1971 Ford XY Falcon 500: Our Shed
Our shed: Leechy couldn't look at the gap in the garage a minute longer. Here's his latest flight of fancy
1971 FORD XY FALCON
I was really starting to get itchy feet after a short period of being ‘old-carless’ subsequent of a few months ago selling my ’69 Mustang Sportsroof. (I have old motorcycles and bits and pieces as well, so the fleet really needed a thin-out).
I didn’t want another big investment sitting in the shed, so it was going to have to be a bargain-cheapie. Enter a buddy of mine who suggested an old work accomplice of his had a weary old Falcon in his shed. "Give him a call, he might not want it," said my bud. So I did.
Turns out the 1971 XY Falcon 500 wagon was indeed bundled up in his shed and hadn’t seen the light of day since 2001. So, my eldest son Spencer (who has the old-car sickness real bad) and I headed expectantly over to the old bloke’s joint.
After an inspection that reveals some rust (nothing structural) and a quick run up and down the road in front of the owner’s property, I make an offer. Of course it is rejected (as all first offers should be), I come up a little, he umms and aaahs, calls me when I’m on the way home and the thing is mine.
It’s got ‘reality-bangs’ here and there, has brought up a family and towed the caravan on the annual holidays.
It’s been part of the authentic soundtrack of one family’s lives. I really like that. There is no bullshit about this car.
Upside is this thing is a one-owner car, with just 89,000 genuine miles on it. One bloke has serviced it all of its life (I have the receipts to prove it), and nothing was done that didn’t need doing. It was important, but only as a car, nothing more. It’s the 250ci six, coupled to the column change three-speed auto and claimed power is 155bhp (116kW) at 4400rpm and 240lb-ft (325Nm) at 1600rpm. More good news is the fact it feels like all those neddies are still happily in the stable. It’s a sweet engine, with no top-end racket at all and the tranny shifts sweetly, with the ubiquitous slight whine from first that we all remember. Considering the thing was simply thrown a fresh bowl of fuel and a new battery, to allow me to drive it home from the purchase visit is remarkable and a testament to all things that were good about that era’s Falcons.
There’s not a lot to distinguish it from the other 118,666 XYs that were turned out during the model run. It’s indeed a poverty pack, with the very happy exception of the optional Girling power assisted brake front-end. They work far better than I expected and are a blessing.
So, what’s the plan? Well, it will live on club rego, and I have already piffed the standard 14-inch wheels and opted for a set of powdercoated 15 x 7 steelies shod with BF Goodrich TA radials 205/60/15 at the front and 215/65/15s at the rear, all from Antique Tyres in Heidelberg (Vic). I want the car to look old school cool and not over-restored. After all, it is a survivor, and for mine, needs to retain that character.
The original steering wheel was pretty well cactus, and while they can be repaired, I opted for a genuine XY GT steering wheel that our art director Ange knew about. I reckon the rimblow GT is a work of art and I’m happy to go away from total originality to that extent.
Next up is a run through for bushes, springs (lowered, of course), shocks, venetians and exhaust. Stay tuned!
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