XA GT-HO Phase IV - The Build Sheet
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I sourced a copy of the original Ford build sheet for the XA GT-HO, after a search for the original version in all the usual places they were placed when these cars were originally built proved to be fruitless. They can often be found under the seats, taped to the outside top of the glove box, radio and even rolled up in the rear shock-mounting cavity! 😎
I then contacted Mark Barraclough (who is a Falcon GT historian). This is what he had to say about it;
"The VIS build report is used by Ford to track every car built on the Broadmeadows production line to this day. It starts off at the SIDO date the order was received Monday 15/5/1972 for the model and build specification. At this stage there is no VIN and the order type indicates that a retail customer from Jack Brabham Ford placed the order, and not for dealer stock as with any car built prior to the model release. This order would have overridden the initial factory order. The order was then scheduled and released to the line from the order pool with a daily job number for Wednesday 17/5/72. The estimated shipping date to Brabhams on Friday 26/5/72 (very wishful as it turned out) is set and the next sequential VIN of May delivered cars is allocated at this stage. The body shell is built and painted then reached the trim lines on Friday 19/5/72.
So far this is a fast track build compared to most GT's of the era that would normally take weeks to get this far. Then the build stops and the car is put aside from the main line until final assembly is set for Saturday 3/6/72 (this is normal for any new model to do a special secret run of final assembly by a hand-selected weekend shift). After this it gets really weird. The car is effectively spirited away (presumably while the super car scare political storm is going on) until it reappears on the quality control (QC) line on Friday 3/11/72 for the final checks and preparation for shipping to Brabhams, who then don’t get the green light until Wednesday 17/1/73.
So the bit that is normally the shortest took a record time to occur. Brabhams then managed to register the car on Friday 19/1/73 in the owners name to commence the warranty. The price of the car was frozen on Monday 17/7/72 as I guess they anticipated some delays before a sale approval would occur. I checked with Ford about this, price protection means that it’s not in the price book so the car can’t be invoiced without ringing the accounts department to find out how much this "special" XA GT is to be charged out at.
The other interesting item is the tyre code. It is 47 (ER6015 inch red side wall tyres) to match the Globes, but the tyre brand is GY-Goodyear instead of the OC-Olympic tyres fitted to all the Phase III Globe wheels sent to owners. I’m not sure if this was to do with Sir Jack’s sponsorship by Goodyear at the time or the fact that Ford stated in their dealer bulletin that a new lower profile (60 series) tyre was going to be used on the XA GT-HO. I think the latter is the more obvious reason. The most surprising thing to me and the late Ford archivist Adrian Ryan is that the car exists at all given the pressure Ford bureaucracy, and the government, were under to not build it.
Luckily they found a way. I do believe that the secret weekend production run was for twelve or thirteen cars (that’s how they did every new run with a pilot car for timing followed immediately by 11 or 12 to test the line) These FEUs (Field Evaluation Units) represent the timing run as stated, so are usually a mix of high spec and standard spec cars and are normally sent to dealer land for monitoring of early build cars. I don’t believe any of those sister cars exist anymore or they were reprocessed as normal GTs.
I’ve done some checking on the VIN numbers before and after. The two prior VINs were allocated to standard red pepper XA GTs. One of these was unrestored/ unmodified and owned by a Broken Hill resident for a long time. The subsequent VINs never made it through to production so the dreams of having an XA GT that was destined for HO’dom are just that. A few rumours about them being deplated and sent to race teams for spare bits or becoming landfill at the You Yang’s proving grounds still circulate to this very day”
I then asked Mark to run the numbers on how many XA GT sedans were built in Calypso Green with the exact same options (except H code engine) as the XA GT-HO just to see how rare the XA GT-HO Phase 4 production combination actually was.
Here are the results of the search
Paint - Calypso Green 115
Manual Trans 64
White interior 26 (11)
Sunroof 31 (3)
Electric windows 19 (1)
Eight track player 25 (1)
Not only is the car rare for being the sole production XA GT-HO, but also as you can see from the results (when run as an XA GT sedan for comparison) it is the only Calypso Green XA GT sedan with all of the listed options.
This car is rare no matter which way you look at it 😎
Note: Figures not in brackets represent all manual Calypso Green XA GT sedans and the brackets represent the optioned numbers in order. ie. there are 11 Calypso, manual GTs with a white interior, three that also have a sunroof and one that also has electric windows and an eight track.