FPV – The Last Blast: Classic MOTOR

“It’s been in my blood since I was a kid.”

This story first published in MOTOR October 2014.

“When you’re growing up, you’re either Holden or you’re Ford, and I fell on the Blue side,” explains lifetime Blue Oval man, BA Falcon GT owner Rob Maricic, when asked “Why an FPV?”

FPV The Last Blast front.jpgWith seven landmark Tickford and FPV models lined up for a celebratory get together – and farewell thrash – that’s the sort of response you’d probably expect from each of their die-hard owners. But the surprising thing is Rob’s answer isn’t typical at all.

Sure, members of the FPV Tickford and GT club of NSW share an unwavering passion for Henry’s finest, but the theme is of acceptance of other marques and there’s a unifying love of high-performance cars.

Of course, with the last of 550 limited-edition FPV GT F sedans soon to roll from Broadmeadows, and the Ford-owned operation set to shut up shop later this year, they’re not exactly left much choice. However, you get the strong impression these FPV enthusiasts – and Aussie car buyers today – are worldly and opportunistic rather than naïve and rusted-on.

FPV  The Last Blast rear.jpgIndeed, it’s this relatively new, sophisticated customer – Euro-snobs, in truth – that, with a domestic manufacturing equation that no longer adds up, have signalled the end of the Australian car industry, and with it, our beloved rear-drive muscle sedans, starting with FPV.

But this is a celebration, not a lesson in shifting buyer tastes or Australian manufacturing woes, and it’s no time to cry into our locally brewed lager.

Enthusiastic EB and EL Falcon GT owner Simon Roche certainly won’t be when FPV wraps up. While he reckons FPV’s demise is “a shame” his tastes are firmly ingrained in the Tickford chapter of the factory-fast Falcon story. He’s bored with V8 Supercars and finds many of FPV’s more recent offerings “too common.”

1997 EL Ford Falcon GT driving.jpgFPV doesn’t offer a car for his needs now – “I am probably going to buy another SS-V Commodore Sportswagon before they go because it suits my lifestyle,” he says – so the fact he won’t be able to buy one in years to come doesn’t bother him.

But, at the same time, it’s quite clear that his EL GT – owned from near-new – isn’t going anywhere, and he’s already at work on his wife Katrina for a 40th Anniversary FPV GT to park alongside the 25th Anniversary EB Falcon GT he bought recently as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to himself.

The reborn GT arrived in 1992 to kick off two decades of Tickford Vehicle Experience and Ford Performance Vehicles, and marks the intersection of the Aussie GT legend spawned by 1967’s XR Falcon and a Tickford story that began in Britain in the 1820s.

1997 EL Ford Falcon GT headlights.jpgTickford Limited was born out of a coachbuilding company called Salmons & Sons, based in Tickford Street, Newport Pagnell. In the late 1800s, with the dawn of the car, the company’s business began a shift from horses to horsepower before being bought by the owner of Aston Martin.

In the late 1950s the Tickford name vanished, not to resurface until 1981, as Aston Martin Tickford. It took on the role of engineering and tuning company and would be responsible for such motorsport icons as the Ford RS200 and Sierra Cosworth RS500 among other road and race cars.

In 1990, Tickford’s directors bought out the ailing company, reviving it and taking on R&D for Ford’s Focus RS. Then, in 1991, Tickford was chosen as partner by Ford Australia – Tickford Vehicle Engineering became the high-performance arm of Ford in Oz.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT front facing.jpgJournalistic licence allows me to suggest that 1992’s EB II Falcon GT signposts the beginning of the Tickford/FPV story, when it was in fact the subtly styled EB II S-XR6 and S-XR8, which had arrived only weeks earlier. It’d be easy to miss an early S-XR6 or 8 today – something that could never be said of the GT – which might permit me to conveniently overlook them in the telling of this tale.

However, that certainly wasn’t possible in the early ’90s. Picture it. The Ford V8 had been on hiatus since 1982, when it had bowed out in 351 cubic inch Cleveland form in the XE Falcon. Now, the bent-eight was back in the form of the 302ci (5.0-litre) Windsor in a special hi-po version of the series two EB Falcon, which represented the first update of the fifth-generation model born as the EA in 1988.

The XR series aesthetic package was restrained, but their performance was attention-grabbing.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT engine.jpgBut overshadowing the V8’s return was fact the lighter 161kW 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder S-XR6 was the performer – quicker as well as cheaper and thriftier than the 165kW V8 S-XR8 and, with less mass over the front tyres, handled better, too.

It took the limited run of 265 EB GTs to put the V8 back on its pedestal, though plenty of motoring pundits reckoned it lacked the performance to live up to the GT legend, which had been gathering dust since 1976’s XB GT. Contemporary road tests put it at mid 7s to 0-100km/h and mid 15s across the 400m – it was no Phase III.

At the EB GT’s launch the late Howard Marsden, Ford Tin Top racing mastermind, explained: “Thankfully, we now have a set of rules for touring car racing that spare participating car manufacturers from having to make road-registrable homologation specials like the GT-HO,” concluding that, “Like the latter-day GTs, the EB is not a race car.”

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT rear.jpgWhether you liked them or not, the aerodynamic additions – they were wind-tunnel tested, y’know – designed by Paul Gibson (who’d also been involved with the Escort RS Cosworth) were effective at both cutting lift (by 40 per cent) and turning heads, and helped the GT to a top speed of more than 220km/h. Inside, a Ghia-derived package had leather trim and walnut inlays.

The EB GT’s sequentially fuel-injected overhead valve V8 was sourced from the US-market Mustang Cobra before being Tickford tuned via camshaft, cylinder head and air intake changes to deliver 200kW at 5250rpm and 420Nm at 4000rpm. Down the driveline, the only changes from the XR variants were gear ratio and auto shift points. Yep, the GT came as a four-speed slusher as well as a five-speed manual.

Surprisingly, the suspension was softer than that of the S-XR6 and 8 – GT now spelled Grand Touring rather than Bathurst special. At least it wore big (for the time) 17x8.5-inch wheels of an attractive five-spoke design.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT exterior.jpgEB GT sales were slow – “City Ford had one sitting in there in ’95 and I think they were still wanting about 50 grand,” says owner Roche – and, 20 years later, they’re yet to pick up (see breakout).

But the fact widespread collector’s car recognition has eluded the EB GT didn’t put Simon off. Rather, the model’s relative affordability helped when he finally bought his in March, a Cobalt Blue 1993 model. “I’ve always like the EB shape – maybe it’s something that I couldn’t afford back then when the interest rates were so high, and I thought … one day.”

Five years after the EB, there was a sense of déjà vu surrounding the arrival of the 30th Anniversary 1997 EL Falcon GT. It was again a case of too much luxury, not enough performance, but this time it came wrapped in a polarising styling package.

1997 EL Ford Falcon GT interior.jpg“When I got it (see breakout), the guys in the GT club they were all bagging it,” says Roche. “‘That’s not a real GT!’, and about five years on when they started coming down in price, those people that were bagging me, all of sudden had one to go with their gold XTs or their Phase IIIs. A couple of guys bought them as well just as a car to bring out as an everyday car; a comfortable family car to go on a run and leave the really nice one at home.”

The frontal styling might have been a turn-off, but the mechanicals – and straight-line performance – improved subtly compared with the EB GT, although peak outputs were unchanged and kerb weight was up slightly to 1674kg (manual).

The 9.0:1 compression SVO GT40 5.0-litre boasted a large throttle body, free-flowing cylinder heads, big valves with heavy-duty springs, roller cam followers and a more sophisticated fuel injection system. Four-speed automatic and five-speed manual BTR transmissions were offered, powering down via a 3.45:1 Hydratrak limited-slip-diff-equipped live axle located by a Watts linkage.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT wheel.jpgOf 250 EL GTs built for the Australian market, autos outnumbered manuals. A further 15 went to New Zealand and a pair went to South Africa.

The brakes were upgraded with two-pot front calipers, and were cloaked by six-spoke 17x8.5-inch alloys.

If the familiar-sounding mechanical package – and story – wasn’t enough to motivate buyers, for some the Falcon’s revived presence on local motor racing circuits was.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT side.jpg“Dick Johnson had both of these cars,” says Roche. “They’re both Bathurst winning cars. Jason Bright; Stone Brothers won in the EL and Johnson won in the EB, so they have Bathurst heritage.”

Indeed, the availability, once again, of a V8 Falcon, had made possible 1993’s new bent-eight-friendly Group 3A Touring Car formula, which replaced our adopted Group A regulations and went on to become V8 Supercars.

Glenn Seton won the Australian Touring Car Championship in his EB Falcon in that inaugural year, while Dick Johnson Racing’s 1994 victory at The Mountain broke a five-year Blue Oval drought, and marked 13 years since a Falcon had taken the chequer.

FPV The Last Blast EB II.jpgThe 1994 Tooheys 1000, with its rain drenched start, proved a fitting return to the rostrum for the Johnson/Bowe pairing in their 5.0-litre Shell/FAI EB Falcon, which led home a quintet of VP Commodores.

Falcon ATCC victories in 1995 and ’97 were crowned by Jason Bright and Steven Richards’ 1998 Mount Panorama success at the wheel of the Stone Brothers Racing Pirtek EL Falcon. The GT might’ve gone a bit soft, but Ford was back on the local motor racing stage.

However, there was a loyalty test in store for hi-po Falcon fans. If they’d found the styling of the EL GT difficult to swallow, 1998’s New Edge AU Falcon brought confronting aesthetics to the entire sixth-generation Falcon line-up.

1993 EB II Ford Falcon GT.jpgThose who kept the faith would be rewarded with a Tickford-fettled iteration that, in its ultimate series three form, was the most powerful Falcon since the Phase III, and the most desirable in decades.

As the curtains closed on the ’90s, TVE, under its new Ford Tickford Experience banner, delivered its AU Falcon and Fairlane-derived T-Series range.

At this point, FPV’s cross-town rival Holden Special Vehicles comes firmly into the frame. Clayton’s Holden hot-shop had been on the scene since 1988 and, with its Clubsport and GTS front and centre, had enjoyed more than its fair share of the home-grown hi-po segment.

FPV  The Last Blast 2008 F6X.jpgThere were a number of factors at play but the Commodore’s slicker styling, omnipresence in local racing, along with HSV’s more convincing marketing and advertising, figured.

By the late ’90s, HSV abandoned the Aussie 5.0-litre V8 in favour of the 250kW US-built 5.7-litre Chevrolet LS1, in the context of which, FPV’s ageing 5.0-litre Windsor engine looked spectacularly underdone.

Meanwhile, both companies had struggled to strike a middle ground between the subtly sporty and the outright lairy. The AU’s styling was hardly the basis for a muscle sedan, however with the TE50, which brought in AU V8 Supercar cues, TVE had done a decent job.

2002 T3 FTE TE50 side.jpgSeries one and two versions of the limited edition Falcon-based TE50, Fairmont-derived TS50 and long-wheelbase Fairlane-platform TL50 put a 220kW iteration of the venerable 302 to reasonably good use. But the ultimate incarnation was on its way.

Developing the hand-built 5.6-litre ‘stroker’ from the 5.0-litre Windsor was no inexpensive exercise, but the result was a HSV-bashing 250kW and 500Nm and a fitting final iteration of a donk that dated to 1962.

Far more importantly than winning the spec-sheet stoush, the T3 T-Series was a genuine on-road match for its VX Commodore-based HSV contemporaries. Road-testers of the day were sold on the thumping torque on offer virtually from idle, which came backed by a delicious V8 grumble and crisp exhaust note.

2002 T3 FTE TE50 rear badge.jpgTVE’s flat-6sec 0-100km/h and low-14sec 400m claims were realistic. Elsewhere, 18-inch alloys wrapped in sticky Dunlops, slick steering and an upper and lower arm independent rear end helped ensure it had the handling to match, while an optional Brembo brake package solved an enduring fast-Falcon shortcoming. The TE50 mightn’t have worn a GT badge, but spiritually it was the closest thing to one since vinyl trim and cross-plies.

TVE built 204 TEs, 200-odd TSs and just 3 TLs, with four-speed automatic and five-speed manual transmissions. “The last count that I heard, at the T-Series Nationals in February at Bathurst there’s about 170 left on the road – and that’s Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” says TE50 T3 owner Steve Carter (see breakout).

The Tickford Group’s sale to Britain’s Prodrive in 2001 signalled the end of Tickford Vehicle Engineering. In 2002, Ford Performance Vehicles was established as a partnership between Prodrive and Ford Australia. Ford’s BA series, which arrived in September that year, marked a turning point for Falcon, despite the fact it was a substantial $500 million redesign of the AU rather than a new-generation model.

2002 T3 FTE TE50 engine.jpgOn paper, the BA provided the best basis yet for a muscle sedan, with its new overhead cam ‘Modular’ 5.4-litre engine and ‘Control Blade’ independent rear suspension. The GT was back for 2003, alongside a highly specified GT-P variant and Pursuit ute.

Just as excitingly, there was again a factory-backed team in local Tin Top racing in the form of the Ford Performance Racing V8 Supercars outfit. Prodrive had bought Glenn Seton Racing, renaming it before expanding its driver line up to include Craig Lowndes and David Besnard, and relocating into a new headquarters next to FPV’s Campbellfield, Victoria facility.

This reinvigorated motorsport effort was designed to draw a link between FPV vehicles and V8 Supercars. Meanwhile, the styling of the road cars tied them to the BA V8 Supercar.

2004 BA FPV GT engine.jpgThe BA GT’s Boss 290 engine used high-flowing double overhead cam cylinder heads from the US Mustang Cobra R, which promised far better breathing than the outgoing (and HSV’s) pushrod V8. The engine mustered 290kW at 5500rpm and 520Nm at 4500rpm, which it sent rearwards via five-speed manual (upgraded to a Tremec T56 six-speed for BA MkII in Oct ’04) and four-speed automatic transmissions.

Slick, precise steering and innate rear-drive balance were strong points, but the chosen spring and damper rates left room for improvement. TE50 owner Steve’s assessment matches those of many road-testers at the time. “We had a BA GT – nice car – but I found the suspension and steering shithouse. It was all over the place like a mad woman’s breakfast.” Okay, so the journos weren’t quite so harsh, but you get the idea.

The Boss V8, while technically superior to the Windsor, needed to be extended for its deep breathing top-end to hit its stride. But the truck-derived bottom-end wasn’t exactly rev-happy.

2004 BA FPV GT front.jpgAlthough the engine didn’t quite live up to the promise – fixed easily enough via some aftermarket tweaks – the BA had the look, the race relations and spec sheet to be a success, and it was. By late 2005 FPV had offloaded more than 3000 BA GTs, surpassing sales of the iconic XW GT and GT-HO.

"This result is proof that the outstanding BA Falcon was the perfect platform to rekindle the passion for the GT," said then-Ford Performance Vehicles Managing Director, David Flint.

"Our customers have made it perfectly clear that FPV has developed a credible vehicle to carry the legacy of one of the country's most revered motoring names. We have re-created the essence of a GT, but with class-leading technologies such as the quad-cam Boss 290 V8 and control blade IRS”.

2006 BF II FPV F6 Typhoon front.jpgHowever, 2004’s BA series II had also brought a new XR6 Turbo-derived variant, and a tough decision for hot-Falcon buyers. The 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder F6 Typhoon sedan and Tornado ute were smoother, more economical and, ahem … quicker than their bent-eight brothers. You had to be a die-hard V8 man to stick with it. Of course, plenty of buyers were…

BA GT owner Rob Maricic’s solution was simple enough. “I owned an XR6 Turbo and then I thought, it’s time to get an eight. The XR6 is a runabout – the  GT comes out for shows.”

It was the other way round for Typhoon man Tony Cordina “I originally went for the turbo and they only had the Boss 260 – I ended up buying that. Then I traded that in and ended up getting the Typhoon. It’s a lot better than what the Boss was – it’s a lot more responsive.”

2006 BF II FPV F6 Typhoon side.jpgWhile F6 buyers traded the classic exhaust burble for a soundtrack of whoosh and whistle, they got an effortless 550Nm from 2000 to 4250rpm, with a 270kW kick at 5250rpm. It was easy to extract a bit more from the Boss, via exhaust, intake and ECU tweaks, but it was even easier to turn the boosted six into a weapon, as Cordina knows (see breakout).

The BAII also brought new variant the Super Pursuit – a Pursuit ute equipped to GT-F spec – and an upgrade to 19s for the GT-P.

On the track, the big-budget FPR largely struggled to generate results. A Phillip Island round win for Lowndes in 2003 and second at Bathurst in ’03 and ’04 for Lowndes/Seton were the highlights. Like a Collingwood supporter, the fans stood by their side regardless, and would (eventually) be repaid for their loyalty.

FPV The Last Blast 2006 BF II FPV F6.jpgFor 2005’s BF, the model mix was unchanged, as was the mechanical package, with the exception of the newly optional ZF six-speed automatic transmission. FPV instead tweaked styling and introduced new 19-inch wheels for up-spec variants.

In 2006, the BF MkII saw 19s fitted across the range and a pair of new variants designed to take on HSV’s Senator, which had the hi-po luxo segment all to itself since 1992. The Force 6 and Force 8 wrapped GT and F6 Typhoon running gear in a more restrained visual package – think Fairmont Ghia with grunt.

In the last months of BFII production, FPV unleashed three limited editions. The XC Falcon-inspired GT Cobra and Cobra ute, questionably named F6 Typhoon R-Spec (arse peck?) and XR GT commemorative GT 40th Anniversary. All three were upgraded with firmer R-spec dampers, while only the Cobra copped a power increase, to 302kW and 540Nm.

2006 BF II FPV F6 Typhoon badge.jpgThe R-Spec – of which 300 were built – scored leather trim and Brembo four-piston front calipers among the mostly stylistic changes. Just 200 of the gold on black GT 40th anniversary cars were built.

The limited editions were timed impeccably to capitalise on the classic muscle car boom, and the Cobra and GT 40th in particular whipped buyers into a frenzy, some of whom paid well over sticker price to own one. Unfortunately their values today don’t necessarily reflect that brief period of cashed-up craziness.

With the muscle sedan market a success, 2008 marked an attempt at diversification by Campbellfield Crew – an FPV SUV.

2008 FPV F6X exterior.jpgLike the last of the BFIIs, the Territory Turbo-based F6X was a limited edition. However, the super-sports-utility was a slow seller – FPV shifted 178 in its first year on sale – at which point, with the facelifted Territory coming, FPV chose to end the F6X rather than spend the development dollars for an updated version. Production tallied just 218.

There were a few factors at play, but it wasn’t that the F6X was an inherently bad car. In fact, with a 270kW F6 turbo six powering all four wheels via a ZF six-speed auto and a relatively classy cabin treatment, it was an appealing package, as owner Kate Clark and her family found (see breakout).

“There is nothing wrong with the car,” said then-FPV General Manager Rod Barrett in 2009. “It is a great car, (but) it was the right car for the wrong time. The thing that has led to the decision we have made is that it was never aesthetically different enough from the mother car and probably had a price-tag that didn’t suit the market when it was launched.”

2008 FPV F6X driving.jpgIt didn’t help the F6X’s case the forthcoming FG Falcon and Territory had a new 270kW/533Nm turbo six – near FPV power and torque in a Ford. FPV’s F6 – it dropped the Typhoon from the name – would be a weapon.

FPV club president Ben Schibeci’s FG F6 310 illustrates that point perfectly – the factory standard black automatic sedan is quicker than the heavily modified blown V8 BA it replaced in his garage (see breakout).

On the V8 front, Ford’s FG XR8 was upgraded to a Boss-spec 290kW and 520Nm. But Euro IV emissions regulations saw the XR8 and its bent eight phased out not long after, in June 2010.

2014 FG FPV F6 310 rear.jpgAll was not lost for V8 fans, however. The big news for FPV was the imminent arrival of a new, supercharged V8. The Mustang-sourced 5.0-litre ‘Coyote’ was reworked by Prodrive to develop 335kW and 570Nm – the ‘Boss 335’.

The new mill – also known as the ‘Miami’ – reportedly cost $40 million and was three years in the development, but brought to flagship V8 models newfound effortlessness and low-rev punch with the outputs – and outright pace – to take the fight to HSV’s 325kW naturally aspirated Chevrolet LS3-powered E2 and E3 GTS. 

With the XR8 gone, FPV filled the void with its limited edition GS – a more affordable variant detuned to 315kW (2kW less than an HSV Clubsport) and 551Nm. The GS series revived yet another classic pair of letters, which had first been applied in 1969 for an XW Falcon option pack. Elsewhere, the line-up looked familiar, including a new GT R-Spec, while new F6-E and GT-E variants took the place of the Force 6 and 8.

2014 FG FPV F6 310 exterior.jpgIf Ford effectively handing its XR8 sales to the 51 per cent Prodrive-owned FPV had seemed an unlikely move, all became clear in August 2012 when Ford took the tuning arm in-house. The move reflected Prodrive’s desire to exit the Australia performance market, and the broader scaling down of local car manufacturing. “The fact is, you can’t ignore what’s happening in the Australian marketplace,” said Prodrive Australia managing director Bryan Mears.

Check out more of the Classic MOTOR series

Jobs were lost as engine production shifted to Ford’s Geelong plant and vehicle assembly moved under one roof at Campbellfield. Ford boss Bob Graziano wasn’t giving much away.

“It’s too early to talk about any changes to the portfolio, and for the foreseeable future from an FPV prospect perspective they won’t see a significant change in the line-up.” However, in hindsight it’s clear that, with the writing on the wall for FPV, its best – and last – Falcon was in the works.

FPV  The Last Blast front.jpgAgainst this backdrop of doom and gloom, Ford Performance Racing, with Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards, came through with something to cheer about – Bathurst glory (and a new race-time record) in 2013. The team’s return to form carries into 2014, with ‘Frosty’ and FPR currently second in the V8 Supercars drivers’ and teams’ championship as we go to print.

With last F6 stocks delivered earlier this year, and a facelifted Falcon due at year’s end, the FPV turbo-six story came to an anticlimactic close. The FG Mk III’s silver lining is it will see the XR8 badge return until the end of Falcon in 2016. There’d be one last FPV.

FPV’s 2014 GT F marks 11 years of FPV and 22 years since the Tickford era began, and is the full stop on 47 years of the Falcon GT.

2014 GT FThe 351kW-plus limited-edition’s arrival in June was well documented on MOTOR's pages, as was its close defeat to HSV’s Clubsport R8 SV last issue. But how has it been received by fervent FPV fans? Club member Rob Maricic – who awaits delivery of his GT F – opened the story, so it’s fitting that we let him have the final word.

“All things come to an end I guess, but the way that manufacturing is in Australia I’m not surprised. I was surprised that they actually made it this far.

2014 FPV GT F side.jpgOn social media you see a lot of people bagging the GT F and talking about how it should have been bigger and better and stronger and faster. At the end of the day, it’s what people are willing to spend. I’m not sure if Ford put out a car that’s $150,000 whether people would be snapping them up.

My personal opinion? It’s a fitting way to go. It’s the best Ford’s engineers could do with the budget they had.”

Our Heroes
Big credit is owed to the FPV Tickford club of NSW along with Simon and Katrina Roche from the GT Club of NSW for providing all the glorious metal to be savoured on these pages. If you have an FPV and need a clan, head to fpvclub.com and falcongtclubnsw.com

Simon Roche - 1993 EB II GT

“Dad used to have a couple of big 351 Fairlanes, and as a kid my job was in the morning to pull the choke and start it up and have it warmed up ready for him to go to work. I think Bathurst as well, y’know, I’ve got the Ford 1-2 poster at home – that’s probably where my love of Fords came from.

Simon-Roche-1997-EL-GT.jpgI saw [the EB GT] in Perth just sitting there and I couldn’t understand why, and I phoned up the gentleman – he was a policeman – and he explained to me the car had sat at the dealer’s yard for five years. I thought, ‘Ooh, this is worth a look’, so I actually bought it sight unseen. I’ve always liked the EB shape.”

1993 EBII Ford Falcon GT Specs
Price $62,500 (new)
Engine 4942cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power 200kW @ 5250rpm
Torque 420Nm @ 4000rpm
Kerb weight 1657kg
0-100km/h 7.3sec

Simon Roche - 1997 EL GT

“It was owned by a gentleman in Lithgow and it ended up in a consignment yard (in 1998) due to finances I think, and Katrina saw me looking at it in the yard and went ‘naah’.

She actually phoned [the yard] up and said we’ve got this Ford Raider, what do you think it’s worth, and they had brand new price on it – 75 grand – and she said I’ll give you 50 grand change-over. I laughed at her and said they won’t do that, and they did. It only had 2000 kays on it.”

1997 EL Ford Falcon GT Specs
Price $69,500 (new)
Engine 4942cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power 200kW @ 4700rpm
Torque 420Nm @ 3700rpm
Kerb weight 1699kg
0-100km/h 6.9sec (claimed)

Steve Carter - 2002 TVE TE50 T3

“My first car was an FJ Holden, like most young blokes – I’m nearly 66 years old. My first Ford was a 1963 imported English GT Cortina and that’s where my love affair with Ford started. My eldest daughter bought and XR8, and I fell in love with ’em. We bought a series 1 XR6 – lovely car – and we just graduated. I saw the T-Series come out, I thought that’s nice.

Steve-Carter-TE50-T3.jpgWe bought ours (five years ago) at the right price and it’s now insured for 35 grand. I’ve done things to this that I think Ford should have done from when they built the car. The interior hasn’t got a mark on it – the only one that sits in the back is my grandson when we go to car shows. It’s our toy, we just love it. They’re not cheap to run but, hey, when I bring it out I enjoy it.”

2002 TVE TE50 T3 specs
Price: $58,350 (new)
Engine: 5604cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power: 250kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 4250rpm
Kerb weight: 1720kg
0-100km/h: 6.0sec (claimed)

Rob Maricic - 2004 BA GT

“As a kid I grew up watching Bathurst – Moffat, Brock, Dick Johnson – Ford’s been in my blood since I can remember. This came on the market, it was well looked after one-owner, so I purchased it – I’m building a bit of a mini collection. I’ve put an order in for a GT F, so the garage is getting full. I’ve got a son who also follows Ford.

Rob-Maricic-2004-BA-GT.jpgThe GT F will be a family heirloom, it’ll be passed on to him eventually. Same with this thing. I don’t think I’ll let this go. I’ve always liked the ’70s models – XA, XB even the XC Cobra. But they’re sort of coming to a point where you’re paying for a 40-year-old car what you can get one of these for – virtually the same price – what do you do?”

2004 BA FPV GT
Price: $61,000 (new)
Engine: 5408cc V8, DOHC, 32v
Power: 290kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 520Nm @ 4500rpm
Kerb weight: 1845kg
0-100km/h: 5.9sec

Tony Cordina - BFII F6 Typhoon

‘Can’t piss on what you can’t catch’ reads the sticker on the rear window of the BFII F6 Typhoon. You get the impression that for Tony Cordina, the F6’s appeal has as much to do with its untouchable bang-for-buck as its badge. Not that he’s any less the Blue Oval man than the next bloke. “I love watching the V8s. I’ve always had Fords since I started driving.”

Tony-Cordina-BFII-F6-Typhoon.jpgCordina has modified his sedan with a cold air intake, bigger injectors, a larger exhaust, a bigger fuel pump and a flash tune. The result? 315kW at the wheels, or more than enough to back the slogan.

2006 BFII FPV F6 Typhoon
Price: $61,810 (new)
Engine: 3984cc in-line 6, DOHC, 24v, turbo
Power: 270kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 550Nm @ 2000-4250rpm
Kerb weight: 1815kg
0-100km/h: 5.7sec

Kate Clark - 2008 F6X

“I’ve grown up with Fords all my life, my parents have had FPVs; my parents have had GTs. I finally bought mine in 2008. It was my husband’s ex-demo – we ended up buying it because we needed seven seats for the kids, and I wouldn’t part with it. I’m a car nut – always have been always will be.

Kate-Clark-FPV-F6X.jpgMy husband and I are very much car people – any model, it doesn’t have to be just Ford or FPV. Modified with an air induction kit and a remapped computer, Clark says “It has been completely reliable – we’ve had no problems.”

2008 FPV F6X
Price: 75,990 (new)
Engine: 3984cc inline 6, DOHC, 24v, turbo
Power: 270kW @ 5250rpm
Torque: 550Nm @ 2000-4250rpm
Kerb weight: 2155kg
0-100km/h: 6.0 (sec)

Ben Schibeci - FG F6 310

“My dad’s got an old GT – an XA rusting away – so we’ve always been a Ford family; Ford people. As soon as I could afford one I bought an XR8.

Ben-Schibeci-FG-F6-310.jpgI had an EL XR8 and did that up a little bit, exhaust and wheels and things and had it for four or five years, then I bought a BA that I had for another five years, that was supercharged and had stripes over it, really showy, really modified – it took two years to sell that one… Then I bought this one – more of a family car. [But] it’s much faster than my supercharged BA.”

2014 FPV F6 310
Price: $64,390 (new)
Engine: 3984cc in-line 6, DOHC, 24v, turbo
Power: 310kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 565Nm @ 1950-5200rpm
Kerb weight: 1778kg
0-100km/h: 5.1sec (tested)

Verdicts

EB GT
Watered down return of the GT V8 was a slow seller. Mainstream collectability and appeal has eluded it, as has big-time appreciation, but rarity and first-of-the-series significance on its side today

EL GT
Remembered for its out-there grille and body additions rather than game-changing performance. The GT had (again) gone soft, but paved the way for ultimate TE50 and birth of FPV

TE50 T3
It wasn’t until the third TE50 that TVE got the package right. T3’s ‘stroker’ 5.6-litre Windsor V8 a grunty cracker of a donk and more than a match for HSV rivals. AU styling proved more difficult to stroke

BA GT
First-FPV significance with new-gen chassis and overhead cam V8 give the BA GT both collector and driver appeal, once you’ve upgraded the soft suspension. A massive hit back then and still holds enthusiast appeal

BFII Typhoon
FPV’s each-way bet on the turbo six and V8 had well and truly paid off. Beloved of The Boys in Blue (for Highway Patrol duty) and Blue Oval fans. Typhoon’s enviable bang-for-buck even stronger now than new

F6X
FPV’s foray into super-SUV realm didn’t pay off. F6X a well-sorted package but price tag and Territory Turbo-alike looks hurt its appeal. A limited edition, but this time build-count limited by demand, rather than supply

FG F6 310
F6 by now a fixture on Aussie hi-po landscape and perhaps the default local performance pick (over a V8). Storming grunt from the last ‘Barra’ 4.0-litre turbo-six

GT F
Potent, 400kW-plus (on overboost) limited-edition muscle sedan a fitting FPV send-off. Great value at $77,900, if not the $100K being asked by opportunistic types. Run of just 500 (for Oz; 50 for NZ) should guarantee collectability

 

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