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XF Falcon – 1984-1988
The XF Falcon, released in October 1984, was a further refinement of the already very popular XE. Ford engineers gave it softer styling with new front body panels. It also gained a new dash with a more up-to-date look than the previous rather bold, squared-off unit.
Numerous improvements were made to the XF during its life, including the fitment of unleaded petrol engines, and the offering of a five-speed manual gearbox in most versions. The XF Falcon was number one in Australian new car sales virtually throughout its life as evidenced by it having the highest build quantity and longest production run of any Falcon to date.
Ford was running hot at the time of the release of the XF Falcon in October 1984. The XE had taken Ford to the top, but GMH was fighting back with the VK Commodore and there were many hard fought sales battles throughout the life of the XF. Though using the basic XE shape, the XF Falcon had different styling forward of the windscreen, new tail lights and a more modern interior. The front-seat headrests were padded and a fold down panel in the centre of the rear seat allowed long items to extend forward from the boot. An adjustable steering column was fitted on all but the Falcon GL.
Though the rest of the XF Falcon range was discontinued with the release of the EA Falcon in February 1988, the utes and vans carried on – using mainly XF mechanicals, including the engines for several years. In April 1991 the utes were upgraded to include an S version with sports steel wheels and a wider side body stripe. Power steering and a five-speed manual gearbox were fitted as standard on all versions. The Falcon ute and panel van had the market to themselves for many years as Holden didn’t have equivalents in the small-body Commodore.
The Fairmont Ghia featured alloy wheels and a body coloured grille. Inside there are cruise control and electronic instruments. The XF range was expanded in 1986 with the introduction of the upmarket Fairmont Ghia station wagon. Previously all Ghias had been sedans.
From February 1986 all XF models were fitted with unleaded petrol engines. At the same time a minor change in appearance was achieved by fitting turn signal repeaters in the front bumper corners. A further update in October 1986 included colour-coded bumper bars. A five-speed manual transmission was offered for the first time with the 4.1 engine.
During the life of the XF, Ford Australia celebrated the building of the 1 ,500,000 millionth Falcon. A big occasion for a car which had some shaky moments in its earliest days.