two years after the XT GT’s starring role at Mount Panorama in 1968, Falcon GT club identity Rob Macedon entered its life. And vice versa.
“The rolling shell was being advertised for $500 in Fairfield, in Sydney’s west,” remembers Macedon. “I said to my son, Tim; ‘do you want to buy a racecar to have fun with?’
“I went out to Fairfield. It was sitting in this guy’s front yard. I was the first one there. I checked the numbers and confirmed it was a genuine GT, albeit much lightened with Lexan windows and flared wheel arches. I managed to knock the guy down to $400, we shook hands and he said; ‘I’ll write you a receipt and get you the logbooks.’”
Macedon says that he immediately did a double-take.
“I was a bit bewildered, but he came out with two CAMS logbooks with the car’s sports sedan competition history.”
What Macedon thought he purchased was a genuine XT Falcon GT with an interesting sports sedan history, but nothing more. But as the president of the Falcon GT Club of NSW, he got to know Club Patron, one F Gibson.
“We started talking about the GT’s history and soon I received a parcel in the mail from Fred. In it was a copy of the CAMS logbook that Fred had issued for the GT post Bathurst, complete with photos of the GT outside his Road & Track service centre! I checked the chassis number in Fred’s logbook and matched the Sports Sedan CAMS logbook. I couldn’t believe it!”
Macedon had hit the jackpot at a time when the muscle car boom of the early ‘noughties’ was taking hold. He restored the GT back to its 1968 Zircon Green livery and discovered a few things along the way that confirmed its heritage.
“It came with its original (steel) bonnet. At the front of the bonnet there were two little holes for the leather straps that held the bonnet down. Also the upper and lower control arms in my GT were moved an inch lower to give more camber. I found out this was a trick Harry Firth also used later on his Holden Toranas.
This famous XT GT is not presented to ‘originally raced’ specification. It currently runs a Cleveland 351 for starters and has a roll cage fitted. But it has given the Macedon family over 10 years of fun on club runs and at shows and displays. It even graced the front row at the 2013 Muscle Car Masters’ Bathurst Grid Spectacular, when 40-plus genuine cars from the Great Race lined up on Sydney Motorsport Park’s main Brabham straight. It was a fitting reward for a true racing survivor.
Present that day, and making his last public appearance in NSW, was Harry Firth himself. As Rob Macedon highlights, the car has a special place in Aussie racing history, as Harry’s last Bathurst Ford.
Above: This is how the XT looked when Rob Macedon purchased it. Right: Two old foes back together again. At the 2013 Muscle Car Masters, Rob’s XT lined up alongside an ex-HDRT Monaro GTS 327 that it raced against at Bathurst 1968. Main and right: After its meticulous restoration, the car appeared on the cover of AMC #17, in 2005, which told the story of the first epic Holden versus Ford Bathurst battle.