Death of the GTHO

In the early 1970s, touring car racing was at its zenith, when the race on Sunday, sell on Monday mantra was true. To race a car, car manufacturers would have to sell a minimum number of vehicles to the public for that vehicle to be eligible to race.

Local car manufacturers were in a brand battle to build and sell the most potent car they could take racing. To achieve this, they would make a short run batch of these vehicles and sell them through their dealer network.

In 1971, Ford built the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III. GTHO stood for "Grand Touring Handling Option", and though it looked almost identical to the standard Ford Falcon GT, it had a heavily upgraded engine, a four-speed top-loader gearbox and a nine-inch differential. It was also equipped with special brakes and a handling package. This vehicle was driven by Allan Moffatt to outright victory at the 1971 Hardie-Ferodo 500 at Bathurst and also secured Allan the 1973 Australian Touring Car Championship title.

In 1972, Ford wanted to produce approximately two hundred XA-based Falcon GTHO Phase IV cars. Unfortunately, these plans were shelved at the eleventh hour, when the local print media campaigned to have such vehicles removed from the roads because they deemed them too dangerous. As a result, all the manufacturers backed down and ceased making such unique cars.

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