1:18 1972/73 Castrol GTX – Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III – NZ Production Car Championship Winner – Richards
Product Code: A87216
Manufacturer: Biante Model Cars
Biante Model Cars are very pleased to present the 1:18 Scale Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III Driven by Jim Richards to win the 1972/73 Castrol GTX New Zealand Production Car Championship. This model is one of the more interesting cars that Richards drove during the early days of his career – an electric Blue XY GTHO championship winner that ultimately sent him on a path to a long and celebrated touring car career.
Arguably, no driver in Australian and New Zealand motorsport has proven their class in a wider range of racing cars than the great Jim Richards. In a career spanning over five decades, ‘Gentleman Jim’ has raced, and won in, touring and production cars, Sports Sedans, Porsches, NASCAR, AUSCAR, rallying, speedway and many more. Among the many cars he’s raced, the expat Kiwi drove an XY Falcon GTHO in his native New Zealand to victory in the 1972/73 Castrol GTX Production Car Championship, a series that drew Kiwi fans to the fences at tracks across the country with big names, great racing and spectacular driving in showroom stockers.
After beginning his career in a 1200cc Ford Anglia, Richards came to prominence driving a twin-cam Ford Escort with which he twice won the New Zealand Touring Car Championship. In a theme that would continue throughout his celebrated career, Richards drove a variety of cars during this period and stepped into the popular Castrol GTX Series with a Capri V6. It soon became apparent though that the little Capri would be fighting out of its weight bracket against the likes of the Falcon GTHO and Monaro GTS 350, which ruled Series Production racing in Australia and were now the must-have cars across the Tasman. Richards eventually moved up to a Monaro, which he drove for car dealer Jerry Clayton, one of Auckland’s biggest car dealers. Richards, a mechanic by trade, was also employed by Clayton to prepare the used cars in his yard!
Richards’ toughest opponent was Robbie Francevic driving a Falcon GTHO for rival team and car dealership, Team McMillan Ford. However, an internal dispute between the team and Francevic led to the future Volvo touring car star leaving the McMillan camp, who were then not only seeking a replacement driver but also a staff member to join its new vehicle showroom in Auckland. Richards was recruited for the 1971/72 season to manage the chassis dyno at McMillan’s dealership, and in the process was installed as the driver of the GTHO for the upcoming Castrol GTX season. In a sensational swap, Francevic took Richards’ old seat at Jerry Clayton Motors, who had progressed to a Torana XU-1 and later a GTHO for the 1972/73 season, but could not beat Richards who drove his electric blue Falcon to the title.
The McMillan Ford Falcon was, like all cars in the Castrol GTX series, run to almost standard specification. It was imported from Australia and given a shakedown at Baypark Raceway by Richards who (in true 1970s production car style) drove the car to the circuit! From there it was stripped and only its 351 cubic-inch powerplant was blueprinted by noted engine builder Murray Bunn, while the team was able to make minor adjustments to the car’s suspension. Unlike its Australian counterparts that raced at Bathurst on 15”x7” wheels, the Falcons in the Castrol GTX series could only race on standard, steel 14”x6” versions mated to production tyres. With a standard Detroit Locker differential and over 400 horsepower, the big Ford became famous for smoking its tyres in the races as Richards drove it in crowd-pleasing style.
Jim defended his Castrol GTX title in 1973/74 with a new XA Falcon GT RPO 83, and later in 1974 made his debut in the Hardie Ferodo 1000 driving a Torana L34 with fellow Kiwi Rod Coppins to an excellent third place. In 1975, Richards moved to Australia to pursue his racing career and the rest, as they say, is history. Produced in diecast with fully opening parts, high detail and impressive finishing featuring the Electric Blue Metallic paint work and decoration, this is a model that any touring car fan should have in their collection. Included with this model is a signed Certificate of Authenticity by Jim Richards so place your orders as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss this historic XY GTHO.