2022 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction

1977 Ford XC Fairmont GXL 4.9 Sedan





Engine 4.9-litre V8
Gearbox Automatic
Body Work Sedan
Colour Aqua
Trim Grey
Wheels Chrome Steel
Brakes Disc


This lot is no longer available

In July 1976, timed to coincide with the introduction of the ADR27A emissions legislation, Ford Australia released its second facelift on the 1972 XA, the XC. It was a demanding era for local manufacturers and it was the team at Campbellfield that showed the most initiative. The XC Falcon represented a bolder engineering response to ADR27A than the HX Holden, a ‘pollution special’ if ever there was one. Ford Australia’s engineers designed new crossflow cylinder heads for its six-cylinder engines. Although these revised sixes offered little, if any, performance gain over the previous ‘dirty’ engines, they did give the Falcon a still greater lead over Holden when it came to six-cylinder power. Clever marketing was behind the new Fairmont GXL variant, which marked a new pinnacle of luxury for Aussie family sedans. In its standard guise the six-cylinder GXL was a Fairmont with extra goodies including four-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels and sports instrumentation. The GXL was only offered on the XC range before being superseded by the Fairmont Ghia when the XD drove into town. The GXL was available with the 4.1-litre six-cylinder engine, the 4.9-litre V8 or the 5.8-litre V8 – this latter with the GT Power Pak option was effectively an XC GT by another name. This was a smart marketing move indeed because by 1976 the pendulum towards high performance cars – and especially the promotion of such vehicles – was swinging the other way. Strict anti-pollution legislation saw most cars take a power cut. There were serious concerns about the ready availability and price of petrol. The glory days of the late 1960s and early 1970s began to seem like an increasingly distant memory. The GXL represented a brilliant marketing solution and the car was less likely to ring alarm bells in insurance company offerings than ‘GT’, or to stimulate members of the Highway Patrol to giving chase. The less expensive 4.9-litre V8 offered the thrill of a V8 engine with much of the fury of the 5.8 and teamed superbly with the three-speed automatic transmission, or the four-speed manual gearbox for that matter. This was the context of the XC Falcon and, frankly, it was the battleground on which Ford Australia’s canny executives secured a dominance over their Holden opponents that would last until the introduction of the VB Commodore and be regained shortly afterwards. Ford Australia’s designers succeeded in making the XC look quite different from its two predecessors. By the mid-‘70s the so-called ‘Coke bottle hip’ styling theme, first seen locally on the XR Falcon in 1966, was beginning to look dated. It was a priority of the XC design brief to flatten out the hipline, mainly to yield a new look but also to improve visibility. By using the rear doors of the Fairlane, the stylists were able to give the XC a new profile. The point was though that the XC looked new and different. The XC also got a new, more rectangular-looking grille, deeper bumpers and different taillights. Single round headlights were used on the Falcon, while Fairmonts got rectangular units. Circular gauges in a new instrument panel gave the interior a contemporary feel.