YOU may find this a little hard to believe, but this very slick XM coupe is Laurie Seguna’s idea of taking it easy! Laurie’s name might be familiar from his twin-turbo Gemini, ‘Mr Sik’, which became one of Australia’s top show cars. It picked up a host of big awards, including Meguiar’s Superstars Best of Breed Street Machine at MotorEx 2008.
First published in the August 2021 issue of Street Machine
But when it came time to build this XM Falcon, Laurie had more modest intentions. “After going crazy on Mr Sik, I had to convince my wife Karen I’d be able to restrain myself, not go overboard,” he laughs. “This time ’round I really wanted something I could take the whole family out in.”
After Karen gave the go-ahead, Laurie kicked off an Australia-wide search for a suitable XM coupe, but a year later, he was still looking for the ‘right’ one. “I’d all but given up when a mate rang me about a painted roller only 15 minutes away,” he explains. “I spent three hours looking at it before managing to strike a deal. I kept thinking I knew this car, so I asked the owner who painted it. Turns out, in 1998 it was at Racepaint at the same time Mr Sik was there getting painted – this paint is over 20 years old!”
Apart from a few minor touch-ups, the body and paint remain as they were. “I loved the orange from the outset,” says Laurie. “I rang Michael Pisani from Racepaint, and he told me overall it was a really good shell. It had been taken back to bare metal and had new quarters and new door skins fitted before he sprayed it.” The fact the car still looks a million dollars two decades later backs up this claim.
Whenever the bonnet goes up, everyone is knocked for six – pun intended. Rather than the typical V8, the XM runs a stove-hot 221ci inline six topped with triple Holleys from an XW Falcon.
Why a six-cylinder? “Aside from the billet wheels, I really wanted to keep the car close to original, retain its 60s flavour,” says Laurie.
Laurie’s brother-in-law, Joe, who runs Hi Comp Performance Engines & Tuning, transformed the 221 into a spirited performer. One of his biggest challenges was modifying the intake manifold. Ford’s 144, 170, 200 and 221 sixes all came with a log-style intake manifold that was integrally cast onto the cylinder head – it doesn’t unbolt. To fit the triples, an alloy adapter plate was added over the log intake. The adapter incorporates three carb flanges and requires ports to be bored into either end of the original manifold. This, along with the other machining necessary to accommodate the adapter and rebuilding the carbies, was a lot of work, but worth it.
The single-barrel Holleys are 1904-series (an OEM carby from the 50s and 60s), actuated by an intricate cable-operated linkage system pieced together by Joe.
Off-the-shelf Pacemaker extractors run to a full twin system, giving the car a deep, throaty rumble; it definitely does not sound – or go – like some old six-banger. “People call bullshit all the time,” Laurie admits. “I have to pop the bonnet to prove it’s a six.”
Factory drum brakes hide behind the 17-inch four-stud Showwheels. “I was very hesitant about not upgrading to discs and five-stud,” Laurie admits, “but after Joe fully rebuilt the drums and got them working sweet, I’m really happy with how it stops.”
The three-on-the-tree manual further adds to the car’s overall 60s vibe. Here, it was Joe to the rescue yet again, re-bushing the linkages to eliminate 50 years of wear and sloppiness.
A low, low set of front coils and factory leaf springs (reset three inches) drop the coupe in the weeds. One advantage of running a six is that there’s no monster header pipes hanging down and dragging. “In over six years of regular driving, I’ve only ever scraped the plate at the back of the gearbox,” says Laurie. “But I’ve always had low cars; getting in and out of driveways without scraping is instinct.”
Body mods are limited to a small polished disc atop each front guard (covering the antenna holes made by the previous owner), de-badged quarters and rear beaver panel, and a chin spoiler.
“I’ve always liked the front spoiler on the XU-1 Toranas,” Laurie says. “I think it finishes off the car, so I had Chubby at Lowe Fabrications make that up for me – he also did a lot of powdercoating as well.”
On the inside, the XM has been modernised without losing its origins. The original front bench made way for a pair of rare Futura buckets, re-trimmed to match the rear seat, doors and rooflining. Other highlights include the billet pedals and wheel, thumping stereo system and HR console.
“There’s a really good early Falcon community that helped with sourcing parts,” says Laurie. “I also found a few wreckers that really knew their stuff and were only too happy to help. There’s also a lot of crossover with the US Falcons, so I got a lot of new parts out of the States.
“I love my Gemini, but while taking it to shows is fun, it’s a lot of work – and never cheap,” Laurie continues. “The XM is something the whole family enjoys. Although it’s not a full-on show car, it never fails to attract attention no matter where I take it.”
Not too shabby for a build that was all about taking it easy!
“EVERYONE knew him as Al,” says Laurie of the late Alan McDonald (Blowin’ Gaskets, SM, Sep ’16). “He made all the one-off billet parts for Mr Sik. If it wasn’t for him, that car would not have achieved the level it did.
“He also made a host of parts for the Falcon, including the steering boss, gauge mounts, pedals, covers in the engine bay, and the knobs for the heater, dash and shift lever. The fuel cap started as a custom piece he made for the Gemini that I never used, which I modified to work for the XM.
“Alan was so passionate, so unbelievably talented – many top cars had parts made by him. Unfortunately, Alan passed away in 2016; he is sadly missed by the whole car community.”
Laurie & Karen Seguna
1964 Ford XM Falcon coupe
|Paint:||PPG Custom Wild Orange|
|Brand:||Ford 221ci six|
|Carbies:||Three Holley 1904-series|
|Gearbox:||Ford three-speed manual|
|CHASSIS & BRAKES|
|Rear:||Reset leaf springs|
|Brakes:||Factory drums (f & r)|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||Showwheels; 17×7 (f), 17×8 (r)|
|Rubber:||205/40R17 (f), 215/40R17 (r)|
Joe at Hi Comp Performance Engines & Tuning; Mark at Brilliant Polish; Chubby at Lowe Fabrications; Michael Xerri for metal polishing; Brad’s Auto Upholstery; Alan for billet stuff; Pioneer Plating for chrome work; Falcon Car Club of NSW; my mum, dad, wife Karen and daughters Allana, Christina and Angelena