Car Restoration Projects
Waking sleeping beauty
The Falcon XB was sold by Ford Australia from 1973 to 1976 and was the second model of the third generation of the Australian made Falcon. This much sought after GT version is owned by a NSW South Coast couple Julie and Greg H.
Greg has been a Falcon GT enthusiast since his early days of watching the annual battle of the titans at the Bathurst tin-top car races.
He became obsessed in 1974, when he saw Goss and Bartlett, in their blue Ford XA GT Falcon, snatch victory from the pursuing Holden Torana SL/R5000 L34. That was the day he set himself a goal that someday he’d own a GT Falcon of the XA, B or C genre.
It was 42-years-on, in September 2016, that his dream finally came true, unexpectedly and by chance. Julie’s son Brett heard from a workmate about an XB GT that was in a collection and for sale.
Knowing of Greg’s quest for the holy grail, the chase was on. They tracked the car down to a property in the Sydney suburb of Merrylands. It was a manual four-speed – Greg’s ideal spec’ and had been sitting waiting for Greg to find it for 20-odd years.
The original Ford operator’s manual was sitting in the glove box, showing the purchase by the original owner from Finnie Ford Sylvania on 24th April 1975, to J Favalore, also of Sylvania. However, nothing is known of its whereabouts in the intervening years, before it came to rest at Merrylands.
Closer inspection showed that the compliance plate read it was a GT, manufactured in April 1975. Unfortunately, it wasn’t running and there was a mountain of work to be undertaken. There were obviously some usual sections, where the metal white ants had been feeding, but it was a ‘solid’ car that hadn’t been scalped for parts.
Julie had always been a Holden Torana fan – a petrolhead and a lover of Australia’s own, with a bias towards the red team – but she also had a soft-spot for Henry’s GTs, plus she also wanted Greg to fulfil his dream. So, after some to-ing and fro-ing with the owner on an agreeable dollar figure, they consummated a satisfactory deal.
The GT was now sitting in the family garage and the next step was, where to start? Greg thought it essential to see if the engine would turn over. With motor mechanic son Brett’s advice, the spark plugs were removed, enabling a mixture of light-grade oil and turps to be squirted into the cylinders. The sump was drained and refilled with the same cocktail.
Greg was then able to put a spanner on the front of the crankshaft pulley bolt and, with much trepidation, turned over the engine. Thankfully, it turned freely.
Over the next couple of weeks, the sump was filled with Penrite oil, new plugs and leads installed, water pump and belts replaced, and the four-barrel Holley carburettor was overhauled and refitted. The radiator was flushed before a dose of Liquid Intelligence was added.
With fingers crossed, Greg turned the ignition key, sparking the new battery and the engine awoke like Sleeping Beauty from its 20-year slumber. And you bet: that V8 exhaust burble was like music to Greg’s and Julie’s ears.
It was November 2017 and the bodywork was next on the to-do list. However, it was a long wait, as the panel beater/painter was fitting the job in between bigger jobs, in order to keep the cost down.
A new rear dog-leg and sill-panel were grafted on and repainted original Yellow Haze, along with other body panels’ paintwork freshened up.
It was March 2018 before they bailed the GT out of the panel shop and the wheels were next on the menu. It sat on 14×7-inch 12-slot wheels, but the duo, knowing 15×7-inch Bathurst Globe alloys were a factory option, thought they would complement the look, style and era of the GT.
Ford offered the Bathurst Globes from the factory or through its dealers in 15×7-inch fitment on only some Falcon models. The first batch went on XYs and the second batch was obtainable as an option (Factory Option 54) for fitment to XBs. Globes were fitted as standard equipment to all 400 XC Cobras and also on XD ESP models.
Globe Products originally named them Daytona because they looked like the wheels fitted to the Ferrari Daytona, from where the design was ‘inspired’. However, with their introduction to the Australian motoring public and association with the 1972 Bathurst race wheels on Allan Moffat’s XY GTHO Phase-3 Falcon, they became almost universally known as ‘Bathurst Globes’, with the Daytona association largely forgotten.
By mid-2018 Julie’s and Greg’s GT was still a work in progress, but it was road-registered and they could finally enjoy car-club runs.