2019 Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Auction
1981 Ford XD Fairmont ESP 4.1 Sedan
|Engine||4.1 litre six-cylinder|
|Wheels||Bathurst Globe alloys|
This lot is no longer available
Ford launched an all-new Falcon model in March 1979 and the XD/XE/XF range went on to prove hugely successfully throughout the 1980s, ultimately eclipsing Holden's Commodore as Australia's most popular family car. Mechanically simple, the new Falcon was slightly smaller than the outgoing XC model while the running gear was carried over with few changes. The XD was sold in both sedan and station wagon versions, plus the usual commercials, while the model line-up consisted of the base Falcon GL, mid-range Fairmont and upmarket Fairmont Ghia, later joined by the stretched luxury Fairlane and LTD models. In July 1980 Ford introduced a new alloy cylinder head across all six-cylinder models, improving both power and fuel economy, along with electronic ignition and revised cooling. To inject a little sparkle into the range, Ford also announced a high-performance model dubbed the ESP (which stood for European Sports Pack), to evoke the spirit of the earlier GTs. Offering a unique colour palette, colour-coded grille, Marshal fog lamps, front spoiler and 15-inch Globe alloy rims shod with low profile tyres, the improvements were more than just skin deep. Bilstein gas shock absorbers, heavy-duty anti-roll bars and stiffer springs improved the Falcon's handling, and the ESP came with four-wheel disc brakes, a limited-slip diff and quick ratio steering as standard. Under the bonnet, the ESP was equipped with Ford's 4.1-litre six and a four-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the 5.8-litre V8 remained optional. Interior changes included Scheel front seats with cloth trim and full instrumentation, making the package the most sought-after and collectible of the XD Falcon models.