Australian car culture splits into two – often literally – warring tribes: Holden people and Ford people. The latter will be dealt a serious blow later this year when their favourite brand’s ‘One Ford’ world car policy claims its most controversial victim – the Ford Falcon.

The Falcon has been built in Australia since 1960, exclusively so since the early Seventies. In that time the big, rear-wheel-drive, often V8-engined saloon has become an obsession, even a way of life for enthusiasts for whom literally nothing else will do.

Unfortunately, the Falcon simply can’t survive when it shares nothing with any other car in the Ford range, is built thousands of miles from anywhere and is sold in three relatively small markets (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa). Production closes in October, after 56 years and more than three million sales.

Wanting to send the Falcon out on a high, Ford has come up with a go-faster special edition.

The Ford Falcon Sprint comes in two flavours: XR6 and XR8. The Falcon Sprint XR6 comes with a 4.0-litre, turbocharged V6 engine making 435bhp and 424lb/ft; mash the throttle hard enough to find the overboost and those numbers jump to 496bhp and 480lb/ft.

Meanwhile, the Falcon Sprint XR8 gets a 5.0-litre V8, supercharged this time to 462bhp and 424lb/ft. It too has overboost, which liberates 536bhp and 480lb/ft. That’s a lot. Ford Australia hasn’t released any performance figures, but it’s a safe bet both cars are plenty quick enough.

Pleasingly, the XR8 comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while an auto is optional; the XR6 is auto only.

Both cars get suitably beefed up suspension and brakes: lower springs, Sachs dampers, unique geometry, 355mm front and 330mm rear brakes with gold-plated Brembo calipers and Pirelli P-Zero tyres. These are big cars, but even base-spec Falcons handle well. These should be a right laugh.

The Sprint editions are marked out be black wheels, subtle aero enhancements and graphics outside, with new seats and a numbered plaque inside. A total of 1,400 will be built, priced at AUD 54,990 (XR6) and AUD 59,990 (XR8), equivalent to around £30,000.

Bargain.

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By Graham King