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