Ford XY Falcon: Reader resto

By: Scott Murray with Vlas & Bill Salatas, Photography by: Vlas & Bill Salatas

Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon
Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon Ford XY Falcon

The Salatas' Ford family tree is deep rooted, and has grown with Vlas' XY. The blue oval force is strong in this one...

Ford XY Falcon: Reader resto
Reader resto: Ford XY Falcon


XY Falcon resto

The first XY I owned was written off after rolling on a dirt road in 1988. I was gutted. But, from that wreck, I was inspired to buy this XY from its original owner in 2005. I drove it for about a fortnight then decided it needed the works.

Having also owned an XD in ’89 after that first XY, I knew exactly how I wanted my restoration project to turn out. I didn’t want a hot rod; just something hot and driveable.

It started with three days of just stripping and sandblasting, but it wasn’t until I took the car to George Lyras at KB Bros Restorations, where the numerous rust spots and trolley dings became apparent. They completely repaired the shell, back to square one and because it was so tidy there was no filler needed. Happy days! After three months of body work, I took the beloved to Theo at Choice Panels in Campbellfield for the final touches on the sheet metal and a fresh lick of paint.

But I wasn’t one to sit idly by. I started thinking about what I could do to restore the engine to its former glory. Harry from Future Tech in Box Hill was kind enough to donate a 351ci which he had pulled out of his Bronco after upgrading to a 460ci big-block.

I sourced parts from Gran Tourer and GT Ford Performance for all the engine bits I couldn’t restore, but everything that I could re-use, was stripped and sent away for powder coating. I even had the nuts and bolts disassembled and sent away to be freshly anodised.

As for the engine, I didn’t want anything too crazy and uncontrollable, so I decided to go with a mild 351 that could be driven on the street on a regular basis.

Simon from High Energy did all the engine work: balancing, blueprinting and full assembly of the engine, sourcing the Edelbrock intake from Super Plus and the Roller Rockers from Yella Terra. The heads were also tickled, featuring open-chambered 2V heads which have been ported and balanced. A 750cfm DP Ultra HP Holley carby sits on top, which I bought as a spare from my brother who had upgraded his. The end result? The old XY now pumps out and impressive 335kW and 589Nm of torque at the flywheel.

Spark is delivered from an MSD 6AL system and to keep the temps regulated, a PWR radiator with a single BF Falcon thermo fan was installed.

To deal with all the power, I changed the transmission to a Ford C10 unit with a 3000rpm Dominator stall convertor and Ford nine-inch diff, running 3.7:1 gears.

All the suspension was seen to still mostly XY – but with small upgrades. I’ve got XF Ghia re-tensioned and lowered springs in the front, Moorabbin Spring Works did the rear leaves and got me the Monroe GT Gas shocks for the front and rear. Nolathane bushes all round finish off the ride, which is much nicer now. Steering was replaced with brand new parts and braking is taken care of with DBA 4000 slotted rotors up front, with re-conditioned XF (front) and XD (rear) calipers. The Bendix Ultimate pads I got straight from AutObarn Doncaster. Brake lines are metal and totally re-made from scratch.

To make her sound like an XY should, I’ve gone with three-inch Pacemaker headers, coated by HPC of course, and they run all the way to the Hooker mufflers which are then finished off with 2.5in tailpipes. I used pre-fabricated Hooker aero chamber mufflers, again sourced from Super Plus, to give it a nice deep note and it was a decent price.

After all of this, I was still undecided on the exterior colour of the car. I knew I wanted something modern while still retaining a classic look, but the original white with blue interior bench seats simply didn’t cut the mustard. After about a year of deliberation, I finally settled on Envy, a colour featured on Ford’s BA Falcon range.

The interior also got reworked, with Fairmont influences and saddle-coloured bucket seats, which Jim at Unique Auto Trimmers in Collingwood re-upholstered to suit. Original seatbelts were eventually sourced from eBay when a set came to auction in very good condition. I managed to source new carpets from Knox Auto Carpets in Bayswater North, and believe me, they are kept clean and regularly vacuumed.

Some of the final touches were done by Geoff at HIT300. I bought the GT gauge from a South African XY on eBay and he converted it. He also fixed the tacho and re-painted the dash face with re-chromed edges and rings. I also included a modified Stewart Warner Shift Light on the steering column, giving me a digital RPM readout.

Bumper irons were done by K.R. Best Paint in Dandenong, bumpers themselves by Modern Plating in Oakleigh, the heater box (which I sought from GT Ford Performance) I did with help, and the steering column was pulled apart and re-conditioned at home with big thanks to my mate Simon, and 90 per cent of the rest of the interior work and general labour was done by my son Bill and I. My younger boys Stav and Christian were a great help too. I couldn’t have done it without my boys.

To finish the restoration, the XY is sitting on Centreline Autodrags – new aftermarket from Super Plus at the front and second-hand jobs at the back – wrapped in 255/60/15 E/T Street Radials on the rears and 185/75/15s on the front.

The build was completed over a five year period, including many long weekends and late nights spent in the garage. Fortunately, the boys helped me immensely with the disassembly and reassembly process.

The hardest parts about the restoration was finishing it without a hoist and only using jacks and axle stands; sourcing all the necessary quality parts because I wanted it to meet a decent standard; and removing all the factory body deadener! That was hell. In the end I used predominately genuine parts, both new and restored, to complete this restoration project.

Looking ahead, the bottom line is it’ll be driven. Although I’m hoping to take her down to the drag strip soon with Bill’s turbo XD to see what quarter-mile times we can do. I’m hoping for mid-to-high 12s. Quicker than the XD? It’ll be close, but we’ll soon find out.


More reviews:

> Ford Falcon XY Van restoration

> Ford Falcon XY GT

> Buyer's guide: Ford XY Fairmont 1970-72

> Our cars: 1971 Ford XY Falcon 500

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