April 7th, 2000
Falcon showed up Euro rally stars
When Harry Firth and his Falcon crews arrived at the starting line in the shadow of Londons Big Ben for the commencement of the Daily Telegraph London-to-Sydney Marathon in 1968, everyone laughed at the huge cars with massive steel bumper bars. (We call them kangaroo bars in Australia, and take them seriously!)
Experienced European rally crews scoffed at the huge cars saying they were too wide, too heavy and too cumbersome. The favourites amongst European rally drivers were the lithe Escorts and Hillman GTs, the sporty Porsches and the innovative Citroens.
It didnt take long for the jeers to turn to amazement as these powerful V8 Falcons worked their way through the field as cars fell by the wayside in Yugoslavia, Iran and India.
When they got to Australia, the Falcons really shone. By the time they arrived in Sydney after days of stony desert tracks and icy alpine roads, the Falcons were placed third, fifth, and eighth, and had won the prestigious Teams Prize.
One of the drivers, a young engineer named Ian Vaughan, took out third place. 25 years later Ian drove the same car on the anniversary re-run and came home second! Ian is now vice president of product development at Ford and isnt sure whether hell be at the wheel for the 50th anniversary in 2018, but that famous Falcon KAG 002 very well might be.
The car is on permanent display at the Ford Discovery Centre in Geelong.
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