Falcon XR6 & 8
Summary:

While the AU Falcon XR was offered in both the traditional XR6 and XR8 guises, the XR6 broke with the usual by being offered in two distinct variants - being the popular 'HP' and fully loaded 'VCT' versions.  Styling wise, the AU furthered the XR genre by the addition of a full-frontal nose cone piece and the option of a new but controversial twin-deck equipped body kit - leaving you feeling like it was created to compete with HSV rather than the humble SS!  17 inch wheels were also introduced for the first time as (optional) giving XR's so equipped a really sweet look!  With the move to a 'Warm Charcoal' interior (that's black to you and me) things were seldom so good for the XR customer leaving well behind the more bland greys of previous XRs.  Silver was introduced to the paint pallet part way through the XR's reign (see AU History for the full story on this interesting development).  So with this I leave you with individual sections on each separate XR variant:

Click here to go to a Comprehensive Specifications Listing for the AU1 XR6 HP, XR6 VCT & XR8.

XR6 HP:

Visually (almost) identical to its more expensive brother (the VCT') the 'HP' was the budget entry level version to the XR legend.  In most ways equivalent to the older EL XR6, the AU featured a slightly lighter overall weight giving all of the benefits of the stiffer body shell as well as vastly improved engineering standard with every AU Falcon.  My only criticism is the overly harsh ride but in all fairness, you expect that in a performance vehicle (I lied my second criticism is that there is no station wagon version available!)  

Despite being slightly behind the 'VCT' version in power, the 'HP' version missed out little in the acceleration stakes.  With lower equipment levels and the lack of Ford's magnificent-if-heavy IRS unit more than giving sufficient weight reduction, the XR6 'HP' quickly became the weapon of choice for GTP racers - the most notable of which was Daryl Coon who managed to win not one but two National Championships in his nearly stock XR (keen punters should note the difference between what can be expected in normally bump free race conditions vs. those available on the normal roads of Australia).  If you considered the EL XR6 a great car (and who doesnt?) then the AU XR6 HP deserves a good look.

XR6 VCT:

Introduced for the first time in AU, the XR6 'VCT' was made possible by the very technology that gives it it's name - a 4.0 litre 'Variable Cam Timing' SOHC straight six.  To add to it's list of credentials, the XR6 VCT produced the same amount of power as Holden's (Buick's) Supercharged V6 - but unlike the V6 - didn't need Premium Unleaded to do it!  Far more than just a powerful motor, the XR6 VCT came as a package featuring that other Falcon first - multi link independent rear suspension.  Despite it's weight penalty (which reduces the VCT six's straight line advantage down to 0.3 seconds on the 1/4 mile) it made for a far more supple and stable ride - less likely to skip sideways on bumps mid corner.  

Combined with the Falcon's exceptional steering feel, it made for a far more accurate and better handling package than anything either Holden or HSV could throw at it.  Having driven both the HP and VCT versions, I'm a sworn convert to the Falcon IRS way of doing things - with less body roll, far better traction (even in a straight line) and a softer ride than the live axil'd XR6 HP!  But there's far more to this story than just an exceptional motor and suspension package - so I'll let you check out the list below.  No matter what way you look at it, when it comes to making life that little bit more enjoyable, the XR6 'VCT' has all the fruit.

XR8:

Continued from the EL Falcon, Ford's throaty 5.0 litre V8 retained the same 185kw originally intended for release in the AU but brought forward to help combat the VT SS' new found power outputs.  With the SS receiving 179kw as standard and the option of a HSV tweaked 195kw version, the XR8 was now quicker in every sense of the word with the new IRS kicking in through the corners.  That the XR8 would blitz the standard SS was not totally unexpected - that it would trounce the 195kw SS in every area came as a complete revelation!  In results repeated time and time again by magazines all over Australia, the Falcon kept up this response - and HSV hung it's head in shame...

While all that would change with the coming of the Gen III to the Commodore, the handling or lighting situation did not change with the Falcon still providing the more enjoyable drive

Fitted with Ford's magnificent (if not heavy) multi link rear suspension for the first time - the XR8 provided surprising levels of grip for a car of it's class - providing a solid foundation for those seeking increased power outputs.  With Tickford's amazing adapt-a-shift (for auto customers) and styling that put it firmly into HSV territory (in most people's minds anyway) the XR8 customer was on a winner!  It's only short falls were brakes that faded far too soon if used too enthusiastically - and 16" wheels (verses the SS's standard 17's - a problem rectified with AU2).  Not as sophisticated as the six (and missing out on some of it's important technical developments) the XR8 more than made up for this with that sweet sweet exhaust note - as well as quite a bit more punch!  Check it all out below:

XR6 HP standard equipment (over Futura):

XR6 VCT standard equipment over XR6 HP:

XR8 standard equipment over XR6 VCT:

Click here to go to a Comprehensive Specifications Listing for the AU1 XR6 HP, XR6 VCT & XR8.

AU Home / Contact / Links / Home Page / Feedback
EL Home / EF Home / Galleries / Showcars / Visitor's Cars

Info By Doug Bevan, site by Anthony Robinson.
Copyright 2000 by Doug & Any . All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 Nov 2002 .