“This isn’t supposed to be here,” said old-school American Ford Falcon owner Mr. Regular of the 2006 Ford Falcon XR6 BF he drove in New Zealand. “This car doesn’t exist!” But it does, and it exists in the best possible alternate timeline: the one where muscle cars were designed to bring your friends.
North American Ford Falcons, like the 1960 one Mr. Regular owns, were discontinued long ago in 1970, but Ford Australia kept pumping out Falcons until 2016. Seeing a fairly standard 2006 Falcon is a delightful mind-trip for someone like Mr. Regular, who’s used to seeing the Falcon name on old cars and old cars only.
Yet Australia got the better deal. Muscle cars took a friendlier turn down under. Here, they’re mostly coupes, but the Australian Falcon and its rival, the Holden Commodore, were souped-up family cars. You could bring everybody along for a drive. Get groceries. Do normal things.
It’s the same reason I fell in love with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX STi rally cars of yore: these aren’t just special sportscars, built without practicality and daily use in mind. They’re regular cars, only made to be faster. As a result, the base cars—like the non-turbo, front-wheel-drive Lancer GTS I own—are pretty good in their own right.
The dream of engine swapping your way to a V8 Supercar is alive and well with cars like this six-cylinder Falcon XR6, although they’re enjoyable as-is if you’d rather not.
Perhaps this is the real reason we were sad to see the Australia’s wonderful region-specific models get phased out: there’s not enough fast four-doors out there anymore unless you fork out for a luxury car. Regular cars shouldn’t be underpowered, bland penalty boxes. They should be just as nice and fun as this pretty blue 2006 Falcon.