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Mad Max In The USA: 1977 Ford Falcon XC Panel

The Mad Max franchise of movies has a following in Australia and elsewhere not entirely different from our country’s obsession with Smokey and the Bandit (although, there seems to be much less violence with Burt Reynolds behind the wheel). Still, it has cast Ford’s Australian-market Falcon into the history books given its prominent role in the films, which will likely cause a few Ford fanatics to take note of this rare 1977 Ford Falcon XC panel van listed here on craigslist for nearly $20K. 

Said to have been imported from Australia (where else?), it features right-hand drive steering and “….200 crossflow inline 6 motor and 3 speed trans,” according to the seller. The Falcon certainly isn’t the hot-rod GS or Cobra, and those hood scoops are likely writing a check the rest of the vehicle can’t cash. However, there’s always the potential of an engine swap, and building a hot rod out of a rarity like this Falcon would make for a somewhat unrepeatable vehicle here in the U.S.

At the same time, you’d want to take care not to distort the Falcon’s originality too much. The seller specializes in bringing Mad Max-inspired vehicles into the U.S., and as an importer, all legal paperwork is taken care of – it comes with a clear Washington State title. The seller mentions that some enthusiasts may want to pop out the window-less panel on the sides and replace with glass, but that “…ruin one of its most collectible features.” He also mentions that this configuration is rare even in Australia, a claim I don’t doubt.

The interior will require full restoration, and the listing confirms the presence of rust in the front floor (but none in the bed). The rear features barn doors and the panel van configuration definitely sets this Falcon apart from anything else you’ll see at a cruise night or Cars & Coffee. Per the seller: “Like a Ranchero or El Camino with a permanent highboy canopy in metal that is a factory part of the body.” The photo here shows the rough interior and what looks like the original paint color in the door jambs. There’s a fair amount of work needed to set it right; what direction would you take in restoring this rare Falcon XC?


  1. Adam T45 Staff

    The seller is right. These are becoming a rare sight here in Australia. I actually can’t remember the last time that I saw one, and I clock up a lot of miles.

    Mechanically this one is as basic as the XC Falcon came from the factory. The 200ci engine and 3-speed box were the base engine and gearbox combination for the XC Falcon. This one does have some variations from standard though. The bucket seats would have been optional as bench seating was standard. The console is also a factory option. This confuses me slightly though because these were usually only fitted to cars that were fitted with either the 4-speed manual or the T-bar automatic. The 3-speed manual was also a column shift only, so the floor shift on this car must be some sort of conversion. A company in Australia called Speco actually made those kits, so that may be what this is.

    As far a mechanical modifications go, the sky is the limit with these. They were available and engineered to accept 4 different engines: the 200 and 250ci six and the 302 and 351ci Cleveland. They could also be specified ex-factory with a 9″ lsd and 4-wheel disc brakes. The van was lighter than either the sedan or the coupe versions (as used in Mad Max) so they could be made to perform quite nicely.

    Like 14
    • Adam T45 Staff

      I meant to also say that the grille is not a standard Falcon grille. That is the fitment for the GS spec van, as is the bonnet (or hood, whichever you prefer). The standard grille does not have the auxiliary lights, and the standard hood doesn’t have the scoops.

      Like 3
    • Gary W Glass

      I can remember the last time I saw one of these! It was right here on “Barn Finds” within the last few weeks. If I recall correctly it was sad looking rattle can black example still located down under, I believe it may have been the same seller though.

      Like 1
  2. Jimmy

    I like this Falcon and with some work along with a 351C swap and a 4 speed. Yes what a cool vehicle at cars & coffee that would make. Over priced for the work needed even to stock form.

    Like 2
  3. Fred H

    The 57 Plymouth is more interesting.

    Like 5
    • Nick

      You beat me to it. I think it might be a 58, though. Picture isn’t clear enough. I can’t see if the inside lights are marker or headlights.

      Like 0
    • boxdin

      There is a newly restored 57 plymouth plaza 2door post car google it coz it is beautiful. I may have seen it here or ?? but it is super nice.

      Like 0
  4. Chris

    The Aussie styling has always had zero appeal to me. None of the prized, so called muscle cars remotely compared to what we enjoyed here in the states in the same era.

    Like 1
    • Adam T45 Staff

      I understand where you’re coming from there Chris. As an Aussie I know that our car industry has been an amalgamation of styling and performance derived from the USA, Europe and Asia. This has made finding a good middle ground really hard, and probably explains why we no longer have a car manufacturing industry in Australia. It’s probably also worth considering sales volumes when you factor in what we have been able to produce in Australia. The US has a population of 320 million. Australia has a population of 25 million. It is far easier to justify the development of performance models when you have such a high population to sell to. Here it is very much a niche market. I honestly believe that we used to punch well above our weight for such a low population base.

      Like 14
      • wyatt bridger

        I’ve always thought Australia made some great vehicles, particularly V8s.
        Of course, I’m much more obsessed with Mad Max than I am with Smokey and the Whatever.
        Of course, I’m Canadian, maybe that’s it.
        A friend of mine once pointed out that only the “loyal” colonies know how to make beer.

        Like 5
    • Chris In Australia

      I’d have to agree, but try telling the punters who swear that a tarted up Fairmont with a crate motor is the greatest thing on four wheels!

      Like 1
  5. Chris In Australia

    Like Fosters Lager, you’re welcome to this one too. Seats & console are from a Fairmont GXL.

    Like 2
  6. geoff a

    So is pot legal in Washington State. Seller is clearly smoking something. Rust , base engine and crappy interior. Worth maybe 5,000 and I would consider that a stretch. I love sedan deliverys, but this is just way to much money for condition. Have you notice the worse the condition the rarer it gets

    Like 1
  7. Andre

    Mad Max and Christine in the same photo. What a time to be alive.

    Like 6
  8. Ian Collins

    You can buy a good one over here with V8 for $30,000 to $40,000 they are prone to rust and that looks well and truly like the cars enemy has got a chunk of it. They were the surfers favourite sleep in the back board on top.

    Like 2
  9. chrlsful

    “…However, there’s always the potential of an engine swap…”
    the motor is probably the only thing I’d keep. As USA went to the bent8/muscle car OZ cont development of i6. Check out what ur missing on the net…
    I’ve left enuff links that those who can C have understood.

    Like 1
    • Adam T45 Staff

      Can’t help but agree with you there chrisful. It would be very tempting to look at converting this to a “Barra” 6-cylinder engine. It wouldn’t be a difficult conversion. The big question would be whether you would look at a normally aspirated version or bite the bullet and go with a turbo version. That gives you the potential for anything from 182hp up to 325hp…and that is from unmodified engines. I have heard of these engines producing in excess of 400hp with very little in the way of modifications. They would offer a huge weight advantage over a Cleveland.

      For our American friends you can follow the link below to read about our Aussie developed 6-cylinder engine. It has been rated by numerous motoring experts from across the globe as equal to or better than any in-line 6 built by BMW. High praise indeed.


      Like 2
  10. sidedraught

    Universally known in Australia as a “Shaggin wagon” as previously pointed out, mattress in the back, surfboards on top.

    Like 2
    • Adam T45 Staff

      Or the “sin bin”. Often seen wearing the following sticker: “Don’t laugh. Your daughter might be inside”.

      Like 2
      • sidedraught

        or “dont come a knockin if this vans a rockin”

        Like 2
  11. Carey Hill

    like these… here is an XB we had in the family some years ago

    Like 1
  12. Ward William

    As an true blue Aussie, I can say these are great cars, I had several back in the day. We used to call them “Shaggin Wagons”, and if you were the parent of a teenage girl, seeing her date pull up in one of these back in the 70s, they were your worst nightmare.

    Like 0
  13. Ian Collins

    Yes you are totally correct ,it sent shudders down parents to see the boy turn up in one. Stick a 351 clevo up the front and they were a great thing.

    Like 0
  14. Tim W

    C’mon Wyatt,
    Smokey and the Whatever? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Mad Max probably 50 times(no kidding), and I LOVE it. But to diss Smokey and the Bandit? Really?
    “I’m in high speed pursuit of a black Trans Am, where are you you sum bit@%!”

    Like 0

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