When the 1997 EL GT Falcon was released, I was 21 years old. The lines, styling and stance did it for me - yes I actually love the Darth Vader-looking grill, and the body kit with massive rear wing. This was my dream car. Being a Ford Falcon lad all my life, growing up with Dad's Falcons, it was in my blood. I was driving an ED Falcon at the time.
Whenever I saw the EL GT on the road, I would just about snap my neck to see it drive by, whilst drooling and still dreaming. I would constantly look at car ads, but they were all way out of my price range; $60k plus. Brand new, they were around the $70k area.
Fast forward to the 2nd of January 2012, there was one on the internet that just had its price slashed from mid-$60k to $34,500. Sold! I had to have it. Two weeks later, my Heritage Green, 5-speed manual with sunroof and only 5000 original kays on the clock arrived on a truck. I was grinning from ear to ear. My dream had finally come true.
I love just about everything about the car. The only dislike is that the engine block, suspension, steering bars etc should have been colour coated in heat-resistant paint. Other than that, it's great.
The seats are sooooo comfy, the ride and handling are exceptional for a large car, the steering is very precise and it corners beautifully. Well done to legendary race car driver John Bowe for his hours and hours with the design team tuning the ride, handling and suspension tweaks.
The interior is leather, suede and wood grain and is finished beautifully. The timber Momo steering wheel and gear knob are great touches. There is acres of room inside, comfortably seating five Australian adults, unlike modern sedans these days. Technology, when compared to today's cars, is limited, but remember that 22 years ago, not everyone had mobile phones, and 'Bluetooth' was from eating too many blue lollies/ice blocks. There is nothing here that is related to modern technology.
The stereo/cassette, 6-disk CD player is fantastic, and yes I still play cassettes from time to time (80's music).
Performance wise, it only has a claimed 200 killer wasps, but for a car that is now 22 years old, that was quite impressive in its day. It goes nicely when gently pushed, and the 5-speed manual gearbox is simple and easy to change into the selected gear. The ride noise is not overbearing and you hear the gentle exhaust note when accelerating.
My GT Falcon was bought as a Sunday drive car, much to the anger of my lovely wife. I bought it, then told her, and she hit the roof. But now, everytime we go for a drive, she comments on how roomy and comfortable it is. I'm still grinning from ear to ear.
Whilst it was not the performance car of the early GT Falcons, being a 30th anniversary model of the original GT, it is a grand tourer. It is grand to look at, and as a tourer the ride is still better than many modern day upmarket cars. They were only made in limited numbers; 250 for Australia, 15 for New Zealand, and I believe 2 for South Africa.
My dream car has just clicked over 8000kms, so it gets driven sparingly. The interior still has that new car smell, the exterior is still brand new, and sits locked away under covers when not being driven, washed or polished. I will be keeping my piece of Australian history until I can't drive any longer.
While many criticised the EL GT's styling, lack of performance and 'that grill', I love it. I would personally give it 9 out of 10.