In 1967, Ford Australia produced the first of its iconic Falcon GT series – the XR Falcon GT. Fitted with the Mustang 289cI engine, this was the first Ford sedan to come with a V8. If Henry Ford produced the venerable A Model in “any color as long as it was black”, the XR GT followed the uni-color trend and was available only in “GT Gold.”
Back then, there was a Ford dealer – the father of David Cockle – who would purchase one of these cars, one of just 596 units produced. Mr. Cockle kept the car for several years, and must have liked its performance, as he placed a piece of dyno-tape on the tacho at 6,000 RPM, saying “HELP!” The “redline” was actually 5,500.
As a side issue, Ford scored a 1 – 2 at the Bathurst Gallaher 500 that year, with Harry Firth and Fred Gibson at the wheel of two factory Falcon XR GTs after a great battle with three Alpha-Romeos.
The Cockle car was eventually sold, and progressed via a variety of owners, one of whom would disappoint any true-blue motoring addict when he allegedly traded the XR GT for (horror, shock!) a Morris!
Eventually the vehicle, after a long and obviously arduous life, would be de-registered and stripped of many of its parts and panels, to be put up for sale. This was how Ford enthusiast David Cockle found the vehicle when, remembering his father’s pride and joy, he was looking for something to restore. (See picture).
An unlikely twist of fate occurred here, when David asked the owner of the wreck whether he could see the instruments, which had been removed.
And there, lo and behold, was that “HELP” sticker at 6,000 RPM, still on the tachometer, leaving absolutely no doubt that this was indeed the remains of his own father’s original car!
David of course, bought the car and set about painstakingly resorting it to a pristine condition which took it to winning the Best Ford GT trophy at the 2023 Australian National Show and Shine.
But that wasn’t all, as Show and Shine President Ian Langlands had also selected the Gold XR GT as his choice of the President’s Trophy.
To add just a little more icing to a very successful day, the Ford GT Club of Victoria also won the Best Club Display award!
.. Ray Read
Pictures: David Cockle’s XR Ford Falcon GT, the car as David originally found it, Ian Langlands and David Cockle with the Best Ford GT Trophy and the Tacho.