Time to plan that FPV collection

By David Linklater

As Ford signs performance vehicles' death warrant they're more cherished than ever

FPV Force 8
FPV Force 8

It's stating the obvious to say cars from Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) are future collectables. After Ford Australia's announcement in May that manufacture of the Falcon would finish in 2016, it was clear the end was nigh for FPV as well: it has focused almost exclusively on Falcon derivatives and seemed to have little future in the face of Ford's emerging global ST performance brand.

But now it's official: FPV won't even make it to the end of Falcon's production run and will cease to exist from late next year. So surely now's the time to start thinking about your FPV collection.

The brand is famous for its V8-powered sedans: big noise and even bigger spoilers. But a true collector doesn't always go for the obvious: what about the rarities, the really oddball models and the occasional wrong turns? They're the cars that'll be most interesting as time passes.

BF GT 40TH ANNIVERSARY (2007)

This is one of the more obvious ones, but the BF-series 40th anniversary GT ticks pretty much every box for the car-collector.

Built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary Falcon XR GT, the GT 40 (has a nice ring to it) was built in a painfully limited run of 200 cars, all in black with a gold decal package that paid homage to the hero colour of the original GT.

Each came with a build number and certificate of authenticity.

It's hard to think how the GT 40 could be any more special. But it is, because it was also the first FPV model to be fitted with the R-Spec suspension package, a development by FPV designed to allow the cars to be enjoyed on track days. R-Spec was subsequently applied to many other FPV products.

SUPER PURSUIT UTE (2003-10)

Nothing epitomises the idiosyncrasy of Australian high-performance motoring more than a scary-fast ute. FPV offered a Pursuit ute in its range right from the start of its BA-based model series in 2003, powered by the 5.4-litre V8 "Boss" engine. While that car was the equivalent model to the GT sedan, the Super Pursuit ute picked up extra equipment from the GT-P.

The FPV Super Pursuit ute.
The FPV Super Pursuit ute.

The Super Pursuit was never short of drama: visual or otherwise. It was clearly based on a light commercial, with a long deck and wellside panels that were completely separate from the cab. The performance was as outrageous as FPV's sedans, yet the driving experience was that little bit more terrifying thanks to the vehicle's crude rear suspension.

The Super Pursuit was pulled when the Boss engine was replaced in the FG-series models, although the name returned briefly for a special-edition ute in Australia last year. Truly one of the greats and perhaps the coolest badge in FPV's short history: Super Pursuit.

F6X (2008-09)

FPV's six-cylinder turbo models were truly sensational: perhaps the brand's greatest achievement in Australian muscle-car history was to show that a six could match a V8 for performance and driver appeal. The original F6 Typhoon is one of the greatest Australian performance cars of all time.

The FPV F6 X
The FPV F6 X

Perhaps emboldened by its success with the groundbreaking F6, FPV decided it could build an equally radical sports utility vehicle based on the Ford Territory. With FPV's 270kW six under the bonnet and all-wheel drive, the F6X was the most powerful six-cylinder SUV on the market when it was launched in 2008.

It was also a pretty wild ride. The Territory was acclaimed for its capable chassis at the time, but part of FPV's genius was that it found the point where power overwhelmed it.

The F6X - or "Uff Sux Uxx" if you were a New Zealand journalist at the Time to plan that FPV collection

Force 8Despite its buyers' overwhelming enthusiasm for big stickers and even bigger spoilers, in 2006 FPV decided what it really needed was a super-subtle range of sedans.Australian launch programme for the vehicle - lasted one year, during which time less than 250 vehicles were built. Enough said.

The F6X was the first and only FPV not to be based on a Falcon. Semantics perhaps, when there is so much Falcon under the skin of the Territory. But that, combined with the model's stunning lack of sales success, makes it a truly collectable FPV.

FORCE 8 (2006-10)

FPV Force 8
FPV Force 8

Another intriguing, slightly wrong turn from FPV. Despite its buyers' overwhelming enthusiasm for big stickers and even bigger spoilers, in 2006 FPV decided what it really needed was a super-subtle range of sedans - partly a response to HSV's Senator, but also an alternative to European performance sedans.

So with the BF II update came the FPV Force 6 and Force 8 models. They were mechanically the same as the equivalent F6 and GT models, but came sans stickers, with a very discreet body kit and in a range of low-key colours.

The Force models used the Fairmont Ghia as their base, so the emphasis was more on luxury than sporting flavour - although the performance and handling gave nothing away to the rest of the FPV range.

Both were sensational cars, but this was not a direction FPV pursued. Probably never intended to, as 2006 was the same model series that brought us the GT 40th, the Cobra R-Spec and the F6 Typhoon R-Spec.

Anything from Ford Tickford Experience (1999-2002)

The FPV FTE TE50
The FPV FTE TE50

The Ford Tickford Experience (FTE) is not strictly FPV, which is exactly the point. Back in 1999, Ford Australia partnered with Tickford to produce a range of performance sedans to take on the annoyingly successful HSV brand: hence the three-letter FTE acronym.

Tickford was a known quantity: it had been assisting with Falcon XR models since 1991.

The FTE project produced three models: the AU Falcon-based TS50 and TE50, as well as a derivative of the Fairlane called TL50. Ford got as far as stipulating bespoke showroom facilities for its selected FTE dealers and a range of merchandise to make buyers feel special.

The whole thing lasted three years and fewer than 500 vehicles. In 2002, Prodrive bought out Tickford and the Ford Australia partnership was relaunched as FPV, based around the BA Falcon.

But if you're looking for Ford's first serious attempt to build an HSV rival and the genesis of FPV, FTE is it.

- NZ Herald

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