Growing up, all Simon Andrus wanted to do was build a tough, clean streeter that could get unveiled at Summernats, make the Top 60 and get featured in Street Machine. Well, it may have taken a little while, but Simon can now cross that hat trick off his bucket list thanks to this incredible XB Falcon sedan.
First published in the July 2023 issue of Street Machine
“I’m stoked,” says Simon. “Getting unveiled at Summernats and making the Top 60 was a dream come true. At Showcars Melbourne, I won the Rare Spares Choice award, plus Best XA-XC at the Geelong All Ford Day. And now that I’m getting featured in the mag, I’ve achieved everything I wanted to!”
The Blue Oval seed was planted from the start, as Simon comes from a Ford family. “My grandfather and father both worked at Ford’s Geelong plant,” he begins. “My older brother Jason built an XY, while my cousin Austin built an FC LTD. Both were tough old-school Fords. I learned a lot watching their builds, like to ‘do it once, do it right’.”
But of all the Fords, the XB was Simon’s favourite. When this one popped up on the Rusty Wrecks Facebook group in 2015, he knew it was the perfect candidate for his own build. It was an Antique Beige six-cylinder with Saddle interior, and Simon practically stole it from the owner, paying a measly $4000 for it! “It really was a good buy – 100 per cent original, so clean, very little rust and mint interior,” he says.
Things got serious once the car was pulled down to a bare shell and the build plan pivoted from quick make-over to full-on show car. After mounting it onto a rotisserie, Simon kicked things off by stripping the underside using a drill and wire wheel and sand-blasting the rest.
When it came time for body and paint, Simon once again turned to social media. “I posted that I was looking for a good beater and painter, and Troy Robinson came back to me,” he says. “I checked out a car he was working on and liked what I saw. I repeatedly told Troy that I wanted the body dead straight, and he nailed it!”
This Aussie Falcon is indeed super straight with spot-on panel gaps. The PPG Apollo Blue paint has been beautifully applied and really pops in the sunlight thanks to the extra metallics added.
While XBEA5T was always going to wear satin Auto Drags, those fat 325-wide rear Mickey Ts and 15x10s were a late addition. “Initially I bought 15×5.5s for the front and 15x8s for the rear, and while I was happy with the 15x8s, I really wanted that proper pro street look,” Simon says. “By this stage, Center Line had closed up and you couldn’t buy new Auto Drags. So, I grabbed a set of 15x12s, as that’s all I could find at the time. Then I came across a guy who was willing to do a clean swap; my 15x12s for his 15x10s – done!”
Even then, getting the 325s up inside the XB’s rear haunches required straightening the chassis rails and mini-tubbing the car flush with the rails. While messing around back there, John Taverna Chassis turfed the leaf springs in favour of a custom four-link complete with a narrowed nine-inch and coil-overs.
All this rear end work was completed after the body and paint was done! Yep, Simon was willing to risk messing up those gorgeous, arrow-straight rear quarters to achieve the fat-arsed pro street look he desired. As they say, the heart wants what the heart wants.
Backing up the XB’s tough looks is a stout 393ci Clevo in the engine bay. “Johnny Dyno Engines specced the engine and did all the machine work and the dummy fit-up,” says Simon. “They worked on my brother’s and cousin’s engines; they certainly know what they’re doing. To keep costs down, my brother Jason and I did the final assembly.”
Highlights include a Quick Fuel carby, CHI intake, massaged CHI 208cc alloy heads, 0.692in-lift solid-roller cam, Bullet forged flat-tops, and Scat crank and rods. After strapping it to the dyno, running it in and dialling in the tune, the 393 churned out 620 very respectable horses.
“The thing is a beast,” says Simon. “It’s so responsive. The converter is pretty tight, so when you put the pedal down, it just goes. On the street, it has no issue spinning those 325s. It’s wild, it’s angry, it goes hard and is really, really loud. It’s just what I wanted!”
On the inside, XBEA5T is full GT spec. “During the build I went to a lot of swap meets; between that, Facebook and Gumtree, I managed to accumulate a lot of the GT parts,” Simon says. “Things like the dash, console, steering wheel, and even the front buckets are factory. I picked the best of everything I had, restored what was necessary and sold off what I didn’t need.”
The genuine gear was combined with loads of repro stuff, such as matching white door trims, to complete the interior.
“Jason is a mechanic, and he was a big help throughout the build,” says Simon. “We did most of the build, including final assembly, at home in the garage. Now that I’ve done all the major shows, I want to start cruising it more and head to Calder Park to see what it does down the quarter. If it ran a mid-10, I’ll be very happy.”
Watch this space!
1976 FORD XB SEDAN
Paint: Glasurit Apollo Blue
|393ci Ford Cleveland
|CHI 208cc alloy
|CHI high-rise single-plane
|Quick Fuel 850 DP
|Solid-roller, 692thou lift
|CP-Carrillo Bullet forged flat-top
|RobbMc mechanical pump
|Aussie Desert Cooler
|Pacemaker headers, 3in system, Auspac mufflers
|B&M Magnum Grip
|TCE 5200rpm stall
|Fabricated 9in, fully floating ends
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES
|Pedders springs and shocks
|Four-link, Viking double-adjustable coil-overs
|DBA (f), Wilwood (r)
|WHEELS & TYRES
|Center Line Auto Drag; 15×5.5 (f), 15×10 (r)
|Mickey Thompson ET Street R; 165/80R15 (f), 325/50R15 (r)
My brother Jason for all his help, including final assembly; my sister Caroline for graphic design; my cousin Austin; Johnny Dyno Engines; Troy Robinson for body and paint; John Taverna Chassis; Moolap Mufflers; Damian for the gearbox; Aus Stitch for the boot work; Race Coatings; AA Vinney’s Metal Polishers; Western Street Trim