Echo Classics – 1972–73 Ford XA GT Coupe

Pure muscle! The 1972-73 Ford XA GT Coupe and the supercar that never was, the XA GTHO Phase IV.

In 1972, Ford released the legendary XA Falcon, including sedan and hardtop GT. The XA was the first Australian designed and manufactured Falcon model.

The XA GT’s design was considered less aggressive, hoping the car would appeal to a wider audience. Place the XA GT’s growl and beast-like lines on the road today, in 2018, and ironically ‘aggressive’ is the first word that comes to mind.

The GT topped out at 193 km/h and reached 100 from scratch in 8.1 seconds.

Unique Cars & Parts Only report that only 891 hardtops were manufactured. The hardtop  was the preferred model for racing - the rear flanks were big enough to accommodate wider, race-ready tyres.

Allan Moffat and Ian ‘Pete’ Geoghegan conquered Bathurst in 1973 riding the GT hardtop. The following year, the Goss/Bartlett team won the Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Mount Panorama in torrential rain, at a modest average speed of 127.39 km/h. The XA GT was at that point the single most successful Ford at Bathurst… ever.

 

XA GTHO Phase IV - The Supercar that Never Was

After the success of the XY-series Phase II and Phase III models, Ford planned for sustained dominance. Up Ford’s sleeve was a secret weapon, which in theory, would obliterate all racing vehicles in its path. Enter The Phase IV, the car designed to be the fastest four-door car in the world’s history.

Evan Green, the new motoring editor of The Sun-Herald in 1972, was able to ferret out details on the XA GTHO Phase IV and ran a front-page story stating ‘160 mph Super Cars soon’.

Public hysteria ensued, catching the attention of Milton Morris, the Transport Minister responsible for implementing road safety initiatives such as alcohol breathalysers and compulsory wearing of seat belts.

Green had spoken with Harvey Grennan, Minister Moriss’ press secretary, who had labelled  the Phase IV as ‘bullets on wheels’. The Minister, appropriately nicknamed ‘Mr Road Safety’, wouldn’t allow ‘bullets on wheels’ to be sold to the Australian general public and demanded a cease and desist on the production of the Phase IV.

Three prototypes graduated from Ford's famous Lot 6 workshop and, only a single production vehicle, in Calypso green, was assembled at Broady (Broadmeadows, for non-Victorian readers).

In September 2007, an unconfirmed rumour originating out of Sydney, suggested an owner of one of three remaining Ford XA GTHO Phase 4s rejected an offer of AUD $2.5m

The XA GTHO Phase IV made its video game debut in Forza Horizon 3.

 

Production Years: 1972 - 1973

Engine Specifications:

  • Type: 351 cubic inch (5.763 litre) Cleveland V8 'D' Block. 'H' block after October 1972
  • Bore & Stroke: 102 x 89mm (4.00 x 3.50in)
  • Power (DIN): 224kW (300bhp) @ 5400rpm
  • Torque (DIN): 515Nm (380lb-ft) @ 3400rpm
  • Fuel System: Ford Autolite '4300' 605cfm 4 barrel downdraught carburettor
  • Ignition System: Single point Autolite Distributor - changed to Motorcraft Oct 72
  • Exhaust System: Cast iron manifold, low restriction twin exhaust

 

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