It was unfinished business with an XB he owned nearly 15 years ago which made it all the more important for Jason ‘Tomo’ Thomas to park this stunning 1976 Falcon sedan in his garage. This time, things will be different. “I bought that first XB all those years ago, and I called my mate and he goes, ‘I just got one,'” explains the paint and panel shop manager. “We bought our XBs on the same day at the same time.”
First published in the June 2022 issue. Street Machine
The final part of the XB build, which was added after these photos were taken, was the addition of a fuel cell that Tomoe made by cutting the old tank in half. The result sees the fuel cell sit inside half of the old tank, giving it a standard tank look from the outside.
Yet that Falcon soon became addicted to Tomo’s Ford-flipping. “I was building that first XB, and it got to a point where I was waiting for the engine to be built and I lost interest,” he says. “I sold it as a roller.”
As time went on, Tomo went through a lot of Ford hardware – his first car was a ZG Fairlane, but the list of cars he’s owned since reads like a Blue Oval devotee’s Bible – ZH Fairlanes; XF, BA and BF Falcon sedans; utes – Name a Ford, he probably owns one. Most notable among these is a stunning XP coupe (Raiders Rockets, SmMarch ’19).
Searing supercar paint wasn’t shiny until a thorough cut and polish brought out its Lambo shine. The contrasting GS stripe and black window surrounds match the Bullet Special Comp 7 alloys, but the chrome bumper and details remain.
After Tomo posted a short clip of the build on Facebook, he was offered the right amount, and XP was gone. See, here’s the thing: He doesn’t keep his cars that long (in fact, when we spoke to Tomo, he was organizing the sale of his Ford Ranger). So the XP needed to be replaced, which meant it was time to get back to unfinished business: it was time for another XB Falcon.
Tomoe’s partner still had his, so a deal was struck and his partner’s orange sedan was now his. “Funnily enough I’ll be the owner of the two XBs we bought back then,” he remarks.
Condition was excellent when Tomo took ownership, with a 408 Cub Cleveland under the bonnet and the car finished in the same Lambo orange it still wears today. Visually, the 1976 Falcon 500 was nothing out of the ordinary for a sedan.
This changed after Tomo sharpened the paint. “I spent two weeks scraping the whole thing, got it all flat, then cut it and polished it,” he says. “You can see how good the paint job is now.” Yet the paint wasn’t the only thing that needed attention.
“It had a bit of an oil leak, so I took it to one of my colleagues, Tony, at TDR Engines,” says Tomo. Then came the dreaded call from Tony: “Mate, I’ve got some bad news. The crank is full.”
The 408 Cleveland V8 was no vamp under the bonnet, so it wasn’t a case of dropping the engine and packing in another. After wondering what to do, Tomoe pulled the trigger: “I just said to Tony, ‘Do what you have to do.'”
So the 408 was given a big birthday. The motor was pulled out and a brand new steel crank, new pistons, 3/8 inch pushrods, solid lifters, a roller cam and bearings were installed. “Then we just went to town,” laughs Tomo.
Stripping the Clio to bits resulted not only in fresh internals, but everything in sight was upgraded – including nuts and bolts in the engine bay, bonnet hinges and brake boosters.
Every nut, bolt and hinge was either removed, replaced or repainted to match the black 408ci Cleveland, which was good for around 610hp when it had a Holley 850 double pumper (as you can see here (replaced by the Holley injection system). The bay is now Tomo’s favorite part of the car: “I just love how it all comes together. Black throttle body, black rocker cover, black manifold, black catch can – I think it really stands out against the orange.” Is.
Drenched in black to stand out against the orange paint, the 408 made 610hp at the rear tires for 430hp at the flywheel, fed by a Holley 850 double pumper. A C10 manages a punch with a 4800rpm stall, but the XB is a street cruiser, not a track terror – so Tommo made sure it can handle the rough with the smooth.
“I thought, screw it, I’ve gone so far on the motor, so I called the GT shop and rebuilt the front end,” says Tomo. In fact, everything under the skin from below the windscreen is brand new. “I also changed the front brakes to XF slotted rotors and XF calipers,” he says.
And there is more. “I took the diff out and rebuilt it, and redid all the leaf springs. Then the car looked pretty good. So I thought, go ahead, and I put a GS belt on it.
Tomoe then went all out and sourced a bunch of GT parts to further develop the XB, including the grille, dash, console and fuel cap – a process that took six months. “Chasing it was next level,” he declares. “And what are you paying for this thing!” The final piece of the puzzle was the GT steering wheel.
All those GT upgrades sit perfectly with the interior of the original well-kept Falcon 500 with its cream vinyl seats combined with chocolate and black. There’s also an intimidating black Aeroflow pistol ratchet shifter on the driver’s seat side, along with a pair of Autometer gauges. No air con, though!
Of course, if you’re unsure of the XB’s relatively subtle cabin as to its intent, that huge reverse cowl bonnet says it all.
“I wouldn’t say it’s loud, but it sounds pretty angry!” Tommo says. “I drove the car for maybe two months, then took it to Tony’s and had it injected with Holy Fuel. It just changed the whole car; it’s 100 times better than a carburetor. When you look at the set of lights Come on, sometimes your carby goes up and down, but the thing just idles at 1000rpm. You get in the car and it starts right away – no need to pump the accelerator pedal. .
A fuel cell has since been added. Street Machine Shoot, Tomo says the XB is now what he wants it to be – a great cruiser. But that Ford-flipping habit is hard to break: “I’m thinking about selling it,” he admits. “I’m looking at a 1974 LTD right now; I got one in Queensland with 50,000 keys on it – and it’s got air-con.” take it…
Waiting for parts during construction can test anyone’s patience, and for Tomo, he hates it the most. “I get kind of bored, and I have to do something,” he admits. So what did he do while building the XB? Started another project of course. “While I was waiting for the car, I bought a bike to keep busy,” he says. That bike? A custom Harley-Davidson V-Rod, and appropriately finished: “I painted the bike the color of the car.”
1976 Ford XB Falcon 500
|paint:||PPG Lamborghini Orange|
|Brand:||Ford 408ci Cleveland|
|include:||Holy Sniper EFI|
|Crank:||Steel Skate 4340|
|Fuel System:||Holy Fuel Pump|
|Cooling:||Desert coolers of Australia|
|Emissions:||Custom 3in dual exhaust, 2.5in over diff|
|Gearbox:||Mike’s transmission C10|
|Converter:||4800rpm high stall|
|Difference:||9in, 3.77:1 final drive|
|Suspension and brakes|
|in front:||Pedders Red shocks|
|Back:||Pedder’s Redhawks, Kingleaf Springs with Cal Tracks|
|brake:||XF Falcon calipers and slotted rotors (f); Standard Drum (R)|
|Wheels and tires|
|codes:||Bullet Specialties Comp 7; 17×4.5 (f), 15×8 (r)|
|Rubber:||Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26×6 (f), Nankang SP-7 Pro Street 275/60R15 (r)|
My wife Sabina, who calls the car a money pit every time I come home with parts for it. Tony Di Biagio at TDR Engines in Geelong for all engine work; Matt and Marcus at Speed Pro; Rob Giljas; James Elsax