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Rare Ford Falcon GTHO for auction

Record $3 million price predicted for one of just four Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IVs

Ford logo17 Oct 2018

ONE of Australia’s rarest and most sought-after muscle cars, a 1972 Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV, is likely to break the auction record for an Australia-built car when it goes under the hammer this weekend.
 
One of just four XA GTHO Phase IVs built by Ford Australia before the axe came down on the fledgling model as a consequence of the “supercar scare” in 1972, the red 351 V8 Falcon might fetch as much as $3 million, breaking the $2.1 million record set recently by a 1982 Holden Commodore racecar driven to back-to-back Bathurst victories by Peter Brock in 1982-83.
 
The race-prepared GTHO Phase IV is being auctioned on the Gold Coast by Lloyds Auctions alongside two Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IIIs that might also go for seven-figure sums, judging by the $1.03 million sale price achieved by a Phase III sold by Australian cricketer Jeff Thomson in June.
 
The GTHO Phase IV is one of three stillborn models from local manufacturers credited with triggering the 1970s “supercar scare” blown up by road safety campaigners and politicians in league with the tabloid press.
 
Screaming headlines declaring “160 miles per hour” (258km/h) sedans forced Ford, Holden and Chrysler to kill their racecars-for-the-road that also included rival Holden’s stillborn XU2 Torana and Chrysler’s 340ci Charger.
 
Ford’s Special Vehicles unit in Melbourne built just four examples of the Phase IV, three of them for the racetrack to be driven by the likes of Allan Moffat and Fred Gibson. These race cars never made into the Hardie Ferodo Bathurst 500 which was won by Peter Brock in a Torana in 1972.
 
Just one road-going Phase IV was completed before the project was canned.
 
This breed of high-performance cars were a product of Group E production car racing rules that required the Australian-made race cars to be closely based on a production run of at least 200 roads cars, prompting manufacturers to produce potent road cars designed to out-perform rivals in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
 
Many of the modifications to these homologation series cars were designed to strengthen the powertrains, brakes and other mechanicals to allow them to go the distance at Bathurst without breaking.
 
The hoo-ha over the “supercar scare” prompted a change of race rules for 1973’s championship series.
 
At the time of publishing, an online bid of $1,555,000 had been placed on the GTHO Phase IV, but Lloyds expects that to go much higher.
 
Lloyds chief marketing officer Brett Mudie said it was the first time Lloyds had offered a Phase IV.
 
“We are extremely humbled to have the opportunity of handling the transition of this car to its next custodian,” he said.
 
Mr Mudie said one of the two Phase III GTHOs to be offered alongside the Phase IV was claimed to be Australia’s best Track Red Phase III.
 
For those who do not have a seven-figure sum to splash on a car, Lloyd’s is also offering an XW Ford Falcon GTHO Phase II. So far, the online bidding is standing at a mere $187,000.

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