A rare 1973 Ford Falcon that sat in a small farm shed on the highway between Toowoomba and Brisbane for more than 30 years has sold for more more than $300,000 at auction.
Gordon Stubbersfield’s orange 1973 XA GT RPO 83 hardtop is a legend of the Australian motoring scene — and while it may be in need of a good wash, this “barn find” has proven there’s still life in Australian muscle cars.
“Underneath all that dirt and rat poo is a classic,” Falcon Cobra Club of Queensland president Troy Postle said.
“It’s very sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts.”
The car became known as the Chicken Coupe because of the chicken wire at the front of the shed.
“Gordon put that up to stop the pigeons coming in and crapping all over the car, and the name stuck,” Mr Postle said.
“There’s rat and mice poo and all sorts of debris all over the car.”
But beauty is more than skin deep for car lovers.
A ‘sleeper’ supercar
The car was one of only 120 built after the ‘supercar scare’ of the early 1970s.
At the time car manufacturers were building faster and faster sedans, and the government had safety concerns.
“Ford had released the fastest sedan in the world in 1971, the Phase III GTHO Falcon,” said Bill Freeman, head of classic cars at GraysOnline auctioneers.
“The government ended up saying to Australian manufacturers, ‘If you produce 160 mile-an-hour supercars, we won’t give you fleet orders.’
“By 1973 Ford was all set to launch its Phase IV GTHO, and it had all the parts in the factory.
“So Ford quietly put the parts on some GTs under the option code ‘RPO 83’, and that’s what makes this car very special.”
Not for sale
Even though it had been parked in a shed for most of its life, its owner never wanted to part with it.
“It was the car he got married in,” Mr Postle said.
“He loved the fact people could see it from the highway, and especially loved it when people would pull up and strike up a conversation about it.”
But he never took up any of the many offers to sell it.
“He was adamant he didn’t want it touched — he loved it as it was,” Mr Postle said.
“A lot of people had a go at Gordon for letting it sit in the shed gathering dust, but it could have been a lot worse, it could have been written off, or parked under a mango tree and rotted away.
“It’s possibly one of the most original RPOs out there — it’s never been touched.”
Pride and joy fetches pretty price
After Mr Stubbersfield passed away late last year, his estate decided to sell the car.
“It doubled its reserve price,” Mr Freeman said.
While the Chicken Coupe has moved into a new garage, car lovers are still on the hunt for other classic Australian cars.
“There is no doubt in my mind there are plenty of old Fords and Holdens and Valiants out there in sheds,” Mr Postle said.
“Their value has doubled in the last five to six years, and they’re starting to get out of the price range of your normal car enthusiast and going into private collections.
“I think Gordon would be looking down on us very impressed with the price his pride and joy got.”
This content was originally published here.