Ford XE Falcon

For a complete overview of all Falcon models, see Ford Falcon (Australia).
Ford XE Falcon GL Sedan
Ford XE Falcon
Ford Australia
Also called
Ford XE Fairmont
March 1982 – October 1984
Body and chassis
Body style
4-door Sedan
4-door Station Wagon
2-door Coupe utility
2-door Van
3.3-litre I6
4.1-litre carburetted I6
4.1-litre EFI I6
4.9-litre Cleveland V8
5.8-litre Cleveland V8
3-speed manual (column)
4-speed manual (floor)
5-speed manual (floor)
3-speed auto (column & floor)
Ford XD Falcon
Ford XF Falcon
The Ford XE Falcon is a car that was produced by the Ford Motor Company of Australia between 1982 and 1984. Introduced on 11 March 1982, the XE was a revised version of the XD Falcon, which it replaced.


The XE was a facelifted and revised version of the XD Falcon with external differences restricted to a new nose, new rear bumper, and taillights. The biggest technical change was the introduction of a four link suspension system incorporating rear coil springs on the sedans. Wagons, utes and vans retained the rear semi-elliptical leaf springs as used on XD models.


The XE-series was introduced with a choice of five engines.

  • 3.3-litre inline six-cylinder
  • 4.1-litre inline six-cylinder
  • 4.1-litre inline electronic fuel injected six-cylinder
  • 4.9-litre V8
  • 5.8-litre V8

The 5.8 litre (351ci) engine was availability restricted during the XE-series to only Falcon GL and Fairmont Ghia ESP sedans, but stock remained available for assembly within F-series and Bronco vehicles through to August 1985. Ford Australia also built a quantity of 4-bolt 5.8 litre engines — similar to those used in NASCAR at the time — for race purposes in Australia. When the engine's local racing career ended at the end of 1984, the remnants were shipped and sold in the United States. The last Australian manufactured Cleveland V8-powered Ford Falcon passenger car was a silver 4.9 litre (302ci) Ford XE Fairmont Ghia ESP sedan, VIN # JG32AR33633K, in November 1982 (although Ford promoted this car as the "Last V8" there were a number of V8 XE Falcons produced after this build number).
A fuel-injected “EFI” version of the 4.1 litre six-cylinder was introduced in February 1983 to, in effect, replace the V8s, but initially produced only 149 bhp and 325 Nm of torque, well down from the 188 bhp and 344 Nm previously produced by the defunct 4.9 litre V8.
Manual transmission was available in 3-speed column shift and in the more common 4-speed floor shift. Automatic transmission was 3-speed, floor shift in 5-seater configurations and column shift in 6-seater units. Automatic was more common than manual, even though it was at extra cost in the GL and lesser range of vehicles.
The XE was the first Falcon to be offered with a 5-speed manual transmission, but only when packaged with the base 3.3 litre engine.

Model range

The XE range consisted of nine models marketed as follows:

  • Falcon GL sedan
  • Fairmont sedan
  • Fairmont Ghia sedan
  • Falcon GL wagon
  • Fairmont wagon
  • Falcon ute
  • Falcon GL ute
  • Falcon van
  • Falcon GL van

A new version of Ford's S-Pack option was available for Falcon GL sedan, wagon, ute and van (all then badged as Falcon S) whilst a new version of the European Sports Pack (ESP) option also remained on offer for the Fairmont Ghia sedan.
Limited edition models followed, including the GL-based Falcon X-Pak sedan and wagon in late 1982, the Fairmont Ghia Limited Edition sedan in late 1983 and the GL-based Falcon Eclipse sedan and wagon in early 1984.
The XE Fairmont Ghia ESP (option 54) was an optional pack that was chosen by the purchaser when ordering their new car, it varied in trim, styles and motors... examples of some ESP upgrades are, two-tone Charcoal-accented paint or base Ghia paint, Scheel-brand front bucket seats or ghia Seats, 5.8L Cleveland V8 or 4.1L EFI Crossflow, 3 speed C4 auto or 4 speed single rail manual. Most ESP optioned ghias are easily distinguishable from the Fairmont Ghia, however, many Option 54 Fairmont Ghias look so similar to the Fairmont Ghia that most second hand owners do not realise they have an ESP as there is no code on the compliance plate to distinguish this, the only way to know if a Fairmont Ghia is a TRUE ESP is to write ford with the compliance details and Ford will then track the cars original purchase order and look for "option 54" on purchase order, the only common part of a XE ESP was the differential and rear brakes, "Option 54" included LSD and rear disc brakes as standard.
All 1982 built XE ESP 's were two toned with front/rear/side orange body moulds with Scheel Seats optioned in two colours one in Gun Metal Grey and the second in Sierra Tan in Colour with gold snowflake wheels. Build numbers on 1982 V8 XE ESPs total to 560 build as there is no numbers on the 6 cylinder XE ESP's numbers estimate at 200 or less. 351 - 178 (Manual optioned only) 302 - 100 (Manual) 302 - 260 (Auto) Total - 560 Build V8 XE. ESP's
There is a site dedicated to these cars as all of the information has been found from this actual site. To find out if your car is an ESP was to ring 13FORD, there was no numbers 54 on the compliance to say its an ESP, although the car was named European Sports Pack (ESP) as Ford had dropped the GT brand due to insurance purposes making this a 80's model GT Falcon. With the Cleveland being dropped in 1982 Ford continued the production in the 1983/1984 XE ESP with a single toned coloured car with a 6 cylinder EFI motor which exterior paint of car looked same to the XE Ghia but the Scheel a Gunmetal interior remained in the XE ESP along with its gold Snowflake wheels. These were and are a true muscle car of the 80's which are very desirable and rare to find today.
Ford XE Fairmont Ghia with ESP
Ford XE Fairmont Sedan
Ford XE Falcon GL Wagon

Market and reception

The XE Falcon / ZK Fairlane / FD LTD range of cars combined to become the first automobiles to receive a prestigious Australian Design Award.
As the fuel crisis eased, Australians moved away from the smaller Holden Commodore back to the traditional full-size Falcon. In 1982, for the first time in more than a decade, the Falcon eclipsed its Holden rival in terms of annual sales, and remained Australia's number one selling car until 1988.
Production totalled 193,890 units prior to the replacement of the XE by the XF Falcon in October 1984.


Dick Johnson won the 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship behind the wheel of a Group C specification 5.8 litre XE Falcon sedan. Sydney based driver Steve Masterton also used an XE Falcon to win the Amaroo Park based AMSCAR Series in 1984.

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Last updated on 27 August 2014 at 08:10.


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