Muscle cars are apparent as an American phenomenon, but for a time in the 1960s and ’70s, our adolescent above colonists in Australia bent the beef car bug as well. Popularity of the Australian Touring Car Championship antagonism series, as able-bodied as callous right-hand-drive laws, led the American Big Three to advance a alternation of beef cars advised alone for the Australian market—a blitz that was about cut off at the knees afterwards the “Supercar Scare” of 1972. Here’s how Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler responded to the Australian charge for speed.
Ford Falcon GT: Australia’s Aboriginal Beef Car
The Falcon fabricated its alpha in Oz abundant as it did here: As a humble, fuel-efficient compact. For ’67, Ford alien the new XR-series Falcon calendar with a achievement adaptation declared the Falcon GT. It was powered by a 225-horsepower, 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V-8 adopted from the Mustang and aggrandized with a stiffer abeyance and bigger brakes. Despite accepting four doors—a beef car-no-no in the United States—the Falcon GT is broadly advised to be the aboriginal beef car in Australia.
For 1968, the redesigned XT-series Falcon GT got a 5.0-liter V-8 that baffled 230 application through a close-ratio four-speed transmission. The XW-series Falcon GT HO adopted the Cleveland 351 cid (5.8-liter) V-8 with 290 horsepower. In 1971, the XY-series Falcon was released. The GT-HO adaptation now featured a shaker awning scoop, and while Ford claimed 300 horsepower, gearheads Bottomward Under pin the engine’s accurate achievement able-bodied arctic of 350 horsepower.
Nineteen seventy-two was a big year for the Australian Falcon: While Ford of Australia had afflicted architecture changes back the mid-60s, the ’72 XA-series Falcon was the aboriginal all-Australian model. The Falcon GT was assuredly offered as a two-door coupe, with the 300 (alleged) application 351-ci V-8 as the top agent choice. (This was the Falcon best accepted to the world, acknowledgment to a ’73 GT that had a starring role in the blur Mad Max. Several accept fabricated it to the States.) The hottest of the hot was the GT HO—0-60-mph in 6.4 abnormal and a 142-mph top speed, authoritative it the fastest 1972 four-door in the world. But Australian absorption in beef cars cooled rapidly afterwards 1972 (for affidavit we’ll analyze below), and the Falcon GT was discontinued afterwards 1973.
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Holden Monaro GTS 3xx and Torana GTR XU-1: GM Responds to the Ford Falcon
The abominable cross-town animosity amid Ford and General Motors didn’t end at the Detroit burghal limits—or alike at the International Date Line. Ford’s success with the Falcon GT did not go unnoticed, and for 1968, GM’s Holden analysis appear its own muscle-coupe based on the new HK-series Monaro. The GTS 327 had a Chevrolet-sourced 5.4-liter V-8 rated for 250 horsepower. In the bounce of ’69, the Monaro was facelifted (now accepted as the HT-series) and the GTS 350 accustomed with a 300-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8. Like the Falcon, the Monaro GTS 3xx cars were able with a able abeyance and bigger brakes.
The HG-series Monaro, alien in 1971, had a bargain accent on performance—the GTS 350 was now bottomward to 275 horsepower. The chiral chiral was alone for 1974, and back the facelifted adaptation appeared the afterward year, the 350 was no best on the advantage list. Holden wasn’t done with beef cars; it had artlessly begin a new formula.
The 1970 Holden Torana GTR XU-1was a altered affectionate of beef car. Instead of a fire-breathing V-8, it had a 3.0-liter beeline six-cylinder fed by three Stromberg carburetors. Achievement was alone 158 horsepower, aloof over bisected that of the Monaro GTS 350, but the LC-series Torana was decidedly abate and lighter (in fact, it was a advertiser of GM’s T-car, accepted to us as the Chevrolet Chevette). If the Monaro’s M.O. was to exhausted the Falcon GT like a sledgehammer, the XU-1 aimed to carve it up like a scalpel.
The blueprint worked, with XU-1s proving quicker on the clue than the Monaro. For 1972, Holden added the engine’s admeasurement and upped achievement to 190 horsepower, while added convalescent the abeyance and steering. Holden awash about 1,600 XU-1s amid 1972 and 1974. Holden additionally congenital an beginning V-8-powered Torana declared the XU2, but the assembly costs were too high, and the blackmail of legislation adjoin accelerated cars loomed large.
Even so, back the Torana was redesigned (TA-series) in 1974, it assuredly got the V-8 it wanted, a 240-horsepower 5.0-liter (308 cid) agent developed by Holden. Hottest of these was the 1977 Torana A9X, finer a homologation special. These cars are attenuate today and awfully valuable.
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Chrysler Valiant Charger: Chrysler’s Late Entry in the Oz Beef Car Race
Having waited until 1971 to get into the Beef Bottomward Under business, Chrysler had affluence of time to see what Ford and Holden had gotten appropriate (and wrong). The two-door Valiant Charger was based on the Valiant sedan, itself accompanying to America’s all-over A-body Valiant and Dart, but with a added anatomy and track. The auto anatomy was different to Australia, while the Valiant’s surname came from the acclaimed American beef car.
Chrysler offered the VH-series Valiant Charger with a brace of arresting engines. The R/T acclimated the 4.3-liter (265-cid) “Hemi 6”, a unique-to-Oz inline six-cylider developed from a proposed (but never implemented) backup for the acclaimed Slant Six. The R/T could be had with a triple-carb “six pack” bureaucracy that yielded as abundant as 302 horsepower, able-bodied over the abracadabra 1-hp-per-cubic-inch benchmark.
The Charger 770 SE came with the 5.6-liter (340-cid) V-8 begin in Chrysler’s American beef compacts. It was acquainted for 275 horsepower, but a distinct bankrupt and automated chiral watered bottomward performance. The 340-cid V-8 agent was meant to go racing, but its added weight fabricated it slower about the clue than the six-cylinder cars, appropriately its use in the luxury-oriented SE.
A new VJ-series Valiant Charger appeared in 1973, not connected afterwards Chrysler withdrew from Australian touring car racing. Achievement engines were commutual to the six-pack six-cylinder and the 340-cid V-8, which (as in the States) was anon replaced by the 360-cid (5.9-liter)—albeit one detuned with a two-barrel carb and 255 horsepower. The VK-series replaced the VJ in 1975, and while it still offered the 360-cid V-8, accretion emissions regulations dead it afterwards beneath than a year. Chrysler would abide to action a 5.2-liter (318-cid) V-8 with a four-speed chiral chiral through the end of the Valiant Charger’s run in 1978.
The End of the Beef Car Era in Australia
Why did the beef car era in Australia achromatize so quickly? Ironically, it was the Ford Falcon GT, the car that began the beef car craze, that helped to accompany it to an end. A photo in the October 1971 affair of Wheels annual showed the dashboard of a Falcon GT at 6,700 rpm and 100 mph—but it anon came out the photo had been retouched, and in actuality the car was in fourth accessory activity 140-mph-plus. The Sun-Herald bi-weekly appear an commodity that Ford, Holden, and Chrysler would anon be architecture street-legal homologation specials that could do 160 mph.
The uproar that resulted is accepted today as the Supercar Scare, with government leaders aggressive legislation to ban cars faster than 130 mph. Chrysler responded by abandoning from antagonism in Australia, and while it connected to body V-8 models, they were affluence models adapted with detuned engines. Australia was additionally adverse the aforementioned ascent ammunition prices as the blow of the world. Ford discontinued the Falcon GT in 1973, signaling the end of the Australian muscle-car craze.