Loose change 1986 Ford XF Falcon – Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens, Photography by: Glenn Torrens

IMG 0160 IMG 0160
IMG 1459 IMG 1459
IMG 0152 IMG 0152
IMG 7400 IMG 7400
IMG 0158 IMG 0158

After resurrecting a couple of Commodores, Glenn Torrens raises the blue oval flag with a red 1980s Ford Falcon

When I found this forlorn Ford Falcon sinking into the grass at Flynn’s Wrecking Yard in Cooma NSW, my eyes lit up.

I thought it would be another terrific project after the two Holden Commodores I’ve brought back to life in the past few years.  

Like many of the cars at Flynn’s – including the just-finished blue six-cylinder VC Holden ‘Coomadore’ I bought there early in 2022 – this Falcon has sat doing nothing for a long time, being brought into the yard around 2007 (according to the expired rego sticker) as an old bomb that no-one wanted.

As with the Commodore, Wayne Flynn, the owner of the yard, thought it a good idea to not sell any parts from it, to keep the car complete in the faint hope that, one day, it would be bought and saved…

Well, that day has arrived… I’ve just bought it and I’m going to save it!

This Falcon is an XF series, dating from 1986. As found, this mighty Falcon isn’t too bad; it deserves to cruise again.

This is where the Falcon has sat for years. There doesn't seem to be much rust; some in the bonnet and a bubble in the dogleg below one rear door.

It’s the base-spec car (badged Falcon GL) but thankfully by the 1980s, even the entry-level/base models of Aussie-made cars had relatively comfy cloth trim and carpet, not the vinyl-over-vinyl of the decades before.

The carpet and headlining and other parts of the interior of this Falcon have survived well but under the K-Mart seat covers, although in great condition the front buckets are mismatched – brown vs the interior’s original grey.

Actually, the car originally had a bench front seat. The buckets are from an earlier XD series Falcon.

Making this cruiser cooler is the fact it has factory air-conditioning. After sitting for 15 years, I doubt it works but I’ll repair or replace whatever is required to get cold air pumping into passengers’ faces again!

From 2007 to now... that's quite a while to sit doing nothing!

Unleaded/ULP petrol was compulsory for new cars in Oz from February 1986 so the alloy-headed engine in this will happily run on unleaded fuel without the need for additives into each full tank of juice.

Outside, there’s a dicky decal on the boot lid and the red paint is chalky. But having sat outdoors so long, that’s no wonder! Hopefully, the paint can be resurrected, too, with a buff and polish.

What’s more of a worry is a weird pattern of rust through the mid-rear of the bonnet; it’s not something I’ve seen before but obviously it’s something I must deal with.

Yes, the engine runs - but needs some lovin'. It's an optional 4.1-litre rather than the standard 3.3 and is ULP compatible.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find a good bonnet and repaint it – and a few other repaired rust patches and dents – in this car’s bright red.

Its colour may be iconic but despite being a strong seller during the 1980s, the XF Falcon isn’t as cherished by Ford enthusiasts as most other series.

That’s probably due to the fact the XF series wasn’t available with a V8 engine option. That, in turn, meant it wasn’t raced on the nation’s race tracks by Dick Johnson, John Bowe and others of the era in the Australian Touring Car Championship.

That means Falcon never had that ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ aura – nor the stickered-up showroom performance models – that a V8 engine option would have provided.

Even though it's a wrecker rescue I didn't want to buy a complete wreck... so we checked every aspect of the car. Even the filler cap!

That’s in stark contrast to Holden and its HDT (Holden Dealer Team) Special Vehicles high-performance Commodore division, headed by the race driver, the late, great Peter Brock, who quite often won races on Sunday…

But you know what? With a once-over of the body, mechanicals and trim, even without the rumble of a V8, this will be a cheerful and inexpensive cruiser that should be fun at cars ’n coffee catch-ups and of course be capable of confidently and competently crossing the continent.

Maybe this red beastie could become an outback charity trek car. Or, maybe, just maybe, I could drop in a V8 engine to create the Falcon V8 that Australian Ford fans wanted to buy but Ford Australia couldn’t sell… 

What say you, readers?

From Unique Cars #481, Jul 2023

Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here


Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.