03 Seat belts
38 - Power door locks
46 - Power operated windows
54 - European Sports Pack
Phase Autos Links:
The late Wayne Draper is well known for his Blue Oval muscle cars including the original XY GTHO. (Excerpts from August 2013 Street Machine)
PART of the reason Dad’s story never got out was because he had to do it all on the sly,” says Rob, son of the late Wayne Draper. You mightn’t know Wayne’s story, but you’ll certainly know his cars. The XE Falcon Phase 6 you see here is his master work – but is neither the beginning nor the end of his story, which began in 1970 in the design department at Ford Australia in Broadmeadows, Victoria.
Working alongside the then Ford racing team manager Howard Marsden, sealed a lifetime love of Blue Oval muscle. “When he started at Ford as a rookie he was working on the original GT-HO, and the wonder and fascination and obsession with those cars ... he never lost it until the day he died,” Rob says.
Allan Moffat drove the Phase III to Bathurst victory in 1971, but by ’72 the supercar scare had killed the Phase IV. “All the designers at Dad’s wake told stories of how pissed off he was that they were dropping the GT-HO. They didn’t want to do it, so he had to do it on his own.”
Together with Bob McWilliam, Wayne opened Phase Autos to keep Ford in local touring car racing, starting by manufacturing spoilers for XA, XB and XC Falcons.
In the late 70s, Draper, who was now a senior Ford designer, began developing the XD-based Phase 5 to homologate the Falcon for Group C touring car racing for drivers Garry Willmington, Murray Carter, and Moffat. Draper remained a silent partner – in the beginning, as far as the Ford bigwigs knew, the Phase 5 was the work of McWilliam and CAMS delegate Carter. “They were doing a test day with Moffat and the Ford suits rocked up. Dad was there, and there was a bit of a confrontation. Dad got told, ‘If it wasn’t you that did this we’d fire you – and you’re lucky they’re quick.’
They were pissed off,” says Rob. “He used their clay; he used their wind-tunnel!” But the XD Group C proved as popular with privateer teams as it was competitive, giving Ford a no-cost presence in local tintop racing. After that, says Rob, “He was in their good books again.”
Draper’s company, now known as Homologation Options (which is, in fact, the original meaning of HO: “Howard Marsden changed it to Handling Option,” Rob says) continued with the Phase 6, which was to be Moffat’s next Group C race car. Rob says his dad was “a massive fan, so he wanted Moffat racing his car, but Ford let [Moffat] go ... again”. Instead, the flares and front and rear spoilers of the Phase 6, like those of the 5, found their way onto countless privateer XEs.
When Ford dropped the V8 in 1983, Wayne was out of Phases until the bent eight returned in ’91, but Wayne’s design proposal for the reborn EB GT was rejected in favour of the unloved Clive Potter design.
Not long after relocating to Strath Creek, Victoria, in 2008, the new Homologation Options headquarters was destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires. Wayne worked to rebuild the business, but in July 2009 suffered a further setback when he was diagnosed with cancer.