AT THE TURN of the century, the AU Falcon was the forefront of the Aussie Ford sedan. But its styling was divisive, and the VT Commodore looked, well, better. There was potential in the AU, and Ford could see it. Luckily, someone else had an idea which Ford could get behind, a two-door version of its flagship badge.
Danny Williams, then head of the Sprintex supercharger division of a company called Advanced Engine Components (AEC), had caught wind of a hand-built, two-door AU Falcon in NSW thanks to the Hillier brothers, Clayton and Troy. Williams was working on a supercharged version of the Ford Mustang 4.6-litre V8, and it was in need of a car to live in. A two-door seemed more than appropriate.
The project was soon brought to Ford’s attention which took it on and passed the job of ‘polishing’ the work already done by the Hilliers on the 300+ to a firm called Millard Design. The story goes that within only a couple of months of work beginning, the job was finished a mere four hours before then Ford president Geoff Polites unveiled the 300+ at the 2001 Melbourne Motor Show on March 1.
What resulted wasn’t just a car that even those averse to the AU’s design could get behind, but also a faster and fitter machine. From the outside, the 300+ was sleeker than the AU sedan, with wider guards, more aggressive front and rear bars, and a good-looking set of 18-inch wheels. Underneath, however, the 300+ was packing heat.
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The Mustang’s 4.6-litre V8 is actually the reason ‘300+’ came about. The ‘plus’ stands for the extra few kilowatts over the 300-mark (10, to be exact) that the engine grants the car, in part thanks to the AEC-developed Sprintex supercharger, which forced air into the bent eight.
The current whereabouts of the 300+ remain a mystery to us, though a car claimed to be the original show car appeared for sale online a couple of years ago. Chances are, whoever’s got it is keeping it a closely guarded secret.
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Whispers of multiple versions of the 300+ have been seen popping up occasionally online, as is the way of the internet, though they’re unconfirmed. It’s widely accepted that there was only ever one genuine 300+ built by Ford, AEC, and Millard, even if others have gone on to try and replicate it.
2001 FORD 300+ COUPE SPECS
Engine: 4601cc V8, DOHC, 32v, supercharged
Power: 310kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 575Nm @ 3750rpm
0-100km/h: 4.6sec (claimed)
Price: $100,000 (estimate when new)