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The Ford V8 comeback of the early-1990s

When Ford Australia dumped the V8 in 1982 it was a different world as the desire for smaller, fuel efficient models was bought on by the fuel crisis and it proved a big mistake.

By 1991, Ford Australia righted this wrong and re-introduced the V8 to its EB range choosing the American 5.0-litre High Output engine to arrive on the scene with more of everything compared to the Holden equivalent.

V8 power was installed in the luxury LTD, Fairlane and the venerable Falcon for the first time in nine years.

It continued Ford’s return to the top of the sales marketplace and also further provided the opportunity for a performance model to rival the General. Ford had been dominating the race tracks, but in the European-sourced Sierra Cosworth RS500 not available for sale in Australia.

Initially, Ford’s V8 variants were paired with the four-speed electronic automatic offering as the engine produced 168kW of power, though more output was being targeted by Australian engineers.

A local ‘hot shop’ was also one of the many items then-Ford Australia President Jac Nasser was aiming to build up, with Peter Brock, Mick Webb and Allan Moffat all being discussed as potential suitors. Of course, Tickford in the UK was selected to partner with Ford Australia on a high performance division leading to the XR6, XR8 and GT being produced.

The decision to dump the V8 from the Ford Australia line-up came at the end of 1982 when Bill Dix and Marketing Vice President Max Gransden decided against selling anything greater than six cylinders in response to the fuel crisis of the late-1970s entering the early-1980s.

In fact, the same route was nearly taken by Holden as it suffered financial pressures throughout the 1980s as the introduction of unleaded fuel nearly led to the death knell of the V8 in 1985. However, significant investment was made and a major upgrade to the Holden power plant was made in 1989.

By Ford introducing a V8 to its line-up, it paved the way for the Falcon to return to the race track for the new Group 3A regulations in 1993 leading to a further 25 years of the Falcon nameplate competing in the Australian Touring Car Championship and later V8 Supercars.

Ford has since not backed away from the V8 as the Mustang still features one in its line-up and the Falcon did likewise until production ended in 2016.