MODERN MAINTENANCE

ALL OF A SUDDEN THE XR6 IS SIXTEEN YEARS OLD AND IN NEED OF A MINOR RESTORATION

WORDS PHOTOS ANG LOUPETIS

THE CARS

ITS FUNNY how quickly the years go by and I surprised myself to realise that Iíve now owned my Falcon BA XR6 Turbo for close to nine years.

The XR6 has been my daily runabout enduring the peak hour commute to the office, driving the kids to school and running around picking up parts for my Thunderbird restoration which, thankfully, is now pretty much complete.

All of a sudden the XR6 is sixteen years old and itís starting to need its own share of what I would call minor restoration. Iím sure you would agree that a lot of BAs you see are starting to show a fair share of wear, with bumpers falling apart, rust in boot lids, wheel corrosion, paint issues and the famous sagging headliner.

I had thought about selling the car about five years ago, but Iím terrible at parting with things and I genuinely enjoy owning the car. I love the colour and letís not forget the real reason I purchased it to start with was the turbo Barracuda under the bonnet. It is a blast to drive and when I wash it and make it shiny, I love it twice as much.

First on the maintenance list was a new exhaust system, the car had a stainless steel DiFilippo system from the turbo to the catalytic converter then it turned to mild steel and that section had its fair share of holes.

A new custom system was crafted with two mufflers in place and I finally managed to get the dump-down tip I always wanted, to replace the straight pipe it had. The car now has a brilliant note and is the only non-original item on it that I am more than happy to live with.

Second on the list was a set of new MC5 Continental tyres. This is the second set I have installed on the XR6 and Iíve been very satisfied with the ride and handling. The car had a cheap set of rubber when I took ownership from my local Ford dealer and it constantly spun up the rears. The first Contis I installed years ago gripped and made the car nicer to drive so I stuck with them.

Whilst having the tyres fitted I had the car wheels aligned and the rear end adjusted to make sure everything was spot on to correct specs.

From there I have focused on the carís cosmetics. I had some minor parking dents removed and two curbed wheels repaired and painted when I first took ownership, but I have simply driven and periodically serviced the car since then.

I have always made my best efforts to keep the car clean as it spends a significant amount of time exposed to the elements. The bonnet and roof were in need of some TLC after harsh sun exposure. With the help of some Meguiars products I hand polished those sections to great effect.

Next on the list was sourcing a new backseat tilt knob which had crumbled in my hands when I simply opened the back seat. This had been replaced with a used unit and was superglued once but it was time for another replacement. This time I found an NOS pair, for $31 and it took me a whole minute to install Ė thatís the sort of car maintenance I like!

Another cosmetic improvement was having the rear window retinted after it bubbled, another common issue due to the radio antenna and rear demister being in the glass.

I also planned to replace the chrome XR6 badges on the side skirts as the chrome had vanished years ago. With the new badges delivered I removed the old badges and gently cleaned the area leaving a faint outline of the old glue. I carefully lined up the new badges and with minimal effort the side skirts look as good as new.

You may ask, ďWhat comes next?Ē Well, the falling headliner is still the priority and I have a new cup holder lid for the console to paint and install after it broke when my wedding ring got caught on the mounting point and snapped.

The Falcon is proving to be a delicate teenager!