RUSTY REVIVAL

AFFECTIONATELY NICKNAMED “RUSTY” BY HIS KIDS, PETE’S XY PANEL VAN MIGHT DESERVE A NEW NICKNAME AFTER A 15-YEAR JOURNEY

“I don’t have to spend or do anything to it… I have bought it to drive and enjoy” said owner, Peter Van Muers to his wife.

They’re famous last words, as you can probably guess what’s happened since then… bought the car from my brother-in-law in 2003; it had been used, it wasn’t precious. But it wasn’t a rust bucket. It’d been bogged up before, but it was still a driving car and in pretty good nick.

I drove it around like that for probably around seven years, before I started replacing bits and pieces.

I started off with the interior doing the little stuff first here and there, then in 2005 I pulled the engine out in the shed. As the car stands now, it’s got fairly standard running gear – 302 Windsor, C4 auto and a BorgWarner diff. It had a 9-inch in it when I bought it, but I pulled that out. Now it’s got a standard XY diff, but I found a guy who puts VL centres in ’em. It’s also running an MSD electronic fuel injection system that I play around with.

The first big teardown happened in 2007, I pulled the engine and resprayed the engine bay.

A few years later, in 2010 – the car was torn down again, right back to bare metal.

Doors, windows, lights, indicators, bumper all came off.

“I LOOKED AT IT AND THOUGHT GEE! THIS IS SHOCKING!"

I was looking for someone to cut all the rust out, and found people who told me to bring ’em new rear quarters – you can’t buy rear quarters for these cars anymore – but I eventually found this bloke Kevin who made some bits and pieces for me. He’s a boilermaker by trade, works from home, so he made up a few parts for me, I bought a few bits and pieces – welded it all up.

It was about seven months all up before I got it back.

The car was resprayed in its current Teal Glow Blue, the motor was still in it though and the engine bay was white.

Then I looked at it and thought ‘gee this is shocking’. So I pulled the engine back out in 2011, and built a roller block 302 for it, as the last 302 kept having problems with a rear main leak.

The roller block has the one-piece rear main seal which fixed up all the oil leaks.

As we did a mild cam, the MSD EFI, it’s a lot more drivable. I don’t know if it gets any better fuel consumption, but it just runs better and feels smoother.

EARLY DAYS

When Pete got hold of the XY, it was in pretty good nick. But not good enough

SITTING PRETTY

Pete went through a few 302s before he found the setup he was happy with.

AFTER HOURS

It took around three months of weekend and evening work to strip back the car.

CHOICES, CHOICES

Pete’s tells of his wife joking that if the car came back white, she’d “have his balls in a sling”.

MINOR SURGERY

All of the rust was cut out and replaced with new metal prior to paint.

TEAL GLOW

After much debate, Teal Glow – an original XY colour – was chosen.

It definitely gets driven though, that’s what they’re there for!

My two girls have grown up in the back, and now one of them’s got an L-plate on the back now. It’s come full circle. She even asked me if she can take it to the drive-in movies with her friends next year, I’m thinking ‘geez I dunno if I’m ready for that’.

“ONE DAY I WON’ BE ABLE TO DRIVE THIS THING, ONCE THAT DAY COMES, YOU CAN’ GO BACK”

There’s one day I won’t be able to drive this thing, and once that day comes I can’t turn the clock back. I just keep it clean, wash it, and keep driving!

1971 FORD XY FALCON PANEL VAN

BODY 2-door panel van ENGINE 4948cc OHV V8 POWER & TORQUE 165kW @ 4600rpm 405Nm @ 2600rpm TOP SPEED 171km/h 0-100km/h 10.7sec TRANSMISSION Three-speed automatic SUSPENSION Front – Independent with wishbones and coils; Rear – live axle with semi-elliptic springs BRAKES 10-inch drums