A 1972 Ford Falcon XA GT Coupe topped the takings at Shannons winter auction this week with a price of $153,000.

Then was the staggering $121,000 paid for a restored and mechanically-upgraded 1959, 23-window Volkswagen Kombi.

But it wasn’t the highest price paid at the Melbourne event.

That honor went to a humble, three-digit, black and white Victorian number plate — the number 877 to be precise — that went for $170,000.

Not sure what the significance of the number is, but there’s something very wrong about a plate costing more than a car itself, don’t you think?

I know which one we’d pick.

The XA GT was Ford’s first truly Australian Falcon GT.

Sold between March 1972 and September 1973, the XA series was the first Falcon to be designed and manufactured in Australia.

It featured an entirely new body and was larger and more spacious than its predecessor, giving the car the “coke-bottle” look.

The addition of a two-door hardtop marked the first time that this body style had been offered since the 1965-1966 XP.

The GT package, available in either hardtop or sedan guise, consisted of special wheels, blacked out bonnet and sill panels, vents on the front wings, special badges and interior trim.

Mechanically, the XA GT retained the Cleveland 351ci V8 (developing 300bhp) with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.

The XA GT enjoyed a very successful racing career, becoming the only Ford GT to win at Bathurst on more than one occasion after taking successive victories in 1973 (with Moffat/Geoghegan) and 1974 (Bartlett/Goss).

The XA GT was a rare car, with production figures indicating just 1868 sedans and 885 coupes were made.

A country car, the Inverel-delivered 4-speed manual coupe was one of  made of what  and still looked great 18 years after its restoration.

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Classic GT or the plate? No debate


Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.

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