1971 Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III - V8 Falcons #2

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Stuart Grant

ford falcon xy gtho onroad front ford falcon xy gtho onroad front
ford falcon xy gtho onroad ford falcon xy gtho onroad
ford falcon xy gtho wheel Five-spoke Globe Bathurst alloys weren’t available until ’72. Phase IIIs left the showroom wearing steel five-slotters ford falcon xy gtho wheel
ford falcon xy gtho badge ford falcon xy gtho badge
ford falcon xy gtho engine bay 2 ford falcon xy gtho engine bay 2
ford falcon xy gtho interior ford falcon xy gtho interior

For most Ford enthusiasts, the XY GT-HO Phase III is the ultimate expression of Broadmeadows muscle

From Unique Cars #319, Jan 2011

Big, loud and bloody quick, in 1971 the GT-HO Phase III famously laid claim to being the world’s fastest four-door sedan with a top speed of 227km/h (141mph).

Its 11.5:1 compression-ratio 351ci Cleveland V8 was blessed with close to 380 horses (283kW), although Ford only ever admitted to 300. But no matter – that was more than enough for serious bragging rights at the local.

| Read next: Ford Phase history

ford-falcon-xy-gtho-onroad.jpgStill the most collectable car on the Aussie muscle-car scene, thanks to the GT-HO Phase III’s homogation race-car status

As Ford race legend Allan Moffat attests, XW and XY HOs never lacked anything in a straight line, but pulling one up on a racetrack required a lot of forward planning.

As a road car they’re fast, but from a modern perspective, not exceptionally so. The fact is, high-tech donks like FPV’s supercharged multi-cam, multi-valve V8 spin up quicker and more sophisticated contemporary chassis do a much better job of putting all that grunt to the ground.

But where the HO Phase III delivers in spades is the sense of occasion when you drive one. The styling and paint are about as subtle as a smack in the head, so you get noticed, but it’s the Cleveland V8 that really turns heads. It makes a truly menacing noise, and that ‘shaker’ air cleaner poking through the bonnet transfixes other road users.

| Read next: Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III sells for $1.030 million (2018)


There’s a bit of a knack to getting the most out of the four-speed gearbox, but otherwise the Phase III is an effortless but still-thrilling experience. HO owner Peter Horder grew up with Falcon GTs so it was perhaps inevitable that he’d end up owning one.

"My Dad had a panel shop and owned a red XY GT," he explains, "I remember driving it on L-plates! My brother and I also became panel beaters and we always had XAs and XYs and one day I just had to have the ultimate."

| Read next: Ford GT-HO Phase III 2-door

ford-falcon-xy-gtho-engine-bay.jpgHolley 780-fed hi-po Clevo reputed to produce 380hp (283kW), though Ford only ever claimed 300

The car you see here was part of his wedding party, though it was then owned by a friend. Eight years ago he managed to track down the vehicle and hand over a wad of cash.

Various owners over the years had taken great care of it, even hanging on to the original owner’s manuals, but it was inevitable that its appearance would be getting a little tired.

Peter bit the bullet and began a total restoration, which was completed in a respectable 12 months.

ford-falcon-xy-gtho-interior.jpgGT-HO glovebox decal and the view of that shaker let occupants know exactly what they’re riding in

"We made sure it was kept to original, down to the bores, carburettor and the dizzy," he says. "I’ve even got a set of the original Olympic Reflex tyres – though they weren’t on for the track day as they’re a little hard." And just a little bit lacking in the grip department...

1971 Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III specs

Engine 5763cc V8, ohV, 16v, four-barrel Holley carburettor
Power 224kW @ 5400rpm
Torque 515Nm @ 3400rpm
Weight 1524kg
Transmission 4-speed manual wheels 14 x 6.0-inch steel
Brakes 286mm discs (f), 254mm drums (r)
0-100km/h 6.4sec
0-400m 14.2sec
Top speed 227km/h
Price $5302 (19771)


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