Lifestyle

Souped-up FPVs return to blue oval Broadmeadows home

The GT's production has returned to Broadmeadows.
The GT's production has returned to Broadmeadows. COVENTRY STUDIOS

FORD says FPV customers will get better quality, rather than cheaper, cars now that Ford has taken over the high-performance vehicles division.

The blue oval has admitted the relocation of FPV production from its former dedicated facility in Campbellfield to within its Broadmeadows plant has resulted in a host of efficiencies that make the cars cheaper to produce.

But the removal of a middle man from the process won't lead to price cuts, with Ford pocketing the profit it used to share with former joint venture partner, Prodrive.

Ford insists owners will receive better value for money with greater levels of build quality.

"What we've tried to do is improve the quality of the build process for FPV and we believe what we offer to the customer is already great value for money with what is essentially a hand-built vehicle," Ford Australia president Bob Graziano said at a ceremony to commemorate the first GT built at Broadmeadows for 37 years.

"Those efficiencies have translated into improved quality. We're positive there's benefits for the customers in that."

It does, however, provide FPV more wriggle room to undercut the new HSV VF Commodore range, which is due to arrive in July, as Graziano confirmed there will be no product updates to the FPV line-up before next year's heavily-revised Falcon.

"We've got a freshening coming next year and we won't do anything separate for FPV before then," he said.

The new FPV final assembly line within Broadmeadows has effectively half the staff that was needed at Campbellfield and the cars are moved through fewer assembly bays, as more of the unique work required is completed during the construction of the donor Falcon chassis on the main production line.

Similarly, the V8 engine is no longer built at the FPV plant. It is now constructed by a dedicated (and smaller) team of technicians at the six-cylinder engine plant in Geelong.

The production line has a capacity to build just eight FPV models each day, which is significantly less than at the peak of the re-born GT's popularity when FPV produced more than 25 per day.

The Broadmeadows Assembly Plant is no stranger to the GT, having built the first Falcon GT in 1967 and the last, in June 1976:

1967 XR GT

First Falcon GT
289 ci 'Mustang Powered' V8, 4-barrel carburettor and 4-speed floor-shift manual transmission producing 225 bhp (168 kW)
All XR GTs where finished in Gold with black rally stripes. 12 cars were finished in Silver for the Gallaher Cigarette Company
XR GTs took out first and second place at Bathurst in October 1967
XR GT Cost $3,890. A total of 596 were sold

1968 XT GT

Second-generation Falcon GT
302 ci V8 producing 230 bhp (172 kW) replaced the 289 ci unit
Available in GT Gold, GT Silver, GT White, Candy Apple Red and Zircon Green with full-length stripes available in white or red
Beaten by the 327 ci HK Monaro at Bathurst in 1968, an XR GT finished 7th and an XT GT finished 9th. The XW GT was to be bigger and better
XT GT cost $4,050. A total of 1415 were produced

1969 XW GT

Third-generation Falcon GT
302 ci replaced by a 351 ci, 290 bhp (216 kW) V8 fitted with hydraulic lifters
A new 'HO' (Handling Option) model was offered adding additional features to the GT:
Front spoiler
Rear roll bar
3" diameter tail shaft
New camshaft
Alloy inlet manifold
Holley 650CFM carburetor
With the XW Coming 2nd, 4th and 5th at Bathurst in 1969, the XY was to be the ultimate GT
2287 GTs and 260 Phase I GTHOs were produced
XW GT cost $4,200. GTHO cost $4,495

1970 XW GTHO Phase II

Windsor replaced with new Cleveland 351ci engine fitted with solid lifters, 780 cubic feet per minute Holley and revised gear ratios
Official power figures were quoted as '300 bhp' (224 kW)
The Phase II GTHO came 1st and 2nd at Bathurst in 1970
402 Phase II GTHOs were produced.

1971 XY GT

Fourth-generation Falcon GT
351 ci engine continued to be quoted as '300 bhp' (unofficial estimates have suggested it could have produced more than 380 bhp (283 kW)) and was fitted with a prominent cold-air Ram Induction 'Shaker' air cleaner
The GTHO (Phase III) now featured a rear deck lid spoiler, new harmonic balancer, engine bearings, valve gear, Mustang 'Boss' head gaskets and a full extractor system over the GT
The GTHO was one of the fastest production sedans in the world and placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th at Bathurst in 1971
1557 XY GTs and 300 Phase III GTHOs were produced
The XY GT cost $4,824. The GTHO cost $5,250

1972 XA GT

The GT and GTHO (Phase IV) program was fully integrated into XA's development
XA GTs came with driving lights, lowered suspension and full instrumentation and a 300 bhp engine
GTHO featured a finned, large capacity sump, new combustion chambers and extractors and was quoted to produce '340' bhp (254 kW)
Only one XA GTHO entered into competition as the program was cancelled as a result of the widely reported 'super car scare' of 1972
1868 XA GT sedans and 891 hardtops were produced. It is believed that only 4 Phase IV GTHOs were ever produced

1974 XB GT

With the GTHO no longer available, the XB GT was the only model on offer until 1976
The introduction of the XC Falcon range marked the end of production of the GT for the foreseeable future
1950 XB GT sedans and 949 GT hardtops were produced.

2013 FG GT

Fitted with a 335 kW, 5.0-litre supercharged 'Miami' V8 engine, the FG GT, in R-SPEC guise is the fastest Australian-made production car to date
The first 'Ford produced' FPV GT leaves the FPV assembly facility Monday, February 18 2013

Topics:  cars news ford motoring


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