, 1969, to collect his new purchase.

The wagon was in fairly basic spec: 221 straight-six with three-on-the-tree manual. However, at some stage the family indulged in a dealer fitted ‘picnic radio’.


Shane’s grand-dad and mother with the Rambler

According to Shane: "The car lived out on a property at Tumbalong, not far away, for most of its life. It did everything: towed cattle into town, used to pick up hay and cart the family around. All the kids learned to drive in it.

"It was always well looked after. I’m told there was a ritual to clean the car every weekend."

George hung on to the car until 2007. Then the second owner, Michael Street, spotted it for sale in Wagga for a princely $1800 and had to have it. He bought it on Christmas Eve as well.

"I’m a Ford guy," says Michael, "And I could not drive past it. I loved it – used to take it to Batemans Bay every New Year’s Eve and sleep in the back of it."

He eventually sold it to Shane, a decade later in 2017, a decision he regrets to this day – though he’s happy the car has ended up in the right hands.

Even now, George’s family has kept an eye out for it, seeking assurance that it was being parked under cover.


Very happy owner.

So what about the Falcon appealing to its third owner? "What I loved was the originality and the fact it was a little different – a six-cylinder wagon," explains Shane.

"You see a wagon or a panel van at a show and more than likely there will be people gravitating towards it. The amount of times I’ve been at a show and someone wants to tell you their story about a similar wagon. 

"I even got pulled over by a copper in Finley, on my way to work, and all he wanted to do was ask about the car and take photos of it, because his dad had one!"

Part of its appeal is that it continues to wear a few bumps and scars earned over its working life. Owner number two, Michael, went as far as sourcing new panels to fix it up but couldn’t bring himself to do it, so he passed them on to Shane.


He too, can’t bring himself to ‘pretty up’ the car. One of his fears is that he doesn’t want to end up down the rabbit hole of restoring one aspect and then feeling obliged to do the rest. Maybe he could blend in the new metal, but he’s not convinced that’s the way to go.

"What do I like about it now? The originality and how honest it is. It drives well out on the highway. It’s surprising, as it feels like a new car," says Shane.

"I’ve done a couple of long trips with my parents in it, and it’s no problem.

"The paperwork shows it was
well-maintained, so it was respected and it was garaged most of the time as well."

The Falcon seems to have found a long-term home, though Shane has an eye on a new project, namely his grandfather’s 1967 AMC Rambler. It popped up online decades after it had been sold and the family recognised it, thanks to the number plates.

That’s now in the yard, while Shane decides what the next step is. In the meantime, the old XW ticks away, quietly providing transport and joy for a whole new generation. 

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