The impact our teenage lives can have on us creates a lasting impression for the rest of our time on this mortal coil shaping our destination and decisions during that period. For those of us reading this mag, most likely it’s to do with the wheels we prefer, be it two or four, Holden, Ford or other and the style we prefer them to exemplify. John’s XT would typify this view on life having held onto this locally built machine for over twenty seven years. It has strong sentimental value along with an attachment that only one who has sweated over the hard yards of his or her own machine can fully understand and relate to.
John grew up in Faulkner, an outer suburb of Melbourne back then, but not immune to the rumble of fast cars and big V8s. 11 second street cars could be heard around the neighbourhood, pricking up the ears of a young impressionable teenager whose only mode of transport was the pedal variety. John and his mates would jump on their bikes and head up to the local shops to take in the automotive scene with great adulation, relishing the day that they will finally get to drive their own tough set of wheels. One car in particular stood out for John, etching in his mind the desired style of his own future wheels. This tough GT had the right, colour, stance and note resonating from the twin pipes out back. She was quick and John related to this style of ride!
His Dad knew his way around a classic and it was only natural that when John turned seventeen, he asked his Dad to join him in the hunt for his first car. They came across a good example XT that had a pristine body yet had seen its fair share of bums on seats. Having started his apprenticeship as a panel beater, it was only natural that the panel and paint would be taken care of in house and John set about stripping the twenty two year old car down. After sandblasting the panels, the body was etch primed and body deadener used, guaranteeing a secure long life for this old Falcon. John then applied the Zircon green to the finished panels before rebuilding it over three years.During this time, the interior received a complete re-trim thanks to Reservoir Trimming keeping with the original look. Following the trend at the time, the prostock image was all the rage and the original 302 ci Windsor was ripped out and a tough Cleveland engine was bolted in while satin finish Centrelines bolted to a toughened nine inch completed the appearance. John was now ready to do his own fair share of street cruising.The car remained in this guise for five to seven years but as we all know, certain images can attract the wrong attention and, while we deal with it for a time, it does get too much and John decided to return it back to its former glory including re-installing the original but stock Windsor motor and original wheels. In John’s words, having gone from a bitumen shredding beast back to classic streeter,“it was like driving a stock XF Falcon”. This was ok for a while and suited the time in John’s life as he set about having a family and putting a roof over their heads. John understands that these priorities need to be adhered to as family is the backbone of such a vocation and we can’t do it without their support.
With the end of the twentieth century drawing to a close, those automotive urges to drive a tough street car were gnawing at john again and he knew it was time to fulfil his teenage dream. The GT replica subsequently was dragged into the shed, stripped and preparations for the car’s third rebuild began. The original motor was pulled out and rebuilt with a healthy hype of horse power added by stroking her out to 347 ci. No expense was spared on the internals guaranteeing john a bullet proof donk and security when he wanted to put the foot down. The rumble in his neighbourhood Bronx comes courtesy of a full three inch system exiting the spent gasses out the back.
With the Windsor pushing out in excess of four hundred horse power, it was common sense to strengthen the chassis to handle it. This was done by boxing it with a thicker structural steel seeing twisting kept to a minimum. In true blue oval muscle car tradition, the original four speed Toploader manual box was bolted into place behind the high horse power V8 while out back was the mandatory nine inch diff. Although it previously had one, John replaced it with a new unit just to keep on the safe side. This time he had 31 spline billet axles installed with the center ratio being 4.11:1. A monster tach was mounted onto the column in the original interior so he could keep an eye on the beast’s heart. The only other additions to the ten year old interior included a Momo steering wheel, aftermarket shifter, essential fire extinguisher and Sony stereo.
Ride comfort comes courtesy of Pedders shockers and thicker swaybars while disc brakes all round pull the big girl up as required. Simmons wheels were all the rage through the nineties so a set of 16 inch V5s were bolted on shod in Pirellis up front and sticky Mickey Ts down back giving the XT the look John was after.
While the XT GT replica, is John’s pride and joy, he has a host of other Ford classics in his shed along with a 1968 Caprice dragcar nearly completed and ready for action. A bronze coloured XB GS of Johns had previously been featured in this magazine at an early date while an original complete XR GT and XA RPO awaiting restoration complete the collection.
One problem the car has at the moment is the clutch plate can’t handle the work load john puts on it seeing many bite the dust and having to be replaced. One solution is to go down the path of the drag car clutch plates but that will make the vehicle unstreetable and not a pleasure to drive. John is currently up in the air at the moment as to which way to head with this. With his eldest son, Giuseppe, nearly old enough to drive and set to inherit the family heirloom, John mightn’t have to worry about it much longer and can hand the problem over to him. Being his father, you know who Giuseppe will turn to for assistance don’t you!
Tagged: "muscle car", 1960s, 2013, 351, aussie icon, australian, Australian mustang and ford magazine, automotive, caprice photography automotive art, classic, elite, Falcon, ford, green, impressionable teenager, John's, Johns XTGT, melbourne, set of wheels, twin pipes, victoria, windsor, XT GT, XTGT