Australian Muscle Car - - Modern Muscle -


the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, FPV’s fi­nale, the GT-F 351, was a bit of a bar­gain. At $77,990 when it went on sale in 2014, its price-tag is far closer to the con­tem­po­rary FPV BF Co­bra and FG F6 in our top six than to the big-buck HSV W427 and GTSR W1.

But that was then and, now, more than a year on from Ford’s man­u­fac­tur­ing shut-down the value of the Blue Oval’s ul­ti­mate, Aussie, high-per­for­mance V8 four-door – in ev­ery sense from mon­e­tary to sen­ti­men­tal – is sig­nif­i­cantly higher, and headed north…

De­spite this, those among the 550 who bought a limited-edi­tion GT-F – some of them at in­flated prices even back then – no doubt felt a bit cheated when Ford went on to slot the su­per­charged 5.0-litre Mi­ami mill in the fi­nal FGX Fal­con XR8 and XR8 Sprint, which de­liv­ered the best part of the FPV fi­nale’s per­for­mance from just over $50K…

Both clearly have their place in the pan­theon of Aus­tralian Blue Oval per­for­mance, but by our reck­on­ing the XR8s are to­day’s value pick for mus­cle car driv­ers while the GT-F is one for col­lec­tors and dyed-in-the-wool types.

Ap­pro­pri­ately, the GT-F was con­ceived at Bathurst 2013 in a chat be­tween Fal­con chief en­gi­neer Pe­ter De Leur and Pro­drive en­gi­neer­ing di­rec­tor Bernie Quinn. The GT-based mule that came a month later was de­vised to test the dura­bil­ity of the ZF au­to­matic be­hind the po­tent blown 5.0-litre. The pro­gram was pre­sented to man­age­ment by year’s end and it had the green light by Jan­u­ary. The first GT-F 351 rolled from Broad­mead­ows in May af­ter what had been an un­com­monly short ges­ta­tion. The GT-F’s price and po­si­tion­ing re­flect Pro­drive’s typ­i­cally well-rounded

Greg and Leanne Kerbage

Aap­proach to car de­vel­op­ment – it doesn’t quite have the wow-fac­tor to match the ul­ti­mate HSVs, in­stead work­ing as a co­he­sive hi-po whole.

The ‘GT’ badge and ‘351’ nomen­cla­ture nod to the 1970s, but the lat­ter was the nat­u­ral re­sult of turn­ing up the wick on the su­per­charged V8 ac­cord­ing to Ford, rather than a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to play up to nos­tal­gia. Ei­ther way, it works, ty­ing the GT – the ‘F’ stands for fi­nal – to the GT-HO Phase III and thrust­ing it from 0-100km/h in­side 5.0sec as ei­ther a man­ual or an auto.

Ac­cord­ing to Pro­drive En­gi­neer­ing, the 5.0-litre Mi­ami is un­der-stressed at 351kW and 570Nm – it’s rumoured to pro­duce 650Nm and more than 400kW on over­boost, though there are no of­fi­cial fig­ures. There’s cer­tainly more in it for the after­mar­ket tuner, but we’d leave that for the XR8, not this mem­ber of Aus­tralian mus­cle roy­alty.

Hav­ing a sus­pen­sion, wheel and tyre pack­age that could put it down was equally im­por­tant in the GT-F. FPV’s R-Spec vari­ants do­nated the springs, Sachs mono­tube dampers, bushes and anti-roll bars, and the stag­gered 245/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear tyres.

The by-then dis­con­tin­ued GT-P pro­vided the stop­ping power in the form of 355mm cross-drilled front discs clamped by six-pis­ton Brem­bos and 330mm cross-drilled rears with four-pot Brem­bos.

Will the GT-F have the de­sir­abil­ity and value po­ten­tial of HSV’s crown­ing car? Look­ing at the rel­a­tive per­for­mance, vi­su­als and scarcity, you may con­clude that it won’t. But to a fan of Ford-badged Aus­traliana, the HSVs are mere Clay­ton’s per­for­mance sedans and this is The Real Thing. And why it was a nat­u­ral choice for the front row of this is­sue’s cover. Ask Greg Kerbage what he likes most about his GT-F 351 and with­out a mo­ment’s hes­i­ta­tion he fires back with “the sound of the su­per­charger!” A close sec­ond is its ‘push you back in your seat’ per­for­mance. As died-in-the-wool blue­bloods Greg and his wife Leanne own sev­eral fast Fords, in­clud­ing a black ‘tick­led’ F6 (not un­like Ben’s car in ap­pear­ance), but hav­ing the last GT in their garage was a must. The Kerbages’ GT-F is rare in hav­ing white stripes over the stun­ning Ki­netic blue paint­work, rather than the more com­mon black stripes.

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