A SHORT HISTORY OF HO
For the origin story, and more about the Phase 5 that started it all, read below.
THE STORY OF... THE PHASE 5 FALCON
It all started with a love of Aussie Motorsport. Wayne Draper’s first rookie job as designer at Ford was with Howard Marsden on the XY Phase III in 1970 (the GT stripe). A super fan of the GTHO’s, Wayne was part of a young group of fresh Australian designers who expected to carry the GTHO flame into the 70s and 80s. So Wayne was devastated when Ford dropped the GTHO program and then later dropped out of motorsport altogether.
Never one to give up, Draper developed his abandoned Phase 5 design after-hours and teamed up with drag racing guru, Bob McWilliam and racing driver Murray Carter to develop a Group C Falcon for the racetrack. Draper was a Ford stylist at the time, and with this all being done behind Ford’s back he kept his name off the books as much as possible, given FoMoCo's directive about racing the cars.
To ensure the XD was eligible to race, twenty-five modified XD’s needed to be sold through official Ford dealerships. Since the design had started at the prospective Phase 5 GT, before Ford dropped it, Wayne named the XD Group C the Phase 5 in its honour. The Phase 5 then needed to be sold as a street legal production vehicle. The problem was, Ford Motor Company had no interest in seeing the XD race, and actively discouraged drivers from pursuing the idea of racing it, including stern letters from Edsel Ford II to the likes of Garry Willmington (who apparently still has it to this day), stating the XD is not to see the race track.