500hp family heirloom XY Fairmont

Paul Brincat gives a family-heirloom XY Fairmont a 500hp birthday

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

THE XY Fairmont you see here has been in Paul Brincat’s family since 1973. “Mum and Dad brought me home from the hospital in it,” Paul recalls. “I even learnt to drive in it!”

First published in Street Machine’s Yearbook 2021

Paul’s dad, Michael, really looked after the car, which included giving it a respray some years before passing it on to Paul around 1996. “Dad gave it to me for my 18th birthday,” he says. “I’ve always loved it. From the time I got it, I kept it garaged and looked after it. I even bought a shitbox to drive around in – I didn’t want to risk it.”

Eventually though, Paul decided it was time to get the XY on the road via a full nut-and-bolt resto. Mind you, he’d been collecting parts for it for more than a decade.

During the build process, the paint remained the factory Nugget Gold and the Fairmont’s exterior moulds were kept intact. “The body was absolutely mint,” says Paul. “The floors and sills are completely untouched; we didn’t have to put a single piece into it. It’s even still got the original body deadener; we just gave it a good clean.”

The original black Fairmont interior also stayed. Some may look at the dash and steering wheel and think ‘GT tribute’. Not really so. The GT and GTHO interiors were actually based on the Fairmont, hence their similarity. A couple of subtle differences include the Fairmont badge on the glovebox and the ‘F’ script in the woodgrain section of each door trim.

Wanting better monitoring of the engine’s vitals, Paul did opt for the GT dash with its extra gauges. As for the rim-blow steering wheel, it just looks so much nicer.

One thing that didn’t remain, however, was the original 250 2V inline six. It and the factory driveline were tossed in favour of a tough V8 along with a Top Loader and a slightly narrowed nine-inch – a good combo for street duties.

In the lead-up to his wedding, Paul was rushing things to get it ready for the big day. Unfortunately, the cam got trashed while he was trying to run it in. The engine had to come back out.

With the wedding deadline missed, Paul took the opportunity to give the engine bay a fresh makeover, which he entrusted to his good mate Carmine De Maria at CAD Custom. “I’d seen the level of work Carmine and the boys are capable of, and I wanted some of that,” says Paul. It was here that things took an interesting turn.

“It started off as a basic freshen-up. However, Paul kept wanting more, and we were happy to sling a host of ideas his way,” Carmine explains. “By the time we finished, we’d cut out a lot of the engine bay’s sheet metal and welded back in new, smoother panels. Although the existing body and paint were pretty good, we replaced both front guards, so we ended up painting the doors, guards, bonnet and engine bay before giving the rest a good cut and buff.”

The CAD Custom team also hid the wiring, relocated the battery to the boot and fitted the PWR alloy radiator.

At Carmine’s suggestion, Paul looked up the lads at Autovision Automotive. They stripped down the existing engine and gave it a comprehensive rebuild. It’s full-angry now, which is exactly how Paul likes it.

“I decided to stick with cast-iron 4Vs to retain some of the original look,” says Paul. “I know we could have made more power with a set of alloys, but it already fries the tyres if I hit the throttle. It was super-sketchy on the old tyres; I went to the Mickey Thompson street slicks to get some kind of traction, but they still struggle.” Suspension-wise, Paul didn’t see the need for radical changes. Instead, he stuck with the tried-and-true path of overhauling the factory gear with Pedders springs, shocks and bushes. Given the extra grunt, he did feel it wise to improve braking performance via the fitment of PBR VT twin-piston calipers up front.

Paul admits it took a lot of convincing by CAD and Autovision for him to switch from the old look of chrome and polished alloy to the now mostly black engine bay, but it’s fair to say he’s come around to it now: “Looks mega-tough – loved it from day one,” he says. “I’ve tried to thread the line between pro street and a stocklooking classic. With the bonnet closed, people looking generally nod in approval and say things like, ‘Nice car.’ Then I lift the bonnet and it’s like, ‘Wow!’”

Paul is quick to praise some family members who helped out along the way. “My cousin Darren Gatt helped me a lot, storing the car, doing a lot of the spannerwork and powdercoating a bunch of stuff like the suspension. My other cousin Duncan Gatt also helped, and I have to thank the guys at Professional Touch Detailing for keeping the car looking a million bucks.”

Paul’s sweet-but-tough Fairmont was officially off the road for 12 months for the latest round of upgrades, with around 5000km being added to the odometer since then.

“Even though he gave me the car all those years ago, Dad still loves it,” Paul says. “It’s actually still registered in his name and has spent a lot of time in his garage over the years – he even came to the photoshoot with me. He likes what I’ve done to it, but I do think he’s a bit scared to drive it these days!”


Paint: Nugget Gold
Brand: Ford 393ci stroker
Inlet manifold: TFC single-plane
Carby: Quick Fuel 850
Heads: FoMoCo 4V
Camshaft: Crower solid-roller
Crank: Scat
Conrods: Scat
Pistons: CP Bullet
Bearings: ACL Race
Pushrods: Trend
Springs: PAC
Fuel system: Holley pump
Cooling: PWR
Exhaust: Pacemaker headers
Ignition: MSD
Gearbox: Ford Top Loader
Clutch: Hydraulic
Tailshaft: 3.5in
Diff: 9in, 31-spline, LSD, 4.11:1 gears
Front: Pedders springs and shocks
Rear: Pedders springs and shocks
Brakes: VT PBR twin-piston discs, factory drums (r)
Master cylinder: Ford XY
Rims: Weld Draglite; 15×4 (f), 15×8 (r)
Rubber: Hankook Centum 165/80R15 (f), Mickey Thompson 255/60R15 (r)

Michael Brincat; CAD Custom; Autovision Automotive; Darren Gatt; Duncan Gatt; Milmotive; Professional Touch Detailing