IT’S not very often that a factory-fresh, concours-level restoration finds its way into our pages, but when there’s nearly 600hp of stonk hiding underneath all the reproduction dealer stickers, it’s clear that Jazz Desira’s stunning XY Fairmont isn’t just another OEM-spec resto.
This article was first published in the December 2020 issue of Street Machine
“I wanted to restore the car to H-code spec, which is what I think a Fairmont would’ve looked like if it was offered with GTHO running gear,” says Jazz.
Jazz first got his hands on the ’Mont in 2006, buying it as a replacement for his sorely missed XY GS Fairmont that he’d sold three years prior. “I sold the GS when I had my daughter,” he says. “But soon I got itchy feet and then I saw this one on the cover of a classifieds magazine at a servo, so I rang the owner and picked it up.”
It was a six-banger at the time and in really good nick, with barely any rust and average paint. Jazz used it in part as a family hauler for a few years, before deciding to go all-out in 2013. “After I got divorced, I decided to go for the full nut-and-bolt resto, leaving no stone unturned,” he says.
The original 14×6 steel spinners have been retained to keep the car looking as standard as possible, which means that Jazz can sometimes have trouble putting the power to the ground, even at highway speeds
The whole car was stripped and blasted, with Jazz putting in lots of elbow grease during lunch breaks at work and after hours at home to get the Fairmont to his liking. “I even went over the entire wiring loom with a toothbrush and cleaned it up; I wanted everything on this car to be perfect,” he says.
Jazz even went to the trouble of adding all the original dealer stickers, and it’s touches like this that set the Fairmont apart at car shows. It’s taken home some silverware too, including second in the XW-XY category at the 2017 All Ford Day
One of the most impressive parts of this build is that Jazz took care of most of it himself at home, only farming out the engine machine work, paint and panel and interior trimming to the pros.
While incredible attention to detail was applied to get the interior and exterior looking as factory as possible, the driveline is where things start to get rowdy. The original six was binned in favour of a 393ci Cleveland bent-eight, which Jazz assembled himself. On the menu was a Scat crank, six-inch H-beam conrods, Mahle pistons and a Competition Cams solid-roller stick. “I wanted at least 500hp and I wanted a solid-roller cam, because I love the noise,” says Jazz. The top end was then finished off with a pair of standard 4V cast-iron heads, wearing a Scott Cook alloy intake manifold and a Holley 950cfm Ultra HP carb.
Jazz is unsure of how much power it throws out, as he assembled and dropped the engine in without any visits to a dyno. “I’ll probably take it to a chassis dyno one day to see what it makes, but it should be good for 580-600hp at the crank,” he says.
Backing up the angry Clevo is a C4 trans playing home to a Dominator 3000rpm converter, and a nine-inch, 31-spline rear end sporting 3.7:1 gears.
The inside has been kept as originally specced in Fairmont guise and was retrimmed by Brian at Western Street Trim. With the factory column-shift retained, the only giveaways to the monster power are the neatly integrated aftermarket tacho and oil pressure gauges
Keen-eyed readers would have spotted that the original 14×6 pizza-cutters have been retained, which makes for an interesting driving experience when you’re packing nearly 600 horses. “You certainly have to respect the power,” says Jazz. “It’ll fry the tyres off the line without trying, and it’ll do it at 100km/h as well if you’re not careful. But it’s a great cruiser, and that’s what I built it for.” He hasn’t had the chance to take it to the track yet, but it’ll possibly get a rip one day just to see what it can do in street trim.
For Jazz, this is the ultimate incarnation of his dream Ford, and it’s something he is extremely proud of. “I take it to car shows and pop the bonnet and people just take a liking to it,” he says. “They’re so happy that I kept it as a Fairmont and didn’t make a GT replica out of it.”
Photos: Greg Forster
1971 FORD XY FAIRMONT
Paint: Baslac Bronze Wine
Brand: 393ci Cleveland
Induction: Scott Cook alloy 4V manifold
Carbie: Holley 950cfm Ultra HP
Heads: 4V cast-iron
Conrods: 6in H-beam
Oil pump: Mahle
Fuel system: Standard mechanical pump
Exhaust: Pacemaker tri-Y extractors, 2¼in mild-steel system
Ignition: Scorcher electronic dizzy
Converter: Dominator, 3000rpm
Diff: Ford 9in, 31-spline Truetrac, 3.7:1 gears
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Pedders springs, KYB shocks
Rear: GTHO-style springs, KYB shocks
Brakes: Standard discs (f), standard drums (r)
Master cylinder: Standard PBR
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Standard 14×6 steel (f & r)
Rubber: BFGoodrich Redline 205/70R14 (f & r)
Dean at Indy Kustoms Body & Paint; Graham at Extreme Engines for the engine machining work; Danny Valencic for helping me with the engine installation