FORD XC FALCON COBRA
The FORD XC FALCON COBRA is part of the the Ford Falcon range that was produced by Ford in Australia from 1970 to 1972. In August 1978 Ford introduced the limited production Falcon Cobra, a high-performance version of the XC Falcon Hardtop. Only 400 were built, including 4.9-litre and 5.8-litre street versions and 30 “Bathurst Specials”
When production of the XC Hardtop at the Broadmeadows Assembly plant was ending in March 1978, more than 400 body shells were left unsold and Ford Australia faced a dilemma of how to shift them, rather than scrap them. When an original proposal to turn these cars into black and gold Playboy-themed cars (complete with “bunny” decals) was rejected as sending the wrong image for a family car company, Ford turned to Edsel Ford II, then the Deputy Managing Director of Ford Motor Company who was also M.D. of Ford Australia at that time (from 1978 to 1980). He and a local design team elected to capitalise on Allan Moffat and Colin Bond’s crushing 1-2 finish at the 1977 Bathurst 1000 by creating a road car with a “Shelby Mustang” look that could be homologated for racing, while at the same time offering enthusiasts the opportunity to own a street-legal version of Moffat’s race car. The first prototype Falcon Cobra was built in late April 1978 and production began that same July. The cars were painted Bold Blue with an overlay of Sno White, with Olympic Blue accent stripes separating the two colours … “Cobra” emblem decals, a throwback to Carroll Shelby’s Mustangs of the 1960s, were affixed to the front fenders, along with a name decal at the rear. Unusually, the bodyshells were painted blue first, the intended area of blue stripes and sills then masked and the white coat painted over the top. Each of the cars was given its own individual serial number and fitted with a sequentially-numbered plaque (from 001 to 400) on the dash. The first 200 Cobras produced were given the 5.8L 351 Cleveland V8, while the other 200 received the 4.9L 302 Cleveland … the only exceptions to this being build number 001 is a 302ci (4.9 litre) V8 and build number 351 is a 351ci (5.8 litre) V8.
Cobras were available with either automatic or manual transmission. Standard equipment included four-wheel disc brakes, limited slip differential, 15-inch Bathurst Globe wheels, front & rear spoilers and dual exhaust. The interiors were uniformly black, with Cobra specific cloth seat inserts in black with blue stripes that match those on the outside body. Cars numbered from 002 to 0031 were known as Option 97 specification, the so-called “Bathurst Cobras”, fitted with parts to allow homologation for racing, including twin radiator fans switchable from the dash, a gearbox oil cooler, suspension bracing and reworked rear wheel body housings. They were most easily identified from the other 370 Option 96 Cobras via their large (and functional) rear-opening bonnet bulge. Allan Moffat’s “Moffat Ford Dealers” race cars of late 1978 shared the same body paint decoration as the road cars.
Falcon Cobras have become increasingly revered by collectors across Australia and a mint example might be worth upwards of $100,000 … with Option 97 cars (rarely offered up for sale) likely to fetch a further premium.
This popular plate comes standard as flat non-embossed with a pressed out embossed border.
These novelty number plates are made from high quality aluminium and the artwork applied by a dye sublimation process with a lovely gloss finish. They measure 37 x 13 cm, exactly the same as the traditional fully embossed type of plate and look just like our other Aussie made novelty number plates; even the mounting holes are in exactly the same positions, so they can easily be hung on display indoors or outdoors.
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