Ford Falcon XE
It was no coincidence that at the same time that the Falcon XE hit the market in 1982 Ford became the leader of family car market in Australia again after spending over a decade playing second fiddle to the competition, Holden. The vehicle was one of the best family cars on the market, and it was the only vehicle totally designed and manufactured in Australia. The XE was also the first car to win the annual Australian Design Award a prestigious award organised by Standards Australia Limited.
The XE led the market during its release in March 1982 to October 1984 where it was replaced by the XF. The XE saw significant changes in the car market with the fuel shock of the 70’s still fresh in consumers’ minds. Initially the XE had the option of a V8 engine, but as sales were suffering the Ford V8 was removed from the market in less than a year of the XE’s release. It ended almost 50 years of history for the Ford V8, but it didn’t disappear from the market forever with Ford reinvigorating the engine almost a decade later in the EB Falcon.
To replace the V8 Ford had the 3.1 litre and 4.4 litre engines. Initially power delivery was a long step down from the V8s, however with the addition of fuel injection added in February 1983 and a new carburettor the straight 6-cylinder engine produced close to the same power as the V8. The new fuel injection system increased the power of the 4.1 litre engine from 105kW to 111kW.
The XE was only on the market for just over two year, with its successor XF enjoying four years on the market. But in that time Ford managed to move almost 200,000 units through the factory floor.
The XE replaced the XD which was becoming a little outdated after its release in 1979. While the competition were reacting to the fuel crisis by downsizing their vehicles, Ford with the XD maintained the size but strived to make the vehicles lighter even down to installing a plastic fuel tank. The move was a winner for Ford which picked up sales when the consumer turned back to the larger family cars. Despite the flood back to Ford, fuel efficiency was still a concern but the development of the alloy head improved efficiency.
Now that the Falcons were lighter the XE development focused on handling and noise. The XE succeeded with the development of an all round coil springs suspension which smoothed out the ride. Unfortunately power steering was not standard on base models so handling was not entirely what it could have been.
The XE was released in four main models with the Falcon GL available in sedan/wagon/ute/van, the Fairmont in sedan/wagon, and the top of the line Fairmont Ghia and Fairmont Ghia ESP sedans.
Upgrades on offer to improve the external and internal finishes of the cars were ‘S’ and ‘X’ packages. Turbo was available in limited numbers to replace the missing V8s.