The JGS road car
Seems hard to believe today but back in the mid‘70s Ford almost couldn’t give brand new Falcon Hardtops away. Due to a variety of factors (the oil crisis, high theft and crash rates leading to high insurance premiums) big coupes were out of style, and even perceived as ‘cars for old men’.
Ford’s marketing chiefs Max Gransden and Keith Horner knew they had to come up with something special to lure younger buyers to showrooms, and that something special was John Goss.
Goss was a household name, a star racing driver with a youthful, even amboyant image – and he had just won Bathurst at the wheel of the very same type of Falcon coupe Ford was having so much trouble selling.
The John Goss Special was carefully positioned as a ‘youthful’ hardtop that was not a GT, and was cheaper than a GT by a substantial $2000. Further differentiating it from the GT, it was available only with the 302 Cleveland V8, and badged as a Falcon 500 to reduce insurance premiums. Making it even more attractive was a price tag $200 cheaper than that of the 302 Falcon 500 four-door.
Add in young Ford stylist John Orlando Birt’s unique two-tone colour scheme of Polar White with either Emerald Green or Apollo Blue ‘top side’, with orange pinstriping, white 12-slot wheels and John Goss Special branding, and suddenly Falcon Hardtops were in vogue and walking out of Ford showrooms. So successful was the JGS concept that Ford ordered a second production run later in the year.