Posted on: May 12, 2012
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Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute


For when you need to drive something with real personality.
The American Ford Falcon was never this cool. While that car disappeared from the scene way back in 1970, Australia's beloved model continues to live on until this day. During its long life, the Australian Falcon has come in many different variations, such as a sedan, wagon, van, and a utility coupe, better known as a the 'ute'. The Falcon was first launched in Australia in 1960 and has been on the market ever since.

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From 1972 through today, the Australian Falcon has been designed, tested, and produced in that country. All told, over 3 million units have been sold in both Australia and New Zealand. This success story all started back in the 1950s when Ford realized they simply didn't have a true competitor to Holden. That all changed after a trip to Detroit in 1958 where Ford of Britain execs found themselves extremely impressed by the Falcon and it was soon decided to bring it 'down under.' It was nearly the same as the American version, only that it had right hand drive. And like its U.S. counterpart, it was an immediate success.
After Ford ended the Falcon's American run in 1970, Ford of Australia decided to not only keep the name, but also to redesign and build their own version. This third generation debuted in 1972 and it had the same engine options as the previous model, which included the base 3.3-liter I6 and even a 5.8-liter V8 with 300hp. The following year saw even more aggressive styling (designated as the XB within the third generation) and some new exterior colors. How this Falcon really achieved its claim to fame, however, was in the "Mad Max" films with Mel Gibson's character's car being a black hardtop Falcon called the 'Pursuit Special'.
While it's not the same as Mad Max's car, this 1974 Falcon XB Ute was recently up for sale on eBay. Although it's similar to the U.S. market Ranchero, its design is way more stylish. It's powered by a 302 Cleveland V8 mated to a four-speed manual. Yes, it's right hand drive, but what's also cool is that it's already in the U.S, making it all the more rare and unique. It also has bucket seats, power steering and power disc brakes, and a center console with a floor shifter. There is an A/C unit, but it's currently not working, although this can be repaired. Other small defects include some torn upholstery and a few paint issues.
Speaking of which, it's painted in a 'Tropicana Green metallic' that looks just fantastic on this car. Besides from the aforementioned issues and a bit of rust on the lower front fender, the seller claimed that it's a very good daily driver with an awesome exhaust note. He even included the Tonneau cover for the bed and a workshop manual. Fortunately, it's already been titled for the U.S. as well. It sold for $12,600 just a few days ago and the lucky new owner truly has something few others do in this country. Consider us jealous. Photos courtesy of vintage-auto.

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by Jay Traugott
Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute
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