600hp 1964 Ford XM Futura coupe

Beauty is more than skin deep with Mike King's Ford XM Futura coupe

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

SIX years after Mike King dragged a sad XM Futura coupe out of South Australia, the covers where whipped off a machine that stopped many Summernats 32 spectators in their tracks. Subtle to the casual eye, the ’64 coupe didn’t have a blower towering out of the bonnet or a retina-punching paintjob; it actually seemed to hide the extreme number of custom touches Steve Alldrick and the team at Deluxe Rod Shop packed into the build!

This article on Mike’s XM Falcon was first published in the March 2019 issue of Street Machine

Every part of the car has been modified, with custom metalwork running from stem to stern, a near-600hp Windsor up front, pro touring suspension and brakes, and fit and finish to rival a brand new high-end supercar. And it has taken three years of hard work by the Deluxe crew to attain such a killer outcome.

Scotty Barter at Oxytech Powder Coatings laid down a hard-wearing custom powdercoat on all the engine parts, using either a matte-satin or Crystal Clear finish for some contrast. In an amazing stroke of luck for Steve and Mike, Scotty sent off the last box of powdercoated parts before closing for Christmas, only for the whole business to burn to the ground early the next morning!

“It was a complete driving car, but full of bog and chicken wire,” Steve explains. “Mike stripped the car himself and it was delivered to me sand-blasted and ready to go. He said he wanted a driver, but I don’t do flat-black underbodies.”

Both bumpers have copped a bunch of work, being tucked, smoothed and TIG-welded. The rear unit features beautifully recessed outlets for the exhaust tips, including character lines to act as a finishing touch

Although the underpinnings were straight, the body of the XM was so tired it may as well have been narcoleptic. Steve and Mick McCallum from Deluxe got busy with the English wheel, rolling up new door skins, quarter-panels, lower radiator support, inner front guards and a new firewall, as well as raising the bonnet two inches in the centre to clear the engine, and lengthening the boot and bonnet 10mm each to improve the panel gaps.

“The only original panel on the car is the left-hand front guard,” says Steve. “We put a new tunnel in it, mini-tubbed it, kicked up the rails, and put a firewall in it.” You really need to park a standard Falcon next to it to understand just how many modifications have been done to the car.

“Being a coachbuilder is second-nature to me,” Steve says. “All the sheet-metal work was done in around 4.5 weeks, fairly early on in the project’s life. I made the firewall in a day, both inner guards were a day each side, it was about a week to make each quarter panel, the flat floorpans were a day each, the sump took a day to build, then the two new door skins weren’t hard.”

The wheels are American Legend Racers, running 17×7 up front and 18×10 in the rear, custom-painted to match the rest of the car. “Mick spent 13 hours masking the wheels, just to paint them satin,” Steve says. “All these little one-percent jobs actually make the car”

Steve was actually halfway through making a plug to fix the hole left by the sunroof when a lucky internet search saved some time. “As I was wheeling up a custom roof panel to fill in the sunroof, Mike found a whole XM turret on eBay for $300,” he laughs. “Mike actually bought so many new-old-stock parts for the car it’s unbelievable, but six years ago these cars hadn’t exploded in value like they have now.”

Under the bonnet is a serious 363ci Windsor built by Pavtek Performance, which stomped out almost 600hp on their engine dyno. Built off a Dart SHP block wearing CNC-ported RHS alloy heads, the angry small-block runs a forged Scat crank and H-beam rods, with flat-top SRP forged slugs and a custom solid flat-tappet cam.

The Edelbrock Victor Jr intake was CNC-machined before the Holley Sniper throttlebody EFI was added, while Steve and the Deluxe crew made a custom exhaust from the 17/8-inch headers back down the twin three-inch system and to those precision-fit tips poking out under the back bumper.

The dimple-dies along the firewall replace the original fresh air vents. They actually draw air through and out via the original cowl vents in front of the windscreen. The battery is in the left-hand lower rear panel

A McLeod twin-plate clutch lives behind the angry Windsor, bolted up to a Tremec TKO600 five-speed manual and a tough Ford nine-inch filled with Extreme floating axles, Truetrac LSD and4.11:1 gears.

“It was never having an auto,” says Steve. “Mike’s family has always had V8 Fords all his life, so he’s grown up around them.”

The coupe sits tough thanks to coil-over struts and a ’34 Ford hot rod-style front end, both from Rod-Tech. Out back is more Rod-Tech gear, with coil-over struts and a four-link rear end. Braking is handled by Wilwood discs at all four corners

The trim, handled by North Central Motor Trimming, offers an instant trip back to the 60s, with stock seats cut and sectioned 2.5 inches lower, then wrapped in black leather, while a billet alloy gear shifter pokes through the plush European carpet, just like they did in 60s muscle cars. The instruments actually work through an iPad hidden in the glovebox, while Mike will grip a Billet Specialties steering wheel when pedalling the XM.

On top of being featured in the Megiuar’s Great Unveil at Summernats 32, Mike’s Futura also landed in the Top 10 and took out the PPG Supreme Entrant award.

“This is probably the car that tested me the most, so I was rapt to win PPG Supreme on the Sunday,” Steve beams. “It was an absolute dream for me! love building cars, and I can’t stop it.”

“We put 16 days into the front and rear seats just to get them cut ’n’ shut to have them sit correctly for Mike’s tall frame,” Steve explains. “We 3D-printed the seat-sides, and due to the rear end and mini-tubs we had to custom-make the rear-seat and parcel shelf, too”

The Futura backed this up by winning Top Street Machine, Top Two-Door, and landing in the Top Five at the Victorian Hot Rod & Cool Rides Show a couple of days after our photoshoot. Although car-show accolades are great, Mike, the XM’s owner, apparently isn’t all that keen on them.

“That’s not what this car is about,” Steve laughs. “He wants to belt it up and down the beach at Brighton. It’s going to vibrate and be anawesome car.”

If it looks this good sitting still, we can’t wait to see it under power!


Paint: PPG Solid White

Brand: Dart Windsor 363ci
Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr
ECU: Holley Sniper EFI
Heads: RHS alloy
Camshaft: Custom Pavtek solid flat-tappet
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Pistons: SRP forged flat-tops
Crank: Scat 4340 forged
Oil system: Custom 7L sump
Fuel system: Holley Sniper deadhead pump
Cooling: Custom brass radiator
Exhaust: Custom 17/8in headers, twin 3in system
Ignition: ICE

Gearbox: Tremec TKO600 five-speed manual
Clutch: McLeod twin-plate
Diff: Ford 9in, Extreme floating axles, Truetrac LSD, 4.11:1 gears

Front: Rod-Tech coil-over struts, Rod-Tech ’34 Ford-style front end, Flaming River collapsible column
Rear: Rod-Tech coil-over struts and four-link
Brakes: Wilwood calipers and discs (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood

Rims: American Legend Racer; 17×7 (f), 18×10 (r)
Rubber: 215/40 (f), M/T Street Radial 275/40 (r)

Jim Wolstencroft for buffing and polishing; Mick McCallum for paint and fab work; Aron Heard for machining and assembly; Brendon Watts at North Central Motor Trimming; Scott Green at SG Auto Electrics; Ron Mills for assembly; Edward and Siobhan Sommer; Scott Barter at Oxytech Power Coatings; PPG Australia; Peter Lamb at Melomotive; TCR Carponents; Barb and Ray Alldrick; Rubber Connection; HPC Coating, Brendan Carroll at CarBuilders Australia