Something was happening, and must have been very big or wrong for our office to became that noisy during the lunch break. In fact, the bad news were just a couple of clicks away.
Today is a sad day for the Australian automotive industry. Heck, I would venture to say it is a sad day for the country. I don’t know how sad or upset the street is, but happy is not the world I’d use to describe the mood I saw around the rest of the afternoon.
The big, rear-drive Aussie sedans beloved by enthusiasts overseas aren’t gaining traction in the Australian marketplace, and the smart money is betting on the death of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.
An Australian financial publication is quoting two auto industry players who say that Ford will exit their Australian manufacturing operations, taking the Ford Falcon and Territory with them.
As dismissive as I tend to be of the internet product-planning brigade, their constant cries of “Bring rear-drive, V8 full-size Aussie sedans to America” may have some credibility – the market for these cars in Australia seems to be going teats up, with SUVs and small cars taking their place.
Ford’s Australia branch is getting $34 million AUD (roughly $35 million U.S. dollars) plus an unspecified contribution from the government of Victoria (an Australian state), to sustain a Ford plant in Melbourne. Total investment is said to be roughly $105 million USD. Holden, GM’s Australian division, is looking for some government funds too, and its raising questions about the viability of Australia’s domestic car industry.
I do a lot of air traveling in my role as Chief Justice of the LeMons Supreme Court, which means I spend a lot of time at Shadow Government World Headquarters, aka Denver International Airport. My ride was coming to get me in a late-model Subaru Outback, i.e. the type of vehicle driven by approximately 70% of Colorado drivers… but this traveler climbed into an early, no-frills Ford Falcon. Yes, I was envious. (Read More…)
We often forget that Ford made the Falcon until 1970. That’s in North America; you could buy a new Falcon— based on the original 1960 version— in Argentina until 1991, and Australians can still buy Falcons today. The shortened-Fairlane-based 1966-70 Falcon tends to get overlooked, unless you live in East Oakland, so it took me a second to figure out what I was looking at when I spotted this one in my local self-serve wrecking yard. (Read More…)
When I researched the subject of cars built in relatively unchanged form for 20 or more years, the only American machine that met my criteria was the first-gen Ford Falcon (no, the Model T was not built during 20 model years and, no, the Ford Panther and GM B platforms changed too much to be considered single models). As late as 1991, car shoppers in Argentina could step into a Ford showroom and choose between a new Falcon and a new Sierra XR4… or they could walk across the street to Peugeot and drive out in a new 504. How’s that for a set of choices? (Read More…)
This 1965 Falcon Futura first caught my eye, not the Prius. But seeing them jowl-to-cheek gave me a dramatic lesson in how far car aerodynamics have come. Well, at least in common everyday cars. The Tatra T77 of 1934 still has this Prius’ Cd of .25 handily beat. The Falcon? Who knows; probably around .50 or so. But this semi-fastback roof on the Falcon was the hot new thing when it came out on the 1963.5 Fords, specifically to help the big Galaxie on the high speed NASCAR tracks. (Read More…)