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Final Ford Falcon GT sells out

Ford says the GT-F will be based on the limited edition R-Spec version of the Falcon GT.

FORD has sold all 500 examples of the last ever Falcon GT before the first one has even been built -- and dealers and enthusiast buyers are pleading for more.

All 500 Falcon GT-F (for "final" edition) sedans destined for Australia have been wholesaled to dealers and most cars already have customer names against them.

Even though Ford built an extra 50 GT-Fs for New Zealand -- and 120 special edition "Pursuit" utes -- dealers say Ford has not built enough GT sedans and have asked for the number to be doubled.

But Ford says there will be no more because it is restricted by how many supercharged V8s it can assemble by hand at a temporary assembly area alongside the six-cylinder engine line in Geelong.

"Ford has massively under-called this," said one dealer, who asked not to be named in case it would affect his allocation of cars. "This is a massive missed opportunity. I really don't think Ford understands the enthusiast market."

When Ford unveiled a special batch of "Cobra" edition Falcon GTs at the 2007 Bathurst 1000 -- to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Allan Moffat and Colin Bond 1-2 finish -- all 400 cars were wholesaled to dealers within 48 hours.

"Did they learn nothing from that experience," said another Ford dealer, who also asked to remain anonymous. "The Cobras sold out in a flash and they weren't the last ones ever. This Falcon GT is the last one ever, the least they could have done was given more people the opportunity to buy a car."

Dealers insist that all Falcon GT-Fs are being sold at the recommended retail price, of $77,990 plus on-road costs. "We're not allowed to charge over-the-odds for them, but they are all going out at full price," said one Ford dealer. "There is not a dollar coming off these cars because someone else will snap it up." Dealers are also concerned because, they say, Ford got the mix of manual versus automatic transmissions wrong.

The GT-F build is reportedly 62 per cent automatic and 38 per cent manual, but Ford dealers say this figure should have been reversed because enthusiast buyers favour manual transmissions.

For its part, Ford says that over the life of the modern Falcon GT, manual transmissions have accounted for only 26 per cent of sales. "All the manuals are gone," said one Ford dealer. "If you want one now, you've got to take an automatic and not be picky with colour."

However, contrary to dealer feedback, Ford Australia has told Carsguide that there is time to increase the mix of manual variants before production starts within the next two months.

There will be five colours available, including two that will be exclusive to the GT-F -- a bright blue and a gun-metal grey. And all cars will come with a unique sticker pack.

Ford is yet to release photos or details of the Falcon GT-F; it is due to be unveiled in June. The GT-F is expected to carry the 351 badge, a reference to its power output in kilowatts but also a nod to size of the V8 in the iconic 1970s Falcon GT-HO.

Ford says the GT-F will be based on the limited edition R-Spec version of the Falcon GT released 18 months ago, just before Ford Performance Vehicles closed its doors and Ford Australia took over the skeleton of the operation, namely the engine building team.

The GT-F is expected to be the fastest Falcon GT ever built. Thanks to its 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and wider rear tyres to help it blast off the line with a race-car style "launch" control, it should be able to do the 0 to 100km/h dash in 4.5 seconds.

Once the 351kW Falcon GT-F goes, the 335kW Ford XR8 will be introduced with the updated Falcon range from September 2014, until Australia's oldest automotive nameplate reaches the end of the line no later than October 2016.

As reported earlier, Carsguide has been told there were secret plans to make the power output for the last-ever Falcon GT significantly higher than the 351kW high note it will finish on.

Confidential sources claim the now defunct Ford Performance Vehicles had extracted 430kW of power from the supercharged V8 while it was in development, but those plans were vetoed by Ford because of concerns about reliability -- and the ability of the Falcon's chassis, gearbox, driveshaft and differential to handle so much grunt.

"We were at 430kW long before anyone knew HSV was going to have 430kW on the new GTS," said an insider. "But in the end, Ford put the brakes on it. We could get the power easy enough, but they reckoned it didn't make financial sense to make all the changes to the rest of the car to handle it."

As it stands today the Falcon GT briefly gets up to 375kW in an "overboost" mode which lasts up to 20 seconds, but Ford is not allowed to claim this figure because it doesn't comply with international testing guidelines.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
 

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