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XA Falcon GTHO - The Entire Story ?

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  • #16
    Thanks Graeme and Wombat for the info and pictures! The first one is the same one I was referring to, and I had only seen one of the other photos in the sequence before. None of the cars can have been very far from completion when the plug was pulled, judging from the photos
    Graeme, your guess about compliance plates is correct, in that Marsden said that the shells were pulled off the production line "and we didn't care what they had on them [compliance plates]; we knew what they were". And the hardtop would have been built purely as a very indulgent road car (a bit like Count Rossi having a Porsche 917K road-converted after it was obsolete as a racer), but what a road car! If you have the money or the connections, who wouldn't?


    • #17
      A little more to the story....

      Wombat's fourth photo posting appears in Wheels magazine's August 1972 issue.

      Mel Nichols' story refers to only two XA-bodied race cars being developed in the workshop at the time of his visit, and his whole story centres on the mechanical specifications of the XA GTHO "Phase Four".

      The article includes two other photos, one of a Globe alloy wheel sitting on the concrete floor, and another of Marsden and Nichols in discussion over a 'winged' sump, with another complete engine mounted on a stand in the photo foreground.

      From other articles I've read recently, it would appear that one of the most involved tasks performed at Marsden's workshop was that of engine development.
      A fellow by the name of Bill Santuccione was the principal engine development man since the inception of the Special Vehicles Development Centre in late 1968, and guided most of the various 'Phase' engine work.

      In 1989, in an article for Street Machine magazine, journalist Angus MacKenzie spoke to Bill Santuccione about the heady Phase II / III days, which led onto talk of Cleveland engine refinements achieved for the Phase IV .

      Bill apparently reckons that 200 or so Phase IV engines were built on a special production line at Ford's Geelong engine plant.
      Apart from slight reworking of cylinder heads and a new 'winged' sump, Bill indicates that hand finishing of components made a significant difference over the Phase III engine.

      Referred to in other articles as 'QC' engines, Bill recalls the Phase IV engines were known within Ford as 'QC20' - QC for Quality Control, and 20 representing the number of production "checklist" items.

      By contrast, the 1987 Super Ford story says that 'QC' engines were also made available in 1971 as a $250 option to those who were racing the Phase III at Bathurst that year, and that in relation to the Phase IV.... " Bill Santuccione can't remember how many engines got this special treatment. Howard Marsden estimates the total to have been about 20."

      Angus' 1989 story concludes in a curious fashion with Bill suggesting that with the sudden axing of the Phase IV program, the 'QC20' engines were recycled into Ford stock, along with other Phase IV components, such as the Detroit Locker differentials.
      Quoting from Angus MacKenzie's story, the engines and other items were ..." given a Fairlane part allocation and recycled into the main production system. So if you've got a 351 powered ZF Fairlane, take a close look underneath. If it's got a strange sump on it, you could be sitting on a goldmine..."

      As Ripley says, believe it or not !!!


      • #18
        Here are a couple more pictures of the Workshop.

        Dave from Kiwiland!!
        Attached Files


        • #19
          Parts ready to be assembled.

          Dave from Kiwiland!!
          Attached Files


          • #20
            Here are a couple of pictures of the most published Phase 4, this article is when Rod Mann owned the car.

            Dave from Kiwiland!!
            Attached Files


            • #21
              Dave Drof

              Looks as though your pics didnt get thru, maybe coz of size. Please have another go.

              Reading this again reminds me that Nick made a cryptic comment in another thread about the hardtop story being revealed soon (in a magazine, I think). How bout the inside gos on this story, Nick.

              It stands to reason that Broadmeadows was still working on Phase III's, so a hardtop may have been delivered, phase IV'rd (there must have been a couple of those 20 engines laying about). Maybe for an exec or a one-off special.


              • #22
                The pictures take a little bit of time to post as the Admin Team have to view the pictures before allowing to post, this can take time depending on the time difference and how busy the Admin Team is.
                Here is the last picture of the then Rod Mann Phase 4.


                Dave from Kiwiland!!
                Attached Files


                • #23
                  No goss, really wombat - Mark Oastler is researching the Phase 4 story in depth. That's all I know!
                  Going back to whether Phase 4 parts made their way into regular production models, if it did happen it would have had to have been very piecemeal - Ford (despite some owners' claims!) would never have fitted 330-380 hp high revving race engines in a production car (or the necessary handling and braking mods)and expect nobody to notice! Mark Oastler suggested that something similar may have happened when the proposed V8 Charger was canned - imported US 340 small blocks (stifled with an auto and other restrictions) were fitted to the short-run 770 Charger, instead of the readily-available 318, but admits that it is just supposition. However, as Wombat points out, after the Phase 4 was aborted teams went back to the Phase 3, and I imagine many Phase 4 bits went that way. Plus of course the subsequent XA hardtop race cars may well have utilised the "leftovers" as well (engines were fairly freely modifiable from road car base from 1973).


                  • #24
                    Hey Graeme and Nick

                    I've had a couple of email discussions with Dan Bowden (owner of the "Moffat" Phase IV). I put lots of queries to him about the four and a half XA's.

                    He was a bit reticent to answer fully, on the basis that David and Mark Oestlers article in AMC is due out soon. He did reveal some info tho. The following is quoted:

                    "Yes the green Ho has been restored, correct colour and all, but there is no
                    way that the current owner will ever let anyone see it. And no, it did not
                    receive the race engine.
                    Goss put the car he received together, later fitting it with a standard XA
                    GT motor. It was only a rolling shell when it left Ford Special Vehicles. It
                    is in very good condition and lives with a new owner I think in Sydney.

                    It looks like the Hardtop Phase IV was built....there will be more about it
                    in the new AMC article.

                    Only our car ever received the race motor from the factory...Bruce Hodgsons
                    car also had the 4 bolt main engine. I am not sure if he received it like
                    this though."

                    Dan also told me that the AMC article is at least 15 pages with pics, interviews and info never before revealed.

                    We will have to wait for info on the "no longer mythical" hardtop to find out who built in and when, who owns it and most importantly, can Richard get his cameras to it so that a very special model can be made!!


                    • #25
                      Australian Muscle Car Magazine Issue 5


                      I have just received my issue of the latest Australian Muscle Car magazine.

                      It has approx 20 pages on the Phase 4.

                      I haven't read it yet, just flicked through it and it looks very interesting.

                      Buy the mag, it is $6.95 or NZ$ 7.95


                      • #26
                        XA GTHO

                        I dont have anything new to add to the Phase 4 story, except to say that I was fortunate enough to be a passenger in the car many times in the late 70s, as I played cricket in Bowral with John Hemphill's (the 1st owner) sons, Jonathan and Julian.

                        It was a great muscle car, and years later, my old friend Lance Hill who has been an antique dealer in Bowral for 50 years, told me of the times he got to drive the car on the old Hume Highway. He said it had enormous power, great handling but comparatively poor brakes, but it would outrun his Ferrari Dino.

                        John was a real estate agent in Bowral, and must have got a good price for it as he bought a white De tomaso Longchampe with the proceeds in about 1984.

                        I have remained a Ford man, having had a few GTs, and an A9X in between. I have owned an XA GT hardtop in pieces for the past 17 years, and one day I will return to live in Australia and get it rebuilt. (Lived in Wales for the past 15 years)


                        • #27
                          A very rare and precious memory! And welcome to the forum! Nice first post, I must say! Where in Wales are you?


                          • #28
                            Reply to Nick

                            Thanks Nick. I live in the Gwent valleys which are close to the English border, about 10 miles north of Newport. Most of the past 15 years has been spent in Cardiff. This is the area my father was from before he went to Sydney to play for Canterbury and Norths when I was a baby.

                            I hope to return to Australia in the next 6 months when our application will be decided on.

                            I will be bringing my BMW 525 with me to keep me on the road until I can resurrect the XA. I bought it as a write off about 17 years ago, and stripped all the good parts off it.

                            I will need to buy a new rolling shell and start from there. My intention is to paint it Readymix Orange rather than the Wild Plum it started life as.

                            That brings up a point. I read in this discussion that John's Phase 4 was repainted Zircon Green to his choice, but I have a strong memory (and so do some of my old friends) that the car was Deep Ivy Metallic before it was returned to the original.



                            • #29
                              FRESH FACTS Update: Is the correct story out there? The Bruce Hodgson GT HO 4 original is being revived The HO mix up the FACTS Does Fred Gibson HO PHASE 4 have a drivers remote sports mirror? Does Allan Moffats GT HO 4 have a have a drivers remote sportsmirror? Does the Bruce Hodgson GTHO4 have a drivers remote sports mirror? What do you say


                              • #30
                                On a different train of thought, was the thief ever found that stole Moffats XY GT from Adelaide, and left it in the Adelaide Hills, and was the 4 barrel carby ever recovered?