Hard to imagine now, but when the XW GT debuted in June, 1969, it’s bold, aggressive appearance came in for criticism from some quarters for being a bit too lairy. Against the more subdued XT GT, the XW was identified by broad stripes, locking pins and an offset-scoop (designed to cool the brake master cylinder) on the bonnet, with bolder side stripes and the now iconic ‘Super Roo’ emblems on the front guards.
That emblem had been previewed in early 1969 on a motor show “ideas car” commissioned by Ford Australia’s then Managing Director, Bill Bourke, and based on an imported US 2-door Falcon.
Inside, the GT was trimmed with a Fairmont-spec interior, but added additional gauges in an instrument panel that had been resigned for the XW series. One knock on the XW GT interior was that it dropped the genuine wood-rim steering wheel of the previous two GTs for a plastic lookalike unit.
Under the bonnet, the new GT may not have had the stonking 427i (7.0-litre) V8 from the Super Roo showcar, but it did pack a 351ci (5.8-litre) ‘Windsor’ V8. ‘351’ badges on the guards and bootlid let everyone know that what was under the bonnet was an upgrade from the XT’s 302 (4.9-litre).
With add-ons like hydraulic valve lifters, a 450cfm Autolite carburetor, and an 10.7:1 compression ratio, the difference in power was 290hp (217kW) against the XT’s 230hp (172kW).
Over a regular XW Falcon, the GT also added power-assisted Kelsey Hayes disc front brakes as standard, a twin-plate clutch and limited-slip diff, as well as a fuel tank that, at 36 gallons (164 liters), was more than double the capacity of the previous tank.
All these features, of course, were designed with the racetrack in mind, but the GT-HO was even more specific; its combination of parts was designed solely to deliver victory for Ford at Bathurst.
Considering he’s something of an XW fanatic, it’s no surprise that Ben’s got an XW GT-HO, as well.