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EF Falcon – 1994-1996
Though based on the EA through ED Falcon, when the EF model was released in September1994, it had so many changes it could almost be regarded as a totally new model. The only visible parts which are the same as the ED sedan are the doors, and even they have different handles which alter the looks.
The EF’s suspension used basically the same layout as the ED’s, but is retuned, with different control arms, bushes, shock absorbers and steering geometry. The result was better turn in but the car over steered fairly strongly and suddenly if pushed hard. A driver-side airbag was standard on all models – a first for a locally built car.
Body strength was considerably increased, with the roof being able to carry an astonishing 2.25 times the car’s weight. The six-cylinder engine had a new management computer (EEC-V), a higher compression ratio, and other minor changes which increased its power and torque, yet it was more economical than the ED.
The Fairmont shared its overall frontal style with that of the Fairlane and LTD -the first time that Ford took that interesting styling route. The radiator ‘grille’ was a dummy and the cooling air goes in through the hole under the bumper.
Dubbed the CTC (computer torque control) engine, the EF six-cylinder developed a healthy 157 kilowatts, an increase of 9kW over the previous version of the same engine. Maximum torque was increased to 357Nm at just 3000rpm, making for a very driveable engine in the true Aussie tradition.
The EF interior was completely revamped with a curved style and gentler colours, the result was a light, airy feeling. A driver-side airbag was introduced as standard fitment on all models- another first on an Australian built car. Seat adjustments included individual control over the height of the front and rear of the seat base. The handbrake was floor mounted for the first time ever on a Falcon!
With the release of the EF II range in October 1995 the Fairmont Ghia gained a sporty image. It featured the Tickford XR6 engine and lower, firmer suspension. The front suspension was modified on the rest of the range to reduce oversteer.
The EF II saw the introduction of dual airbags. The oddly shaped passenger bag protects not only the person in the left seat, but also a front-centre passenger in a bench seat model. Tickford continued the quad, round-head light treatment with its XR range of high performance Falcons.
Again a single colour was used across the entire front of the car and in the bumpers. The bumpers and body strips had Cherry Red inserts, except in red cars where they were black. The gills in the bonnet, which are reminiscent of those used in the 25th anniversary EB GT and the Sierra Cosworth – extract hot air. The EF model was the first Falcon which Tickford was involved with from its earliest design stages. Previously Tickford Vehicle Engineering had picked up a car midway through its development.
The Tickford XR interior featured full instrumentation, a driver-side airbag (as in all EF Falcons) and brightly coloured seats which featured good side and under thigh support. Power front windows were standard in an XR for the first time.
The Tickford modified 4-litre six cylinder engine in the XR6 was up rated to 164kW, only one kilowatt less than the standard 5-litre V8! So good was the six’s design that the torque graph was literally flat all the way from 2750rpm to3500rpm. The XR6’s exhaust valves were larger (42mm versus39mm) than the standard sixes, and they ran in stronger springs. The exhaust ports were reflowed as part of the design process. The camshaft profile gave greater lift and longer duration of all valves. The V8 engine on the Tickford XR8 didn’t receive as much modification as the six, but still had bulk grunt. Power peaked at170kW, pumped out at just 4500rpm. Maximum torque of 396Nm came in at 3000rpm. A larger cross section cold air intake snorkel was used and the split branch exhaust as fitted to the ED XR6 Sprint was installed.