|1978 Australian Ford Falcon XC Bathurst Cobra|
In December 1977 Ford built 13 special order XC Falcon GS Hardtops. These cars were specially modified in the "Parts and Accessories" or P&A workshop, at Ford's Broadmeadows factory. All vehicles were modified and fitted with the body mods and mechanical specifications (including the "evolution" upgrades) approved by CAMSfor homologation. Changes were mostly designed to enhance race durability, these vehicles, often referred to as "Pre-Cobras", were inteneded to be raced by teams in the 1978 ATCC season. The changes made in these Hardtops later formed the basis the 30 Option 97 Cobras 
When final production of the XC Hardtop at the Broadmeadows Assembly plant ended in March 1978, 400 body shells were left unsold and Ford Australia faced a dilemma of how to market them, rather than scrapping them or attempting to sell them to customers who would otherwise wait for the XD. When an original proposal to turn these cars into Playboy-themed cars (complete with "bunny" decals) was rejected as sending the wrong image for a family car company, Ford turned to Edsel Ford II, then the Deputy Managing Director of Ford Motor Company who was touring Australia at the time. He and a local design team elected to capitalise onAllan Moffat and Colin Bond's crushing 1-2 finish at the 1977 Bathurst 1000 by creating a road car with a "totally American" look that could be homologated for racing, while at the same time offering enthusiasts the opportunity to own a street-legal version of Moffat's race car. The first prototype was built in late April 1978 and production began that same July.
The cars were painted bold blue and Olympic blue racing stripes and finished with snow white and "Cobra" emblems, a throwback to Carroll Shelby's Mustangs of the 1960s that made the car easily identifiable as a Fordmuscle car. Unusually, the bodyshells were painted blue first, the intended blue stripes then masked and the white coat painted over the top. Each of the cars was given its own individual serial number and fitted with a sequentially-numbered plaque (from 1 to 400) in the dash. The first 200 produced were given the 5.8L 351 Cleveland V8, while the other 200 received the 4.9L 302 Cleveland (the exception Build number 1 was a 302 and Build Number 351 was a 351).
Cobras were available with either automatic or manual transmission. Standard equipment included four-wheel disc brakes and limited slip axles, 15-inch Bathurst Globe wheels, front & rear spoilers and dual exhaust. The interiors were fitted with sport cloth seats in black with blue inserts and based on the 1978 Ford Falcon GS Coupe. From number 2 to 31 were known as Option 97, were fitted with optional parts to allow homologation for racing, including twin thermostatically controlled fans, an engine oil cooler and racing seats. They were identified from the other 370 Option 96 Cobras by a large rear-opening bulge in the hood. Allan Moffat raced a "look a like" Replica in 1978 Bathurst 1000.
Falcon Cobras are still highly revered by collectors across Australia and most still exist. A mint example can be worth upwards of $100,000."
HOW YOU MAY APPLY FOR PERMISSION TO IMPORT
Your signed application must include, at a minimum:
1. Your name, address, phone number, and FAX number.
2. Vehicle identification – make, model, model year, VIN or chassis number,
engine number, date of manufacture and mileage.
3. Location where you will store the vehicle in the United States.
4. Statement describing use on the public roads, if intended. If on-road use is requested, identify the Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) that will modify the vehicle to bring it into conformity with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency.
5. Basis for the application.
1. Photographs – ¾ frontal, ¾ rear, interior, odometer reading and special features (if appropriate).
2. Document from manufacturer or recognized historical source, identifying total production (production verification).
3. Proof of insurance conditioned on limited on-road use (not more than 2,500 miles accumulated in any 12-month period).
4. Identification of vehicle’s:
1. Technological significance – You must identify (be specific) the technology, engineering, and construction features of the vehicle that are advanced and of an unusual nature not commonly found in motor vehicles manufactured in the same time period; or
2. Historical significance – You must identify the historical significance of the vehicle. If a person of historical significance owned the vehicle, you must submit proof that this person owned the vehicle. If the vehicle was the first or last vehicle of a particular model, you must establish this through the manufacturer’s documentation or, if this is not available, through a recognized historical source. If the vehicle was "one of a kind," you must establish this also.
Items of significance must be numerically listed followed by the reason why the item is of significance.
You may then mail the application to:
Import and Certification Division
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (NVS-223)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
A vehicle eligible for Show or Display may receive NHTSA approval to be driven on the highway. The odometer must not register more than 2,500 miles in a 12-month period. NHTSA approval of limited on-road use is to allow the vehicle to be driven to and from nearby displays of similar automobiles. Another reason permission is granted is to maintain the vehicle’s engine, braking, lighting, and other dynamic systems in good working order. The vehicle is still required to meet EPA requirements. If the original engine in the vehicle will be replaced with a non-original engine to meet EPA requirements, it must be identified in your application since it may impact on the technological or historical significance of the vehicle. Email me if you need help importing vehicles.