Mint condition Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III sets new auction record

A mint condition Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III has set a new sale record for Australian-made cars, selling over the weekend for AU$1.3 million (NZ$1.35 million). Well, a new official record – it still falls short of the reported “just under $2 million” private sale price of a GTHO Phase IV at the start of September.

This one is one of 12 finished in Yellow Glo, and one of 500 Phase IIIs built, complete with a beige vinyl roof and the original 5.8-litre V8 with 30,875 miles (49,688km) on the clock.

In its heyday, the Phase III was the world’s fastest four-door production car and cost AU$5000 (about NZ$61k in 2021 money).

The car was sold by Lloyds Auctions, which said it hasn’t been driven in 18 years, and carries accolades like outright Classic Grand Tourer winner at the Bathurst 2003 GT Nationals, and runner-up in the Best Restored category at the 2019 Adelaide GT Nationals.

READ MORE: * Ford Falcon XA GTHO Phase IV sets auction record * More big-money Commodores at auction * 1985 Holden Commodore owned by Peter Brock sells for more than $1 million

Despite the record-setting sale price, Lloyds actually thought it might go for more.

Mint condition Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III sets new auction record

“We expect this car to break Australian classic car records indefinitely. Its current bid is in the high six figures, and we expect it to reach anywhere between one and 1.5 million dollars come auction day,” said Lloyds Auctions chief operations officer, Lee Hames, before the auction ended.

“The Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III receives so much attention because it is the pinnacle of Australian muscle cars and has consistently held its value over its lifespan since its release in 1971, so they attract bidders including enthusiasts, collectors as well as investors.”

Lloyd’s auction saw a 1996 HSV GTS-R with #001 build plate and XU3 ‘Yellah’ paint also selling for AU$1 million and a 2017 HSV GTSR W1 017 change hands for AU$750,000 ($779,310).

The GTHO’s record might be short-lived, as Lloyds has confirmed price negotiations for an HSV W1 Ute are expected to lead to a sale price eclipsing the $1.3 million paid for the Falcon.

Prices for vintage Holden and Ford muscle cars have leapt in recent years, particularly since Holden closed its doors early last year.

A 1985 HDT Holden Commodore VK Group A SS once owned by racing legend Peter Brock sold at auction in May for a remarkable AU$1,057,509 (NZ$1,102,278), just beating the AU$1,050,000 record set by a rare HSV Maloo GTSR W1.

The aforementioned GTHO Phase IV is one of only four built to help Ford win at Bathurst in 1972, comprising three prototype road cars and one race car, which were all in various stages through development before the infamous ‘supercar scare’ halted all work on the Phase IV.

According to specialist car broker, Australian Muscle Car Sales, it was approached several months ago by a “discreet but determined collector and asked to obtain what is considered to be one of the most prized motor cars ever made in Australia.”

It went into discussions with the now-former owner of the Phase IV, Paul Carthew of Sydney, and confirmed the car changed hands for “just under $2 million”.