Car auctions are, for the most part, seen as a way to pick up a relatively cheap second or third or perhaps even fourth car for the family. “A couple of grand, ah it doesn’t matter if it gets pranged” is the thinking.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that as most cars at auction come with a decent range of safety features including airbags.
But what if it’s a car that’s been sitting in a shed for thirty or forty plus years and was built in a time when safety was disc brakes front AND rear?
Online auction house, Graysonline, undertook to see a 1973 manufactured XA Falcon coupe find a new home. This machine, one we’ve touched upon previously, had been left in a shed by the owner, an owner that couldn’t bear to part with it yet had never gotten around to the long talked about restoration.
The march of time had seen the car to be slowly covered in dirt, dust, and chicken poo. Wrapped in chicken wire as well, this orange hued old car had become, somewhat but not always affectionately known as “The Chicken Coupe” a subject of much discussion when its presence became known.
The paint was an indication of something out of the ordinary. Called MacRobertson’s Old Gold, a chocolate wrapper colour of the day, it highlighted the XA Falcon’s large and curvaceous flanks and tiny wheels.
It was what couldn’t be seen that stamped this car as a rare treasure. Part of the exceptionally limited run of Falcons fitted with RPO83 or Regular Production Option 83 parts, the “tudor” listed at Gray’s customary nine dollar starting point on July 24 2020. Inside ten minutes it hit $160,000, a great price but short of the estimates of $250,000.
It hovered at around $180,000 that night, before a spike in interest the next day, a Saturday, brought the asking price to $250,000. The following night, the asking price was $300,000.
The time for a close was at 7pm on July 29, and here the story changes slightly. Gray’s allowed talks to continue as the climb in price stalled, with numbers in dollars, not hundreds of, eventually seeing a hammer-down on $300,909.
A statement from Graysonline auction representative Rian Gaffy said: “I think it was a great result and I’m so glad the family chose Graysonline to sell the car. This shows that if someone has an old car, tucked away somewhere and covered in dust, it could actually be worth real money and we would encourage others with similar vehicles to come forward.”
What made the RPO83 Falcons so special was the list of options made available after “The Supercar Scare”, where a fired up media took aim at Holden, Ford, and Chrysler for cars that, if left alone, would have raced at Bathurst, before their parts would eventually trickle down to be made available in road going cars.
Ford was cautious about the overt offering of parts left over after the development of a Phase 4 Falcon had been cancelled. Parts such as four barrelled Holley carbies, winged engine sumps that were intended to be bolted to the famous 351ci V8 with 260kW to 280kW, tachometers that had 8,000 revolutions per minute...these were eventually spread out over 139 sedans and 120 coupes, including “the chicken coupe”, a piece of Aussie motoring history that so easily could have gone to the great scrapyard in the sky.