XA GT-HO Phase IV - The Number Plates
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The XA GT-HO Phase 4 has worn a few sets of NSW number plates over the years. The very first set of number plates were issued by the Department of Motor Transport in Chullora NSW. Those number plates were black on yellow with BJG-126 on them.
The Phase 4 wore those plates from 1973 until around 1978 when John Hemphill then sold the car to Bob Lahood. Eventually Bob put his personalised number plates on the Phase 4 which were white on black with RL-166 on them.
Around three years later, Bob decided to on sell the Phase 4, it was then fitted with another set of plates which were black on yellow and read KSJ-399. Along came Kirk Gostevsky who purchased the car and who then fitted his own personalised number plates bearing his initials, KG-162 in the white on black styling.
Then around two years later Bob bought the car back from Kirk and the car remained in his car yard with the KG-162 number plates for another two years. Then came 'The Dentist' who purchased the car with the KG-162 number plates.
'The Dentist' then embarked upon a restoration of the car in 1985. Once the restoration was finished, the Phase 4 eventually wore the NSW custom plates PHASE4 :)
After a lengthy period of time with those plates fitted, 'The Dentist' handed them back in after ordering the NSW plates GTHO 4. these plates have been on the car for decades now :)
Often when he has been out enjoying the Phase 4 on a sunny day, he would pull into a service station to top up the fuel. Admirers would come over and have a chat after looking over the car talking to themselves 'yep it has the sunroof, fast glass, green with white trim, yep it has the console badge too'
Then they'd ask "The Dentist' this is the car isn't it? To which he'd calmly reply 'it is what is is' with a smile :) He would never confirm or deny what the car actually was. A fella once went up to him and said 'nice replica mate' If he only knew! :)
Fast forward to 2009 when the car was first photographed for Street Fords magazine, not wanting to expose the actual number plates on the car, we made a pair of replica NSW black on yellow number plates bearing BJG-126 out of colorbond steel. We then painted them in a shade of yellow that looked faded for that authentic look.
The car was photographed and not long after 'The Dentist' decided to go ahead with another restoration but this time a concours-style one. The photoshoot was then shelved until the car was restored.
During this time, I contacted the RTA/RMS to try and get into contact with the current owner of the NSW BJG-126 number plates, in the hope of trying to reunite them with the car. Eventually I tracked the owner down and chatted to him on the phone.
I offered the owner on :the Dentists' behalf $1000.00 for the number plates and also an opportunity for him to be part of the restoration by coming over to meet "the Dentist' and also to offer him a drive in the Phase 4. He politely declined as he wanted five times as much money than we had offered instead!
I told him that's ok we don't want to pay that much for the number plates and proceeded to use the replica plates we made for the final photoshoot after restoration in Street Fords magazine issue 69.
About one year after the car came out in the magazine, I was driving on the Hume Highway in Liverpool NSW and what do I see right in front of me? Yep you guessed it the NSW number plates BJG-126 fitted to a Lightning Strike BA GT Falcon! I still message the owner of the plates every now and then asking him if he'd like to sell. he usually replies with 'not yet' I did hear whispers at the AFD Sydney that he would like to talk to 'The Dentist' about the plates. I think it might be time for another text :)
The replica plates are unpickable in the photos in the magazine and many of the readers and admirers that see the car on the street with the correct GTHO 4 number plates still think that the sole production Phase 4 bears the NSW number plates BJG-126 only up until recently when it was revealed at the All Ford Day at Sydney Dragway with GTHO 4 :)