525hp 1964 XM Falcon Deluxe

Luke Josling's plan for a tidy cruiser went off the rails. Now his champagne-hued XM Deluxe is dressed to the nines and hides 525 horses under the bonnet

Photographers: Mitch Hemming

VERY few projects go completely to plan, but Luke Josling’s gorgeous XM Deluxe is a testament to the importance of pushing through the setbacks and not giving up. “I wanted to set fire to it so many times,” Luke admits. “I was just going to build a street car with a little V8 and have it done in 12 months, but it’s the old snowball story.” Three years and a lot of busted knuckles later, Luke’s crafted a classy street terror.

First published in the March 2022 issue of Street Machine

Like many of us, Luke caught the car bug early. “I’ve messed around with cars since I was young,” he says. “My dad got me into motorsport early on and we built paddock-bashers and smash-up derby cars. We even graded a speedway track in the backyard and I had an old speedway Torana with triple SUs.”

After apprenticing as a spray painter, Luke lifted his car-building game and now owns his own business, Scenic Smash. With room in his life for a new project, he went on the hunt for a 60s Falcon and eventually picked up this XM.

“It was in primer ready for paint, but when we got it back to the shop I found a lot of surface rust under the primer,” Luke says. It turned out that the fella who’d already had a crack at the bodywork had skipped a few vital steps, so it was off to Luke’s mate Matt Wagener for a thorough blasting and a coat of epoxy.

While it wasn’t exactly a basket case, the XM had suffered from tinworm and copped a few dodgy repairs. Luke tasked his panel man Tim Gee with repairing the damage and prepping the shell for paint. After Luke laid down that silky-smooth jam job, Tim took care of most of the reassembly. While the paint colours may look like factory Ford hues, the roof is wearing Champion White from the Honda palette and the body is covered in tweaked BMW Sunstone Metallic, all topped with PPG’s Vibrance clear. The icing on the cake is that the paint hasn’t been touched by sandpaper nor the buffing pad – that glorious finish is straight off the gun!

Hiding under that curvy bonnet is quite a bit more shove than the little factory six was ever capable of producing – try 525hp worth of Windsor on for size. Though he initially wanted nothing more than a warm 302, Luke’s habit of trawling Facebook Marketplace for bargains led to a pile of parts that combined to form a much gnarlier engine package.

Ian and Paul at A1 Machining & Engines screwed together a tasty 347-cuber with AFR 205cc heads and a meaty Lunati cam to give the XM a real shot in the arm. Further up, the Holley carb sits on a Victor Jr intake, and the fires are lit by a selection of MSD components.

The C4 trans was another in the long list of issues that plagued the build: “The first trans had a big crack in the case that had been painted over, so it just blew out as soon as there was some pressure in it,” Luke says. Luckily, the Performance Automatics-prepped ’box that now resides between the rails has been trouble-free.

The diff, too, caused some headaches. Luke initially had one built by a ‘professional’, but he had to send it back twice because it wasn’t straight, and when it finally fitted, the axles had been cut so short that idling out of the driveway for the first time stripped the splines! Fortunately, Clint at Hart Transmissions came to the rescue with a sturdy nine-inch packing a Truetrac centre, 3.7:1 gears and Altra 9 axles.

Staying underneath the XM, almost all of the factory running gear has been binned to accommodate the serious snot flowing from the engine. Dan from DTP Motorsport has been involved with practically every component under the car, from customising the sump to installing the four-link and even building the entire exhaust system without leaving a scratch in the freshly applied paint. The XM now stops as well as it goes thanks to Wilwood four-piston calipers grabbing 320mm discs mounted to XF stub axles up the front, with EB discs on the nine-inch under the bum.

Inside, Dave at Bulldog Trimming was given the task of building a bit more support into the factory seats and wrapping everything in dark red leather to contrast with the champagne body colour. Just like the exterior, there’s not a lot inside that shouts the XM’s true capabilities, though the shift light and B&M shifter do hint that there’s more going on. Stereo? Yeah, right – who needs it when you have an angry Windsor for entertainment?

With the tribulations of the XM build finally behind him, Luke has a few more little projects to get on with. “My old boss was selling the RS2000 Escort he’s been doing up for 12 years, and I couldn’t let anyone else buy it,” he laughs. Then there’s the ’57 split-screen Kombi van that’s at the epoxy primer stage, and Luke’s mum’s ’55 F100 custom with a boxed and notched chassis, Jag front and 460 big-block.

While it’s a great family cruiser, the XM is likely to see some time at the strip, too: “I’ve always wanted to run a low 11, and I think it’ll do it easily,” Luke says. “I really didn’t enjoy building it, but I love it now – it’s turned out exactly as I pictured it.”


Paint: PPG Sunstone Metallic & Champion White
Crank: Scat 9000
Rods: Scat I-beam
Pistons: SRP
Heads: AFR 205cc
Cam: Lunati Voodoo
Pushrods: Trend 
Valve springs: Lunati
Intake: Edelbrock Victor Jr
Carb: Holley 750
Ignition: MSD
Oil pump: Melling
Headers: Custom
Fuel pump: Holley Black
Cooling: PWR
Exhaust: Custom four-into-ones, X-pipe, Amron mufflers, twin 3in stainless system
Gearbox: C4
Shifter: B&M Magnum Pro Ratchet
Converter: TCE 4200rpm
Diff: 9in, Truetrac, 3.7:1 gears, Altra 9 billet axles
Front: King Springs, Pedders shocks
Rear: Viking coil-overs
Brakes: Wilwood 320mm discs and four-piston calipers (f), EB Falcon discs (r)
Rims: Weld ProStar; 15×4 (f), 15×8 (r)
Rubber: Nankang; 165/80/15 (f), 255/60/15 (r)

My partner Jess; Scenic Smash; Nick at Coop’s Auto Electrics; Tim Gee; Dan at DTP Motorsport; Ian and Paul Davies at A1 Machining & Engines; Wayne Bryan; Matthew Wagener; Rodney; Dr Tim’s Auto Engineering; Dave at Bulldog Trimming; Dave at OCD Metalworx; Clint at Hart Transmissions; Al at Custom Chrome Plating Gold Coast