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The True Story of the HO Down the Hume

Street Machine catches up with journalist Mel Nichols and photographer Uwe Kuessner, instigators of the infamous ‘Wheels’ magazine review of the Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III back in 1971.

Peering at the instruments, I can still see the tacho cranking past 6000rpm and the speedo nudging beyond 140mph. When I look at my hands on that big, thin wheel, I can feel the car thrusting forward, rock-steady. We were doing better than 140mph but it felt as right as rain. No worries about keeping it all straight on that narrow bit of road, long before the Hume had any multi-lane sections – or 110km/h speed limit.

Hell, running flat out in the GTHO was a fine moment. I understand blokes all over Australia have posters of Uwe’s memorable picture up on their walls, which, more than anything else, captures the magic of the mighty HO!

Their review of the ‘HO shocked a nation with boasts of covering ‘200 miles in two hours’ and a photo of the car running down the public highway at an indicated 104 mph. Little did the readership know, the true top speed run was a rather higher. High enough for the editors to lose their nerve, opting to run with a doctored photo of top speed run showing the car’s speedometer needle at ‘only’ 104 mph rather than the actual and even more incredible 145 mph.