Banned Aussie Ford Phase IV GT-HO Falcon to fetch $3M
THE performance sedan that was banned from Australian roads in 1972 amid a "bullets-on-wheels" supercar scare is expected to set an Australian record of about $3 million at auction this weekend.
Just four examples of the Ford Falcon XA GT-HO Phase IV were built as the maker looked to extend its supremacy at the annual Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Mount Panorama.
Ford had won the race the previous two years with the Phase III and the new model upped the ante with nearly 300kW of reputed power, a lightweight body and extra spot welds to help stiffen the chassis.
Three of those cars were prepped as race-ready vehicles for Allan Moffat and Fred Gibson. The fourth, the first "production ready" Phase IV, was fitted with a compliance plate.
The race versions had sound-deadening materials removed, along with the radio and airconditioning (the windows were tinted to help reduce heat inside the car) and the vinyl seat base and back were replaced with leather to stop the drivers sliding off while cornering.
Holden was in the process of developing a V8-powered Torana XU-1 and Chrysler was working on the Charger R/T. All three programs were scrapped following the national outcry over The Sun-Herald's "160mph super cars soon" front page on July 25, 1972.
NSW Transport Minister Milton Morris was quoted as being "appalled at bullets-on-wheels being sold to ordinary motorists" and called for a national ban.
That in turn led the Confederation of Australian Motorsport to drop ''series production car'' regulations, which called for 200 examples of any race car to be sold to be the public to qualify for race entry.
Within days the three brands had disavowed any intention to continue development of the "super cars".
Holden's vehicles were destroyed but three of the four Falcons still exist - and pre-auction bidding has already gone past $1.5 million for Saturday's auction on the Gold Coast.
Lloyds Auctions chief marketing officer Brett Mudie describes it as a unique opportunity.
"We have not seen a Phase IV and are very excited to auction it alongside what is undoubtedly Australia's best 'Track Red' GT-HO Phase III," Mudie says.
"We have recently sold two Track Red Phase IIIs for seven-figure amounts and this Phase III has been described by many Phase III experts as the best in Australia."
The auction follows the $2.1 million fetched by Peter Brock's dual Bathurst-winning Commodore earlier this month, which highlighted the strength of the local "chrome bumper" auction scene. In June, a Phase III once owned by Test cricketer Jeff Thomson fetched $1 million.