For the third time this year an Australian-made car has sold for a record price. In what is believed to be the new record, an extremely rare 1972 Ford Falcon XA GTHO Phase IV has been bought by a collector for approximately $2 million, according to the seller.
Australian Muscle Car Sales claims to have brokered the deal that will see one of only three racing prototypes from the golden era of Australian touring car racing swap owners for the first time in 20 years.
In a statement released on its website, Australian Muscle Car Sales explained that the car sold for “just under $2m… We believe this to be the highest single price ever paid for an Australian made road car.”
Read more about classic cars
The sale for this Falcon GTHO Phase IV continues the recent trend of big-money sales of locally-made cars. It follows the February sale of a 1971 XY Falcon GTHO Phase III for a then-record $1.15m, which was only weeks after a 2018 HSV GTSR W1 Maloo sold for $1.05m, which was a record at the time.
For those unfamiliar with the history of the GTHO Phase IV, here’s a brief synopsis that should help explain why it has commanded such an eye-watering price. In the early 1970s, Australian racing regulations required the cars that raced at Bathurst to be based on a production model.
Ford was keen to secure a hat-trick of wins in the then-500-mile race, after Allan Moffat had won in ‘70 in a XW Falcon GTHO Phase II and then in ‘71 with an XY Falcon GTHO Phase III. To that end, the Ford Special Vehicles division began working on the XA-based Phase IV, tweaking the 5.7-litre V8 engine and upgrading the suspension and brakes to endure the torture of 500-miles around Mt Panorama.
Due to the regulations these same modifications would also be available on the road-going Falcon GTHO Phase IV, which resulted in the now infamous June 1972 front-page headline of The Sun-Herald heralding the arrival of ‘160mph Super Cars’ on the streets. New South Wales transport minister Milton Morris was outraged at the idea of such fast cars on the road and moved to have them banned.
When other states followed, Ford had no choice but to scrap the Phase IV program having only built three racing cars and a single road-going prototype. Eventually these cars were sold to the public anyway and have since become highly sought-after by collectors, as evidenced by this latest sale.
The car sold here is one of the three racing prototypes, finished in Brambles Red, a colour made famous on Moffat’s factory-backed Fords of the era. It also comes with the period-correct roll cage and an extensive collection of documentation to verify its place in Australian motoring history.