AT JUST 18 years old, Jesse Wilkins has not only put together this killer XL Falcon wagon, but he’s also got a ’48 Triumph chopper in the shed that was cool enough to get invited to the Boogaloo Invitational – and take home a trophy!
He’s spent the past three years working at BMV Engineering in Yandina, which isn’t your average automotive workshop. They build the kind of stuff that car magazines like us love to feature – lots of cool fabrication and slammed-to-the-ground ride heights.
So it’s not surprising that young Jesse’s wagon features some very nice metalwork, and its arse-on-the-ground stance isn’t due to a set of six-inch lowering blocks and gas-axed springs – although it did sort of start out like that.
“My pop found the car in Highfields, Toowoomba. It was stock as a rock and was sitting under a lean-to shed, so I went and looked at it and loved it,” Jesse says. “I went home and cleaned up my HJ ute, sold it the next week and bought the Falcon the week after. I got the car home, gutted it out, painted the inside, got the seats and trim done and lowered it with big lowering blocks and cut front springs. I buffed it all up, got it running good, did a full service and started driving it. Drove it a couple of times a week as much as I could, then set a new goal to airbag it.”
There’s no better inspiration than a deadline when it comes to getting you in the shed. “I wanted to have it done for the dirt drags Asphalt Demons Invitational, which was on in mid-October. I didn’t want to have it off the road for years and for it to be a big project, so I just got dedicated and was lucky enough to use the shop before work hours and on weekends,” Jesse says. “I started doing the airbags, notch and four-link at the end of July and finished the night before the show.”
Like all good fabricators, Jesse used the ‘cut your way in, weld your way out’ technique. “I just cut shit until it went as low as I wanted it, then made everything work,” he says. “The first thing I did was cut out everything from the middle of the back door to the tailgate floor. Then I could start looking at my notch and the best way to make it look factory. Once the notch was done I started making my four-link arms and brackets. When they were tacked in place I could start mounting ’bags and shocks and setting my
pinion angle up so it stays the same at whatever height I drive at. Then I started on the front and just kept cutting to make it sit where I wanted.
“After everything was in place I started the sheet floor, but I wanted it to look good and be practical. It was tough working inside the car, as it was all trimmed and painted and the glass was still there, so I just had to do my best to mask everything off.
“As it is now, the sills are on the ground, which was what I was aiming for,” he continues. “I’d seen a few other Falcons getting around, which inspired me to airbag mine, but I wanted it lower than theirs.
Most people get lazy and half do it, but I just spent a little bit more time and it paid off.”
With the car done, Jesse was off to the dirt drags, where he had a ball flogging his XL in the mud pit and drags. “Best of all, nothing went wrong, which was awesome, because I didn’t even test-drive it or anything,” he says. “I got it home and had to clean about three wheelbarrows of mud off it!” s
XL FALCON STATION WAGON Type: Ford 221ci straight-six Exhaust: Hot-dog muffler
’Box: Two-speed auto
Shocks: HiLux with Air Ride airbags Brakes: Drums (f & r)
Rims: 13in steelies (f & r)