1981 Ford Falcon Reviews

1981 Ford Falcon Futura 3.6 from Argentina

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 kilometres
Most recent distance240000 kilometres
Previous carFord Fairlane

Summary:

Heavy and expensive non-classic

Faults:

The car was equipped with natural propane in 2005, which ended up ruining the valveheads, costing over US$100 in repairs (in local Pesos, that's about 400).

The heater never quite worked.

Engine always ran hot, despite changing the thermostat.

Seats were small, shallow and uncomfortable.

Ride was tough, but at the same time unstable.

Front end broke loose from the forward beams, costing $$$ in welding repairs.

Started rusting just before we sold it in 2006.

Had to replace started and brake switch solenoids after having the car for 8 years.

Had to replace and re-grind frozen front passenger's side brakes after 2 years of sitting without moving.

General Comments:

A good, solid car, but expensive on the maintenance.

Rather reliable, but would have preferred a bit more comfort, given the good size of the car.

Excellent engine, but delicate with natural propane gas (never perform this conversion if you can avoid it).

Cranked up and ran every time.

Slow on the highway, but felt extremely tough and safe.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 2010

1981 Ford Falcon XD GL Wagon 4.1L from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 4.1L Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired340000 kilometres
Most recent distance360000 kilometres
Previous carFord Falcon

Summary:

Tough as guts, nice to look at, and unstoppable!

Faults:

Wheel alignment thrown out by running up a gutter.

Flasher can failed.

LPG solenoid required replacing.

LPG tank main flange leak repaired.

Auto transmission forward clutch started failing at 357000.

Snapped front handbrake cable.

Park pawl sheered.

Broke 2 door handles.

General Comments:

The XD is almost bulletproof and reliable as anything. The old 250 crossy is as tough as nails, and the Bosch Stromberg carby with manual choke and the dual-advance pointsless Bosch distributor make the car pleasantly easy to tune and keep running sweet.

The performance is a bit doughy compared to the XE and XF, which had the twin-throat Weber ADM carb, especially running on LPG, however it still has enough get up and go to hold its own in town, and be a pleasant cruiser on the highway once it gets to speed, and can still pull a pretty good load, albeit a little sluggishly. It is definitely an underpowered old tank that had not had the potential of its massive motor fully explored yet.

The old XD wagon handles alright for a leaf-sprung station wagon, however the 5 turns lock to lock of the manual steering box is tiring in cities like Canberra where I drive it, and doesn't allow for precise, agile driving. The same car with power-assisted steering (which has only 2 and a half turns to both locks) is an absolute weapon that actually HANDLES rather than just steers.

It is a fairly economical vehicle all aspects considered, giving reasonable mileage on petrol for a car its size and engine capacity, and amazing economy on LPG... using only a little over a full 50 litre tank of gas for a 450km round trip, costing about $50 in total.

The body/chassis and suspension are rock solid, having survived many a bingle with little more than a couple of cracked bumpers.

One annoying letdown that unfortunately plagued all X series Falcons up to the XH ute of the 90's was the perpetually breaking door handles... they either snap at the plunger, tear at the hinges, or have the retainer for the return spring break off... in all cases rendering the handle useless from the inside. Also, the door hinges sag over time, making doors a pain to open if the hinges aren't adjusted every so often.

The interior is adequately comfy, however the seats can be a little strenuous on some cars on the long haul (depending on wear, seat covers, style etc), and the 6 seat column shift model I own does seem to overwhelm you a little with the sheer amounts of space around you. And also the seat adjustment is unfriendly to those who are short of stature.

The interior in the XD is rather poorly organised and less that ergonomic compared to the XF model, with an old style round push-pull knob for the headlights under the instrument cluster, and the same knob for the hazard lights... WHICH IS LOCATED MILES FROM THE DRIVERS SEAT!!! Also I find the indicator stalk to be out of comfortable fingers reach on the XD when it is flicked forward to the hi-beam position.

All in all, despite the flaws that are to be expected from what was a revolutionary new design in its time, the XD is a solid, rugged, reliable and pleasant vehicle that is almost unstoppable, and if looked after, will survive long after all of today's flimsy 4-wheeled sardine tins have been turned into mobile phones and tinfoil...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2009

19th Oct 2010, 20:31

I got a 82 August XE Falcon in 6 seat in 3 speed, column shift auto, straight 6 crossflow though.

I fell in love with these cars because of their durability, and I know what you mean about the space, it's like driving a kingsize bed.

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 6 reviews