1978 Ford XC Falcon 500 - Reader Resto

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen & Bulloch Family

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While father/son resto projects don't always work out, the Bulloch boys pulled it off in fine style

 

1978 Ford XC Falcon 500 resto

You could argue Jaidyn Bulloch was destined to end up owning one or more Fords over his lifetime, given he grew up in a car family. His father Peter is a fan of the blue oval marque, while there’s a photo of his grand-father Ray with his Austin-Healey race car at Bathurst.

For Jaidyn, the story started around seven years ago, when he was just 13, when he and his dad went out and bought this XC for the princely sum of $1800.

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The general idea was that he’d shown an aptitude for mechanical challenges and this would be a perfect project to work on. The car was basically solid, but needed a fair bit of work to return to factory fresh. And, with enough effort, it would be ready to drive when he got his licence and finished high school. As father Peter describes the situation, "He didn’t have a lot of mechanical knowledge and, as he got older, he started to tinker with it. He got interested in cars, started to do voluntary work at Matt Stone Racing, then became an apprentice mechanic and it’s just grown from there."

In fact Peter is now pretty much full-time at the race team.

ford-falcon-xc-2.jpgGreat finish. The stance is factory correct. A top result

The Ford was pretty close to being usable from day one, though the auto had gone to lunch and it only had reverse gear. However as anyone who has restored a car from scratch will tell you, getting a project from being a tidy shed-find up to a tidy classic is a whole lot of work.

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Long, long hours were spent sanding back the underside by hand with block and paper. That’s a spectacularly laborious process and people who have done it say they have no fingerprints for the duration of the project. The Bullochs commented that this Falcon must have lived somewhere with red soil, as every time a part was removed, a kilo or two of bright red dust seemed to come away with it.

A lot of effort was put into getting the underside of the car back into prime shape, including finishing it properly and fitting refreshed suspension. Then the body went off to a panel shop for finishing and paint. There had been some rust, including around the door sills and boot, but it was pretty good for its age.

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While that was away, Jaidyn got stuck into building the crossflow six powerplant. These fairly simple 250-cube (4.1lt) engines have a reputation for being robust while providing pretty good performance for their time. The power claim of 123hp (92kW) is pretty modest, but what makes them work is the strong torque of 289Nm at just 1900rpm.

Of course the transmission was replaced, while the whole driveline was kept fairly standard. The car is running extractors and a larger than-stock exhaust to help it breathe a little better, but that’s it.

ford-falcon-xc-resto-4.jpgThe rear quarter panel shows the benefits of some finessing

There was some debate over throwing a V8 into the car, but the decision was to leave it alone, since it was such a good example of the breed. As Jaidyn points out, "This was my learning car, so it made sense to keep it simple." That may have been a smart move, given how family-spec cars like this have really gained in value and popularity in recent years. Jaidyn has since picked up an XF project car, which is destined to host a 302 V8.

Meanwhile, the interior of the XC was in pretty good shape, just requiring a fairly comprehensive tidy-up.

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Now the big ambition was to have the car up and rolling for the school formal and, as these things always seem to work out, the rolling shell arrived at the Bulloch household just a week before the great event. It was a big re-assembly job, and Jaidyn’s mates pitched in. Peter reckoned that at times it looked like there was a cast of thousands swarming over the car.

In the end the crew met the deadline, just. The car was a runner. Jaidyn reckons that ever since he’s found a variety of things to adjust or improve – but that’s old car projects for you. "There are some things I’d do differently if I did it again," he says.

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And now? Jaidyn reckons the car is a great Sunday cruiser – quiet and comfortable.

Was it worth the effort? "I’m glad I did it and I’ll never sell it," says Jaidyn. "It’s something I’ll keep forever."

THE RESTO:

Engine

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It looks like it’s all there. A good start, but a long way to go.

 

Boot

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Boot floors often give way after years of boot-seal water leaks.

 

Straight body

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Jaidyn managed to score an XC with the body shell in quite good shape.

 

Underbody prep

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All that hard work early on to the underbody area paid off in the end.

 

High octaine action

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Why fight fate? The track is obviously the place to be for this young fella.

 

Suspension work

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Suspension (front and rear) was restored to showroom condition.

 

1978 FORD XC FALCON 500

ENGINE 4.1lt OHV Six
POWER & TORQUE
92kW @ 3900rpm
289Nm @1900rpm
TRANSMISSION
Three-speed auto
SUSPENSION
Front: Coil-springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.
Rear: Semi-elliptic springs and telescopic dampers brakes Discs/drums (f/r)

 

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