Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1965 Ford XP Falcon - Renaissance Man
Once more rust than steel, Dean Robinson’s XP is back from the dead and better than ever
While the Mustang has played a huge part in Ford's history here in America, it's the Falcon that has shaped Ford's fortunes down under where the model is the icon of the Blue Oval lineup. Thanks to Australia's smaller population and economy, the Falcon has been Ford's sole large car entry since its introduction in 1960 (except for the usual variations like the Fairlane and Fairmont). As a result, it's the Falcon that Ford fans grow up lusting after, and it was no different for 37-year-old Dean Robinson of Sydney, Australia.
Dean grew up in a Ford family, spending his youth riding shotgun in various Falcons. That legacy sent Dean on a journey to build his own Falcon so he could eventually pass the legacy—and brand loyalty—onto his own kids.
"I bought the car from a guy on the central coast in 2006 with a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve," Dean says. "The car was a wreck requiring two new quarters, sills, floors, turret sections...but that was just the beginning."
Indeed, once Dean had his new acquisition stripped down to its undies, he learned the true extent of the red death eating away at his XP. "It was far worse than I expected," confesses Dean, a qualified panel beater. "All I could do was to get stuck into it."
That's just what Dean did, spending a good eight months in his garage cutting the cancer out of the car and repairing not only the rust, but smoothing out the dents and misalignment that more than 40 years of existence inflicts on a car. In fact, besides the bodywork, Dean completed a lot of the build-up himself in the garage at home, including the suspension work, steering conversion, axle conversion, stereo install, and plenty more.
With the bodywork nearing completion, Dean could stop and think about what would power his smooth coupe and he turned to his good mate, Steve Nicholls, who helped steer the decision-making process.
"Steve suggested a Boss-style 302ci V-8 using an EB Falcon roller cam block as a basis," explains Dean. "While the engine was being built, I took the time to edge up the panels and fit the suspension and steering."
Fitting the new suspension included converting the steering over to a rack setup from an Opel Astra, using an XD Falcon power steering pump and collapsible column "to keep the authorities happy," says Dean. While he was under the car, he also fit XF front disc brakes and even narrowed an EB axle housing himself, retaining the EB discs and fitting a limited-slip differential in it. Handy bugger.
Once the new engine arrived, it was all hands on deck, as everything was trial fit and the new powertrain kicked over for the first time—one of Dean's fondest memories of the build.
"I knew there was still so much to do and stuff to pay for, but that moment really helped keep me positive," remembers Dean. "Once it was driving again I could take it to Andrew at GAS250 Restorations to apply the colour."
Surprisingly, the Toyota Camry does have a use other than landfill. Dean chose the Camry's Ice Blue hue as the perfect color for his XP and it looks amazing. The color is cool and clean, and even looks like it could have been an original option in 1965. With the color coating every square inch of the coupe's body, engine bay, and un-trimmed interior panels; Dean was starting to get very excited.
All of the chrome work and dress trim was restored or recoated, and it was all retained and returned to the body of the vehicle, unlike so many that get smoothed out and shaved. From nose to tail, Dean's XP is all about the classic vibe, yet with modern levels of power.
Making around 400 horsepower at the flywheel, the Boss-style V-8 Dean bolted into the XP's engine bay boasts 347 cubic inches thanks to a Scat stroker crank and rods, and makes a healthy 10:1 static compression with Probe pistons pushing against a pair of ported cast heads. This is all fed by a 750-cfm Holley and Edelbrock manifold.