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The Falcon 351 GTHO Phase One

In a four year period the Falcon GTHO series of cars played a large part in the history of Allan Moffat. In fact the combination was a reciprocal affair as Moffat was largely responsible for the cars' development.
Falcon GTHOs gave him two Hardie Ferodo victories as well as his first and much sought after Australian Touring Car Championship

Moffat's rise to prominence with the Trans Am Mustang in Australia back in 1969 could not have been better timed, as it enabled him to get in on the ground floor with the racing Falcons.
Ford was determined to expunge the defeat it suffered at the hands of the Holden Monaro 327 in the Bathurst 500 the previous year and, with Harry Firth leaving the company to set up his own Holden Dealer Team, appointed a new racing boss.

The man they chose to manage the Special Vehicles Department was a Ford America man, Al Turner.
To get the job done Turner had Ford Australia's latest Falcon GT model with which to work.
This car had been developed from the 1967 Bathurst winning GT which had a 289 cubic inch engine and later a 302 cube version which failed the following year.

Now the car had a 351 cubic inch American "Windsor" engine to combat the new 350 version of the Monaro and Al Turner's job was to extend the handling capability of the car, as well as increase the power output, to be invincible at Bathurst in October.
Most people thought the 351 GT would be able to do the job at Bathurst, even before they knew anything about the HO version which was to appear before the big event.

Tumer was aware of Moffat's testing background at Kar Kraft back in America so, with the added convenience of his living in Melbourne where the Ford factory is based, Allan was approached to take on the job of development driver for Ford.
It looked to be a good supplement to his income so he accepted and, besides. there was a drive at Bathurst hanging on the end of it, even if he was only a third party to the team stars, Pete and Leo Geoghegan and Fred Gibson with Bo Seton.

Those four drivers had been with the team for a couple of years so Allan was the new boy.
Allan Moffat Racing was given the task of producing the prototype Bathurst car for Ford following the specification laid down by Al Turner.
This was carried out in the team's race shop in Toorak Road, Malvern which had been Moffat's base in Australia since he started racing.
Working on this prototype were Barry Nelson and Peter Thorn, who had been with Moffat for a few years.
Peter Thorn actually made a front spoiler for the car out of aluminium and this became a production item which was the trade mark of the HO series.
Barry Nelson's responsibility was the engine and he produced a package which gave the 351 the necessary extra horsepower.

The Falcon GTHO Phase One made its debut in the Sandown 250 that year, the traditional curtain-raiser three weeks before the Bathurst 500 classic.
It was the second of many classic Sandown debuts for Moffat.
Teamed up with John French in the driving department, Moffat drove clear of the field, which included another seven HOs, and raced to favouritism for his very first Hardie-Ferodo 500.

Suddenly Moffat was the Ford factory's leading hope, partnered with Alan Hamilton for this event which saw fourteen Falcons pitted against only seven Monaros.
The race started somewhat spectacularly when Bill Brown rolled his Falcon going over Skyline on the first lap, blocking the track almost completely and causing mayhem.

Luckily, Moffat was out in front at this stage and knew nothing of what was going on behind him as he led a handful of cars which also were fortunate enough to be ahead of Brown at the time.
That was the extent of Moffat's good luck at Bathurst, though, as a huge tyre problem was soon to raise its ugly head.

Al Turner had decided to use some untried Goodyear racing tyres for the first time and, while they proved to be very quick, were not up to the rigours of a 500-mile race around the tortuous Bathurst circuit.
One by one, the Falcons came into the pits with bald or shredded tyres and slowly the HOs slipped down the leaders board.

Moffat and Hamilton worked hard to make up for their numerous pit stops but fourth place outright was the best they could salvage from the situation, a creditable performance.
The Geoghegans were one place behind them while the Gibson and Seton car crashed out of second place when a tyre blew out at McPhillamy Park.
It was a bitter disappointment for Turner, Moffat and Ford after such a big build-up for Bathurst. so for 1970 they took the GTHO a step further.    

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