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Ford Falcons going fast

Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo.

Thursday’s announcement that Ford would close its local factories in 2016 is “bringing buyers out of the woodwork” rather than causing an expected drop in demand.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” said Ford salesman Hamilton Urquhart, who has sold more than 300 Falcon GTs over the past 10 years from one of the country's oldest Ford dealerships, established at Penrith in Sydney's west in 1963, just three years after Falcon production began.

“Contrary to what many people were expecting, the announcement looks like it will actually flush out all of those people who’ve been putting off buying a car," he said. "It really is bringing buyers out of the woodwork.”

The biggest dealership in Australia for sales of Ford Falcon GTs, Bryan Byrt in the Brisbane suburb Upper Mount Gravatt, has also seen a spike in buyer enquiries. “I’ve already taken two calls this morning from customers saying ‘sign me up for the next limited edition’,” said sales manager Ben Ruxton.

The dealership nearest to Ford’s factory at Broadmeadows, Bayford at Coburg in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, has also been inundated. “Yes we’ve had enquires but I’m actually trying to figure out when to buy one myself,” said salesman Craig Power.

Among the first customers to put their hand up for one of the last Ford Falcons are Joe and Julie Blazic, who described as “devastating” the news that Ford would stop making cars in Australia after 87 years.

“Our car was in getting serviced and my husband heard the news on the radio and he rang me and said ‘ask the dealer to make sure we get one of the V8s before the Falcon goes,” she said. “We want to park it, it’s not to be driven. We want to keep it for our kids for the future.”

The Blazics, from the south-west Sydney suburb of Tahmoor, have owned four Falcons over the past 12 years and both come from “Ford families”. “My dad owned six Falcons,” she said.

They bought their latest Ford, the turbocharged F6 -- one of the fastest in the Falcon range and at $60,000 one of the most expensive -- less than a year ago. But yesterday the Blazics asked their Ford dealer to put a new $70,000 supercharged V8 on hold. They also plan to update their current turbo model.

“We want to have one of each -- a turbo and a V8 -- but we’ll drive the turbo and store the V8,” she said. In fact, Julie has already pulled rank and uses the turbocharged F6 -- the same type of car used by an elite squad within the NSW highway patrol -- as a daily driver. “I make him drive an old Datsun 1200 ute,” she said.

Ford announced it would close its Geelong engine factory and Broadmeadows production lines in October 2016 after $600 million in losses in the past five years and record-low sales. It is an unusually long warning -- Mitsubishi gave just seven weeks notice before it closed its Adelaide factory in 2008.

Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano said he expects sales of fleet models to initially take a dent, but hopes updated models due in 2014 will stop the sales slide.

“There will likely be some impact as the Australian community works their way through this, but it’s also important to note that even though we stop production in 2016, parts and service will go on beyond that,” he said.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling