First published in the February 1993 issue of Wheels magazine, Australia's best car mag since 1953.
Wheels snapped the hotly anticipated Ford EF Falcon before anyone else.
No computer imagery, no trick photography - this is the next Falcon, and we can report, exclusively, that you won't see it until August of 1994!
As Wheels has consistently reported, Ford's internal codename for the first Ford Falcon makeover since 1988 is EA77.
The working name is Project Ibis. The letters ED have long since dropped from the new model vocabulary along with any hope of matching the Holden Commodore's faster refit schedule. The cars you see here are fully finished metal prototypes with hand-built dashboards.
They confirm the styling detail first exposed in our April, 1992 issue. But EA77 also contains surprises you won't read about anywhere else:
- First and foremost – the timing delay. Your next Falcon won't arrive for nearly 18 months, giving the Commodore's VR update more than a year's head start. The VR Holden debuts this coming July.
- Not one of the several prototypes caught by our cameras was fitted with independent rear suspension. We believe the better riding, better handling rear end won't be seen until December 1994 - at the earliest- and then, only on the long wheelbase Fairlane and LTD models.
- The new Romeo 32 valve V8 engine is being test-fitted to the EA77, but even if the difficult installation can be accomplished, the new V8 is unlikely to arrive until at least 1995.
The extensive refit of the Falcon will cost Ford $200 million. In addition to the obvious sheetmetal changes, the money has bought a new instrument panel, airbag capability and a string of small detail changes to the mechanical package.
Despite reports to the contrary in other publications, engines and transmissions for the EA77 remain unchanged. A lot of work is being done to reduce NVH levels and improve some of the Falcon’s electrical reliability, but the familiar 4.0 litre in-line six will be around for quite a while yet, mated to the BTR B5LE auto transmission.