Legendary Ford Falcon GTHO is back from the dead
THE iconic Ford Falcon GTHO muscle car has been brought back from the dead.
Former Ford Performance Vehicles insiders have revived a top-secret project to create a version of what should have been the final fast Falcon.
The last Falcon GT was intended to have an even more powerful supercharged 5.0-litre V8 than the one that finally made it to showrooms.
The target was a mind-boggling 484kW and 750Nm of grunt, a significant step up from the final GT's 351kW and 570Nm.
Ford's performance-car division even built 10 test vehicles to show executives what the Falcon was truly capable of.
However, the program was axed because Ford ran out of development time before the Broadmeadows factory closure.
Now, almost two years after the final Falcon was built, the engineers responsible for the car that was to be dubbed GTHO have brought their dream to life.
"This is the car we always wanted to build," says Bernie Quinn, a senior Ford performance-car engineer for 19 years.
"The plan was to finish with a modern GTHO but in the end we ran out of time."
Mr Quinn said the GTHO needed another 12 months or so of engineering and development work - including 1 million kilometres of testing - to meet Ford global standards.
Prototype versions of the modern GTHO - referred to internally as the "GT HOly Grail" - were so powerful the Falcon's chassis initially couldn't handle so much grunt.
"A lot of our early development work was finding a way to keep the awesome power but make it manageable, to protect the rest of the car," says Quinn.
When it comes to buying the revived GTHO there is just one catch: you need to already own a supercharged V8 Falcon and then have the $25,000 worth of upgrades fitted.
The major changes include a new intake manifold, remapped engine computer software and an intercooler that keeps temperatures low and boosts performance.
"This car isn't for everyone but we've done it exactly as it would have been mechanically, if there ever was to be a modern GTHO," says Quinn.
"This has the same level of robustness as a showroom delivered vehicle. As powerful as it is, we haven't gone crazy with it."
The package will be available from October through Premcar, an independent engineering firm staffed by former FPV engineers and technicians.
The company will number each individual car and cap the kits to 100 units, "to keep them exclusive", says Quinn.
Had the vehicle made it into showrooms the modern Falcon GTHO would have had more power but less torque than the final Holden Special Vehicles sedan - the GTS-R W1 (474kW and 815Nm) - the titleholder for Australia's most powerful production car.
It would have made for an epic final Ford versus Holden showdown, but it was never to be.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling