1973 Ford Falcon XA GT RPO 83
Old Gold – lengendary RPO 83
A legendary 1973 Ford Falcon XA GT RPO 83 was auctioned in July 2020 and sold for more than $300,000. The auction of the rusty ‘barn find’ made headline news around Australia and overseas. Purchased by a private South Australian enthusiast, the Falcon has now been sent to Finch Restorations for a detailed ground-up restoration.
Gordon and the Chicken Coupe
For 32 years prior, the XA Falcon had been stored in a shed surrounded by chicken wire to keep pigeons away. The wire resembled a coop, and the nickname ‘Chicken Coupe’ was born.
For years rumours circulated of the existence of the legendary ‘Chicken Coupe’, a survivor of a short production run of sought-after GTs. Occasionally tracked down by enthusiasts to a property in the Darling Downs, the original owner, Gordon, could not be persuaded to sell it.
Gordon had purchased the hardtop (coupe) from new in 1973 and paid $7000 for it at the time. A year later, Gordon used the GT as a wedding car for his own wedding. The car was sentimental for Gordon, and he would not sell.
When insurance costs skyrocketed in 1988, Gordon could no longer afford the insurance on his high-performance vehicle. That was when Gordon took the car off the road. It stayed stored behind chicken wire until Gordon passed away in 2019 and his estate put the car up for auction in 2020.
RPO 83 Pack (‘Regular Production Option’)
The ‘Chicken Coupe’ is one of just 120 XA Hardtops fitted with the RPO 83 pack (‘Regular Production Option’). Technically, the car is a “one of one” due to the extremely rare combination of colours and options.
It is also rare for its colour – MacRobertson’s Old Gold (paint code Y157). Only two RPO 83 Hardtops were produced in that finish. The ‘Chicken Coupe’ has a white interior, while the other which also survives in South Australia has a black interior.
The mechanicals – the RPO 83 pack – in the ‘Chicken Coupe’ stem from the four-door Falcon XY GT HO Phase III.
Intense media and political pressure in July 1972 against high-powered road cars known as the ‘supercar scare’ resulted in Ford abandoning its Phase IV (XA) Falcon program. Having already amassed enough parts to homologate the Phase IV model, Ford created the special batch of XA GTs and sold them out of the media spotlight.
Ford planned to build this special batch as 120 coupes and 130 sedans. For an unknown reason, an additional nine sedans were also built. Their uniqueness, exclusivity and history has resulted in these cars being as collectible as any GT HO Phase III Falcon.
While technically not a Phase IV Falcon, they are treated and regarded as Phase IV. Only three Phase IVs were ever built and due to the ‘supercar scare’ did not go into production.
The XA series was the first Falcon to be designed and manufactured in Australia.
MacRobertson’s Old Gold
MacRobertson's Steam Confectionery Works was an Australian company that produced chocolates such as Freddo Frog, Old Gold, Snack, Columbines and Cherry Ripe. They painted their delivery vans in a bright orange colour that stood out on the streets. As a corprate brand colour, it was available in the Ford colour range and named 'MacRobertson’s Old Gold (paint code Y157)'.
In 1967, the heirs of the company's founder, Sir Macpherson Robertson (1880-1945), sold the choclate company to English confectioner Cadbury.
The Video Story
The timeline below provides a structured breakdown of the restoration. Please click on each section to read more details and see a related gallery of images.
Upon arrival at Finch Restorations, the 1959 Jaguar Mk2 underwent a first assessment to survey externally visibile issues, and catalogue loose parts. Molly was assigned as the project manager.
The rusted sills have been opened up, grime and body Schutz removed, and the paint stripped from the body by hand (not shown) and by low pressure blasting. This reveals the extent of rust, and in ...
After priming, the hotwork stage commenced to repair the rust and cracks. During the hotwork stage, it is also important to align panels and set the gaps between panels - an iterative process with ...