A milestone anniversary in the Australian motor industry was marked this year. March was the 40th anniversary of the XA Falcon; which Ford advertised as being "Born on the Wind".
But it was the quietest birthday party ever. It seemed there were no celebrations and to paraphrase Basil Fawlty at Ford HQ it was almost a case of "don't mention the Falcon".
The XA Falcon was a mammoth corporate success story. Up until 1972, all Falcons were localised American designs. The XA changed all that.
It was the first Falcon to be totally styled and engineered in Australia, and Falcons ever since have been all Aussie efforts-Australian skills, thought leadership and engineering savvy for 40+ years.
It is a heritage and a record that any company would to be proud to celebrate. Put simply, the XA Falcon is Ford's equivalent of the FX Holden. There was no mistaking the XA on the road. It looked so different to the HQ Holden and the VH Valiant.
The Holden appeared smaller, and lighter, than it really was. The Valiant mimicked Chrysler USA's bulked-up "fuselage" design language. The Falcon, on the other hand, had a lean , aggressive and hunkered down stance which made it look bigger than it was.
That was the XA's real appeal-a big car for big country. Inside, the XA was all about the driver. The cockpit style dashboard made sure that whoever sat behind the steering wheel felt that they were firmly in command.
The Falcon range was sold in sedan and wagon formats. The wagon was a monster of a car. Built on the longer Fairlane wheelbase of 2947mm (116 inches) it featured a two way tail gate and enough capacity to lug half a hardware store back home. And, of course, there was the legendary 5.7 litre V8 GT.
In September 1972, Ford released the two door hardtop version of the Falcon and GT and it was game-on in the sales race with Holden. The XA and subsequent XB and XC models helped propel Ford to become the number one car company in Australia. But all good things do not last.
The Falcon, like the Commodore, is slowly fading from the sales charts. For a car that was "Born on the Wind" it now seems the Falcon will soon be gone with the wind.