Candy Apple Dream
Have you ever wanted something so badly, you were willing to wait more than a quarter of a century for it? Many would have thrown in the towel, but not Ben Chesterfield. To be more precise, Ben has been tracking the 1969 Ford Falcon XW GT-HO for 34 years! After his first encounter back in 1983, he’s had his eye on the prize ever since. However due to financial circumstance back then, it was placed in his bucket list instead. With already several XW classics in his garage, why was the GT-HO so worth the wait?
There’s no denying the GT series is one of Australia’s highest performing automobiles produced. From the time of its launch in 1969, the XW GT made waves across the country and soon everyone wanted to have a peek at this Aussie muscle. The limited production HO variant, with higher powered engine and improved suspension, was released two months after the mainstream models.
Externally, it may look almost indistinguishable from the standard GT, except for the lower front spoiler, but this new and improved design was a homologation special built for racing. The HO package also included a rear anti-roll bar, stiffer front anti-roll bar, and heavy duty tailshaft with taller gearing and a 3.25:11 diff ratio.
An avid car enthusiast and member of the Gold Coast GT Club, Ben’s garage is home to an original 1969 XW GT, a factory V8 XW ute, a second-owner XW ute, a windowless XW Panelvan, a matching numbers XW GS V8 wagon, a 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk (his first car) and a Mustang. “I guess I can’t help myself!” he laughs.
For someone with a shiny collection, his latest and most sought-after addition is more than just another addition to his mantel. To make way for the HO, Ben has had to make some sacrifices to get what he’s always wanted. He sold one of his favourites, the XY Falcon GT-HO, more endearingly known as the ‘Dirty HO’. “To be honest, I’ve owned a lot of nice cars, and this is the dream car that I fell in love with some 34 years ago, managed to track it down and now own it,” he beams.
His latest GT is deemed one of Australia’s legends and Ben has got a more practical approach in flaunting his new fav. “I have never entered it into a show for judging, that’s not my thing. I’m here to enjoy the car and what other people think is of no real concern to me,” he dictates. Instead, Ben finds use of all his cars for family get-togethers and social events.
“… it’s more about the weekend family drives, pubs and lunch, a park up and a yarn – just what I believe these cars are all about.”
Although competitions and shows aren’t really his cuppa tea, Ben has entered his GT-HO in the upcoming 2019 GT Nationals in Adelaide, because why not? We’ll have to wait and see how this Aussie muscle fares!