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FPV's 40th Anniversary GT and R-Spec Handling Package

words - Joe Kenwright
FPV's star Melbourne Motor Show exhibit is a limited edition version of the FPV GT to celebrate 40 years of the original Falcon GT

FPV is also using the special model to launch a new R-Spec handling package that will soon become available across the GT and F6 sedan range.

The FPV GT 40th Anniversary's sole colour scheme is a reverse of the original XR Falcon GT's gold with black stripes. It features a Silhouette Black exterior with a gold over-body stripe kit that also draws inspiration from the wild Cobra Hardtop launched in 1978.

The special model will feature the R-Spec handling package as standard and will be available as a six-speed auto and manual at $65,110. Although the build of 200 is somewhat higher than anticipated, FPV advises that buyers will need to be quick when at least 25 are already spoken for.

The GT 40th Anniversary starts as a GT but features distinctive gold striping with 40th Anniversary cutouts that on first glance read as GT 40 with the "th" concealed in the zero. The stripes on the original Falcon GT were inspired by Ford's Le Mans winning GT40.

There are extra accents on the side skirt flutes and rear spoiler pillars and a distinctive red bootlid badge which highlight the addition of the R-Spec package. The latest GT-P 19-inch alloy wheel design with gloss black accents is specified.

The standard GT seats with a combination of leather and suede finish trim feature an embroidered GT logo. FPV floor mats feature the 40th Anniversary graphic.

According to Prodrive Managing Director Bryan Mears, a revived Super Roo theme which was to appear on this commemorative model has been held over for a future model.

As an astute shuffling of existing components to promote the new R-Spec handling option, the limited edition model works well. Whether FPV buyers consider it goes far enough to join significant past GT models in Australia's most hallowed performance hall of fame remains to be seen.

FPV R-Spec Handling Package
Of all recent local muscle cars, FPV's current suspension tune is the most comfort-oriented. FPV has developed a handling package for drivers prepared to leave some of the comfort zone behind and shave a significant amount from their club lap times. Testing at Winton Raceway involving race driver John Bowe suggests that the new R-Spec suspension is worth up to three seconds a lap.

Although similar in concept to HSV's DTS (Dealer Team Spec) based on the last of the Z-Series Club Sport models, FPV has taken a different approach when the DTS was expensive and had a very low take-up rate.

Racing tyres and competition springs were dismissed early in the R-Spec program when replacement cost and compromises in everyday usage were regarded as too high. FPV instead undertook an intensive damper development program with its supplier, Delphi.

After Delphi reduced lag within the dampers and increased valve response then fine tuned the pistons and valves within each damper to Prodrive specifications, R-Spec delivers a suspension tune "that offers a significant improvement in diagonal pitch, provides a much more even footprint in power-on situations and with a much sharper turn-in response" according to FPV.

Prodrive Chassis Engineering Manager Peter Ford is candid on its impact on ride comfort: "Critically, we have maintained an impressive level of ride comfort. While the R-Spec package picks up more road irregularities, we have maintained the supple ride that has earned FPV cars an enviable ride and handling reputation."

John Bowe notes a further benefit: "The difference the package makes to steering feel, creating a far more instantaneous response with added weight and feel."

For automatic R-Spec models, FPV has added a higher capacity oil cooler to counter the more extreme conditions and temperatures experienced on race tracks.

Launched as standard on the 40th Annversary GT, the R-Spec will be offered as an option across the F6 and GT sedan range soon.


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Published : Thursday, 1 March 2007

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