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EB Falcon 1991-1993
With the introduction of the EB Falcon, the body shape which had begun with the EA matured significantly. The Falcon gained in power, refinement, safety, handling and anti-theft measures. It was also better built, with a level of quality approaching – that of Japanese cars not many years before. Australian car companies had finally picked up the competitive ball and were running strongly. The EB saw the return of the Ford V8 engine, albeit as a 5-litre, not as the mighty 5.8-litre. Modern technology meant the performance of the 5-litre wasn’t far short of the old 5.8’s.
However, the best news of all for the enthusiastic Ford driver – the rebirth of the GT Falcon. The GT was built partly by Ford and partly by Tickford Vehicle Engineering (TVE) – a sort of HDT or HSV for Fords, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first GT Falcon.
The EB began life with the same 3.9-litremulti-point injected six-cylinder engine as had been used in the EA. That was soon to change. Significant changes were made to the suspension. The use of gas-pressurised shock absorbers, uprated mounting bushes, revised front geometry and higher-geared steering made the car sit flatter and turn in better than the EA.
With the release of the EBII Falcon in April 1992 the six-cylinder engine’s capacity was increased from 3.9 to 4.0 litres. It wasn’t simply an increase in size – in fact it only went up by 35cc in real terms, from 3949cc to 3984cc. Many worthwhile changes were made to improve all aspects of the engine. These included a modified air intake system, revised combustion chambers, pistons and crankshaft and a retuned exhaust system. Also new with EBII was the introduction of antilock brakes for the first time on an Australian built car. Still on the safety side, the EBII had seatbelt lockers and rip-stitch webbing – also a first for an Australian-built family car. The centre-rear seatbelt was now lap sash, instead of lap only. In itself the centre lap-sash made the car significantly safer for children, who are the usual occupants of that seating position. Roof strength was increased, and thicker, bonded glass was used in the windscreen, the latter added both strength and rigidity and made it quieter overall.
Tickford Vehicle Engineering built a hot six-cylinder car from September 1992. The Falcon XR6 had more engine power, thanks to revised cylinder head porting, an increase in compression ratio, heavy-duty valve springs and a revised camshaft profile. Changes were also made to the computerised engine management system. Tickford and Ford badges shared a place on the cam cover. Alloy wheels were 15inches in diameter as standard, but 16-inchwheels were optional. Suspension was lowered 35mm and uprated in stiffness. Front end geometry was given more negative camber. In its earliest version the XR6 wasn’t significantly different in appearance to the standard Falcon, more obvious styling changes were to come in later models.
With the return of the Ford V8 there was never a moment’s doubt that motor racing legend Dick Johnson would race Falcons again. The number 17 EB Falcon was demolished at Bathurst in 1993, but won a well-deserved victory in 1994 in the hands of Dick Johnson and John Bowe.