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My Ford Falcon XR GT


Let's start with the car which kicked off the muscle car craze in Australia. It is not often reported, but Ford global design supremo from 1980 to 1997, Jack Telnack, was one of the team responsible for taking the 1966 Ford XR Fairmont and re-casting it as a four door super car.

In late 1965 Telnack was assigned to Australia as part of his fast-track career, which would see him ascend to the Vice Presidency of Ford worldwide design.

Telnack came with loads of street cred. He was part the team which designed the first Mustang and was very influential in styling the fastback version, doing some early sketches in 1962.

So when Ford Australia boasted that the XR was the 'Mustang-bred Falcon', they knew they had one of the originators on the payroll.

At the time Telnack's local boss was the energetic, youth-oriented and forward thinking Bill Bourke, who wanted a `hero' car to gain publicity and to win at Bathurst.

It was this combination of youth, talent and boundless energy which kicked all the corporate barriers out of the way and drove the development of the GT Falcon. Right people, right time, right place, right car.

Telnack went on to design many commercially successful vehicles for Ford. His breakthrough cars include the 1979 Mustang, the 1983 Thunderbird, the 1986 twins-Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable-and the 1996 Ford Ka.

But back in 1966 it was Telnack who devised the simple but effective all-bronze paint work, the subtle striping, the chrome wheels, the revised grille and the 'GT' badges for what was a really a Ford Fairmont. And the rest is history.

GT Surf Wagon-Almost

Allan Irvines's XR GT was originally bought by his eldest son Raymond in 1996. The car had endured a hard time over its 30-year life span and at one point had been used to carry bricks around a building site.

Raymond thought it would make an ideal car to transport himself and his surfing mates to and from the waves.

Allan thought otherwise. "I did a deal with him. I swapped my XW Falcon Futura and a bit of cash for the GT. And we were all happy."

"It was really a basket case," Allan admits. But over the next nine years through painstaking reconstruction and restoration he crafted a car which has drawn admiring comments from those whose opinions really matter.

Inside Allen's house is a wall of trophies the GT has won, including one bestowed by Allan Moffat. Another racing legend , Harry Firth, told Allan it was the best GT Falcon he had ever seen.

Allan often uses the GT. "It is meant to be driven, and given a good work out " he says, and gives the accelerator pedal a couple of quick blips to emphasise the point, before turning the motor off Anyone who has restored and /or collects classic automobiles knows only too well that family support is a key element in their enjoyment.

Allan's wife Leah and sons Richard and Raymond are more than supportive. They have actively encouraged the assembling of the collection and participated in the restoration processes.

Says Allan, "Leah likes the GT as much as I do, maybe even more."

www.retroautos.com.au