Styling - Bonnets


Styling Influences

One of the more interesting issues involved with the Australian Fords, especially the XA and the XB models, has been to spot the styling influences, especially in comparison to their U.S. cousins, and therefore try and deny their designers any credit for originality.

Lets examine some of the cues.

The car that the XA is most commonly referenced too is the 1968/69 U.S. Ford Fairlane as seen below.

And compare it with the XA Falcon.

The Falcon is a wider, lower car. It can be seen that the hump in the bonnet was probably derived from the similar, but wider, hump in the bonnet of the U.S. Fairlane and the sidelight/indicators in the leading edges of the front wings were a Ford worldwide styling cue - as also seen in the European MkIII Cortina and Taunus. But the larger 7inch headlights were undoubtably more effective than the smaller 5inch U.S. ones, and the addition of the driving lamps helped too.

As to which is better, well ... no contest.

The XB Falcon is most often compared to the 1971-73 U.S. Ford Mustang. There was a perception that the front of the XA Falcon looked a bit ‘soft’ so the restyle to the XB was done to toughen the car up. Whether one looks tougher than the other is a matter of interpretation, but there is no denying that the restyle did bring the Falcon closer to a U.S. copy than before.

Or did it ?

A direct comparison, Falcon to Mustang.

It is apparent from the above that the Falcon is a wider car - although the 3 inches noted in specifications can most probably be attributed to the bulging rear wings - but it is also almost 4 inches shorter than the Mustang. The Falcon looks wider at the front due to the fact that the front wings stay much more square to the rest of the car in plan view, unlike the Mustang which squeezes inward to the front of the wings. This tends to push the headlights in closer together than in the Falcon.The Falcon also has much broader upper wing surfaces.

There can also be seen that there was some influence from the US 1970/71 fastback Torino in the side profile shape of the hardtop Falcon’s rear side window.

Although it can be seen that the rearmost ‘break’ line in the glass is more angled, or nearer the horizontal, on the Falcon than on the Torino.

However, it is intriguing and the generator of endless debate if you claim that the XB hardtop as being an amalgram of the front of a 71-73 Mustang and the rear of a 70-71 Torino,

What is even more interesting is if you consider this November, 1968 styling clay for the proposed new Ford Maverick.

The side profile, bonnet and tail panel and tail-lamp opening look awfully like what became the XA.

Back to the Mustang-Falcon comparison. Here are the bonnets.



The deep fore and aft ribs that separate the hoodscoops are further apart in the Mustang than in the Falcon and there is a more prominent crease line down the centre of the bonnet on the Australian car. The leading edge is more pointed so to accomodate the greater overhang of the Falcon’s bonnet in relationship to its grille.

Anything else ? Well, yes.

The Mustangs bonnet release latches are far closer to the front of the bonnet than the Falcon’s, reflecting the difference in location of the radiator support.

The pressings in the bonnet leading up to the scoops themselves are curved on the Mustang as above.

Whereas they are straight on the Falcon.

But, are the actual scoop inserts identical ? Anyone know ?

And finally, the bonnet on the Mustang reaches the windscreen and hides the wipers, whereas the Falcon has a header panel and exposed wipers.

And what about the XA ?

The 1969-70 Shelby Mustang was adorned with the NACA/NASA scoops. Did the XA GT designer get his inspiration from here ?

While the two outer scoops were decorative, the centre one led to something much more interesting.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had Ram Air on your Falcon ?

XA or XB ?

As for the ‘tougher’ debate, it will rage forever most probably.

Back to contents

Next page

[Australian Ford Register UK] [History] [The Cars] [Members] [Bits and Pieces] [Contents] [Model Changes - Dashes] [Vinyl Roofs] [Doorhandles - Tail lamps - Glass] [Underneath] [Underneath 2] [Thorn Red] [Spoilers - Horn Cars] [Styling - Bonnets] [Grand Sports] [Metricification] [Grand Sport details - P5 LTD] [Scoops and vents] [Wheels] [The other XR8 - P6 LTD] [Superbird] [Compliance Plates] [Engines] [Engines2] [Rust] [Stampings] [Falcons] [Literature] [Some UK background] [One owner] [Bits and Pieces 2] [Untitled124] [Links] [Visitors] [Events] [AusCCA] [Site History]