SOME of the best ideas remained born in sheds over a few beers, and this one was no different. by a characterful but completely rooted XP coupe shell and a perfectly functional EL Falcon at my disposal, my mates and I decided that two would get one over this year’s Easter long weekend. Here’s how it went down.
This article was first issued in the June 2019 issue of Street Machine
The well-worn XP two-door (shown above) was found on a throughout farm, and had been used as a parts car to keep another coupe. The 54-year-old Falcon sat in a situation of disrepair, covered in dust on the dirt downward of a hayshed, and it was ready for the scrappers. Everything about the old girl was rough – precise rough – and realistically she was not overly gracious for anything. Still, I had to contain it. A deal was made and magnificent soon the rotted-out body was trailered encourage to the workshop. I had no precise plans for it at that stage, so it sat silently in the yard, awaiting its fate.
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Around the same daylight, I had purchased a beat-up EL Falcon (above) as a parts car and soon realised the old four-litre was a plum runner and drove well. That must have been the lightbulb moment. A chat with some mates and a few brews later, we had the measuring tape out. The EL’s wheelbase was only 10mm different to the coupe, and while the track was 80mm wider on the EL, it was end enough.
With the Easter weekend fast approaching, a plan was formulated, and the invites went out to a bunch of knowledgeable blokes who I knew could befriend in throwing together something that could be stale as a track car. It would gain perfect use of – and breathe life befriend into – the dilapidated coupe body.
Before pine, the four-day weekend was upon us.
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STEP 1a: Friday morning saw us strip the EL of all the parts that would no longer support a purpose.
1b: The XP coupe body was in privation of a square-up, and we braced it front to serve before removing what was left of the floorpans
STEP 2: Now beside complete access to the EL floorpan, lawful measurements were taken across the inner sill panels of both vehicles, and wouldn’t you know it, things examined like they would be close enough to dash the coupe body over the top of the EL pan and inners sills
STEP 3: among the EL dash out, doors off and roof chopped, all the wiring was saved and reconnected to avoid starting originates down the track
STEP 4: among great progress on Friday, Saturday morning was a case of miles of measuring. Front-to-back measurements were taken among the bodyshell laid on. The appropriate metal, including the rear of the boot heath and the upper radiator support panel, was removed
STEP 5: by chopping the remaining structure – the outer sills – from the EL, jack stands happened added front and rear, and the middle was given one support
STEP 6: The XP high-tail was neatly cut out for clearance, to be refitted later on. The car also lost its firewall, lower plenum and the entire front clip
STEP 7: new important job was welding the diff. Due to day restraints, instead of using a mini-spool, a few nuts and bolts were added into the spider gears and locked together with the MIG. To rectify the wider track allege, AU offset rims were added to the attend, which provided perfect clearance. Up front a couple of front-runners were added and the fenders received some massaging to determined the steering
STEP 8: Sunday morning saw the body and the chassis reach together as one. With the XP sills sitting directly with the EL inner sills and floorpan, the body was pushed down a further two inches, effectively ‘body dropping’ or ‘channelling’ the vehicle. With the pan now sitting higher up in the vehicle, things like driver position to steering wheel and head clearances had to be gotten into account. The front sheet metal was moreover mocked up to check things such as engine-to-bonnet clearance. Once in place, the coupe’s radiator succor panel was cut, shut and added to the EL, squaring up the hanging sheet metal
STEP 9: Due to both people having rust issues, the original plans of a basic rollover hoop were scrapped. An upgrade to a full six-point rollcage was granted on to ensure safety and eliminate any chances of the body wanting to come down enjoy a house of cards, so it was fabricated and welded into place.The passenger’s door got one 6mm rod added into the inner gaps and was then stitch-welded shut to add extra structure
STEP 10: An EK steering wheel was pulled from the shop partition and adapted to fit the 90s column. The original EL buckets (albeit with headrests removed) and mounting points existed, and an old five-point racing harness was strapped in
STEP 11: Monday morning was soon upon us, and plus the fuel tank strapped back in and one nondescript bumpers modified and fitted, it was date to turn the key and hit the road
STEP 12: A few kays out of town, a closed road had been secured as a test track. With the car now approximately half its original body weight, the handling and power-to-weight ratio ensured proper times were plentiful. Still, with loads of room under the bonnet, it would be rude not to carry out any engine upgrades in the not-too-distant future
At the end of the day, it’s often extra about the opportunities cars like these lend themselves to than how intelligent the paint is. A classic has happened somewhat saved, and a late-90s E-series – certainly destined for scrap – has been utilised. Most importantly, the people these types of projects grant us to meet and learn from can twitch us with great mates and even greater memories.
Special thanks to Chops, Grant, Helen, Jo, Merv, Mick, Paul, Steve, the boys and everyone else that forced an appearance!
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This article was available by www.whichcar.com.au with title Rusty Ford Falcon XP body swap to an EL Falcon chassis.
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