Phase IV Ford sets sale price record

By: Guy 'Guido' Allen, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

ford falcon xa gt phase iv 56 Carthew with his Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase IV ford falcon xa gt phase iv 56

One of four examples ever built changes hands

The Paul Cathew-owned Ford Falcon GT-HO race car has recently changed hands through Australian Muscle Car Sales (AMCS). It sold for just under Au$2 million, according to the dealership.

AMCS Director Chris Tzortzis commented, "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.

"We believe this to be the highest single price ever paid for an Australian made road car and both buyer and seller are thrilled with the result."

Just three race cars and one production prototype were built back in 1972, before the infamous ‘Supercar Scare’ killed off the project. That was a newspaper beat-up which resulted in Ford, Holden and Chrysler toning down their respective race and road performance car programs.

Carthew’s race car is perhaps the best-known example, as the owner was generous with event attendance and access to the Brambles Red machine. An example was back in 2019, when he and the owner of the sole Calypso Green production car, Paul T, teamed up at the Unique Cars Rolling 30 event in Sydney.

The production car is the only example to carry a GT-HO road compliance plate. Meanwhile the three race cars were based on specially-prepared shells that were literally walked down the production line for various deletes and add-ons. From there they were delivered to Ford Special Vehicles – the famous Lot 6 at Mahoneys Road – for extensive additional work, including seam-welding and the addition of blue-printed engines.

In a feature on the car, Carthew revealed that his acquisition was the conclusion of a long and sometimes baffling hunt. "Decades ago there was an article in a magazine and, at that stage, I didn’t know that much about Phase IVs. I was offered what is now the Bowden car, but declined at the time. But I was now interested in them and started collecting bits and pieces on them. I tracked down this car, which was owned by John Hewitt in Armadale, and tried to buy it over the next 10 years," he explained.

"He would never tell anyone where the car was, or show it to them, he was very protective of it. I didn’t see it until I went to pick it up. He rang me one day and said he’d made a decision to sell. We negotiated a price, and I did tell him I could have gone and bought a Ferrari at the time.

"We arrived with a bank cheque, a ute, and two drums of race fuel. John asked, ‘Where’s the trailer?’ He’d had it for two decades and had only ever done 200 miles in it. The deal was he had to get it re-registered and have it roadworthy. So we drove it home (it coughed and farted a bit) and did more miles in it the first day than he’d done in 20 years!"

Carthew had been open to selling the car for some time, and it’s believed to have gone to another Sydney collector.


See our feature on the two Phase IVs together with their owners, back in 2019.


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