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GT revival a Ford thought

Benchmark: The legendary Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III will provide the inspiration for the proposed modern-day GT.

Ford is considering reintroducing the revered GT badge

Ford logo12 Feb 2001

FORD Australia, desperate to inject some dynamism into its public image, is considering the introduction of a new version of the mystical GT Falcon.

The company has reintroduced GT Falcons before, in 1992 and 1997, but the revivals were never considered to be in the spirit of the original GT.

The peak of the Falcon GTs came with the introduction of the Phase III GTHO model in 1971.

Ford Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) business development manager Rick Nayler says a true GT revival would fit in well with the company's strategies to lift its image.

Mr Nayler says there was strong resistance to a new GT within the previous Ford management structure, mainly because the GT had an image of a fairly, crude, primitive car.

He says the sophistication of the current Falcon means such perceptions would not apply to a new-generation car.

Mr Nayler indicated a new GT would need to be a lot more convincing as a performance car than the 200kW versions launched in the 1990s.

This would mean a stronger engine than the 5.0-litre V8 currently underwriting the Ford performance line-up.

This could come with the arrival of the new "stroker" 5.7-litre version of the venerable Windsor engine that is expected to be introduced in Tickford-badged models at the Melbourne motor show in March.

But although the larger capacity V8 will do much to lift Ford's image, it will only be a stopgap measure.

The Windsor engine is now out of production in the US and supplies will start dwindling.

It is likely its eventual replacement will be a version of the modular V8 used in the just-introduced Ford Mustang.

This is a 4.6-litre, quad camshaft, multi-valve version but various other sizes and configurations are available - right up to a 6.0-litre-plus V10.

Rumours are that a 5.4-litre version will be used in Australia.

The new modular V8 - possibly a 5.4-litre version - will not appear in Falcon until the next replacement model.

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