AFTER most of 2020 crawled by without any car events on the radar, we automotive obsessives have been hankering for any opportunity to return to the race track, drag strip or local car meet with our fellow deviants. Drooling over perfect paint, enormous engines and wicked wheels online just doesn’t quite feed the soul the way wandering around ogling shiny metal in person does. So, when the original date of 14 February for the 2021 Geelong All Ford Day copped a smack with the cancel gavel due to the snap February lockdown, it looked like we were going to miss out on the southern hemisphere’s largest Ford gathering for the first time in 30 years.
However, with the lockdown over and a revised COVID plan in hand, the AFD team were granted authority to proceed with the show on a new date in April. They had their work cut out for them to organise the event in one month rather than the usual six it takes to put something this big together, but a new venue, Geelong’s beautiful Eastern Park, was secured and more than 1200 cars were pre-entered for display. While that number isn’t quite as large as some previous years, it was still an achievement given the circumstances.
Eastern Park consists of three ovals and several open areas dotted with trees, all linked by tree-lined roads that allowed easy access to the 50 separate club displays. The easternmost oval also contained vendors and food trucks to supply hungry people with tucker, as well as a display featuring the ridgey-didge 351 Windsor-powered EA GT, a barn-find Model T and one of Dreamtech International’s BA coupes.
As anyone who’s ever washed their car only to have it immediately rained on knows, the success of outdoor car shows relies on inclement weather deigning to take the day off. Fortunately, though there were a few drops of rain and the sky was fairly overcast, the 7000 people who walked or drove through the gates were treated to a pleasantly warm day with little wind.
Once inside the gates, spectators were greeted by a sea of Fords from all years and origins, from Escorts to XHs and Mustangs to Model As. Locally made Blue Oval rides certainly ruled the roost, though: genuine race-spec GTHOs; slammed G6Es; well-loved daily drivers; pristine restorations; and rumbling street/strip toughies. With so many different cars in the mix, everyone could find something to float their boat.
After everything that was thrown at them, the AFD team knocked it out of the park to reorganise and operate a show of this size in the limited time they had; that so many people from all around the country made the trip to be there was the icing on the cake. Who knows what will happen next year, but barring further lockdowns, the 31st Geelong All Ford Day should be another ripping show, with the team looking to crack the 1500-entrant mark.
There were quite a few SM feature cars dotted around the Eastern Park grounds, as Geelong has long been a breeding ground for tough Falcons. Darren Schembri’s mental 1400hp XY Fairmont was on the cover of our April 2021 issue, and was parked alongside his brother Jason’s gorgeous XT (SM, May ’21)
Mitchell Wallace’s tidy XP hides a lot of good gear behind its ruler-straight turquoise panels, including a Castlemaine Rod Shop rack-and-pinion front end, four-link, Wilwood disc brakes at every corner and a 420hp, 302ci Windsor. “It weighs less than 1200kg and handles really nice, so it’s a real driver’s car,” Mitchell said. The XP’s been in the family for 45 years and was even Mitchell’s daily for 10 of those
Victor Koroneos’s 302 Windsor-powered XY Fairmont GS is so ridgey-didge it’s still wearing the factory paint. About the only significant part that’s been replaced in the 50 years since it rolled off the production line is the front carpet. “I like the Windsors because you can get to the sparkplugs,” Victor chuckled
Darren Hapgood has owned his XA since he was 16, 20 years ago. KILRXA runs an Arrow-block 408ci Clevo, Top Loader and a 9in full of Moser goodies, and puts out about 490hp at the rubber. Darren’s choice of vehicle might have had something to do with his upbringing: “Dad had an XA coupe, my sister had an XA Superbird and Mum used to drop me off at school in a Wild Violet XA”
It only took Stephan Livera two years to transform his XT from stock white Falcon 500 into the slammed, 302 Clevo-powered Teal Glow cruiser it is now. “I was into Jap stuff growing up, but my old man had a Cortina and I always wanted an old-school Ford,” he said
The Falcon faithful were robbed of a true 90s hero when the 351W-powered EA GT project was canned, and the production EB and EL GTs were a great deal flabbier than many expected. The concept car, which some crafty Ford employees saved from the crusher, still resides at the Geelong Museum of Motoring & Industry, and was trucked over to Eastern Park for AFD
It seems Dick Tierney’s got a thing for blue XMs, judging by his Weiand-blown coupe (SM, Jul ’14) and this Blueprint sedan delivery that he uses as a runabout and parts hauler. The van has been completely rebuilt and runs a Vortech-blown AU 5.0L pushing 442rwhp through a C10 and shortened BorgWarner diff
Michael Taranto’s two-door ’56 Victoria sticks out like the dog’s proverbials with its sinister black paint, beautiful red interior and the 30×12 Mickey Thompsons doing their best to squeeze under the rear guards. The tough stance is backed up by a 630hp Clevo from ALIPWR, with 300hp worth of nitrous on hand when things need to get really exciting
Bob Harrison brought two cars to AFD: his ’53 F100 and his Mk3 Zephyr. The Effy is a recent purchase and runs a 302 Windsor with an AOD trans. Bob has a much longer history with the Zephyr; having owned it since 1978, he sold it in the 2000s before buying it back nearly two decades later. It packs a warm 289, Celica five-speed manual and 9in LSD
Veteran hot rodder Norm Hardinge showed up to AFD with his new ’32 roadster. The fibreglass body and new reproduction chassis were set up by Elvis at Rod Bods, and motion is provided by a stock LS1 and T56 straight out of a Commodore. “It’s been a six-year build, but it came up good,” Norm reckoned
Corey Povey brought along his super-tidy XD Fairmont Ghia with its matching-numbers 351 and FMX driveline. “I bought it from Cairns in 2018,” he said. “It was rebuilt by a father and son, who then sold it to me. The only thing I had to do was replace the radiator. I bought it to drive it; I don’t want to park it up and not enjoy it”
This ’64 F100 was parked up in 1985 by the original owner, so when Beau Boucher picked it up a few years ago, it only had a touch of surface rust. The truck lays frame thanks to a custom chassis fabricated by Mick’s Speed Shop, and is propelled by a 351 Clevo, FMX and a four-linked 9in rear end
Tereasa and Paul Roaden’s XH pano didn’t always look this good – it was a column-shift, bench-seat, six-cylinder car that had been driven around Australia. There are lots of goodies to spot now, including the XH XR8 front end and T5 manual, ED XR seats and Sundowner-style full rooflining. The old Windsor’s breathing is assisted by a Raptor centrifugal ’charger for greatly increased oomph
Matt Cahoon’s tough, GXL-fronted Fairmont packs a whopping 950 naturally aspirated ponies. The Toca Performance-built, 440ci small-block comprises a Dart block, Yates D3 heads, Scott Cook Air Supremacy intake and steel roller rockers, and spins to 8500rpm. Although he hasn’t taken it to the strip yet, Matt’s on the hunt for a low 9sec pass
Shelby Graham’s XE S-Pack is in surprisingly good shape considering its history. “It was sitting in a paddock in Albury for 20 years before a mate found it,” she said. “He chucked a starter and battery in it and drove it home.” The week before driving it to AFD, Shelby swapped out the crossflow and auto for a 302 Clevo and XF T5 transmission
Hayden Matthews’s Polynesian Green ED XR6 wagon is the genuine article, although with a 490rwkW SOHC mill feeding a Mal Wood-prepped T56, it’s packing quite a bit more punch than the factory offered. Hayden ran a PB of 11.2 at Drag Challenge 2019 with less power, so with a new twin-plate ceramic clutch fitted, he’s on the hunt for a much lower number
Peter Georgey has owned this mean little Escort for seven years and likes to take it for a blast around the twisties on weekends. Stripped out, ’caged and set up for tarmac rally use, the Esky runs a 160hp Pinto mill and English LSD with 4.11s. “I’m building a 2.0L Zetec for it that should be good for 230hp,” Peter said
Simon Andrus just completed a four-year rotisserie resto of his XB sedan and has been enjoying taking it to a few shows before it sees regular use on both road and strip. Under the bonnet is a 393ci Clevo backed by a C10 and a four-link rear end. “My brother’s a mechanic and he’s been a big help with the build; we did most of it at home,” Simon said