Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III

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Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III
ManufacturerFord Australia
Parent companyFord
Production1971–1972
PredecessorFord Falcon GTHO Phase II
ClassMuscle car
Body style(s)4-door Sedan
PlatformFR
ManualsService Manual

The GTHO Phase III was a modified Ford Falcon muscle car produced by Ford Australia in 1971.

Powered by a heavily modified 351 Cleveland engine, with 4 speed top-loader, and Detroit locker 9" differential, the GT-HO was a powerful vehicle. It was also equipped with special brakes and handling package, plus a 36 gallon fuel tank. The Phase 3, as it is referred to by some purists, was very successful in the Australian Touring Car Championship (1973 ATCC winner Allan Moffat drove a Phase 3). It was described by Sports Car World as "...simply one of the best cars in the world, a true GT that could take on Ferraris and Astons on their own terms." [1][2]

Technical data

The GT-HO 351 Cleveland engine produced over 380 HP (285 kW), and was fitted with a 6,150 rpm rev limiter. With the rev limiter disabled, it would pull 7,000+ rpm, even in 4th gear. The "HO" portion of the name stood for "Handling Option" which meant these specials had stiffer roll bars and springs. The Phase 3 was the world's fastest four door production car for many years and in 1971 it won the Bathurst motor race in the hands of Alan Moffat, however the Chrysler Valiant E49 Charger held the 1/4 mile record in Australia - and the 3.3L (202) 6-cylinder LJ Torana GTR-XU1 defeated the GTHO to win the 1972 Bathurst over 6 hours in the hands of Peter Brock after brake problems and wet weather put paid to the GTHO challenge.

The difference between the 'Standard' XYGT Falcon and one with the GTHO Phase III option, can be found here [3]

Accomplishment Result
0-60 mph 6.4 seconds
0-100 mph 14.6 seconds
Standing 1/4 mile 14.4 seconds
Top Speed (with 6,150 rpm rev limiter) 144 mph
Top Speed (without rev limiter) 155 mph

Value

The Phase 3 is in incredibly high demand. Good examples of the Phase 3 sell for in excess of $525,000. Due to this demand, and rarity, there has actually been a flow on effect into values of the lesser XW-XY Falcons, particularly genuine GS and GT models. Other models that also benefit from the success of the GTHO include the XA and XB GT hardtops as well as the lesser known Phase 1 and 2 XW GTHO.

A Falcon GT-HO Phase 3 was sold at auction for A$683,650 on Sunday 25th March 2007. The car had just 40,000 km on the clock. The buyer of the car said it will be garaged, and that he won't be driving it; he will be "keeping it as an investment". [4] The sale price set a new auction record for Australian "muscle cars". [2]

On Sunday 3rd June 2007 "The Sun-Herald" (a newspaper published in Sydney, NSW) reported the sale of Phase 3 for $750,000. (copy of page 13 of newspaper: [5] ) The writer of this article, Joshua Dowling, refers to the above-mentioned previous record set at Bonhams & Goodman and states that, from a production run of 300 vehicles, "experts believe there fewer than 100 remain". The vendor of the Phase 3 was Harry Christian. [6]

Alternative Names

The name of the car is often abbreviated to 'GT-HO Phase III' or even just 'Phase 3'. Sometimes it is even referred to as a 'Hoey' It was also known as the 'Shaker' because of the shaker scoop that protruded out of the hood and shook as the powerful Cleveland reved.

Race record

Ford Australia and Allan Moffat had great success with the Phase 3 in the Australian touring car racing where it was piloted to many race wins over its short life. One of the Phase IIIs driven by Moffat is now owned by Bowden's Own, an Australian car care products company.[7]. This example was driven to a number of victories by Moffat, as listed below

  • 1st 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500, Bathurst
  • 1st 1972 TAA 1 Hour Race, Calder
  • 1st 1972 Australian Manufacturers' Championship, Round 4, Phillip Island
  • 1st 1972 Australian Manufacturers' Championship, Round 5, Surfers Paradise
  • 1st 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 1, Symmons Plains
  • 1st 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 2, Calder
  • 1st 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 3, Sandown Park
  • 1st 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 4, Wanneroo Park
  • 1st 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship, Round 7, Oran Park

Successor

In 1972, the XY series Falcon was replaced by the redesigned XA Falcon range. Production of the XA based 1972 Falcon GT-HO Phase 4, which was superior to the Phase 3, commenced in mid-June 1972 but production was stopped due to a "Supercar Scare", e.g. The Sun-Herald ran this as its frontpage lead article (with banner headline in large capital letters) on Sunday 25th June 1972: 160mph 'Super Cars' Soon [a copy of that front page is shown at the start of a Phase 4 documentary here: [8] ].

Four vehicles were built when production was stopped -- three as race cars for the Bathurst 500 in October, and one made it off the production line for sale to the public. The four vehicles were sold by Ford Australia, but the Phase 4 was never officially released. (see "The Final Finest Phase" article in "Super Ford" magazine, 1987, pp. 20-27 [9] )

References