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The Falcon 351 GTHO Phase Three

Turner returned to the United States in the middle of 1971 and was replaced by a quiet Englishman by the name of Howard Marsden, a man Moffat had met some years earlier when Marsden was Team Manager for Alan Mann Racing in America,
It was also at around this time that Ford released the ultimate Falcon GTHO, the Phase Three.

Ford had released a new model line-up, the XY series and with it was a GT model which featured more aggressive external styling highlighted by the now famous "Shaker" hood scoop in the middle of the bonnet.
The Shaker fed a 600 cfm Holley carburettor on the standard GT model and Ford was still claiming the same power figures for the now standard Cleveland 351 cubic inch engine.

With Bathurst approaching there were rumours of a V8 engined Capri but these proved way off beam as the Phase Three GTHO was released, as usual, in time to contest the Sandown 250 in preparation for the Bathurst defence.
In addition to the now customary Peter Thorn designed front spoiler, the Phase Three also received a rear spoiler similar to the one found on American Boss Mustangs of the time.

The Cleveland engine came in for a lot of work using parts from the Boss 302 engine to give it the added strength which Ford hoped would enable Falcon drivers to bring home the goods.
The 780 cfm four barrel carb was fitted, the head reworked, new bearings and lubrication system, a new and more efficient radiator, larger crankshaft harmonic balancer, baffled sump, modified valve train mechanism; it was all designed to make the Falcon GTHO a race winner.

With such a lot of work done on the engine it was claimed that the Cleveland fitted to the Falcon was some 18 months ahead of its American counterpart in development.
And yet Ford still claimed only 300 horsepower (while others figured a good race engine was getting nearer 380).
To get it all together in the handling department, heftier anti rollbars were fitted at both ends while bigger rear brake drums assisted the front discs in pulling it all up.

Four final drive ratios were available as well as two gearboxes, one a close ratio unit and the other with wide ratios.
There was no doubt that this was the ultimate production racing car ever built and it could not have come at a better time as Holden got its Torana into more raceworthy condition.
Giving a 25% power increase to go with the already proven handling and braking ability of the small car, the Toranas were going to be harder to beat.
Chrysler had also been busy producing a new car to replace the Pacer, another six cylinder engined car called the Charger but with more horsepower and better handling.

Moffat had been winning more races in the Phase Two GTHO since his last Bathurst win but this made way for the Phase Three's racing debut at Sandown in September 1971.

It was not the sort of debut to which Moffat was beginning to get accustomed: his car retired along with team mate John French's, Murray Carter's Phase Three was a finisher, and second at that, but some five laps behind race winner Peter Brock.

On to Bathurst and Moffat proved just how quick this Phase Three was by lapping the track in practice in a time of 2-38,9 taking a mammoth ten seconds off the times set by the Phase Two just twelve months earlier. It was a great year for the Falcons and another superb effort from Moffat as he led the race for almost the entire distance, once again driving solo.
All the work put into the engines paid off as not one of the 13 Phase Threes suffered engine failure, quite a reversal of the previous year's score.
Moffat went on the next month to win the Rothmans 250 Manufacturers' Championship race at Surfers Paradise.


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