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Ford?s vision for a reworked classic

Ford Performance Vehicles boss Rod Barrett admits he has been surprised by the $170,000 price tag on the 7.0-litre HSV 427 but, despite suggestions that the car's 200-unit production run is fully subscribed, he doesn't see a similar pricing structure for a GTHO.

“I think that's a lot of money,” Barrett says. “I don't think I could put a car up at that money.

“I know we're talking a couple of years off at the moment, but that price would be double the most expensive car I've released (the FG-based GT-E) and I just don't know where I could get the content to justify charging that price.

“Anyway, I want to make this car affordable — affordable to the bloke who's a genuine GT-P, Cobra or GT Anniversary driver or collector. If the GTHO was to be a $100,000 car, I would be OK with that.”

Original Phase III GTHOs from the 1970s have become something of a phenomenon in recent years, with auction prices soaring. While predictions of a million-dollar sale have not been realised, the top auction price has hit $750,000.

Barrett said that while any production GTHO would be a limited-edition vehicle, it would be “special and affordable”.

“The whole thing in this vision is that it'll be a completely different car to the Cobra or the 40th Anniversary GT. I've promised not to badge-engineer this car and I won't.

“It will be a purpose-built car that reflects the attributes of a 1971 GTHO in all its forms.

“We're not going to spray a car in a colour, throw on a stripe and say, `There you go — that's a GTHO'.

That's not my vision for it.”

Barrett says he has a clear plan in his head as to what will underpin a modern GTHO — right down to the wheels and the colour.

There's just one key piece of the puzzle missing: what V8 is going to sit under the bonnet.

“The (current 315kW) 5.4 is probably at the max of its power, so we would have to be looking at the global Ford family to find something suitable,” Barrett says.

“Whatever it is, it has to have the character, reliability and driveability that's at the core of all FPV cars.”

At the opposite end of the FPV scale, Barrett is working on ideas for a small — possibly four-cylinder — FPV hero.

“To be honest, I haven't yet delved too deeply into the Focus, but it's on the priority list, albeit down the order,” Barrett says.

“When the Focus comes down the production line at the Broadmeadows factory (scheduled for 2010 or 2011) that's something we'd be looking at.

“Again, no formal discussions have been entered into with Ford, but that's the most realistic opportunity for us to do a small car because we can use the same mother-car model.

“At the moment we would struggle with making a business case out of an imported car.”