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For a complete overview of all Falcon models, see Ford Falcon (Australia).
Ford AU Falcon
2000 Ford AU II Falcon Futura 75th Anniversary sedan 01
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company of Australia
Also called Ford AU Fairmont
FTE TE50
FTE TS50
Production 1998–2002
Assembly Campbellfield, Victoria, Australia
Predecessor Ford EL Falcon
Successor Ford BA Falcon
Class Full-size car
Body style(s) 2-door utility
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform EA169
Engine(s) 4.0 L Intech I6
4.0 L Intech Dedicated LPG I6
4.0 L Intech VCT I6
5.0 L Windsor V8
5.6 L Windsor V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,793 mm (110.0 in)–3,096 mm (121.9 in)
Length 4,907 mm (193.2 in)–5,077 mm (199.9 in)
Width 1,870 mm (74 in)–1,871 mm (73.7 in)
Height 1,870 mm (74 in)–1,871 mm (73.7 in)
Curb weight 1,437 kg (3,170 lb)–1,645 kg (3,630 lb)
Related Ford AU Fairlane
Ford AU LTD
FTE TL50

The Ford AU Falcon and Fairmont are the first of the sixth generation series of the Ford Falcon, a full-size car produced by Ford Australia. Replacing the EL Falcon, the last of the fifth generation Falcons, the AU series launch in September 1998, being replaced in September 2002 by the BA range of Fords.

The AU sported a radically different design that was dubbed "New Edge", to attract the younger generation with its "out there" looks.[1] Other changes included a 35 kg (77 lb) reduction in weight for the base car, 17.5 per cent stiffer bodyshell, and an eight per cent improvement in fuel consumption.[2]

History of development Edit

1998-2000 Ford AU Falcon Futura sedan 04

1998–2000 Ford AU Falcon Futura sedan

The AU Falcon was developed after considering proposals to replace the Falcon platform with one derived from an overseas model, such as the American Ford Taurus, European Ford Scorpio, or the Japanese Mazda 929. These were eliminated in favour of a substantial redesign of the Australian platform, due to concerns about towing, interior size, and local employment. Design started in 1994 and the program cost 700 million Australian Dollars before product launch.[3] It was launched under the slogan "You've come a long way baby".[4] The AU featured Ford's New Edge design style, and an optional IRS, for the first time on a Falcon. The IRS was a double wishbone design on an isolated subframe, standard fitment on the XR6 VCT, XR8 and Fairmont Ghia, and was an option on most other sedan models (although not with limited slip differential - this combination was reserved for IRS XR models).

Sales of the AU did not match those of the previous model, the EL Falcon , partly due to a lack of enthusiasm by customers for the New Edge styling, alteration of fleet sale pricing, and the long term decline in the market for large cars.

2000-2001 Ford AUII Falcon Futura 01

2000-2001 Ford AUII Falcon Futura

Series II and IIIEdit

Many of these issues were addressed with the AU Series II (April 2000) and Series III (November 2001) updates, which brought with them minor styling changes that gave the cheaper models styling features from the Fairmont, a laminated firewall to reduce NVH and incremental power upgrades for the V8, among other things.

During this period the Windsor was phased out of production with the last being sent to Australia. These Windsors were then hand assembled by Tickford Engineering and turned into the most powerful normally aspirated EFI Windsor V8 made in the world. It was stroked to 5.6 litres and boasted 250 kW (335 hp) and 500 N·m (369 lb·ft) of torque. The six cylinder engine was not forgotten during this period, with the XR6 version receiving VCT, making 172 kW (231 hp) . The same engine, detuned to 168 kW (225 hp) through the use of a quieter exhaust system, was fitted to the Fairmont Ghia.

Specification levels Edit

1998-2000 Ford AU Falcon XR6 sedan 02

Ford AU Falcon XR6

1998-2000 Ford AU Falcon XR6 sedan 03

Ford AU Falcon XR6

The base model AU Falcon was called the Forte, which was the replacement of the old GLi and was marketed to fleets and families. When new the car was priced at $30,690 AUD. Automatic transmission was standard.

The more 'up-spec' model was called the Falcon Futura and was also marketed to families. The Futura differed from the Forte in having a body coloured grille, ABS, cruise control, alloy wheels and a digital clock fitted in the centre console (Series I Only).[5] The price of the car when new was $34,990.[6]

A limited edition Falcon Classic model was released in June 1999. It was an independent model from the Forte and Futura which featured the AU Falcon Utility Vehicle's grille painted body colour, 'Classic' badging, alloy wheels, a low level spoiler, and a 'warm charcoal' interior. The price when new was $30,690.[7]

The Ford Falcon S, for Sports, was designed as an entry-level sports edition, with added features such as a painted grille, alloy wheels, S decals on the rear quarters and bootlid, and a high level spoiler. The colour choices were limited to Hot Chilli Red, Liquid Silver, Dynamic White, Galaxy (Metallic Blue) and Silhouette (Black) and the car was a sedan only model.

The Fairmont was the entry level luxury model of the AU range. It had all of the qualities of the Futura but included extra features such as a honeycomb grille, a 80 second headlamp off delay, wood grain inserts, unique 15" wheels, dual horns, Fairmont badging on the boot lid, and an analogue clock. The Fairmont was offered in sedan and station wagon bodystyles. Above the Fairmont was the Fairmont Ghia, which was the highest non-performance specification model in the range. It had additional features that included unique wheels and more wood grain inserts. Fairmont & Fairmont Ghia models were not badged as Falcons.

The XR Series was the performance end of the range, comprising the XR6, XR6 VCT, XR6 VCT Sprint, and the XR8, which was the "hero" car of the range. All had the standard body kit that the XRs always have.

Utility Edit

MHV Ford AU Falcon XL Supercab 01

1999–2000 Ford AU Falcon XL Supercab utility

The AU Falcon utility vehicles range was launched in June 1999. It offered Falcon XL, XLS, XR6 and XR8 style side utility models, a cab-chassis model and a cab-chassis with factory fitted drop-side tray.[8] The latter was the first tray utility vehicle that Ford Australia had produced for several years.

The body of the AU Falcon utility was different in design from the equivalent Holden Commodore utility in that the cab was separate from the cargo tray (the tray was an integral part of the body shell in the Holden). As a result, this allowed the rear to accept different after market body types, including tray decks, service bodys, and camper van shells. Unlike the sedan, the AU Falcon utility vehicles were very popular.

FTE T Series Edit

2001-2002 Ford TE50 (T3) sedan 01

2001–2002 FTE TE50 (T3) sedan

Towards the top end of the market were the T-Series models, the Falcon XR8 based TE50, the Fairmont Ghia based TS50 and the Fairlane based TL50. These were marketed under the FTE name,[9] FTE being an acronym for Ford Tickford Experience, a joint venture between Ford Australia and Tickford.[10] The FTE T Series models, which were produced from 1999 to 2002, featured hand-built engines with an engraved plaque bearing the name of the engine builder.

References Edit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ford AU Falcon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. "AU Falcon - A Dedicated Australian". Web Publications Pty Limited (1998-09-03). Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  2. Kenwright, Joe (2005-04-01). "Holden VT/VX Commodore (1997-2002) AND Ford Falcon AU (1998-2002)". CarPoint Australia. ninemsn. Retrieved on 2008-06-24.
  3. http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/ford-fg-falcon-what-it-cost-to-build-20080217-1436u.html
  4. Smith, Graham (2009-01-22). "Ford Falcon AU – 1998-2000: model watch". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved on 2009-09-18.
  5. The new Falcon, Fairmont and XR (AU sales brochure FCL 7384), November 1998, pages 13-14
  6. Ford AU Falcon Futura Review
  7. Ford Classic Speculation Pages, True Blue Ford.com
  8. Ford AU Ute, New Car Buyer No 15, 2000, pages 30-33
  9. Ford Tickford Experience set for Launch in October Retrieved from www.autoweb.com.au on 29 November 2008
  10. FTE Questions & Answers Retrieved from www.internetarchive.com on 29 November 2008
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