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Any American Ford enthusiast can tell you about the Ford Falcon -- though it would surprise most to know that the Falcon still exists in the world, after the last American model in 1970. Australia has for long seen the Ford Falcon, starting as the Ford XA Falcon in 1971, as one of their top sports cars, traditionally competing against the Holden Commodore.

10 years ago, a new model of Falcon was released: the high-performance XR. The power and race-readiness of the two XRs -- the six-cylinder XR6 and the eight-cylinder XR8 -- were enough to give any Holden a run for its money (though certainly the Commodore SS and Monaro can easily trounce either model). The current lineup of XRs, known as Series-III, is obviously the best yet. The XR6 uses a 4 liter inline six-cylinder engine producing a solid 220 horsepower, though there is also a turbocharged XR6 and a model using a Ford technology known as Variable Camshaft Timing (this model is known as the XR6 VCT, and also utilizes an independent rear suspension and limited-slip differential). The XR8 is the big boy in the XR series, using the Barra 220 V8 engine, outputting a whopping 295hp. The XR8 has all the goodies of the XR8 VCT and more, including a standard body kit with a choice of Tickford or Ford Racing. All models have four-wheel disc brakes and power rack-and-pinion steering.

Interestingly enough the Falcon XR also has a "Ute" option (I've found the Ute-type vehicles to be mostly limited to Australia -- they're a weird car-truck hybrid. Think Chevrolet El Camino), with a race-tuned special edition called the Pursuit 250. This monster is powered by a hand-built, 5.6-liter Windsor V8 boasting a good 335hp. With standard equipment such as a special body kit, racing tires, anti-lock brakes, a Tickford brake package (a Brembo brake package is optional), and a modified XR8 suspension, the Pursuit 250 is more than a little bad-ass.

Tickford frequently modifies XR-series Falcons into track racing and rally cars. An excellent vehicle, the Falcon XR, but unfortunately, limited to Australia.

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