Landlocked for 35 Years: 1972 Ford Falcon GT

The XA-series Ford Falcon is a legend in Australia, practically an icon and reserved for Aussies only as part of Ford of Australia’s lineup. This one has been hidden away for 35 years and is the most desirable GT-spec, with a 350 b.h.p. 351 V8 under the hood and paired to a manual transmission. The picture you see here is how the Falcon was removed from its home of 35 years – a shed that became landlocked when the owners built a pool in the backyard. Find this uplifting story here on Eyewitness News’ Facebook page.

The Falcon is an important car for Australia for many reasons, including a very successful racing career at the hands of legendary touring car driver Allan Moffat, who served as the crane operator for this Falcon’s extraction. The Falcon was also immortalized on the silver screen in the original Mad Max film, used by good guys and villains alike in high-speed stunts. Today, the high-spec GTs are sought-after for their history and performance, so it’s no surprise the owners of this hidden GT went to such great lengths to remove it.

The car’s nickname is “Mothball”, a fitting title for a vehicle that’s covered with dust and grime and went into storage worth about $5,000. Now, its projected value is somewhere around $150,000, not a bad return on investment. The owner is not selling the car – it’s being removed for display purposes and an eventual restoration – but I have a feeling he may be compelled to pass it along once the offers for the hidden Falcon begin rolling in. The video is really a treat, as the community’s support seems to reflect the Falcon’s place in Australia’s culture.

The owner joked that he never really had any plans for the Falcon; he even says on camera he figured his kids would have to figure out what to do with it when they inherited it. After learning of how much its value has increased over time, he immediately bumped up the insurance policy. A smart move! The Falcon, or “Mothball,” looks incredibly complete with a solid body and clean interior. I hope it isn’t over-restored and that it returns to its long-time owner – albeit with a clear path into and out of the garage.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Cool car. It’s will be internet famous by the time it’s restored, which will add to its value.

    Steve R

  2. Classic Steel

    I wish I had a mothball mad max type car 🚗💰💰💰

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    These were – and remain – an icon of Australian (and NZ) motoring. It’s great to see another one found and preserved.

    Probably the most unusual find of a Aussie Falcon I’ve had anything to do with was an XY GTHO Phase III that was found in, of all places, Borneo. It was imported, there, new and had little use before its Kiwi owner purchased it and brought it back to NZ.

    I did a road test of the car for ‘NZ Classic Car’ magazine back in the 1990s and was quite impressed with its performance. I did note, however, that had someone rolled up at a cruise spot, stateside, in 1971 (when the car was new), they’d have been laughed out of the parking lot for turning up with a four-door sedan with a Mustang ‘shaker’ hood scoop and rear wing.

    This model of Aussie Falcon was clocked at over 145 mph by contemporary road testers in the Lucky Country.

  4. Jim

    Big Ford fan but never understood the attraction of this vehicle with it’s lack of style.

    • Mountainwoodie

      While I enjoyed the heck out of the original Mad Max, I too never thought these were particularly interesting; reminding me of a slightly larger mercury Capri. That said, Australia is sui generis and it doesnt surprise me they find this valuable

      • james sterrey

        Even as a Australian I don’t understand..

        A ‘Pepper Red’ XA manual will get 150k, easy.

        These were once total bogan cars, then there was a ‘muscle car boom/bubble’ in 2003-10 so that only ‘cashed-up bogans’ could afford them.

        Would still love to put this one through it’s paces.

      • Steve R

        What does bogan mean? It’s almost like you are speaking a foreign language.

        Steve R

      • TBAU Member

        A “bogan” is a bit like Joe Dirt with an Australian accent.
        Under-educated, uncouth, unkept yet loudly over-opinionated.
        Add some $$$ and you get a “cashed-up-bogan”.
        Hope this helps.

      • Jonathan

        Mountainwoodie, the rest of the world thinks the same of Americans. Only in America…

  5. Michael

    Nice car. If you are going let a car sit for 35 years…cover it!!

    • Phil

      It is covered !! In dust…..

      Like 1
  6. sir mike

    Great story….thanks for the news link.Good to see Allan Moffat there.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      I agree! How perfect was it that he was operating the crane?!

  7. Sanity Factor

    2 many doors

  8. Poptheclutch

    Wow.thats a lot of money for a 4 door.

  9. Derek

    Australians are very peculiar people.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      …and some of the nicest folks I’ve met (virtually). Can’t tell you how many Aussies have helped me out with my HiAce project over the last few months.

      • Derek

        Agree 100%, some of the nicest people I’ve ever known aside from Kiwis but non the less they do have some peculiar ideas – like blocking a perfectly good car in a shed with a swimming pool for example.

  10. Justin french

    so its cheaper for a helicopter then some lumber to go over the pool installed?

    • GP Member

      I wondered that to Justin, 35 years to figure a way to remove it. Like you said , lumber, make a ramp, if the ramp don’t hold, the car really needed a good wash anyway. He already cranked up the insurance anyway to. Win Win

    • Gary

      I was thinking the same thing as soon as I read this. Or take down that fence and squeeze it between the pool and whatever is on the other side of the fence. Give the neighbor $10k for a new fence, sell the car and you will still be way ahead then you were a week ago.

  11. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Just weighing in: big sleeper sedans are some of the most desirable cars ever made throughout history. The Mercedes 450SEL 6.9, Lotus Carlton, Audi S8, Ford Taurus SHO – people love them because they’re not the cookie-cutter coupe with a hood scoop.

    And spend some time on YouTube looking for “Touring Car Masters” – you’ll see the Aussies actually have more appreciation for big American muscle cars than you might think, but not just coupes: there’s a Falcon sedan banging fenders with the leader Mustangs.

    Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3-aNSWQKNo

    Whodathunkit: they can handle a road course! Imagine if our own country did more to support vintage racing or put domestic sedans in events other than NASCAR, and you might see more young people getting into the hobby.

    Stepping off my soapbox now….

    • Derek

      I was overtaken by a Lotus Carlton once. Was driving my Mini back from a scrappy up by Forfar – carrying Consul Capri bits for a mate – when this thing went blitzing past. Effortless…

    • Jim

      I don’t know what plant you live on but 4 door vehicles are not some of the most desirable among enthusiast. Maybe to you but not the majority at all.

      • Jeff Lavery Staff

        LOL. OK, Jim. As far as which “planet” I live on, myself and many, many, many enthusiasts would agree that – based on current values and auction sales – the cars I listed above are quite desirable (and many other super sedans not listed here). If the only way you perceive a sedan is as a base model Chevy 210 or a Maverick, than I can see why you consider a four-door lame. Fortunately, we have more choices than that.

        Variety is the spice of life, my friend.

    • Jim

      I don’t own any Vette’s and you really have to be out of touch if you think large sedans are more valuable than 2 door vehicles. You’ve heard of the muscle car, right ?? Not many people prefer the extra doors and if they had, you’d have seen plenty of chargers, Shelby’s, Camaro’s, Vette’s, etc made in that model. Who knows, maybe Ferrari and Lamborghini will start building their supercars in 4 door versions ……. I seriously doubt it though. I could go on and on but hopefully you’ll start to understand that although you like the 4 doors, the majority of people do not and the values certainly reflect it. Let me know when you find that rare 4 door gullwing, I’m sure it’ll be quite the sight.

  12. Mark S.

    That car really flies!

  13. Shammus

    https://youtu.be/WhSZ1qc3KkI

    Australian Muscle car prices are ridiculous , the people with the money to buy them do so only for investment , they are not true car lovers , here’s a site showing what prices are like.

    https://www.australianmusclecarsales.com.au/

  14. Ken

    The Australian TV series “Man and Machine” done a story on this car a few months ago when it was first found in the shed.

  15. Frank Serpico

    I understand this completely.

    15 years ago, I cared for my mother in Hospice. Before her passing, she told me to spend some of the money she was leaving me and not to horde it like she did, spend some and save the rest she said.

    So I did just that. I found a 1973 Ford Falcon GS for sale online in New Southwales Australia, 351C, 4 spd top loader, 9″ rear. I had the car imported to the states, (Southern Kalifornia)
    The wife asked I consult her if I was to do this again.

    A year later, I bought a 72 DeTomasso Pantera (Pre-L) I told her I was going up north for a road trip, it was actually to buy the car and I didnt tell her.

    Cars are and always will be my first love, my wife, second. She knows that now and tolerates it.

    • Poncho pusher

      Sounds like mine….she said cut it out at number 5 i talked her in to one for every day of the week she said ok…..at num 12 she said your suspect for a divorce…..i said ok ill stop but i already bought 2 in nebraska i need to go get she lost it…..but fig after 22 yrs shed relized what she signed up for….now we agree finish one before i drag another one home…..still have 3 in the back yard lol…..

    • Tyrone Schulace

      Can certainly see the styling of the Torino in that car.

  16. CanuckCarGuy

    Sweet car…one heck of an oversight when planning that pool though.

  17. Scott Tait

    Love the aussie fords …. but not a fan of the 4 doors … great story though

  18. Carey Hill

    small car big motor!… its as simple as that – who wants a land yacht when you can have muscle car performance with less weight….. looking like a ford

  19. Troy s

    “I am the knight rider! A fuel injected suicide machine!” I always really liked that Mad Max movie since it came out, for a US guy it was very interesting to see those souped up cars from down under, although the black one seemed a bit overkill, just a bit, but still very cool. So was the 351 Cleveland the largest Ford engine available over there, no 429’s? How about 428’s? I am very curious about these Falcon’s and other high performance car’s from down under.

  20. Adam T45 Staff

    For our American friends, if you want to draw a parallel to where the XA GT Falcon was intended to fit into the Australian Falcon range, it was originally conceived to be our equivalent of your very basic 351 Mustang with manual transmission.

    The XA GT was a complete change of philosophy for Ford Australia, and was never compared favourably with its predecessor, the XY GT. In fact, it actually became a reasonably common practice in later years for people to source a standard XY Falcon sedan, and to the transplant the running gear out of the XA into the XY to create a replica XY GT.

    Having said that, the XA did have a number of advantages over the XY, and could be transformed into something quite special. Due to the change of body shape with the XA, one of its advantages was that it was quite possible with a bit of careful planning, to fit 10 inch wide tyres under the standard guards. Heavier springs and shocks were also available which transformed it into a decent handling car rather that the marshmallow it tended to be from the factory. The XA also pre-dated our draconian ADR 27A emission laws, meaning that you could do pretty much anything to that 351 Cleveland engine to extract power from it.

    The ultimate iteration of the XA was originally intended to be the XA GTHO Phase IV. This car was designed with one purpose in mind, and that was to win at Bathurst. Unfortunately motoring journalist and author Evan Green broke a story in a newspaper about Ford (along with Holden and Chrysler) being in the process of building 160 mph super cars. The actual story was somewhat misleading in so far as while the cars were going to be capable of these speeds, they were not the death traps that they were portrayed to be as a great deal of work was being done on suspension, braking and tyre development to compliment the speed. Since our Federal Government had substantial contracts for supply of vehicles from all three manufacturers, they brought pressure to bare meaning that all three dropped their development, and the super cars were dead.

    However, Ford had been further advanced than its competitors, and had actually built four of the Phase IV Falcons. One eventually saw duty as a rally car and went the way of so many rally cars of the era, and was slowly beaten to death in Australian forests. One was sold to a dealer who used the mechanicals in a racing car. One is believed to be in the hands of a private collector, and hasn’t been seen for many years. The fourth is in the hands of the Bowden Family in Queensland. This car has been meticulously restored to original condition. It had been part of Ford’s Lot 6 “skunk works”, and was destined to be a Bathurst race car before the pin was pulled on the programme. This is the state to which it has been returned. How much would a Phase IV be worth today? The sky is the limit. To find out more and to see pictures of the ultimate XA Falcon, follow the link below.

    http://www.bowdensown.com.au/collection/gtho-phase-4

    • Scot Douglas

      Excellent info – thank you for sharing it! :)

  21. Klharper

    I am currently in Sydney and I have been hanging out with some of the car guys here.
    The vintage Holdens, Ford’s and Chrysler are very cool and a bit different than what we get in the states, and the Utes are pretty cool. There is a good cross section of euro cars and American muscle and I have seen a lot of mustangs but I don’t think I have seen a single camaro though there are a few corvettes.
    Sydney has the nicest people and the city is fairly clean but driving here sucks big time. Far worse than Los Angeles and worse than New York. The only saving grace is the drivers are pretty kind.
    Off to Melbourne tomorrow where I am getting a ride in a vintage Holden Manaro GTS. If anyone wants to give me a ride in a Falcon I would love it..

  22. EJB

    “Last of the V8 Interceptors.”

    Loved Mad Max and his Ford Falcon XB.

  23. Charles Gould

    This significant car appears to be remarkably well preserved, and original cars are now bringing more value and money that restored cars.
    There does not seem to be any logical reason to restore a car that is in this nice of a condition as it sits. Go through it mechanically and fire it up and enjoy it with the slight original patina that is evident in these photos. The rest should clean up beautifully!
    Chas

  24. George

    it looks a Maverick 4 door with Mustang scoops.

    • Troy s

      Been a hot machine, a Ford Maverick with a high performance 351 Cleveland engine, like the one from the Boss 351 Mustang, instead of the mundane 302 2bbl we got instead. Oh, the possibilities.😕

  25. Robert

    Me mum says dog fence material…LOL

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