5.8 LITRES OF LETDOWN

“THE FUEL GAUGE TOLD ME IT WAS A 5.8 BUT THE RIGHT FOOT CERTAINLY DIDN’T”

Laurie Floyd Waranga Shores

Hi Guys – Just going back and catching up on some UC reading and was studying Issue 393 with all the Ford stories. Can’t help but thinking Ford have shot themselves in the foot more than once but the demise of the Australian motoring industry is more complex than that.

Just wanted to say that I owned a Ford – once. Having married into a Ford family at the time the pressure was on to get rid of the GM product (HQ 4four-door GTS Monaro no less) and join the ‘club’. So in 1979 off to a big Melbourne Ford dealer to order an new car, yep you’ll have it in four to six weeks. Months, thousands of excuses and a couple of price rises later still no car, but we have one you may be interested in. And so it was, an XD Fairmont Ghia 5.8 four-speed demo, no less than Col Paige’s own transport (then Dealer Principal of Melford Motors).

Certainly looked the goods and was way above the 4.9 4sp Falcon GL S-Pack we’d ordered, and it happened to cost a little bit, not much, more. Okay, we’ll take it.

Well, I picked it up and drove back to Shepparton at highway speed apart from a little squirt or two and watched the fuel gauge go down and wondered just how many cylinders were actually working. The fuel gauge told me it was a 5.8 but the right foot certainly didn’t. About 17.5 l/100k (16 mpg in old speak) and little more, if any, go than my 4.2 HQ. A bit of research told me that the XD 5.8 put out about 149 kw and my old HQ 4.2 about 138 kw. Given I’d made a few mods to the HQ (350 Holley carb, twin system, sport air filter, electric fan) I may have gained a little more so virtually no difference –what a huge let down. Having tasted a ‘real’ 351 in my brother’s XY GT I was so disappointed. With some judicious placement of ball bearings in hoses, a twin 2-inch system and a sport air filter I squeezed out a bit more power and down to about 14 l/100km but the ugly truth was “throw away the heads and camshaft” if you want to get more out of it. Three years later the XD made way for a BMW E21 which I still have.

For the record my favourite Ford would have to be the XR GT, love it in bronze! One of these was the first V8 I drove back in 1973.

I had just finished uni and we were having a couple of beers. One of our classmates owned one and I jokingly said “you haven’t given me a drive yet” (or something like that). To my surprise/ shock he threw me the keys.

So off I went, petrified and I didn’t get out of second gear.

It had a bit more oomph than my Austin Lancer Series II.

So I had to have a V8 and in mid 1974 along came the HQ Monaro. And that’s another story.

Always enjoy the mag, all the best for 2017!

I remember the old Audi five-cylinder advertising, spruiking the economy of a four and the performance of a six. Sounds like your Fairmont ended up with the economy of a V12 and the pulling power of a whipper snipper.

“THE FUEL GAUGE TOLD ME IT WAS A 5.8 BUT THE RIGHT FOOT CERTAINLY DIDN’T”