Bruce & Cathy Gundill’s XT Falcon panel van

We caught up with Bruce and Cathy Gundill and their V8-powered XT pano at the recent 49th Van Nationals in Queensland

Photographers: Steve Kelly

Wandering around the oval at the 49th Van Nationals in Stanthorpe, we spotted a van that’s quite a rarity in the scene nowadays. It certainly warranted closer inspection, so we tracked down owners Bruce and Cathy Gundill to find out more.

First published in the June 2024 issue of Street Machine

Wow! I can’t remember the last time I saw an XT Falcon panel van in the flesh.

Bruce: Yep, they’re a pretty rare car nowadays, especially in windowless form. It’s one of only two XR-XY vans here this weekend, and you’d think if they were going to come out of the woodwork in greater numbers, then it would be to an event like this.

That’s very true. How long have you guys owned it?

Bruce: Only for a few months, actually; we saw it advertised on the ’net down in Victoria and figured it’d be the first and last one we’d see for sale for a while, so jumped on it.

Cathy: We actually own XTs in all of the other body styles made, so adding a van is the perfect finishing touch to our current sedan, wagon and ute fleet.

Cool! What attracted you to XTs in the first place?

Bruce: I’m not really sure; I’ve just always loved them. I’ve owned quite a few over the years, and I think it’s just the fact that they were the last of the Falcons made with a full chrome steel grille; something about that has always just resonated with me.

With the original weathered look the van has, along with the Kelvinator signwriting on the side, I wasn’t expecting to see a V8 under the bonnet!

Bruce: Yes, it was converted a few years ago to 302 Windsor power backed by a C4, which, along with the seats, disc brakes and steering column, were lifted from a ZB Fairlane, so it’s all of the era. We’d love to know a bit more of its history; we’re thinking by the colour and a few weird holes here and there that it may have originally been a Victoria Police divvy van, then later sold and used as an appliance repair van.

That’s a column-shift auto too – it must be sweet to cruise around in.

Bruce: Oh, for sure. My son and I drove it back to Toowoomba from Melbourne and it didn’t miss a beat, even in stinking hot weather and the odd traffic jam. This van is just so comfortable and effortless to drive on the highway; it’s easy to forget how enjoyable and smooth an old car can be on a road trip.

Most definitely. Have you done much to it since getting it home?

Cathy: Just a little bit of suspension work was really all it needed – some new shocks all ’round and a little bit of a lowering job. The shock absorbers that were in it were date-coded 1985!

And those are some nice threads you’re sporting there, Bruce!

Bruce: Hey, we were both dressed this morning in full 1960s garb to match the van! It’s just that Cathy has since changed out of her go-go dress, heels and wig.