You might’ve seen this ute before. It’s been around, done some driving, posed at some shows. Ten Summernats and a Street Machine feature, for instance. It’s changed a bit, too – sorta grown up, matured, learned some new tricks and got better. Just like Greg Maskell, the Shepparton-based fella who drives the Ford and who has driven its evolution.
First published in the April 2004 issue of Street Machine
You can’t tell one’s story without the other’s. This car’s been one of the main rides on a journey that’s taken Greg from being your typical hands-on car bloke to becoming a self-employed restorer and customiser and a show promoter in his spare time.
Just about every aspect of the XR Falcon is Greg’s work. He transformed it from a wreck in a hay shed to the all-orange, Fairlane-faced rumbler that featured in Street Machine 10 years back in June 1994. His fiance, Julie – who’s the thread that holds together the plot of Greg’s story – drew the flames for him, and young mate Beau played gopher so often that Greg’s happily thrown him the keys to the ute at times. But the rest is Greg’s, and he’s had to learn it all himself. That learning process has given him the skills, confidence and reputation to create Revhed Restorations.
About two years ago, the ute took the jump to where it is now, gaining the flames, the blown 351 Cleveland and the 18-inch billets. Julie had to draw the flames because, Greg reckons, “I can’t draw for shit, man. She drew it freehand and then traced it and went to the other side.”
Painting them was easy. “Painting is just something I’m lucky enough to be good at. The good thing about a spray gun is it doesn’t matter if you go outside the lines,” he laughs.
He’s so good with the gun that one of his paint jobs was on display in the Elite Hall at Summernats 17; the same purple Capri, owned by Trent Brennan, had missed the Top 20 at Summernats 15 by just one place.
But the ute’s a driving car, and the paint shows the odd stone chip – which Greg counts as trophies. See, Greg and Julie joke that they don’t have a holiday house, they have a holiday car. Which must make for expensive holidays – the blown donk just churns through fuel.
“If you’re just cruising, the economy’s no different to any normal car,” Greg says, “but because it’s got a lot more horsepower, it’s a lot of fun, so [and here he starts laughing again] you use it. And once you start doing that the fuel economy is very bad.”
Fitting the blower involved too many chiefs and not enough indians, according to Julie, which became another reason for Greg to go it alone. He’d already built this engine himself, after the last one, built by a mate returning a favour, lunched itself. It wasn’t the mate’s fault as such, because the timing marks were a million miles out, but for Greg it was one more excuse to take charge.
He’d already built five engines anyway, but this time he was on the tellingbone to Kevin Brennan of Wunghnu Automotive — yep, Trent’s old man) for guidance while he put the Clevo together, with flowed 4V heads, a mild cam, hydraulic lifters, cast pistons and 4MA crank. It won’t break. The Melings oiler, Holley Blue water pump, electronic ignition and three-core, cross-flow radiator add to his peace of mind.
It’s the 6/71 supercharger, the pair of 600 Holleys and the 2.5in extractors that ensure there’s enough power to punish tyres and sufficient lack of fuel economy to thrill George Dubya. Simple.
There’s plenty more to this car – from its XY seats and Mustang shifter to XB front discs and XA rear drums – but it’s the new wheels that finish it perfectly. The old 14/15in front/rear combo, with fats up the back and skinny four-inchers up front, dated the Ford badly. Greg and Julie both heap praise on Wheelboyz in Hallam for the current result. Alan Jones patiently helped them make the choice, offering input and helping out with offsets and geometry issues. The 18in US Wheels Waveteks look brilliant.
They’ve made the steering a tonne heavier than before, but that’s okay. And they’ve lifted the Falcon, too. Sure, it looked ace when it was an inch off the deck, but Greg loves the novelty of actually driving over speed humps.
What’s it like to drive? “Oh, bloody beautiful, so responsive,” says Julie.
“Smooth as silk,” adds Greg. “It’s not harsh, just smooth as silk off idle and very driveable. It’s probably more driveable than the last motor, which was normally-aspirated and you needed big revs to produce horsepower. This thing’s all torque down low.”
All up it’s been a remarkable change for the better, although you can still clearly see it’s the same ute Greg started with 10 years ago. They’ve come a long way together.
“My theory has always been that if someone else can do it, I’ll have a go,” he says. “That’s been my outlook with the car. Now in my restoration business I do everything except exhausts and automatic transmissions.
“We started out building things for ourselves, and then people started asking us to do things for them, and then it turned into a business.”
Numurkah is one of the best little car shows around. It’s just another of Greg and Julie’s talents. It’s fun, friendly, has over 300 entries, ranging from show cars to vintage tractors, and is stamping such a reputation for itself that Owen Webb, the chief Summernats judge, apparently wants to do his bit there this year.
It’s the Maskells’ high standards that make it so good. Judging is professional, its trophies worth winning and its organisation top class — all among the reasons it attracts names such as burnout king Gary Myers and stunt pilot Pip Boorman.
And for the punters, it’s a beaut, cheap day. “We just tried to have a family day, where mum and dad can grab the kids and 20 bucks, grab a hamburger and a can of Coke, and have a day out,” says Greg, who’s clearly learned a lot from attending every single Summernats and dozens more shows.
The event raises funds for local charities and gate takings alone made over $14,000 in 2003.
1967 FORD XR UTE
|C10 with 3500rpm stall
|RIDING AND SLIDING
|Black velour & vinyl
|US Wheels Wavetek, 18×8 (f), 18×10 (r)
|Falken 235/35 (f), 265/35 (r)