1971 Ford XY Falcon Panel Van - Reader Resto

By: Peter van Muers (owner) with Alex Affat, Photography by: Nathan Jacobs & Peter Van Meurs

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Affectionately nicknamed "Rusty" by his kids, Pete's XY panel van might deserve a new nickmane after a 15-year journey

 

1971 Ford XY Falcon Panel Van resto

I don’t have to spend or do anything to it… I have bought it to drive and enjoy" said owner, Peter Van Muers to his wife.

They’re famous last words, as you can probably guess what’s happened since then…

I bought the car from my brother-in-law in 2003; it had been used, it wasn’t precious. But it wasn’t a rust bucket. It’d been bogged up before, but it was still a driving car and in pretty good nick.

Have your say and vote for this car in the 2019 Reader Resto of the Year!

I drove it around like that for probably around seven years, before I started replacing bits and pieces.

ford-falcon-5.jpgIt's taken Pete 15 years getting the van to where it is today

I started off with the interior doing the little stuff first here and there, then in 2005 I pulled the engine out in the shed. As the car stands now, it’s got fairly standard running gear – 302 Windsor, C4 auto and a BorgWarner diff. It had a 9-inch in it when I bought it, but I pulled that out. Now it’s got a standard XY diff, but I found a guy who puts VL centres in ’em. It’s also running an MSD electronic fuel injection system that I play around with.

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The first big teardown happened in 2007, I pulled the engine and resprayed the engine bay.

A few years later, in 2010 – the car was torn down again, right back to bare metal.

Doors, windows, lights, indicators, bumper all came off.

ford-falcon-rear.jpgPete’s always been a Ford man, but was never a van man. This sweet ride might’ve changed that...

I was looking for someone to cut all the rust out, and found people who told me to bring ’em new rear quarters – you can’t buy rear quarters for these cars anymore – but I eventually found this bloke Kevin who made some bits and pieces for me. He’s a boilermaker by trade, works from home, so he made up a few parts for me, I bought a few bits and pieces – welded it all up.

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It was about seven months all up before I got it back.

The car was resprayed in its current Teal Glow Blue, the motor was still in it though and the engine bay was white.

ford-falcon-interior.jpgThe restoration journey began innocuously enough by cleaning up the interior

Then I looked at it and thought ‘gee this is shocking’. So I pulled the engine back out in 2011, and built a roller block 302 for it, as the last 302 kept having problems with a rear main leak.

The roller block has the one-piece rear main seal which fixed up all the oil leaks.

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As we did a mild cam, the MSD EFI, it’s a lot more drivable. I don’t know if it gets any better fuel consumption, but it just runs better and feels smoother.

It definitely gets driven though, that’s what they’re there for!

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My two girls have grown up in the back, and now one of them’s got an L-plate on the back now. It’s come full circle. She even asked me if she can take it to the drive-in movies with her friends next year, I’m thinking ‘geez I dunno if I’m ready for that’.

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There’s one day I won’t be able to drive this thing, and once that day comes I can’t turn the clock back. I just keep it clean, wash it, and keep driving!

THE RESTO:

Early days

ford-falcon.jpgWhen Pete got hold of the XY, it was in pretty good nick. But not good enough

After hours

ford-falcon-2.jpgIt took around three months of weekend and evening work to strip back the car.

Minor surgery

ford-falcon-3.jpgAll of the rust was cut out and replaced with new metal prior to paint.

Sitting pretty

ford-falcon-engine-bay.jpgPete went through a few 302s before he found the setup he was happy with.

Choices, choices

ford-falcon-resto.jpgPete’s tells of his wife joking that if the car came back white, she’d "have his balls in a sling".

Teal Glow

ford-falcon-4.jpgAfter much debate, Teal Glow – an original XY colour – was chosen.

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1971 Ford XY Falcon panel van specs

BODY 2-door panel van
ENGINE 4948cc OHV V8
Power & torque
165kW @ 4600rpm
405Nm @ 2600rpm
Top speed 171km/h, 0-100km/h 10.7sec
TRANSMISSION
Three-speed automatic
SUSPENSION
Front – Independent with wishbones and coils;
Rear – live axle with semi-elliptic springs
BRAKES 10-inch drums

 

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