A pair of Ford enthusiasts have learned that a 1970 Ford XW Falcon GTHO believed to be the real deal is, in reality, a replica.
And the current owner of the car, Lyle Walker, has just had his claim for compensation dismissed by the Federal Court.
Fairfax reports that Walker travelled to Wodonga in 2013 to inspect the vehicle before eventually handing over $135,000 to purchase the ‘HO’ from previous owner, Glen Sell.
Mr Sell had obtained a letter from Ford Australia, along with a report from a party claiming to be an expert in the field. Both documents confirmed what Mr Sell had always believed during his 30 years of ownership - that the XW GTHO was genuine.
With the necessary proof, Mr Sell valued it accordingly. Mr Walker reportedly studied the letter and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN - although potentially just a chassis number given the age of the car) before agreeing to the purchase.
Walker planned to restore the Falcon, but during a preliminary inspection, his chosen workshop identified around 20 items that they believed identified the car as a replica. Further investigation reportedly confirmed the workshop’s suspicions.
Having deduced that the true value of the XW Falcon in the presented condition was around $25,000, Mr Walker first sought a refund from Mr Sell, which Sell declined.
Mr Walker then commenced legal action, attempting to recover the $110,000 difference and associated legal costs. But the Federal Court found in favour of Mr Sell, ordering Walker to pay Sell's legal bills of $14,162 and leaving him $110,000 out-of-pocket on the Falcon.
“It apparently was not in doubt that both parties were innocent victims of a fraud perpetrated by someone on Mr Sell when he bought the car some 30 years ago from a Mr Paul Ward,” Federal Court judge Robert Bromwhich said.
“It is not possible to say who was responsible for that fraud.”
On the question of ‘false advertising’, the court heard that Mr Sell had sought the expertise of others before advertising the car as a genuine GTHO.
The court ultimately found that Mr Walker had relied on his personal inspection of the vehicle above anything advertised or said by Mr Sell.
Falcon image via The Border Mail