Allen MacFadyen’s Ford Falcon XT ute

We caught up with Allen MacFadyen to talk about his life with cars and his current ride, a XT GT tribute ute

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

ALLEN MacFadyen has spent most of his life buying, selling, breaking and fixing classic Aussie metal around Geelong and beyond. He’s also indoctrinated three sons into the car-mad lifestyle, including Torana racer Scott (SM, May ’11). We caught up with him at his Breakwater workshop for a yarn.

This article was first published in the Street Machine 2020 Yearbook. Photos: Chris Thorogood

So what’s your background, mate?

Cars are our lives. I’ve been in the car trade for 50 years now, starting out as an 18-year-old salesman at Wyres Brothers Holden in Ballarat. After that, I ran South Geelong Autos for 35 years. I’m a self-taught painter and panel beater at our workshop, so that’s how I keep busy when things are quiet.

No doubt you would’ve had some rockets come through the yard.

I’ve had them all! I think every performance car you could buy came through there. We had all sorts of Monaros and plenty of GT Falcons – which aren’t as quick as people think they are!

Did you keep many for yourselves?

We were in a lucky position being in the trade; if we saw a car in Melbourne or wherever we’d just jump on it and say: ‘Here we go again!’ One of the best cars we had was a Brock VK Director. It was just lightning-fast, like a race car on the road. I’ll always remember taking my son down to Barwon Heads for footy on a Saturday morning and hitting 240km/h on the way. You wouldn’t dare do it now!

How do you keep yourself busy these days?

I got out of the car yard about eight years ago. My son Scotty took it over, so I went down and started restoring some of the cars that were sitting in the workshop. We have a few here now: old Fairlanes, an HK ute, even a two-door LJ Torana. This year hasn’t really changed things for me; I’ve just been working away as usual and the car yard has been busy.

Tell us a bit about the XT you’ve got here.

We built this ute 13 or 14 years ago as a GT tribute. It’s got a 351 Windsor in it, which we bought as a brand new block. Eugene at Flowcraft built it for us and did the heads; it’s a tough motor. It’s got a manualised C4 with a 4500rpm stall, and a nine-inch diff with 4.11 gears. It’s a good, quick ute – about twice as fast as the old XW GT I had before that. You can just jump into it and have a bit of fun. I’ve had it facing the wrong way a few times on Australia Day cruises – I’m not much of a steerer! The boys always have a laugh at that.