Falcon coupes are getting harder to get each year and it seems that there are two groups for sale. The ones that are so far gone that people just want to get rid of them or the majority that are totally rebuilt and cost a fortune to buy. This is a list of the (1997 - 1998) prices of GT Falcon coupes, the price is in Australian dollars and the number in brackets beside the price is the amount of that make of car sold in that particular year from that particular local paper. You can get cheaper coupes but they will be Falcons and Fairmonts.
At the time I was 17 years old with only $2500 and that was for on road costs as well. I originally wanted a GT but after I did some research and found out the going price I dropped that idea in a hurry. So a falcon it was to be, there is nothing on a GT that can't be put on a normal Falcon except the ID plates.
My father is a Ford nut so I must have inherited it from him, he has rebuilt a lot of ford engines and mechanics is his speciality even though he is a plumber by trade (rebuilding cars comes from necessity). So a million and one questions are directed at my father (can I do this, can I do that, what will happen if I do this, and of course can I have this pleeeeeese, etc).
So who better to ask to come a long with me to see the $3000 car that I found in the paper (plus I needed another $500, but I think he knew that too). So in January 1996, we went to look at a dark green XC coupe. It was in a dark garage after the sun went down and the car was under flurescent lights, not the most perfect environment for spotting a bargain.
It seemed to be straight enough (but we all know how that turns out) surprisinly there was no rust and that clinched the deal in the end. The coupes are prone to rusting the sill below the rear window, this one we were told had been galvinised so it would not rust, I'd believe it because it was in top condition. Interior was perfect I was really impressed, although it does not take much to impress a kid when he is buying his first car.
They made a limited number of XC's with some left over GT stuff from the XB's and fortunately this car was one of them. It had the GT side 'dummy flutes' and flat square GT exhaust tips, complete GT twin exhaust system with extractors. Also driving lights and tachometer.
My first attempt at panel beating and spraypainting was a disaster. I had no idea what I was doing and I was determined to do it all on my own. I started by using body filler and fixing all the dents, this was a mistake. I just kept on layering it on and sanding it, and it wasn't right so more bog and so on, until I the car had a layer of bog an inch thick and it still wasn't perfectly straight.
All this time, which was months, my girlfriend would be over every weekend wanting to spend time with me but it was always me and my car while she sat on the concrete watching patiently for hours until the sun went down or it started raining and I could do no more. God bless her for her patience.
Once I was happy with the body which I can tell you now was really crap, I started on the spray job. Undercoat, top coat (frosted pine green, a whole 2 coats) and then only another single coat of laquer. Now I was proud, it was my first go and I was told by my girlfriends father that it was pretty good for a first go (he's done a fair bit of spray painting) maybe he was making me feel better. I had doughts, I wanted a top looking vehicle, so it was on to buffing the paint after a month to cure.
We all know that when a car is shining all the imperfections can be seen and they were being seen on my car. Besides the dodgy paint, I seemed to have sprayed it on way to thin and I was buffing straight through it, leaving bits of undercoat showing. To make thing worse about a year after the paint had been applied humidity blisters started popping up all over the roof, that was the final straw. Something had to be done. I drove the car around for about two years before I bothered to do anything with it, but I was determined that this car was going to be the beast I originally wanted it to be.
I got LPG fitted by the LOG CABIN survice station in LaunchingPlace, all I can say about the guy they had employed there was your a , what can you say about someone that fits a gas system, takes your car for a test drive forgets to close the bonnet properly and stuffs your bonnet when it flips up in his face at 80kph. "well it's good you know how to panelbeat" was his responce, we tried to sue the bastard but it wasn't worth it, in the end it was going to cost more to fight the company than the bonnet was worth.
And the LPG never worked properly anyway the bloke said that it was my spark plugs and until I fixed them it was going to run crap, and yet he still gave his work the thumbs up and registered it as being complient to the safety standards even though it ran crap. So we took it somewhere else and they pulled it apart and what do you know, the had slipped with a screwdriver and shuffed it through the rubber diaphram. He put it all back together with a huge vacuum leak and blamed it on my spark plugs.
In my travels I have come across alot of people selling parts for coupes, I met this one bloke who lives in Semour (I bought a Landau off him for $500 for the 9" disk brake diff)
he had loads of stuff, XA - XB GT bonnets with no rust or dents for $100, about 30 pairs of XA - XC coupe rear lights, countless XA and XB GT bonnet flutes hanging from the walls, about 5 pairs of dummy flutes for in front of the coupe rear wheel arches. Basically all the hard stuff to get a hold of. I said to him that I have never seen so much coupe stuff and his response was "I know because I've got it all". I saw in the Melbourne Trading Post a few weeks later that he was selling an genuine XB GT Coupe that I had seen while I was there, no rust no dents with a factory sun roof and a 460cbi V8 for $6000.
Doors: When I bought the car I got a couple of spare doors as well with no dints or scratches, I was pretty lucky because they are hard to find in that condition now. I decided that I wanted to go for the modified look on my car so I proceeded to weld the gap where the door handle and they key hole used to be with sheets of metal and then fill any imperfections. This turned out perfect you would not know that anything had previously been there. These doors are currently sitting behind a bookshelf in a spare room at my parents house waiting for me to put them on the car.
My plan was to buy an alarm system that had solinoids that would work the central locking and boot release, then to modify them to open the left and right doors from the standard remote control. You would not be able to do this on most car doors but the Falcon coupe doors are slightly different in the fact that there is no secondary catch on the door release mechanism, when you pull the door handle (inside or outside handle) the door opens and does not get cought on another catch that requires you to keep the handle raised and pull the door until it has cleared this secondary catch. So consiquently when the remote control button is pressed and the solinoid releases the door mechanism the door itself will open about an inch leaving enough room for a person to get there hand in and pull the door open to complete it's travel.
And on with the story.... about a year ago I bought a front off a '74 LTD and am in the process of putting XA GT flutes in the mudguards and bonnet (which I got from Rare Spares. Can I have some free stuff!!!!) also I purchased an XY GT shaker which is currently sitting in the wardrobe of my flat. I cut the holes out for these babies with an angle grinder and placed the parts in, althought the XA flutes had to be welded in with a Mig (reference to the XA mudguard flutes).
This is a picture of the completed LTD guards the day before I sold them and the bonnet and front bumper for $350. (I did not make my money money back, but do you ever?).
I pulled the electric windows out of the Landau and put them into my car although only the drivers window works because the other connections are very, very loose. You can bump them and they will sometimes work. I think I need to strengthen them. Remember how I got the 9" diff? Now you can't imagine the problems I had with fitting it.