The halls at 2023’s Lardner Park Motorfest were stacked to the brim with some of the best show cars Australia has to offer, but Gary McGuigan’s debutant XR Falcon was almost certainly the most attention-grabbing, between its fluorescent orange paint and wild hinged openings.
Gary, who also owns the ex-Darryl McBeth Magna show car, found the XR as an unfinished project in Queensland via an eBay listing two years ago. “I don’t really know the history on it at all, but it was a blue Fairmont; an old man’s car initially,” he says.
“Initially I think it was built as a drag car, with a big diff, rollcage, and everything. Somewhere down the track they started double-panelling everything, which made it too heavy. Whoever engineered it initially spent a lot of hours on it, I’m sure!”
The bonnet and boot each hinge on a 45-degree angle, the former taking the upper half of the driver’s side guard with it.
The passenger side doors are a one-piece arrangement, with only the driver’s door left standard. “Someone’s gone crazy with an angle grinder and a welder,” Gary laughs. “Not a lot of people are prepared to chop up a good car now!”
When Gary brought the car back to Victoria, it was a rolling shell in grey undercoat, sans lights, bars, interior, and glass. “It was the usual story where somebody gets halfway through and can’t finish it,” he adds. “It was pretty sad.”
He converted the manually operated boot and bonnet to a remote-controlled electric system, before installing just about everything needed to make it look like a car again. There’s also rack-and-pinion steering and an aluminium floor underneath, plus a big sound system in keeping with the car’s out-there 2000s styling.
An essentially stock five-litre Windsor and C4 were pulled from another car to get the XR mobile, paired to a nine-inch rear. Gary laid down the fluorescent orange paint in his driveway just before its maiden appearance at Motorfest. “There’s still some more paint to catch up on, and just the usual bits and pieces when you build a car,” he explains. “It’s 90 per cent there, basically!”
Compared to what’s been poured into the Magna, Gary says the Falcon has been assembled on something of a shoestring budget. “It’s not a Top 100 car, but it’s nice — I’ve had 10 people around it for most of today.
Whether I take this or the Magna to MotorEx, I’m not sure, but this has been a real crowd-pleaser!”