1973 XA GT Falcon RPO 83
1st RPO 83 ever made.
2 owners from new.
All books and tags in place.
Never hit, or neglected.
Chassis # JG33NP90296K
One day, perhaps not too far away, the XA GT could easily be seen as the greatest Aussie made Muscle Car ever.
Yes, that is a bold and controversial statement, but, if you can please hear me out, something quite feasible; As Australian auto manufacturing is now sadly shut, we can step back and look at what the “Master” in this instance FOMOCO Australia, produced between 1925 and 2016 and see what the highpoints were. The XA GT certainly ticks all the boxes, just as the equally iconic XR, XW and XY does, but where the XA shines is in its Australian content; it was the first Australian designed Falcon. This not so insignificant fact will resonate louder with Australian enthusiasts, as time marches on. Anyone can see the XA is a rising star, but I think the 2 x Bathurst winning model, still has a way to go yet.
Of all the XA GT’s made by FOMOCO, the greatest examples were the old Bathurst and ATCC race cars, sadly they have all met their maker. In stark contrast, so many of the race GT HO’s have survived, because come the 1973 rule changes they were made obsolete, yet the Group C XA GT’s just kept running, until they were ultimately all destroyed… The two works XAGT RPO 83 Hardtops, raced by Moffat and Geoghegan were absolutely stunning and would be worth a vast sum now. Here’s a haunting thought: Unless they have been recycled, these iconic cars are all currently landfill, rusting away to nothing as you read this… That’s a little bit disturbing hey?
The next cars down the rung (perhaps?) are the iconic and controversial XA GTHO Phase 4’s. With 3 beautifully crafted by the good chaps at Ford Special Vehicles (FSV) to go and win races for the works team. Plus one special car going down the line at Broadmeadows, these 4 cars are pretty much “unobtanium”. I have been privileged to have grown up with one of them and can tell you that they are a special beast, worthy of respect. It is such a shame that the 300 of them were never made, so more people could enjoy them, but, at least it keeps the conspiracy theorists entertained...
What may have been a shame for the Phase 4, was a boon for the next “Hot Henry” the mighty and mysterious RPO 83. With FSV needing to homologate some trick Phase 4 parts for Group C and FOMOCO, more than a bit worried about the 1972 Supercar scare blowing up again, 260 special XAGT’s were given these go fast bits, under the Regular Production Order #83. Courtesy of FOMOCO being so concerned about angering the Government (Think Govt. fleet deals lost!) RPO-83 was never a high profile option. So much confusion has been raised about these special cars over the years, with people claiming they were full blown Phase 4’s and what have you. In reality they were a base line product of Phase 4 HM Headers and the HO spec Holley 780cfm Carby, with some minor bits to suit these core parts. According to FSV boss Howard Marsden, who should know, that over and above that was a lottery of sorts “Where you sir got this and you sir, did not.” to quote Howard. In short the RPO 83 was a hot ticket, but it would seem that some were better than others! A quick note should be made about the “heart” of the beast, the 351 4V Cleveland V8, that was a special High Performance, manual gearbox only, order for the RPO83. It was designated CK617J1 – W and was the very last of the hairy 4V 351 Clevo’s that made the GT Falcon, the legend that it is. That hot engine and the extra breathing from the headers and carby’ made for a pretty potent package in 1973! OPEC crisis be damned, after the Phase 4 “Supercar Scare” Australia and one Mr. Ian Kenny needed this car...
Which leads us to the beautiful Brambles Red RPO83 we proudly have for sale here. In 1972, Mr Ian Kenny was chatting to his friend John French, a FOMOCO works driver and Bathurst winner of repute and John informed Ian of another Homologation special GT Falcon looming. Ian, like many others, was disappointed in missing out on a Phase 4 and went straight into Metro Ford and asked the baffled sales team to tell him about the new “HO” that was coming. They informed him there was no such beast, but unperturbed, Ian left a deposit with them, telling them he was not going to miss out!! Sure enough, a few months later the RPO83 became a reality and Ian’s car, courtesy of his insider knowledge, ended up being the very 1st one scheduled to be built and the only one built in April 1973. This bizarre occurrence, as batch building is the usual FOMOCO way, is likely due to the typical 1970’s strike that was happening at the time. Ian ordered the car as a stripped out one, in super cool Wild Violet on Parchment (Cream / light brown combination.) trim. The only options were the mandatory seat belts (03) and windscreen laminate (11), plus RPO 83 of course. Ian clearly wanted her light and fast. When he picked her up from Metro Ford on the 20th of August, 1973, (Well before the official FOMOCO RPO 83 sales memorandum was released, on the 2nd of October!) the car was registered OEA 967, a number that has always adorned the car, to this very day. She became a daily driver for a while and did some family holiday road-trips, which these GT Falcons are absolutely perfect for. A rare 36 Gallon tank and the iconic Globe wheels, as per the Phase 4 he missed out on, were added to the car during this period. Soon enough, a newer daily driver grabbed Ian’s attention and the purple beast became his secondary car, to be used lightly for the next 40+ years! Sometime in the late 70’s, early 80’s, the purple paint started to fail, as they were prone to do. Rather than putting her back to purple, Ian went with Phase 4 Brambles Red. Which certainly gets my tick of approval, even though Wild Voilet is about as cool as it gets on any GT Falcon... It is worth noting that the car has until recently, never been unregistered and the rego’ sticker on the car still reads: MAU, for the colour Mauve.
Looking amazing in her “new suit” of Brambles Red, OEN 967 went back into duties as an every other weekend car. Come the 1980’s, Ian’s tastes had branched out into the European brands and his successful development company meant he could dabble in all manner of collectibles and also keep his beloved OEA 967 tucked away. Fast forward to about 2012 and Ian contacted me about finding a home for his factory 934.5 Porsche Turbo RSR (Yes, I’m not kidding!). It was one of the most original ones extant and was also Ex Max Moritz and Edgar Doren DRM… It was a thoroughly enjoyable transaction and it was during that period, that Ian told me about his XA GT Falcon that he must show me one day…
Fast forward a few years and we get talking about cars and his XA GT Falcon gets raised again. He mentions that it is a genuine RPO 83 and my ears pricked up… Hard... A one owner RPO83 is not a common prospect. I was amazed to finally see OEA 967 and whilst she was covered in a bit of dust, it was evident that the 42K miles showing on the odometer were correct. A quick crawl through every part of the car showed the important tags were intact and all the RPO 83 bits were accounted for. A couple of hoses, the coil and miscellaneous disposable items weren’t factory correct, but after 40+ years, that is nothing to dwell upon. It was the condition of the chassis that really took me; the car was simply in amazing condition. A deal was struck and OEA 967, the 1st RPO 83 ever made, was off to its second home in Buderim. Perched right next to our Phase 4, which we all thought was quite fitting!
Since owning her, we have sympathetically recommissioned her back to a safe and practical driver and put about 1000 very enjoyable K’s on her. The engine has never been pulled down and after the raucous FSV prepared Phase 4, she is such a sweet Grand Tourer, just like FOMOCO intended. The body feels so tight and everything feels like it is keen to run at 100mph all day, or until the 36 gallon tank runs out... whichever comes first?
This is the first time OEA 967 has been put on the open market and a fantastic opportunity to buy what has to be the best example, of the last homologation special GT Falcon made. She has a perfect history, original logbooks, never crashed or neglected and in beautiful, original order. She is only a coat of Wild Violet paint away from being an absolute 10, but if you’re like me, the Brambles might just stay on there. It is a VERY nice job and we think it compliments the car perfectly.