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.