DREAMS ARE MADE – XY Falcon

On Wolfgang Backer’s fridge once rested a single photo cut from a magazine – it was a black XY Falcon, the type of car that dreams were made of. At the time, just sitting metres away in his garage, was an XY Fairmont that was more of a nightmare than a dream: “The funny thing is, the guy I bought it off almost had a heart attack when I told him that I wanted to restore it. In his mind, he had already done the job. He almost didn’t sell it to me when I said that,” laughed Wolfie. “The car was a dog’s breakfast. Stuff was held in with tek screws and cable ties and it didn’t run that well at all. The saving grace was the reasonably-sound body and the fact it was a factory Fairmont – which was important to me.

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“I remember wanting to get an Aussie classic before the muscle car boom was about to happen. I was worried if I waited any longer I was going to miss out – that was about 14 years ago now. I discussed the idea with my partner Sharon and she was all for it. It was something we could share and enjoy together. At the time, I didn’t know when I was going to start the build, but I did know I wanted to do something impressive. It was just a matter of time before I could make a start, and after selling a house of mine, I had an influx of money so the build could commence. I was pumped.”

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Around 10 years ago, Wolfie’s cousin, Simon Woodley, did him a massive favour and helped panel and paint the car for free. Of course, the car was going to be black – just like the car on the fridge – and Wolfie liked the idea of using Starlight Silver for the stripes: “We used the same silver under the bonnet of the car, on the dash fascia and in the custom console I made for the shifter. I thought that the silver and black really worked with the chrome. I even had the grille chromed to be a little different.” The custom stripes on the car were made to suit the capacity of the new heart that the car was soon to get.

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“Back when I had the motor built, there weren’t too many 434 cube Ford donks kicking around. I liked the idea of creating a Cleveland/Windsor hybrid, and there was no one better at building such a monster than Derek Paulik – he really is the best at what he does.” The Man O’War block wears CHI 3V 225cc heads and a matching CHI manifold. Lurking out of the bonnet is a Holley 1000cfm carby that is fed pump-fuel via a Barry Grant pump. Internally, the motor has been treated to forged Scat components. Mufflers R Us in Mandurah took care of the 2-inch exhaust that flows from Pacemaker headers. Shane at Kirky’s Kustoms did the upgrade on the wiring system, hiding what he could.

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“The car can make a heap of power, but I like the idea of pulling back on things a tad so the combo lasts. Reliability and street manners are more important to me. The car has made 680hp with 620lb-ft of torque and I have run a best of 10.6 over the quarter. I then drove it home from the track that night. The thought of having a genuine street car that can run a 10 is a pretty big deal in my books.”

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Since running that number, the car has undergone some alterations to the driveline and suspension. The XY wears Calvert shocks all round and helping the ol’ girl hook up is a set of Caltracs. After that first drag racing experience, Wolfie upgraded the fully-manualised C10 ’box with a transbrake to make the next hit on the track a hell of a lot harder. Out back the 9-inch diff is pieced together with billet axles, a full spool and street-friendly, 3.9 gears.

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“If I could run a nine naturally aspirated, that would be awesome. If that isn’t achievable then I might have to give the car a shot of gas to make things interesting. The car was built to be a tough streeter and I reckon I have nailed just that.”

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