Ford's new Falcon GT, shown for the first time at the Sydney Motor Show last Thursday, takes styling and mechanical inspiration from the classic high-performance Falcons of the late 1960s.
The new car, based on the BA Falcon, gets a 290kW version of the quad can 5.4-litre V8.
The motor was developed in Australia and takes its name, the Boss, from the Windsor/Cleveland hybrid used in the Boss Mustang and Falcon GTs.
Its torque output, a hefty 520Nm, is the greatest offered yet in an Australian-developed V8.
Ford Australia's design director Simon Butterworth says he was given a "crystal clear direction" for the new GT and the rest of the FPV range which includes the Pursuit ute and the more luxurious GT-P sedan.
Ford Performance Vehicles managing director David Flint said FPV models must have "superior driving dynamics and engineering enhancements based on the expertise and technology gained from Ford's and Prodrive's international race and rally experience. (And they must have) the purposeful look and unmistakable sound of a true Ford performance car."
Butterworth says the new GT's look is "driven by our V8 Supercar where everything is optimised for racing."
He calls it the blue blood factor. "It's the blue blood that runs through the veins of the biggest, strongest, most integrated Aussie muscle car on the road. You won't mistake it for anything other than a Ford."
Butterworth says there was considerable pressure from Ford fans to revive signature design features of the original Falcon GTs.
"The design of the GT had to recognise the rich heritage that comes with the GT brand, while not compromising on the integrity of the design.
"If the signature design features of the early GTs were reduced to gimmicks that didn't work, the design would lose its honesty.
"(The) FPV range is therefore linked to the GT heritage but in a contemporary way...without recycling the past."
Achieving the effect involved reviving the strong horizontal and road-hugging aspect of the early GT models with their round lights and wide grilles.
"The power bulge in FPV bonnets is a modern interpretation of the shaker, and a functional element designed to meet the engineering needs of (the) Boss engine. The bulge is not dressed up because there's no functional reason to do that.
"The lights in the front spoiler are another example. When auxiliary lights were first fitted to a GT in 1968, they were a separate accessory item fitted as standard in the original Falcon grille to go with the GT's extra performance.
"The new lights have the detail of a traditional accessory auxiliary light. It looks as if they have been added later for high performance road use."
The GT's styling had to suggest "a fantastic driver's car with all the dynamics that go with it. You need to be able to see that at first glance when it comes up behind you.
"It has a strong Ford performance signature, with the trapezoidal grille at the top and the large inverted grille below it. We have achieved this through increasing the volume and widening the lower regions, which are actually much wider than other BA Falcons.
"This extra width reinforces that look of strength and width by taking the eye out to the corners of the front and rear sections."
Butterworth's team created the FPV range hand in hand with the race car.
"The race car and FPV range design work...creates a fever which helps generate something special right through the range which is why we were so keen to get the whole process back in-house."
Designers Peter Elliott and Nick Hogios - who jointly developed the look for the race car and FPVs - were conscious of the shared priorities of a high performance road and race car.
"The large front lower air intake had to be functional as both the race car and the FPV range needed all the air intake area we could give (them)," says Elliott.
"We removed some length from the front end compared to the Falcon XR models and together with the lower front spoiler, the side profile matches the shorter and more purposeful stance of the race car. The front centre intakes are based on the race car's splitter design while the rear styling is based on the race car's diffuser idea.
"We connected the wheelarches with a strong side rocker section to generate the same visual strength of the race car's aero package. The rear grille in the side skirt which provides airflow to the rear brake area provides a strong visual connection with the race car which has its exhaust outlets in this area."
Butterworth's team drew on the five-spoke Globe Bathurst wheel of the early GTs when it came to designing the FPV GT's rims.
Butterworth says the Globe Bathurst wheel has survived the test of time for good reason. "Five, seven and nine spoke alloys always make a dynamic-looking wheel. Wheels with an even number of spokes never look as dynamic (because) their spokes continue through the centre. Because the spokes in an odd number don't run past the centre, they keep your eye outside the centre of the wheel so the wheel always looks dynamic.
"This is why we chose five spokes for the GT and Pursuit ute, and seven spokes for the GT-P. The seven spoke GT-P wheel has the powerful arched spokes of a classic Minilite alloy wheel which were often fitted to Ford race cars but the wide diamond-turned surface on each spoke places it in today's context."
Certain colours will be kept exclusive to Falcon XRs and FPVs.
Phantom (deep purple), Citric Acid (bright lime green-yellow) and Blood Orange have been kept exclusive to the upper performance stream. They join Blueprint, a bright metallic blue introduced earlier this year.
"We want to own the colour blue and we will always have exciting blues for our performance range in keeping with the FPV association with the Ford blue," says Butterworth.
"It's an extension of the blue blooded passion that is running through the design, the engineering and the people from Ford and FPV who build them."
Meet the Boss
Ford Performance Vehicles has developed a premium engine for the GT, GT-P and Pursuit ute.
The motor is built in Australia starting from bare blocks and heads.Ford Performance Vehicles managing director, David Flint, says FPV has maintained and built upon the standard previously set by Tickford to produce a premium performance engine to meet Australian requirements.
"As we worked through its development, we kept coming across remarkable parallels with the first Boss 302 in the 1969 Mustang which led us to believe there could only be one name for this new engine, Boss," he says.
There are two versions of the new Boss engine, a 260kW version for the Falcon XR8 and 290kW for the GT, GT-P and Pursuit Ute.
The Boss has quad overhead camshafts and 32 valves.
The GT, GT-P, Pursuit Ute and Falcon XR8 also have a specific Boss power bulge bonnet.
The bulge ensures the engine and vital performance equipment positioning isn't dictated by low bonnet height. It also helps generate the required ground clearance for the sump and allows additional airflow around the engine bay.
The first Boss 302 V8 engine was born in 1969 by combining the cast-iron Windsor 302 block with the larger, deeper-breathing Cleveland heads to generate a Mustang that became a legend in Trans-Am racing in the USA. It was a legend that had an Australian chapter starring Allan Moffat and his factory Trans-Am Mustang Boss 302.
The original Trans-Am race-bred Boss 302 had an aluminium high-rise manifold, four barrel carburettor, four-bolt centre main bearing caps, forged crankshaft and special pistons. It delivered 290bhp at 5800 rpm on a compression ratio of 10.5:1.
Both the 260kW and 290kW versions of the new Boss engine start with the rigid cast-iron block and high torque of Ford's 5.4-litre V8, with forged steel crankshaft and cross-bolted main bearing caps. It's made in Ford's Windsor factory in Ontario, Canada. The block is from the same all new V8 engine family introduced across the BA Falcon range.
The latest development of the Cobra R alloy cylinder heads, with twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and high performance alloy inlet manifold, are the 21st century equivalent of the Cleveland heads. They're added to the 5.4-litre block to create the new Boss.
The Boss 290 delivers 290kW at 5500rpm, the same power figure in kilowatts as the brake horsepower figures for the original Mustang Boss 302 and the first Falcon GT 351. It also shares its 10.5:1 compression ratio with the original Boss 302. The 520Nm of peak torque at 4500rpm launches the new GT, GT-P and Pursuit ute into a class of their own.
The parity between the Boss 260 and Boss 290 is also remarkably similar to the two-barrel (250bhp) and four-barrel versions (300bhp) of the Cleveland 351 V8 available in the XY Falcon GS 351 and GT 351 in 1970 to 1972.
The engine has sintered conrods for uniform weight and high strength.