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The Falcon 351 GTHO Phase Two

The XW series of Falcons was still in production and when the new Phase Two GTHO appeared in late August 1970 it was virtually identical in appearance to the superseded car.
Under the bonnet, however, things had changed quite a deal. The Windsor engine, quite an old American design, was turfed and replaced by a new version of the 351 cubic inch V8.

This engine was called the Cleveland, being built at Ford's Cleveland, Ohio, factory as opposed to the Windsor plant in Canada. It featured solid lifters, a big 780 cfm Holley carburettor and a number of other features but Ford claimed the same horsepower output as the Windsor - 300 bhp at 5400 rpm and 380 ftllb torque at 3400 rpm.
Different gear ratios were fitted along with a higher final drive ratio 3.5 to 1 so everyone was expecting greater top speeds from the new car.

Pitted against the Phase Two would be two new contenders in the form of the six cylinder Torana GTR/XU1 (replacing the V8 Monaro) and Chrysler's new Valiant Pacer with 6-cylinder engine.
It seemed unlikely that these cars could keep up with the Falcons for sheer pace but they were expected to be reliable and with better fuel consumption. So, when the first long distance races came along, everyone was watching with great interest.

First big test before Bathurst, of course, was the traditional Sandown 250.
From the start of the race, six Falcons burst into the lead, but the smiles in the pits soon turned to frowns as they ran into trouble one by one, accompanied by huge cheers from Holden fans in the stands.

Still, Moffat raced on while others pitted and, although he was also experiencing troubles by the end of the race and had to slow down considerably, he drove home to another victory.
He was now quite clearly Number One Ford driver.
Next Falcon home was the second works car of Gibson and Seton way back in sixth place. Although they had a clear victory, there was much consternation in the Ford camps, particularly in view of the Cleveland engine which was proving to be less reliable than they had expected.

As they prepared for Bathurst there were also worries about brakes on the big cars, not to mention the still relatively unknown strength of the opposition.
The three Works Falcons sat on the grid one-two-three for the big event but they were still not able to rest easy as engine problems were still raising their ugly heads while the Toranas circulated regularly and without dramas.
For the first time in the history of the event, drivers were allowed to complete the distance solo. Moffat and McPhee drove two of the Works cars while the old team of Gibson and Seton paired up again.

Moffat took the lead from the start but, much to the delight of the Holden supporters, Bond slipped the little Torana through from fourth place down the inside of the red Falcon as they braked for Murray's Corner at the end of Conrod to take the lead. Moffat gunned the Falcon past as they headed for the Mountain again and Bond was unable to repeat the trick again, having to settle into Moffat's shadow for the rest of the race.

Once again Moffat was able to drive through the race with few problems while other Falcon drivers pitted regularly all day or retired with various ailments.
Five of them had engines fail completely while the Gibson/Seton works car had the differential pack in.
The two cars that did run all day without trouble, however, finished a strong first and second, and both were Works cars.

AI Turner had apparently instructed his drivers that whoever was leading with five laps to go would go on to be the winner and as It turned out there was doubt about the outcome.
Moffat had led almost the complete distance and was safely clear of his team mate Bruce McPhee.
Although it looked like a trouble-free run for Moffat, he did have a couple of rather strange problems which had to be overcome.

The first involved the two air hoses which Moffat has to keep him cool and restrict the perspiration which generally flows freely from his body. One of these hoses is pointed at his face while the other flows directly into his helmet, and it was this latter one which became blocked by a bee of all things.
Apart from the fact that his cooling air was stopped, Allan drove around wondering just how far that bee could get up the tube and what it would do when it got there! Luckily the bee never made it but Allan had to lift up the back of his helmet going down Conrod Straight at about 140 miles per hour to get some air circulating.

The second 'problem' came at the second scheduled pit stop when the pit crew overfilled the car with oil, the overflow spreading itself over the engine and causing great amounts of smoke as Allan drove out of the pits and into the race again.
He could see the smiles of the Holden Dealer Team crew as they must have thought his race was soon to finish but the smoke cleared up in a couple of laps and their smiles turned to despair as the GTHO kept going without another sign of trouble. Allan's final drama came just three laps from the finish when he was approaching Skyline and found Tony Roberts' third placed Falcon sideways in the middle of the track.
Allan braked hard to prepare for a possible complete halt but by the time he reached the corner Roberts had spun over the edge of the track and rolled eight times down the mountain.

For the last three laps Allan drove cautiously to the finish and his first Bathurst victory.
It was a most popular victory and Allan's lap of honour on the back of the Hardie Ferodo truck took almost an hour - quite a difference to the 170 second laps ,he had been doing over the weekend.
It was the end of a great season for Moffat and the Ford works GTHO.

At the beginning of the year Moffat had contested a three round series which coincided with the Tasman races. winning two and finishing second in the other, winning the series.
Then, of course, there was the big Sandown-Bathurst double, the first time anyone had achieved it.
Al Turner had finally provided the goods for Ford but 1970 was to be his final year at Bathurst.


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