Mysterious discovery of the 1970 Ford Falcon XW GTHO Stage 1.5 in a new book

Two new sections of the Ford Falcon GTHO track record fill more voids in the historical history of one of Australia’s most iconic muscle car series.


More missing pieces in the stories of the Ford Falcon GTHO – one of the most iconic muscle car series of the golden age of Australian motoring – are set to be revealed in the latest edition of the historically significant book.

After the complete sale success of 1971 Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III Register — which documented every model built — automobile historian Ross Vass goes way back in time in the 1970 Ford Falcon GTHO era.

At the time, Australia’s major motorsport class required racing cars to be representative of road cars, sparking a performance war and showroom battle between Ford, Holden and – and eventually – Chrysler.



But it was Ford that dominated motor racing in the early 1970s, in the process of creating a series of road cars that are today considered priceless — some of which have sold for well over $1 million.

However, as the latest books in the series have discovered — documenting every model assembled, down to every last detail — Ford had to quickly produce a limited set of cars to make up enough numbers to be eligible for the 1970 Bathurst Auto Race.

This is how the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase 1.5 was created in 1970, after the first phase was built in 1969.



“The 1.5 stage powered the all-new high-performance 351 HO V8 Cleveland engine with hydraulic valve train, as opposed to the second stage which had operating gear such as the mechanical hard-lever valve train, close ratio gearbox, and Detroit locker rear axle, making it Closer to the third stage.

“Ford had to build 110 special units or else they wouldn’t be able to go to motorsports. The full story of how all of this was revealed is included in detail in the book Stage 1.5.”

The first 351 hardcover models of every new book — each costing $351, referring to the cubic capacity of the V8 — sold out online within 15 minutes in April.



In response to this demand, the “Blue Editions” soft-cover books for Phase 1.5 and Phase 2 are now available to order before delivery in November – in the same way that the “Blue Editions” soft-cover books were offered to a wider audience once the limited hard-cover editions of the Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III recorded 1971.

As was the case with last year’s Stage 3 Ford Falcon GTHO record, the “blue editions” of the latest books will be printed on demand and will themselves become collectible because the author has pledged not to reprint them.

To preserve the historically important information in the books, based on decades of research, copies of each are donated to national and government libraries across Australia.



“Once orders close, as was the case with the 1971 Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III record, we will never reprint it,” Mr. Vass said.

“As with last year’s book, once it’s all sold out it’s over. There will be no going back, and this won’t be another Johnny Farnam ‘Farewell to Concerts’ tour.”

The first hardcover hardcover copy of the 1971 Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III record – donated by the author and signed by racing legend Alan Moffat, who drove the car into Australian folklore and into the history books with his Bathurst victory – recently sold for $16000 To raise money for dementia Australia.



former Wheels Magazine editor Peter Robinson said of last year’s Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III record: “This isn’t the first book devoted to a single car model, but I’ve never seen a volume of a single model match Vasse’s efforts in terms of completeness, background knowledge and thousands of facts. It truly is my encyclopedia in cover it.”

The new books include the complete production records for the Ford GTHO Phase 1.5 and Phase 2, which were first publicly revealed.

Mr. Vass completed “forensic” research for books over more than three decades, discovering many “portraits of the period never before seen”.

Within each reference book you will find details of the build specifications for every 1970 Falcon GTHO built, including the paint color and make-up of each vehicle, factory options with which each was fitted, final assembly and retail dates, unusual build deformations and one-off Falcon GTHOs, Mr Fez said.

“Turning every page is like watching a scene from GTHOs on the production line, as each file from 287 Phase 2s goes through one by one. Even production specifications for one-off GTHOs made in Fanta orange are included.”

Vass says that each book contains “information previously known only to insiders” and that “mysteries have been solved, myths revealed, and secrets revealed”.



“Ford dealerships where every 1970 Ford Falcon XW GTHO is mapped, decades of resale value trends, and direct “memory lane” accounts from original and previous owners are also included,” he said.

The “Blue Editions” of the two books—in Phase 1.5 and Phase 2—are available separately for $275 each, or bundled as a pair for $499.

“On Good Friday, we announced individual faux leather numbered 1 to 351 limited edition Falcon GTHO Phase 1.5 and Phase 2 books, and although they were priced at $351 each, they sold out in a record 15 minutes, Mr. Fez said.

“With hundreds of Ford fans on the waiting list hoping for cancellation, we thought a soft-covered ‘Blue Edition’ version would be best.

Mr. Vass added: “After writing Phase III of the GTHO Bible last year, many readers have asked us for a book on other HOs such as Phase Two, Phase One and even Phase IV.”

The release date for the two new books — officially endorsed by Ford Motor Company — is set for November 30, 2022, with delivery in time for Christmas.



And for fans wondering about the 1969 Ford Falcon XW GTHO Phase One, Mr. Vass said, “This book is scheduled for release in 2023, although we haven’t opened orders yet.”

Joshua Dowling has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, spending most of that time working for the Sydney Morning Herald (as an automotive editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in late 2018, and has been one of the world’s automotive judges for 10 years.

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