FOR me and my mates, Geelong All Ford Day 2018 started off just like the previous ones: looking for a predawn injection of caffeine before completing the trek to Ford Australia’s spiritual home. Boots had been packed with carefully chosen car-care products, folding chairs, sunblock and jumpers. Jumpers in February? Well yeah; last year the event was almost washed away and people had icicles hanging from their eyebrows. Conversely, the year before that everyone got cooked extra-crispy by the sun reflecting off all the chrome in 38-degree heat. Yeah, thanks Geelong.
The cruise down to AFD is almost as important as the show itself. People travel in groups, ranging from a single car with two occupants, to whole car clubs decorating the bitumen with 20 or so lovingly prepared examples of Henry’s finest sheet metal. Stop at any main-road servo within a hundred clicks of Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus before 9am on All Ford Day and I can guarantee you’ll find a bunch of like-minded travellers refuelling themselves and their beloved Blue Oval conveyances. Unfortunately the trip can be a cruel bastard too, as evidenced by the three entrants we passed parked on the side of the road with their bonnets up.
The line of cars queuing to enter All Ford Day stretched all the way back to the Waurn Ponds exit – 1.5km of Fords! The show is held on the lawns of the Waurn Ponds Estate, nestled amongst the bush and dotted with small lakes. A veritable sea of Fords of all shapes, sizes and colours stretched away from us as we arrived and headed for our club display. Friends were greeted, boots were unpacked and cars given a quick touch-up, and then it was time to start perusing the acres of Blue Oval badges.
~A~ This slick XB Fairmont hardtop belongs to Wayne Johnston, who brought the car down from NSW. Metalflake paint and 15x8 and 15x10 Minilite-style rims make it stand out from the array of other tough Falcon coupes on display at the AFD
~B~ Scott Wiggett’s ‘Wiggymobile’ XD has been around for decades, much longer than the nine years I’ve religiously attended AFD! It’s running a warm 383 Clevo backed by a TKO and 9in, all wrapped in that ruler-straight XD Fairmont body. The old-school Simmons rims and fat sticky rubber are an indicator of the car’s handling prowess
~C~ Paul Ellis would be up for the Best Engineering award if the AFD had one – his FG G6E Turbo sends power to all four of its feet! Paul built a jig out of an FG front cut and spent two years cobbling together a crazy combination of BMW xDrive uprights, Holden Adventra front diff, a suitably toughened Adventra transfer case and Territory driveshafts. The car’s 300rwkW of shove is split 38:62 front and rear, and Toyo Proxeswrapped Enkei rims apply it to the pavement
~D~ Twelve years of Shaun Besim’s hard work has resulted in this super-clean EB. The injected 5.0L was treated to a few goodies to warm it up and drenched in black before it was slotted into the smoothed engine bay. That retinascorching colour is a special brew that Shaun has dubbed
Ultimate Green Ken Sandem is the justifiably proud owner of this righteous 1964 two-door Compact Fairlane. The car sports a set of tubs, big ’n’ littles pinched from two of Ken’s other cars, and holy-grail patina. Motivation comes from the original 289 Windsor for now, but there’s a ProCharged Dart-based 427 ready to be slotted in to back up the ample external attitude
~A~ Matt Dietrich’s recently completed Moby Dick ’65 F100 adorned the Big L’s Chop Shop stand. The chassis magic was done by Leon Davies at Big L’s, and includes a Jag front end, four-link rear and airbags all ’round. The engine is a stock 302 Cleveland, backed by a C4 trans and Geelong Differentials 9in
~B~ After a six-year restoration, Jayden Mizzi’s immaculate ’84 XE ESP was awarded Best Overall Ford at the AFD. The car is in concours condition, right down to the 30-year-old Uniroyal Wildcat tyres that he managed to dig up for it
~C~ Lucky’s sweet truck hides something with a bit more punch than the original 352 – a 428 Cobra Jet with ported heads, decent cam and a ridgy-didge Holman Moody intake. The 428 sends power through a C6 to a built Dana 60 with a Grizzly locker, custom axles and floating hubs. It’s normally used to ferry dirt bikes around, but at the AFD it was the gathering point (and seating) for Lucky’s friends and family Jason’s XB coupe sports a rare mod – it’s a targa-top.
~D~ The rear windows have been replaced with steel panels, the roof was braced and the chassis has been reinforced with box tubing. The original owner had it done professionally in the mid-80s, and Jason took it off his hands six years ago. Running gear is standard GT stuff, and the bright red paint is nicely balanced by a set of fat hotwires
~E~ We featured Alex Moshopoulos’s ballistic Quicksilver XY in the February 2018 edition of SM. The beast’s neat exterior is hard at work trying to disguise the ’cage and enough boosted 411 Windsor to run well into the 8s!
~A~ Simon Piper’s mad little ’82 Laser is a bit of a handful on the road and at the track. The original motor has been swapped out for a built B6D with Carrillo rods, custom forged pistons, big cams, oversized valves and a lot of port work. A quartet of Kawasaki ZX6R carbs sit on a homemade manifold, but there’s a bigger set ready to go on soon. Simon races it in the Victorian Hillclimb Championship, and took the class win at Geelong Revival last year with a 43sec run
~B~ Deb and Mal Margetts have been showing their immaculate Tickford T3 TS50 at AFD for many years now. Their hard work has resulted in a pile of Best Tickford AU trophies, though it was knocked off the top spot this year by Chazz Hart’s custom TE50. The T is mostly standard aside from the colour-matched Blueprint engine accents, but it’s been detailed to the nth degree
~C~ Here’s something you don’t see every day – a genuine XA GT with P-plates on it! James Moretti is the young fella who owns and cruises this lovely car, but his father Paul is the one who restored it a few years ago. “I wanted it to be factory,” Paul said. “You know – shit gaps, really peely paint and things that don’t fit properly!”
~D~ It was a real treat to see the Giankos XA Superbird on show at the AFD. The car was bought new by Paul Giankos in 1973, but then crashed in the early 90s. Paul’s son Tommy was just 12 at the time of the crash, and was later the driving force behind the spectacular restoration
There was a pretty broad mix of cars, though the proliferation of XW/XYs and FGs was immediately obvious. Some cars were clearly show ponies with beyond-factory levels of finish that rarely feel the tarmac under their tyres. Others were battle-scarred daily drivers, proudly displaying the years of love and abuse heaped upon them by a succession of owners. There were restored Model Ts and As, customs, exotics, giant trucks, drag monsters and track weapons, all sharing the same turf.
AFD has grown so large in the past couple of years that the old management team have solicited the help of the Geelong Revival group. Just how big did this year’s event get? “There were 1440odd cars entered and we’d printed 4000 at-the-gate tickets, but they were all gone by 12 o’clock!” said Geelong Revival and AFD head honcho Nick Heath. “We had to keep opening up new car parks for all the spectators.”
At day’s end, with trophies being handed out to deserving winners and the sea of displayed cars steadily shrinking, we grabbed our gear and hit the road for the long trip home. Reminders of the show appeared in the traffic the whole way – a Zephyr here, a few GTs there. Now I just have to wait for next year’s pilgrimage with the thousands of other faithful who kneel at the altar of Ford.
At least this time I didn’t need the jumper.