XA GT-HO Phase IV - The Fourth Owner
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The current owner of Australia's rarest muscle car is known as 'The Dentist' He has owned the car for over 33 years and has been the longest serving owner of the car. He is an Aussie muscle car fan, having owned many makes and models over the years. He still has a wide variety of cars in his private collection which also includes a few fine European examples as well. He loves nothing more than listening to the AFL on the weekend in the garage with a quiet beer from time to time whilst admiring his cars and changing over the many trickle chargers. Occasionally, weather permitting, he will choose a car to take for a quick lap around the block then return to choose another. How good is that? He is a fairly private person and I have been fortunate enough to have known him for many years which has allowed the unveiling of his most prized car, the XA GT HO Phase 4 in Street Fords magazine many years ago :) Read on to see how he became the owner of Australia's rarest muscle car :)
THE FOURTH OWNER
Name: ‘The Dentist’
Purchase Date: 28/1/1985
Purchase Price: $20,000.00
Words by Roy Velardi
The fourth and current owner of the Phase IV bought it from Bob Lahood after seeing it advertised in the newspaper on the 27/1/1985. He recalls the day like it was yesterday. He and a few friends were preparing to go for a ride in a boat and he grabbed the newspaper before heading off to the Silverwater boat ramp. While taking a break on the water, he read through the classifieds in the newspaper and noted an XA GT-HO for sale. He was on the water and couldn’t just call the number in the ad (no mobile phones back then), so he waited until he got back to Silverwater, more specifically Silverwater Road, where he stopped at a red telephone box on the side of the road and enquired about the car.
It was late afternoon by then and the car was still for sale, thankfully. He then managed to inspect the car the following day at Bob’s car yard. He looked it all over and peered at the compliance plate, which confirmed that car was indeed a GT-HO. He then contacted a friend he knew at Ford, who then confirmed that the car was real. Acting on that information, he then organised a bank cheque straightaway and became the new owner of the Phase IV. At the time of purchase it had 67,719 miles on the odometer. The rumour that a dentist now owned the car started to work its way through certain car circles, and it wasn’t long before the owner became known as ‘The Dentist’.
Being the proud new owner of arguably Australia’s rarest muscle car, The Dentist set about having the car restored to its former glory. He drove it around for a little while as purchased, including even taking it to the Peter Warren All Ford Day at Warwick Farm in 1985, where it was displayed alongside the prototype Phase IV race-car owned by David Bowden. As the cars were parked in the general display area around the back, they didn’t really attract too much attention; however, one father and son combo took it upon themselves to have a real close look at the compliance plate as the bonnet was up for all to see. This proved to be one of the scariest moments the current owner has experienced since purchasing the car. The kid was observed to have his hand in the engine bay near the compliance plate while his dad was inspecting the underside of the car. The owner soon realised that the kid was trying to pry the compliance plate off the car with a screwdriver! Thankfully he was promptly stopped in his tracks by the owner and onlookers. The compliance plate was damaged but saved from being lost forever!
Realising the car was highly sought after, the Phase IV went into hiding so to speak and kept out of the public eye. The Dentist then decided to have the car restored late in 1985, which included a full strip-down and rebuild back to the correct shade of green paintwork and blackouts. The entire driveline and suspension was also rebuilt. The interior, believe it or not, is still as it left the factory, except the carpet has been replaced as it was worn. Since the restoration was completed, the car has scarcely been driven over the last 25 years, but it does make an appearance on Sydney’s roads, the thing is you wouldn’t even know it is the car. It looks like any other Calypso Green XA GT sedan with white interior, sunroof and electric windows. The car has a mere 72,606 miles on the odometer, covering just over 4,890 miles in the last 25 years (2010)
The Phase IV does draw attention when it pulls into any service station, with muscle car fans taking a closer look and asking the obvious question, “Is that a HO?” to which The Dentist just smiles and answers “it is what it is”. The Dentist isn’t afraid to give the car a little bit of stick either. The Phase IV has been to Bathurst back in 1991, where it was given a run on the ‘Flying Fifth’, which is a timed race hosted by the Bathurst Light Car Club. That dispels another myth that the current owner doesn’t drive his rare Ford. Rather, he prefers to pick and choose where and when the tyres are turned and how fast :)