1961 Ford XK Falcon Deluxe sedan. at the 2011 NSW All Ford Day, at Eastern Creek Raceway, Sydney. PM

1961 Ford XK Falcon Deluxe sedan. at the 2011 NSW All Ford Day, at Eastern Creek Raceway, Sydney. by Paul McCurley -

The Ford XK Falcon is a car which was produced by Ford Australia between 1960 and 1962.

The first Falcon sold in Australia was the XK series, introduced in September 1960. It was initially offered only as a four-door sedan, in both Falcon and Falcon Deluxe trim levels. The XK was essentially a right hand drive version of the North American model, although local country dealers often included modifications such as heavy duty rear suspension (5 leaves) and larger 6.50 x 13 tyres. Front seat belts were optional.

The steering was light and the ride surprisingly good, on well-paved roads. Whereas the North American model used an 'economy' 3.10 to 1 rear axle ratio, the Australian Falcon was built with a 3.56 to 1 ratio which better complemented the torque characteristics of the engine. It had a 38 ft (12 m) turning circle.

The station wagon, added to the range in November 1960, was shortened at the rear due to concern that the back of the car might scrape on rough roads and spoon drains. Also, as with the sedan, no 2-door model was offered.

Billed as being "Australian-with a world of difference", Falcon offered the first serious alternative to Holden, and became an instant success. Sales were aided by the contemporary FB series Holden being perceived as lacklustre and dated by comparison. A 170 cu in engine was introduced late in the model's life.

However, before long, XK sales suffered from complaints about the durability on rough outback roads (due chiefly to collapsing front ball joints, and adjusting shims dropping out of the front suspension, both problems inducing some rather severe front camber); the car earned the unflattering nickname "Foul Can" during this time.

The XK range was expanded in May 1961 with the addition of utility and panel van body styles, officially designated as Falcon Utility and Falcon Sedan Delivery respectively. As with the wagons these lacked the extended rear overhang of their American counterparts, and also used the 4-door front doors rather than the longer 2-door units used by the Ranchero and US sedan delivery.