FORGED XY Ford Fairmont

Where do you start when it comes to telling a story about a car that has so much going on? Well, the first thing to make clear right from the start is that, while this spectacular XY might look like an out-and-out show car, it has been built to be driven, and has been fully […]

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

Where do you start when it comes to telling a story about a car that has so much going on? Well, the first thing to make clear right from the start is that, while this spectacular XY might look like an out-and-out show car, it has been built to be driven, and has been fully engineered to be registered as an individually constructed vehicle (ICV). It’s been 12 years in the making, and at times it tested the patience of everyone involved, but the result is one of the most amazing cars to hit the scene in the past decade.

First published in the October 2023 issue of Street Machine

A massive amount of work went into reshaping the swage line so that it has a curve along its full length and doesn’t make the car look like it’s running downhill. While they might look original, the tail-light housings were also CNC machined

The build is a real testament to the determination of owner Dan Morton, not to mention the highly skilled team at Pat’s Pro Restos & Refinishing in Beaudesert, Queensland, who made Dan’s dream a reality. It debuted at this year’s Meguiar’s MotorEx and stamped its authority over the competition from the outset, taking home the Grand Master award, as well as Gold for Paint, Bodywork, Undercarriage & Driveline, Interior, Impact & Display, Innovation, and Engine & Components.

The project started out as a Fairmont with a 351 and Top Loader, and a pretty nice one at that. Dan managed to knock the purchase price down a bit, as he didn’t want the engine and ’box – he had much bigger plans for the drivetrain.

While every single part of the front end has been changed, it’s still undeniably an XY. The grille inserts, headlight buckets and indicator surrounds were all CNC machined, while the grille surround was fabricated. The bumpers have been tucked in closer to the body, but the lines have also been sharpened up for a much crisper look

He’d already bought himself a Kaase Racing Boss Nine, which can make anywhere from 500 to 1000hp naturally aspirated, depending on the specs. Dan ticked the box for the 598ci version, so he’s at the upper end of that range.

The engine is mated to a TCI 6x six-speed auto, which is a trick bit of kit as well. While it’s based on a 4L80E, the clever people at TCI have managed to shove a couple of extra gears in it to make a closely stacked five-speed with a 0.75 overdrive on sixth. Matched to the 4.11:1 gears in the Strange nine-inch, it should make for some fun times and reasonable highway manners.

Apart from the door handles and armrests, which are from a late-model Mercedes, the rest of the interior has been made entirely from scratch and features custom-designed, CNC-machined speaker grilles. The front seats are from a Lamborghini Gallardo, retrimmed in leather and featuring electronic controls. Dan has had to make do without a functional glovebox due to the amount of hardware mounted underneath the dash

Dan actually began the build on his own, but it wasn’t long before he realised the work involved was beyond his ability. “We did a fair bit of door gapping and stuff like that, and then I just realised I didn’t have the time,” he says. “I actually spoke to Ringbrothers and the car went very close to going there; I love what they do.” While it would have been amazing to have seen the US-based Ringbrothers do a take on an Aussie classic, we have builders here in Australia that can do just as good a job, if not better.

When it comes to talking about all of the modifications on the car, it’s probably easier to just list the parts that weren’t altered: the centre of the roof skin and the wiper blades. Yep, that’s it. Every other panel of the car has been modified, and we don’t just mean a shaved badge here and there – we’re talking wholesale changes to the car’s bodylines. This included the removal and realignment of swage lines, lowering the grille, pumping out the rear quarters, and flush-fitting door frames and windscreens.

“Originally, Dan was set on a really dark purple, and then he was thinking black, which would have looked good,” says Pat O’Shea of Pat’s Pro Restos. “But because the car is so modified and has so much detail, you can’t go too blingy with the colour or you kind of lose the car. We wanted something that was going to complement it. I said to Dan, ‘Let’s do a green and then use a bronze Cerakote. Most show cars have got polished, chromed or stainless bits, so let’s do something that hasn’t been done.’”

If you haven’t heard of Cerakote before, that’s because Pat reckons this is one of the first cars of this calibre to have employed this ceramic coating so extensively. “It’s a lot more work, because we painted every nut, bolt and washer on the car [in Cerakote], whether you see it or not,” he says.

Underneath is just as nice as the top side, with the Cerakote finish on the exhaust and suspension pieces contrasting nicely against the green. The rack-and-pinion steering now lives in a custom-designed finned housing – just one of many custom billet parts on the car

The XY’s underside is an absolute work of art. The custom-made A-arms have been filled in with bead-rolled sheet metal, so there are no voids, which works especially well on the independent rear suspension, really tidying up that area. The whole lot was either bathed in the same stunning custom PPR Green as the exterior or given a coat of Burnt Bronze Cerakote.

As with almost every other aspect of this incredible car, the chassis is completely bespoke. That of course meant that Dan had to go down the ICV route for engineering and registration, and while that added another layer of complexity to the build, it also allowed a great deal more freedom. One unique aspect of the undercarriage is shielded from view: the air-con compressor, water pump and alternator have been relocated to an outrigger forward of the main engine crossmember, ridding the Kaase bent-eight of unsightly accessories. 

Big engines need big fuel tanks. Hard lines have been meticulously run through the car, and every single fuel-system component has had the Cerakote treatment. There was no chance the team were going to ruin the smooth sides of the car with a fuel filler, so it was hidden behind the left tail-light. The plug for the battery charger is also located there

The interior has a fair bit of exposed metal that has been finished in a matte version of the exterior colour, which you’d think would be the easy part, but there’s no such thing when you’re painting a car to this level. “From halfway through the door jamb in, it’s painted matte,” Pat explains. “We had to paint everything gloss, colour-sand it flat, buff it, and then mask it to do the matte clear so you don’t end up with a big paint edge.”

It all works really well against the Tuscan Brown leather interior, which is such a highlight of this Fairmont. It’s got all the features of a modern luxury car but still keeps a bit of the XY DNA, especially in the shape and layout of the dash. Making it all fit took some doing, however. “The car has got two floors: the one you can see that’s all painted, and then a suspended floor, and the driveshaft runs between them,” Pat says. “Then there’s a cavity underneath the trim for all the ECUs and body control computers – there’s 12 or 13 in the car to run the electric power steering, central locking, air con, power windows, electric boot release, EFI pumps and two sets of electric fans in the engine bay.”

It’s been a massive effort to get this car done, but in the final 12 months before its debut at MotorEx, there was an especially big push, with Pat putting four people on FORGED pretty much full-time. “It was a car that just lured you in, but then you had to stay in there and finish it,” says Dan. “Everything had to be finished to a certain level, and that was something I said to Pat from the start. I wanted this to be a car where people can put their head wherever they want and it’s still going to be as detailed and as meticulously finished as the outside of the car.” 

“As big a build as it was, it had to work and had to be functional,” Pat adds. “Dan does want to drive it and skid it and everything else. It’s all good to make them look pretty and whatnot, but you need the stuff to work.”

Speedhut gauges fill a custom CNC-machined dash insert that closely echoes the original XY dash and still houses the headlight and wiper switches. A Sparc Industries Truss billet steering wheel has been finished in Tungsten Cerakote and wrapped in leather. A Lokar electronic shifter controls the six-speed TCI transmission, or if Dan’s feeling fancy, there is also a paddle shift

Keep an eye out for the FORGED XY at Street Machine Summernats 36, where Dan is planning to have a red-hot go at Grand Champion in the car – and you can bet he’ll have the Pat’s Pro Restos team by his side the whole way.

A sliding door hides the rest of the switchgear in a 3D-printed panel. It houses controls for the wiper washers, ignition, start button, power windows and other functions. Vintage Air a/c controls are mounted just rear of the shifter for easy access


Paint:Custom PPR Green
Type:598ci Kaase Racing Boss Nine
Inlet:Kaase eight-stack
Heads:Kaase Boss Nine
Valves:2.30in (in), 1.90in (ex)
Cam:Custom Kaase solid-roller, .735 lift, 280@50
Pistons:Diamond 4.600in
Crank:Callies 4.500in
Radiator:Custom PWR
Exhaust:2in primaries into twin 4in oval, 8in outlet
Ignition:MSD crank trigger
’Box:TCI 6x six-speed auto
Diff:Strange 9in IRS, 4.11:1 gears
Front:Custom-fabricated A-arms, Wilwood stub axles, Air Ride ShockWave airbags
Rear:Custom-fabricated A-arms, GT40 uprights, Air Ride ShockWave airbags
Brakes:Wilwood 15in rotors with six-spot Aerolite calipers (f), Wilwood 14in rotors with four-spot Aerolite calipers (r)
Rims:Schott C10; 19×8 (f), 20×13 (r)
Rubber:Michelin Pilot Sport; 245/40ZR19 (f), 345/30ZR20 (r)

The team at Pat’s Pro Restos & Refinishing; Aidan’s Design & Illustration; Dr Tim’s Auto Engineering; Extreme Custom Engineering; SS Engineering & Design; TDv Autosport.