1981 Ford Falcon XD GL 5.8 Police Pack Sedan
Billed as “A World Class Family Car”, Ford’s replacement for the XA-XC range of Falcons was launched in 1979 and, unlike Holden who downsized with the Commodore in response to the fuel crisis, the new XD remained very much a traditional large Australian sedan. This proved a wise decision, with the XD-XF family of Falcons easily outselling the Commodore for most of the 1980s but fuel efficiency was still a priority for Ford’s engineers - particularly weight reduction - and the XD made extensive use of plastics and better aerodynamics to curb the big Ford’s thirst. Available in three different equipment levels - the base GL, mid-range Fairmont and upmarket Fairmont Ghia - the XD could be ordered with two different six cylinder (3.3 and 4.1-litre) and two V8 (4.9 and 5.8-litre) engines. A new alloy cylinder head jointly developed for the sixes with Honda found its way into production in June 1980, resulting in improved fuel economy and better low down torque, while the V8s carried over largely unchanged. Rarely specified, the 5.8 (351-cid) V8 was rated at 149kw at 4300 rpm, fed via a two-barrel carburettor and either the four-speed manual or FMX-3 automatic transmission. Although the GT was distant memory, Ford introduced the sporty European Sports Pack in June 1980 with sports suspension, Scheel bucket seats and wide wheels shod with low profile tyres, while a limited-slip diff and four-wheel disc brakes were mandatory options on all V8s. Police forces around the country continued to order XDs as Highway Patrol vehicles, the basic Falcon GL optioned with the most powerful engine available making for fast, comfortable Interceptors cruising the highways in the early 1980s and these, along with the ESPs, are fast becoming collectible today.