THIRTEEN years ago, Grovedale’s Daryl Wilkinson bought an old Falcon from Johnny Major’s yard in Torquay Road for $150.
Daryl and his children were into fishing and they wanted to buy a boat but needed an old car to tow it.
“I only had a little Laser at the time and I thought ‘how am I going to tow a boat’. So I decided to get a cheap old car, with a bigger engine, that wouldn’t matter if it got salt water or sand on it,” Daryl recalled.
“When I got the Falcon home I had a look at the brakes first. They needed redoing so I fixed them up all round.
“Then I thought I would tidy up the inside a bit and the seats, so I did that, and suddenly it all went out of all proportion and I kept going with the restoration.”
Daryl’s old Falcon was a 1965 XP Futura sedan. It was still very similar to the first Falcon, the XK that rolled of the assembly line in 1960, but Ford had freshened up the XP a bit with a facelift.
Gone was the first Falcon’s droopy nose design. The new treatment featured a sculptured side extending to form a brow over the lights and grille making the Falcon appear more aggressive.
Introduced with the new XP Falcon range was the prestigious Fairmont, fitted out with all the latest luxury features including power-assisted brakes and the reclining front bucket seats.
It was offered as a three-speed manual or 2 speed auto transmission with a six-cylinder engine. Following the launch of the XP range in February 1965, 71,000 cars were built by Ford in Australia until late 1966. The manual sedan’s list price was $2150 and the Futura Super Pursuit was $2954.
Today the XP is regarded as the most collectable of the early model Falcons.
Daryl’s Falcon took more than three years to restore.
“Mine is a four-door Futura sedan. There was a bit of rust in it and I had to put a new motor in it too.
“I put in a 6 cylinder and renewed the interior but I couldn’t get the original red seat colour at the time. I had to use a blue for the seats and trim and head lining.
“After I’d finished I found out a short time later that I could now get the jam-red original trim colours used on the inside.
“I was a bit disappointed.”
The result of the restoration left Daryl with a car that was half modified on the inside but the outside was still original.
“So every time I went to a car show I couldn’t enter it as a standard original car.
“That’s when I decided I would continue with the modifications outside so I put in a 289 Windsor motor and a C4 gearbox and 3-speed auto transmission. When I bought the car it had the original two-speed auto.”
When Daryl fitted the new motor, leaded fuel (Super) was still available.
“These days you either get the valves done, and on a V8 it could be as much as $1200, but based on the amount of times I drive it, I go for the second option just put in some valve-saver additive and use the high octane fuel the 98 — it runs much better.”
Daryl put in an XP Fairmont differential but this change led to him having to change the axles.
“I had to put the XP ute axles in it because they were five-stud but I had to change the backing plates on the ute to fit into the end of the tube.
“Then I had to take the bearings off the XP ute because they were bigger and put the smaller ones on that fitted the XP Futura sedan.
“I had to get all the journals turned down to modify that part of it.
“Eventually I got it all done.”
Daryl decided to rebuild the brakes next.
“The front ones were XP discs and HP callipers, they are only boosted on the front.
“The shoes on the back are of a bigger diameter than the normal ones are on the sedan. And they are a little bit narrower.”
Following a three-year restoration period, Daryl ended up with a fully restored car.
“But I never got around to buying the boat.
“I think in hindsight it was a better option I don’t have a boat but I’ve got a car that is probably more valuable than a boat would have ever been.”