TV shows seem like you can build a great show car in less than a week but anyone who has been there knows different. So how long does it take to build a car that’s built well enough to win Top Pro Modified and finish in the Elite Top 10 at Smyrnatus, as well as win both People’s Choice and PPG Supreme? Packs an imaginative punch too? Would you believe only nine months?
First published in the April 2008 issue. Street Machine
Canberra’s Joe Lore did exactly that but even he finds it hard to believe.
“We were going to do a tough streetcar to begin with,” he laughs. “My dad had an XY when I was a kid and it was my childhood dream. Nine months after the Smyrnatus 21, the car was a shell with a roll cage and nothing more. Something stuck in my mind and I decided it had to be ready for the 21st and that while I was at it I’d better get into the elite.
This translated into a seamless build. Joe and his crew spent every night after work on XY, with construction completed on New Year’s Eve. The basic details are impressive — a stomping 383ci Clio with an 8/71 blower and nitrous, deep-dish intro rims, a flat floor, a stunning custom interior and a very smooth undercarriage — topped off with some mind-blowing paint and graphics. Inside and under the vehicle.
It’s the kind of car that many builders could easily spend half a decade perfecting.
“It wasn’t going to happen to me,” he says. “With a car like this it’s hard to know when to stop, so having a firm deadline keeps it under control. It was built for the 21st Smyrnatus and it was going to be there, finished or No. There are definitely things that I know could be better but you can’t let it take over your life,” he says. “At one point, one of my daughters asked if Dad was going to redo that stupid car, which is hard of hearing, so I was pretty keen to get the build done.”
Like most of us, Joe couldn’t give up his day job to work on his car, so the whole project was done at night, in his workshop.
“I hired a small team of guys to work on the car with me. I originally brought in Dano and Matti just to do the panel batting but they stayed with me for the whole job. It doesn’t happen. They considered it one of their projects,” Joe says.
He had the basic shape of the car mapped out in his head, aiming for a ‘GT on steroids’ feel.
“I was very impressed with Gary Myers’ Silver Bullet. The paint on the inside of that car is incredible. It’s the toughest Mustang I’ve ever seen and I thought if Gary could do that with the ‘Stang. So I can do the same with Falcon.
For Joe, this meant creating an XY that was “so hard it would scare people”, yet still paid homage to the classic XY GT.
“That’s why we went for GT stripes and XY 8/71 graphics,” says Joe. “That way we got the best of the GT styling without looking like a clone. A few times we’d get away from the GT thing and we’d have to pull it back. We tried a flat dash for example but it looked ugly. Looked and you couldn’t tell you were sitting in XY, so we edited the original instead.
Even with skilled helpers, nothing gets done without a lot of ruthless support.
“I work in the building industry and if you don’t do your part on time, you stop the whole project and face penalties. I just applied the same thinking to XY and sure enough Made it so that everyone got their piece of the puzzle according to the timetable. We basically gave ourselves to work every night and didn’t go home until they were done.
Formed-out jobs included a four-link rear by Duff Doctor, a bonnet by Mick’s Metal Master Fabrication, trim by Gave at Gas Auto Trim, exhaust by The Exhaust Shop in Mitchell and an engine by Peter Pulford and Ben Gate. Everything else Joe and his crew did, Joe learned a few new skills along the way.
“I had never picked up a MIG before starting this car but we use Arc and Oxy for work. We had two MIGs running on this car the whole time.
Body changes are extensive and sometimes subtle, with bumpers modified for smoothness, door handles filled and the boot joined by beaver panels. There’s a three-layer flat floor, mini tubs, new interior front guards, custom dash and console, new parcel shelf and super-smooth hood lining.
The whole lot was painted by Andrew Ash of AA Panelcraft (02 4861 7414) in a wild HOK deep European doco, with the roll cage and stripes subtly done in a light shade of purple — or is that European? Should?
The interior is a true work of art, with the custom dashboard, seats, parcel shelf, console and flat floor flowing seamlessly into one another around the roll cage. Fitting it all (after painting the car!) was a mind-bending process.
“To remove the dash, you have to follow a sequence – the back seat comes out first, then the center console, then the mid console, then the dash!” who say “It has to be that way to make it look streamlined but we can access everything you want through the instrument cluster and center console.”
Fiberglass hood lining was another nightmare job, performed with the car upside down on the rotisserie.
“Basically we laid a fiberglass blanket on the roof, spread it out and held it down with a clamp. It was under the roll cage, so we used roll bar foam to keep the blanket off the cage. Poured resin on it and then scraped the padding in. We then put the layers of glass sheet down and scraped it back and put it back into the glass until we were happy with the look.
Underneath, the car got just as much attention. “Each piece that comes behind the rails has another piece soldered to it to try to get a smooth flow,” says Joe. “We didn’t have a place where a component suddenly started or stopped.”
And despite the undercarriage detail and police-bait exterior, it’s a show winner that’s going to be used.
“I’m going to drive this car out at MotorEx. And after show duty is over, I’ll take it to WSID. I’ve always intended to race it, so it has a roll cage. Is.
XY will also see some cruise duty: “We’ve done so much work under it that it’s a shame to drive it but that’s what I built it for – take the kids on a Sunday drive, go for a coffee. End of day But it’s just a car.
- The XY’s door handles and locks have been stuffed – access is only via the remote in case the battery is flat which is in a potentially sticky situation. To accommodate this event, the left indicator lens pops out to reveal an Anderson plug for a quick and easy jump start.
- Rain gutters removed.
- Normally an XY bootlid runs all the way to the bumper but Joe removed the lower section and stitched it onto the body to make it look neater.
- The fuel filler has also been filled and now resides in the boot.
- Both bumpers have been ‘n’ closed to give a shorter profile, then modified to hug the body.
- Run your fingers under the protectors (ask first!) and you’ll feel nothing but tenderness.
- Billet quarter vent locks were developed at the 11th hour when originals of suitable quality could not be found.
- Any hole or slot that was visible after the dash pad was filled in, like the glove box lock, was replaced with a set of magnetic tabs.
- To create the new, wider dash, the XY original was cut into three pieces, bent and then fiberglassed. A panel runs under the dash to cover the wiring.
- The front pews feature heavily modified Hyundai Excel items, thickened and cut to resemble the XY’s original stubby seats, with neat covers around the bases to hide the new car’s levers and springs.
- The center console is made of steel and glass and hides all the wiring and fuel lines that run through the car. It has various controls as well as LEDs that shine on the hood lining and bring the graphics to life.
1971 Ford XY Falcon
|the color:||HOK Deep European|
|Manufacturer:||8/71, Newby intake|
|Carbohydrates:||Twinberry Grant 850|
|Heads:||4V Ultra Torque|
|Emissions:||2in primary in 4in collectors and dual 3in twin systems|
|Gears:||Complete manual C4|
|Tail Shaft:||Compound 3.5 inches|
|Difference:||Odd alloy 9in, 31-spline axle|
|brake:||FPV four-seater (f), VT Commodore (r), Wilwood pedal box|
|Front Suspension:||RRS Struts|
|Rear Suspension:||Four link, RRS coil overs|
|Steering:||RRS rack and pinion|
|password:||Intro V-Rod, 19in and 20in|
|Rubber:||Kimho 235/35 and 275/30|
Danu and mud — without them construction could not have taken place. Peter Pulford – support from the start; Peter and Gringo – Motor, Driveline and Billet Fabrication; Benny Gate – Engine; Danny – Electric Tony – help in the early stages; Gav — great trim, support and ideas; Steve and Jenna, Silent Dragon (0411 244 063), airbrushing; Andrew – Color that’s off the charts. Craig – Perfect Way; capital hydraulics and drains; my brother and sister-in-law; My wife Nikki and daughters Isabella and Liliana – you have been absolutely incredible.