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HCOTY 2012 Nominee: The Ford Performance Vehicles GT RSPEC

Joel Strickland December 21, 2012 Hooniversal Car of the Year 27 Comments

Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Concept - 2011 Australian International Motorshow (AIMS)

For my nomination for HCOTY, I thought we needed to hear from my home country of Australia. A place where the word Hoon is treated as a dirty word, and under “Hoon laws” you can have your car taken from you and impounded for up to a month. So I have nominated the Ford Performance Vehicles GT RSPEC , a 335kw Supercharged V8 engine performance car, designed, developed and built in Australia.

 Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Project Coyote Engine

The GT RSPEC is limited to a run of just 350 units, the GT RSPEC is available in four colour combinations, 175 in ‘hero’ colour scheme of Silhouette (black) with Vixen (red) accents. The remaining 175 units will be made up of Winter White, Vixen (red) and Kinetic (blue) with Silhouette (black) accents. They also made a Ute version, the Pursuit Ute will be limited to just 75 units, the smallest number of Utes offered as a limited edition ever produced by FPV. Only in Australia would we think to make a performance ute.

12 FPV GT RSPEC Launch-25

The RSPEC is based on FPV GT which was originally released in late 2010. Featuring the supercharged “Coyote” 335kw (445hp) 5.0L V8 engine, it is the fastest GT ever made by Ford Australia. So how do you improve on perfection like that ? Well FPV spent 18 months developing the GT to then create the RSPEC.

FPR/FPV Open Day

During that time there was a one off concept car purely know as the Black FPV Concept, which was released at the Melbourne Motorshow in 2010. The interest in the concept was so strong that FPV released a limited edition run, of just 125 cars, called the GT Black which as the name suggests was finished in all black.

12 FPV GT RSPEC Launch-21

Besides the black finish though, there really wasn’t anything really special about the GT Black. Whereas the Black Concept had received big wheels, tyres, brakes and improved suspension package. The GT Black had got none of this. So why had FPV gone to all this trouble and effort if they weren’t going to put it onto a road car for release?

12 FPV GT RSPEC Launch-24

The fact was that they were building up to this with the GT RSPEC release.

12 FPV GT RSPEC Launch-14

Finally the FPV cars got the handling package they really needed, as these big V8 powered four door sedans generally don’t handle as well as they should. The 335kw supercharged engine has already proven to be a winner, so the modifications are really concentrated on the all important handling and specifically how it will handle on the track.

FPR/FPV Open Day

The RSPEC features a suspension package that has been totally redeveloped which includes higher spring rates, re-tuned dampers, larger anti-roll bar, and reinforced rear lower control arms in the rear suspension. To also help with getting all 335kw to the road, new wider 9inch rear wheels with 275/35 R19 Dunlop Sports Maxx tyres have been fitted. And in a first ever for FPV, launch control has been fitted, to really help getting that perfect launch. The front suspension receives stiffer upper control arm bushes, stiffer front upper suspension strut mounts, and re-tuned dampers. The look of the RSPEC’s graphics was inspired by the legendary 1969 Boss Mustang with a unique stripe package and paint treatment.

12 FPV GT RSPEC Launch-30

The RSPEC will be the last car to be produced by FPV, the performance arm of Ford Australia, as from January 1st 2013 Ford Performance Vehicles will no longer be a separate company as it goes back to full ownership of Ford Australia. Its current owner Prodrive has decided to sell its 51% controlling share in the company back to Ford Australia.

Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Project Coyote Engine

FPV, or Tickford as it was originally called, began in 1991. It didn’t become FPV until 2002 when Tickford was bought out by Prodrive UK. The last FPV GT RSPEC rolled of the line, where the FPV parts are all hand fitted, in Camberfield, earlier this week. All the assembly will now be done on the Ford production line across the highway at Ford’s Broadmedows plant.

FPR/FPV Open Day

Ford Performance Vehicles had a mission when it was launched. A mission destined to produce the best locally designed and engineered high performance cars in the country. It has definitely lived up to that statement over the years, the big question now is how will Ford handle the FPV badge moving forward?


Hopefully next year or in the near future we can again nominate a FPV model for HCOTY, in the meantime help give the FPV GT RSPEC the send off it deserves.

All photos by Joel Strickland except for NSW Police car – Image Courtesy of NSW Police


  • Scandinavian Flick

    These are bad ass… But there is no way I can, in good conscience, vote for the embodiment of one of the biggest things wrong with "American" car companies. Why exactly would we not get these here in the U.S.? What could be more American than a mid to full size sedan with a stonking big supercharged V8?

    Don't even get me started on the ute…

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      It burns don't it 🙁 How's your Cavalier doing?

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Suspension is trash, a/c hasn't worked in months, passenger window is stuck, 3 wheels are still bent, and my stereo inexplicably stopped working. It runs great though!

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          Oh man, sorry to hear about all that, and now I feel bad for the silly joke, dang, sorry. Glad the goat's otherwise doing great. In case you didn't see the other thread, I wish you a safe and merry hoonimas surrounded by family and good friends, cheers!

          • Scandinavian Flick

            No worries. Shoot, I joke about it too. (Both the Cavalier resemblance and its state of disrepair) It's all getting taken care of, and most of it is cheap/free to fix. (except the A/C and wheels…)

            Same to you and your family, friend! I wish you all the best!

    • mnm4ever

      I agree with you Flick, I simply cannot understand how they think this wouldn't sell here. As a partner to the Mustang, I would have one for sure. I get the ute, no one buys those here, but a V8 RWD muscle sedan? This has American written all over it.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Regarding the ute: People bought El Caminos and Rancheros in the past… They haven't really tested the market since then. I know it take s a lot of effort in safety testing, smog compliance, marketing, etc. when bringing a car here, but if GM or Ford decided to bring their already existing platforms here, they would corner the potential market.

        • danleym

          I think they would sell alright, especially with no small trucks on the market now. I'd like to see them try at least. I think the angle to take would be fuel efficiency, though, not big V8s. Throw a decent I4 in (Ecoboost?), with an option for a V6, and tout them as a fuel efficient truck, getting 35 mpg instead of 20 mpg from a fullsize. With all the emphasis on economy right now, I think they could do well.

          Then again, the last Ute in the US, the Outback Baja, didn't do that well, so who knows?

          • mnm4ever

            I think we were typing the same thing at the same time! Didnt mean to step on your idea! The Outback Baja was too impractical, too expensive and too quirky. A Ford Ute Outback might be just the ticket.

            • danleym

              No worries, great minds and all, right? Yeah, I agree that the Baja was a little different- an entry level priced Ford would probably fare a lot better.

          • Van_Sarockin

            I think it could be done. But it needs to be done carefully. Good fuel economy, as you say, but also low sticker price, and youthful fun would be big selling points. The Rampage sold some, and the VW pickup as well, and legions of old Japanese pickups and Rangers, so it should be possible. But you'd have to keep folks from cross-shopping with stripped down full size trucks on the basis of size and payload.

            But you also have to look at the hash of a job and the expense that GM went through bringing in the last GTO. I hear a big part of the problem was that it had been initially designed to be federalized, and the details of making the conversion took a lot of time and money, and introduced too many compromises.

            • danleym

              Yeah, but that process was improved with the G8, right? Even though it didn't last long, thanks to Pontiac being axed. Hopefully with the experience of having done it a couple times it wouldn't be so bad the third time.

              • Van_Sarockin

                That suggests that GM actually ever learns. I'd hope you were right.

          • timmy201

            They offer the base sedan with an ecoboost 4

        • mnm4ever

          True, very little downside to it, if the car already exists and already did the RHD to LHD conversion, they could just try it out. That could be the answer to those who want a true compact pickup but cannot find one in the truck market. Offer them both with the Ecoboost 4 and 6 to go with the Coyote… I think they would sell the hell out of them.

  • Is there a meme or emoticon for extreme jealousy? Because that is how I feel.

  • topdeadcentre

    That last one there, in the black and white, just needs a change to MFP livery and INTERCEPTOR lettering across the trunk boot.

  • Rover1

    And for all those Mustang fans wanting a well sorted mechanical platform for the next model, here it is, and here it's been for years, so Ford , WHY DON'T YOU USE IT? Not invented here syndrome?, RHD to LHD too difficult ? Ask GM, think of how many LHD Falcons you could sell around the world ( and how many RHD Mustangs in Aus,NZ,Uk,Japan etc.) FORD, ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?

    • danleym

      People won't accept a 4 door as a real Mustang. I don't know all the Aussie Fords, or if they have a 2 door variant, but it would have to be 2 doors. Plus, the Mustang is the quintessential American muscle car, so yeah, most buyers might not take too well to a Mustang designed and built elsewhere.

      That said, it looks awesome, and should be brought here, just not as a Mustang.

      • mnm4ever

        I think @Rover is talking about the platform, not the entire car being a 4dr Mustang. Just using the platform, shortened, with an appropriate Mustang body, then cashing in on the economies of scale by also selling a 4dr with the same basic mechanicals as the Mustang but in family form.

        I'd want both, and the Ute too for weekend hauling! 🙂

        • danleym

          Gotcha. Makes sense. Still not sure how they would fare with a foreign design- us Americans are pretty proud, in case the rest of the world hasn't noticed yet.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          They could even bring the Maverick name back with it, with a sedan and 2-door variant.

        • Rover1

          Indeed yes, like GM does with the Commodore/G8/CapriceSS/Lumina (choose your market to pick one) and it's Camaro sister car. The engineering for the Camaro was, I understand, done largely in Australia.The tragedy is,that currently the Falcon is due to be replaced by the Taurus, (tried once before and failed) and the reason given for giving up on the Falcon and it's Territory sister, is economies of scale. If it can work for GM why not Ford,they don't even have the branding issue to consider. It would still be a Ford.

          • Deartháir

            It's a great argument, and it's one I've brought up with engineers here at Ford a few times. They have considered it, but the current Falcon platform just isn't quite flexible enough. Using the Falcon platform for the Mustang would have required a few too many compromises, not the least of which is, as you hinted, the Aussies didn't design the platform to be drive-side neutral. In other words, there are aspects that cannot be simply flipped right-to-left. Now, that's something they could work around, absolutely, but their counterpoint is, "Why would we?". They have a perfectly good Mustang platform that is better than any of their competitors and better than some cars that are too expensive to be competitors. The Falcon platform, by Ford Global standards, is really, really old.

            Fret not, however. There are wink-and-nod rumours running around here that you are exactly right. The Falcon needs an all-new platform before the end of this decade for sure. Lincoln, here in North America, meanwhile, needs a proper flagship sedan, particularly if they want to set their sights on Europe the way they do, and the Mustang needs an overhaul if it's to be the half-price M3 killer Ford wants it to be. Expect these three to coincide; likely the next Falcon platform will be a new Global RWD platform that ticks all three of these boxes.

  • racer139

    I would have no problem with robbing a bank just to be able to buy one of these cars. I can see it now, this is a stickup…….. put forty thousand in the bag and noone gets locked in the safe(Im not a violent guy). and im guessing it would be around forty thousand canadian to aquire one of these beasts. Thankfully I will probably never have to rob a bank because ford(or chev) will never have the nuts to bring em to north america.

  • KevinKiley

    with a little tuning the 5.0 creates 444 horsepower in the boss 302. they take this same engine, supercharge it, and only come up with 445…weaksauce.

    • Deartháir

      It's not "the same engine". This is not the Boss302 Engine, and it's not "a little tuning" to create the Boss. All new intake, pistons, cooling, heads, blah blah blah, are what make the Boss302. It's a bloody expensive engine. The Miami engine is based, most closely, on the F150 version of the 302. It's a tiny fraction of the cost and complexity, and far more durable for the Aussie conditions. So the upgrade is not from 444 to 449 (not 445) horsepower, it's from 360 to 449 horsepower.