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Falcon GT-HO rebirth plans fade

The Clayton carbuilder had originally intended to build up to 427 hot Commodores, referring to the car's cubic-inch capacity.

Ford Performance Vehicles boss, Rod Barrett, says although his heart his willing, the FPV chequebook is reluctant to open in the service of returning the GT-HO to the road.

The poor sales response to Holden Special Vehicle's hot one-off W427 Commodore is believed to have indirectly cooled FPV's desire to recreate the halo Falcon. HSV built just 137 7.0-litre V8 W427 sedans with a pricetag of $155,000.

The Clayton carbuilder had originally intended to build up to 427 hot Commodores, referring to the car's cubic-inch capacity. Barrett admits he was a keen spectator to the whole W427 process. "I think there was a huge learning experience for us in that car," he says. "I'd hate to think that I would be putting a car on the market that was as expensive as that. "I would like to be able to do something at an affordable price for the man in the street."

Despite the sobering W427 experience, Barrett's desire to build a GT-HO remains strong. "The GT-HO is a dream of mine," he says. "I'd love to be in charge of FPV when we bought out a GT-HO."

Dealers around the country hold thick files of prospective orders for a GT-HO but Barrett admits the mystic surrounding the original may not transfer into modern-day sales. Despite keen interest, the company has not even crunched the numbers of how many it could build or sell.

But Barrett is adamant it would not be a limited-edition Cobra or special 40th anniversary car. "It would be something entirely unique," he says. With such a car comes a responsibility not to "stuff it up", he says. "I've always said I'm not to prepared to even think about it until we've got all the hardware we require and the financial resources to do it properly," he says.

A GT-HO needs to be a car that has unique performance, handling, braking, aesthetics, colour and limited build number "and it needs to reflect what the Phase III was", he says.

"Whether I'm there, or any man that follows me into the chair at FPV, it is a very brave move to put out a GT-HO if you don't do it right and don't have the financial backing to do it right."

Barrett admits 2011 would be an ideal time to introduce a new GT-HO, which would mark the 40th anniversary of the Phase III car. "It is a constant question, it's the question that comes up at every car club event I go to," he says. "I love it but it is so far away from being a reality at the moment it's just off the table."

FPV is on track to sell about 1975 cars this year, just 3 per cent down over last year's figure of 2035 cars.

Barrett says the full tally is still good considering the economic meltdown. "We're not too bad considering the state the rest of the industry is in," he says.

V8s still make up most of the FPV volume with 41 per cent of cars being six cylinder models. "Going forward, we're heading for a pretty good year under the circumstances," he says.

Barrett also believes buyer confidence is coming back into the market. "Inquiry levels are up and I'm very confident about the future of FPV," he says.

However, FPV's figures still trails arch-rival HSV by a significant margin. HSV sold 4778 cars last year and to the end of July, sold 1551 cars.

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