One of Australia’s rarest cars – a 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV – has reportedly sold for $1.75 million, overtaking the previous record of $1.15 million paid for a pristine 1971 Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III earlier this year.
One of the most significant cars in Australian motoring history – a 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV, one of just four built – has reportedly sold for $1.75 million, setting a new sale price record for a locally-made road car.
While the price has not been made public because the sale was handled privately by specialist car brokers Australian Muscle Car Sales – rather than by auction – the vehicle is believed to have changed hands for $1.75 million, according to people who know the anonymous Sydney buyer.
Australian Muscle Car Sales declined to nominate an exact sale price, but in a statement said the vehicle sold for “just under $2 million” which is “believed this to be the highest … price ever paid for an Australian-made road car.”
The previous record price paid for an Australian-made road car was $1.15 million – for a pristine 1971 Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III bought at auction by an art collector in February 2021.
In 2018, the same bright red 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV that has just sold, went under the hammer in a Lloyds auction for $2 million – with video showing racing legend Allan Moffat smacking down the hammer.
However despite Lloyds auction declaring the car was sold, the deal didn’t go through and the vehicle stayed in the owner’s hands.
Australian Muscle Car Sales had been doing some routine maintenance on the 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV at their facility in Sydney, when they were approached by an avid car collector to see if he could buy the sought-after vehicle.
The firm approached the owner of the 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV, Paul Carthew, who has had the vehicle for 20 years, discreetly reaching a deal to sell the car in the past couple of months – though the news was only made public over the weekend via social media.
Australian Muscle Car Sales director Mr Chris Tzortzis, who was instrumental in brokering the deal, said in a media statement: “We have known of this car for many years, and with only 4698 miles from new, have always understood its unmatched provenance and significance as one of the best and most desirable Australian muscle cars in existence.”
The 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV is legendary because only three race cars and one road car were built before the program was killed off by a “supercar scare” headline in the Sunday Sun-Herald in Sydney in June 1972.
The front page news story quoted government officials who queried the sense of Australia building the world’s fastest sedans at a price young drivers could afford – at a time when road deaths were on the rise.
Motor racing regulations in that era stipulated the vehicles on the track had to be representative of cars in showrooms.
This led to a series of high-powered, super-fast special editions being sold in showrooms, to deliver Ford and Holden an advantage on race tracks.
But the plug was pulled on the 1972 Falcon GTHO Phase IV program after Ford quickly bowed to government pressure and newspaper headlines.
The successor to the all-conquering 1971 Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III, the 1972 version of the road-going racing Falcon sedan was built in secret by Ford in June 1972 for the upcoming Bathurst race in October of that year.
But once such vehicles were dubbed “bullets on wheels” by newspapers amid a rising road toll, all three Australian car manufacturers with motor racing programs – Ford, Holden and Valiant Chrysler – abandoned their plans amid the perceived public pressure.
“It was a shattering moment for all three manufacturers,” said Tzortzis. “If they put their next Bathurst supercars on the road, they could expect to be shouted down as irresponsible, a danger to society, and see no more sales of any cars to the Australian Government.”
“So the … special hand-built 1972 Ford XA Falcon GTHO Phase IV prototype sedans were never given a chance to strut their stuff on a race track in anger,” said Tzortzis.
He said the cars were in “various stages of completion when the pin was suddenly pulled on their development.”
Australian Muscle Car Sales says this red example is “the only unrestored Phase IV remaining, and is an incredible time-warp example of originality from the era (with) original paint, original interior, it even wears its original factory tyres on original Bathurst Globe wheels.”
While some of the photos show the car with racing stickers – and some without – the logos are in fact magnetic signs, so they can be easily displayed or removed.
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.