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The first Aussie Falcon GTs came about after Bill Bourke, then Assistant Managing Director, devised a performance version of the locally-built Falcon to not only make it eligible to race at Bathurst but also to create Ford's first real Australian 'Hero Car' to help boost sales of more mundane models. The XR GT debuted in 1967 using the same classic 289-cid V8 small-block V8 that powered every performance Ford from the Mustang to Cobra in the Sixties, in combination with a close-ratio four-speed gearbox. The new model was a performance sensation at the time of its launch and quickly found itself in service with police forces around the country, not to mention taking outright honours in the Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Bathurst. Ford then launched a revamped Falcon, the XT, in 1968 and right from the start made a GT variant available at a basic cost of $4,050. The big news for the XT GT was a new 302-cid V8 engine with four-barrel carburettor, developing 230bhp at 4800rpm with slightly more torque than the old 289 as well, for much improved top end performance. Other changes to the XT GT included a 3.00:1 limited slip diff, revised suspension, driving lights and wider six-inch rims. Buyers could choose between the standard four-speed manual or, for the first time, a three-speed auto transmission, indicating a shift towards the executive market by Ford. Further broadening the appeal of the model, the XT GT was now available in a range of colours, unlike the standard gold of its predecessor. The XT GTs may have been outclassed by Holden's new Monaro 327 GTS at Bathurst in 1968 but there were some excellent results achieved by the model - notably Bill Gates and Jim Bertram's win in the 12-Hour race at Surfers Paradise in January 1969 and the coveted Team Prize in the gruelling London-Sydney Marathon under the leadership of Harry Firth. When production of the XT GT ceased in mid-1969, some 1,480 had been made of which 1,163 had the manual gearbox and 317 were automatics.