Lorella Burns’s 1969 Ford XW wagon

Lorella Burns has been around cars her whole life, so it's no surprise the family wagon is an old-school, V8-powered cruiser

Photographers: Ellen Dewar

Lorella Burns has a growing assortment of sweet chrome-bumper rides, including the patina-clad ’69 XW wagon before you. However, she’s obliged to share her shed space with hubby Anthony Burns (SM, Jan ’23), who has been campaigning strong Drag Challenge contenders since 2015. We chatted to Lorella to find out more.

First published in the February 2023 issue of Street Machine

Are you a long-term revhead, Lorella?

Yup! Dad always had cool cars, and then I met Anthony when I was 15 years old and we got along well, as we both love cars.

I had a V8-powered XE Fairmont Ghia as my daily driver but sold it 15 years ago after having our twin boys. Since then, I have wanted an old-school wagon – with a V8 – as a family car.

When did you nab yourself this XW wags?

Six years ago. It needed a heap of work, as it had been hit down the right-hand side by a tip truck. The rear quarter panel needed a big repair, the centre pillar was pushed in, and we needed to replace both right-hand doors and the front guard.

As I’ve been around cars my whole life, I knew the potential in it – plus I love the Leaf Green colour.

Did you have a specific vision for the build?

Anthony built this for me but the way I wanted, so I want to say a huge thank you to my beautiful husband!

I’m lucky, as he usually builds cars that are heavily modified, but I wanted something fairly old-school with venetians, a sun visor, stock-looking rims and patina – though it needed to run a V8.

That’s one slick engine bay.

I didn’t need the car to be perfect; however, I needed a tidy engine bay.

While the wagon came with a 221ci six-cylinder with a three-on-the-tree manual, we swapped that out for a column auto behind a 351ci Windsor with a Thumpr cam – I love the sound of a big cam.

Love the bench seat, too.

That was another requirement of mine. When it was first retrimmed – long before the car was ready – I remember sitting on the seat and saying to myself, “I’ll be driving around on this soon.”

Now when I take the wagon to collect my eight-year-old daughter from school, she chooses to sit in the middle of the front seat next to me.

You brought it along to Street Machine Summernats 35 – how was that?

The wagon was finished in October 2022, with Summernats 35 being its first show.

The ’Nats went really well apart from the first day, when a wire had just rubbed through and made the fuel pump temporarily die. But it ran great after that.

What’s next on your project-car to-do list?

Next will be my XP coupe; my old man promised the car to me when I was a kid. When I was very young, I used the garden hose to fill the fuel tank with water – I thought I was doing the right thing! I got in so much trouble for that.

Later on, Dad copped a defect on the XP, so it just sat and literally became a ‘chicken coupe’. I finally got the car about 10 years ago. Because of its history, the XP is now fairly ratty, which I like, so we’ll probably keep it like that.

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