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GTHO blow!

What could have been: An artist's impression of the FG Falcon GTHO, complete with Super Roo logo. Digital image: Chris Harris.

FPV insiders admit a 400kW blown V8-powered GTHO was part of the FG Falcon plan

FPV logo15 Apr 2008

FORD’S legendary GTHO nameplate was meant to have been launched as a halo for the all-new FG Falcon-based Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) range next month, but the program was aborted due to cost.

GoAuto can exclusively reveal the FPV GTHO proposal included the development of a supercharged version of the 5.4-litre Boss V8 that would generate as much as 400kW.

FPV sources have revealed the plan was scrapped largely because of cost issues, as both FPV and Ford felt the limited volume could not justify the development and warranty coverage costs for the vehicle.

The vehicles had not progressed to the prototype stage before the bean counters crunched the program.

The failed GTHO Falcon plan has left FPV without a rival for the 7.0-litre Holden Special Vehicles W427, which will generate a whopping 370kW of power and 640Nm of torque.

FPV sources have told GoAuto that the company had considered a GTHO program for the 2002 BA range, but the plan did not progress far.

The FG GTHO proposal was far more advanced, but hinged on the use of a supercharged version of the Boss V8 to give the car a significant performance advantage over the standard GT.

When the supercharged V8 business case fell over, so did plans for the FG GTHO.

“Unless you can do the HO properly, you don’t do it at all,” said the source. “We needed 380kW or 400kW to be competitive or else you just wouldn’t bother.”

19 center imageFord Super Roo and the original Ford Falcon XY GTHO.

While Blue Oval fans will be devastated that accountants have denied them a full-blown FG GTHO, there is hope for a future version, complete with iconic Super Roo livery which has remained in the Blue Oval vault since 1972.

FPV managing director Rod Barrett has told GoAuto that he is constantly thinking about building an HO model, but has not formulated a proposal.

“I have a vision, which hasn’t gone to concept yet,” he said.

“If a GTHO was to come back it needs to be the right car for the right moment, and FPV wouldn’t do a GTHO unless it was the most iconic FPV and Ford ever built. There is too much heritage in the car.

“The HO is probably the closest thing to heaven for a Ford fan in religious terms, so it would be sacrilege to do anything less than the ultimate.”

GoAuto understands the GTHO would not use the current 5.4-litre Boss engine, which combines imported parts with local components and is pieced together by FPV in Campbellfield.

This ageing engine is due to be phased out around 2010 or 2011.

It will be replaced by a 5.0-litre direct-injection V8 from a new family of Ford engines, which will also be used by the Mustang in the US. As well as featuring in FPV vehicles, a version of the engine is also likely to be used for Ford XR8 Falcons.

Ford Australia and FPV will be able to take the new engine straight off the shelf instead of hand-building them, a change that would cut production costs significantly.

A boosted version of this engine, which is likely to be developed for high-performance Mustang variants, would provide the perfect powerplant for a GTHO model.

If the GTHO survives the business case this time around, it is almost certain to wear the Super Roo logo, which features a tyre-smoking kangaroo and was first introduced on the XW GT 351 of 1969.

GoAuto understands FPV is saving the Super Roo logo for the GTHO.

“It will be used when the time is right to use it,” Mr Barrett said.

The FG GTHO project was long dead before Mr Barrett joined FPV in July last year.

A special-edition Falcon GT released four months before Mr Barrett arrived at FPV came close to wearing the Super Roo logo. The 40th Anniversary GT, which was painted black and ran gold stripes over the bonnet, roof and boot, was initially meant to wear Super Roo logos but cost-related issues saw the decals removed.

While Ford Australia was not prepared to push through with a supercharged GTHO for the FG range, Melbourne tuning house Herrod Motorsport already builds its own versions.

The respected engine tuner offers intercooled supercharged kits using a Yella Terra Whipple supercharger that runs at 9 to 10psi boost for Falcon BA and BF V8s.

The $14,000 upgrade lifts the output of a standard XR8 Boss 260 to a healthy 390kW and around 580Nm. Fitting the kit to the Boss 290 V8 yields around 400kW and 600Nm.

Herrod Motorsports even fits the upgraded engines with a special engine badge that reads GT-HO or XR8-HO, with ‘Herrod’ written beneath the H and ‘Option’ written bellow the O.

Herrod Motorsports knew Ford and FPV were considering a boosted HO for the FG program and put together a proposal to do the engine work for the proposed high-performance model which did not materialise.

Read more:

Official: New FPV F6 to offer 565Nm of torque

First look: FPV's new FG Falcon-based line-up

First drive: New Falcon XR8 now the black sheep

GTHO set to return


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