Saturday, 31 March 2018

Built with pride by the people of Ford Australia: a Catholic-pack EA Fairmont wagon..

Circling the drain outside the most picturesque of Melbourne wreckers back in early January..
Five metres of family-luxury late-80s Australiana: a March 1990 (1988-) EA Ford Fairmont wagon.

One of the handful of still-good cars that get a brief last-minute chance to dodge the bullet before they head into the yard..

But this one just absolutely killed me to see.
Not only was it achingly original, in phenomenal shape for its age and kilometers, and a generation of Falcons that have so quickly disappeared from the road; but it was s a rare, unusual and interestingly optioned variant when new: a Fairmont wagon with a bench-front/column-auto combo, all wrapped n a pleasant minty green metallic.

This is a seating configuration that - while seemingly still popular in the USA at this point in time - was quickly becoming less and less common in Australia. A seating configuration my dad always jokingly referred to as the "Catholic pack" for obvious reasons.
I don't care about the extra seat itself, but that breezy and open front seating area is just so relaxing. To see it in the high-spec Fairmont's velour trim, in a wagon, in a good colour? What a thing..

28 years old and still sporting a full set of undamaged original hubcaps. Someone has treated you well..

It's used, it's old, so the signs of wear and tear throughout are no surprise; but holy hell has this thing survived well. That cleared acrylic paint wouldn't have made it to this millennium without a garage to park in..

Urgh. I'd be curious to see a production breakdown wagons; surely the Falcon outnumbered the Fairmont by many to one..

Just as neat and original around here. Towbar, mudflaps, hubcaps, headrests - it's all still there...

Drive-train wise, being a Fairmont it would've had the high-spec, multi-point injected, thee-point-nine litre version of the single-cam straight-six (good for ~139kW/186hp and 339Nm/250ftlb of torque); a Borg Warner three-speed auto, and solid-axle rear supported by leaf springs (the sedans were coil sprung). It's certainly no race-car, but a basic and durable-enough configuration..

Original everything.
I wish I got the keys from the office to go through this properly, but I was in a bit of a hurry. It was for the best. I would have left with the damn thing if I'd looked too much longer..

This sticker hits hard. January 2018 was only months after Holden, the last of Australia's car manufacturers, packed up shop in Australia. Ford built its last Falcon (the 2014- FGX generation) a year earlier.
I love my Holdens, but Ford's Falcon always got bonus points from me for being so local. So Melbourne. A mild-melting percentage of this car would have been produced in the same state it's in right here...

...if not for the thoroughly-well-used kilometers this one has traveled, I'd worry whether it had ever got a chance to leave!

Yep, this one's done 460,000km. 285,000 miles. It's lead a good and useful life. As I commented on the Toyota Corona post recently, it's something that makes me feel so much better.

I may've tortured myself by looking at these photos on phone for days later.. but no, I don't have to feel bad about leaving it behind.

Now for a couple magazine articles from the EA Falcon's 1988 launch, for the billions of people outside of Australia and New Zealand (..although only a few thousand actually interested!) who've never seen one of these things:
A wagon-specific comparison to the then-popular Mitsubishi Magna wagon.

Grade-walk of the various trim levels available; the base Falcons through to higher spec Fairmonts..

Variety. Australian automotive engineering in the late 80s. It had its issues, but at least I'd always considered the design handsome..

A base Falcon GL wagon and a Fairmont sedan at around 200kmh/125mph..

...and finally, a trainspotter's guide to EA Falcon/Fairmont variant differentiation.

I feel I'm still a little early in the EA-ED(-EL) Falcon appreciation side of things, so this surely won't be loved by all. But I don't care. As as with every generation of Holden, Ford, Chrysler, whatever ever produced locally: history's shown its time WILL come. Here's hoping there's some good original cars left..

Thursday, 22 March 2018


Another from the 2017 TCCAV Classic Japan car show a few weeks.. errr.. months.. ago now. 
To expand on those acronyms in the post's title; what we have here is a Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority, Nissan Special Vehicle Division, Series 3, R31 Skyline... ...!...; a very rare emergency-vehicle spec'ed variation of an already low-production variant of R31 - the SVD Silhouette GTS - the sportiest of Australian R31 Nissan Skylines.
This particular car is a 1990-build, series-three; late days for the 1988/1989 facelift for Aussie R31s that brought with it the second-generation of Nissan's Special Vehicle Division 'Silhouette GTS', and hey, they came exclusively (bar a handful for the Tasmanian Police) in fire-fighting-ready-red. 

Obviously the Victorian government money didn't stretch as far for emergency vehicles as Tasmania's did; as unlike their all-white police versions of GTS2, these Victorian fire-fighters were built with none of the SVD model's visual flash.
The entirely colour-matched bodykit and mouldings, the foglights, the white 16" alloy wheels... all left right there on the shelf at Nissan/SVD's Melbourne factory. Instead, an import R31 inter-cooler vent is cut right into the base GX front bumper for the oil cooler, and 15" steel wheels (interestingly what is actually the spare wheel for factory 15" alloy-wheeled cars) are used to sit over the larger SVD-vehicle's brakes... that's party-lights, yes...

...but a peek through the cracked driver's window (conveniently provided by the light's wiring!) shows us there's no Special Vehicle Division Momo wheel or GTS-embroidered Scheel seats here. Oh yeah, it's basic. Heavy on that brown GX cloth..

...and I like it just as much for it! 

As I know I've said here at least once before; as someone with a mighty-delicate soft-spot for the ol' Melbourne-made R31 Nissan Skyline, a SVD GTS(2) is something I'd certainly love to own at some point.
Finger's crossed.
..and honestly, I know I'd be every bit as happy with the one above!

Friday, 9 March 2018

You can have any mid-size sedan you want, as long as it's a Toyota Corona.

..AYE AYE aye aye aye...

Ha. Yep, a Toyota Corona gag. Courtesy of a well-used yet surprisingly-tidy 1982 XT130 sedan spotto'd at the wreckers sometime last year. Just look at that solid acrylic Mexican-beverage-coloured paint shiiiine...

April 1982 XT130 AMI Toyota Corona CS - an Australian Motor Industries produced sixth-gen Corona with with a Holden Starfire four'.
This particular car being early days for the '82 freshen-up (new front-end and larger bumpers), yet only eighteen months off the T140/seventh-generation Corona's introduction. At two-and-a-half years into Australian production for this generation (and one more if we look back towards Japan!) hindsight'd likely have timed that face-lift a tad earlier..!

Sorry, that's Flax on Espresso..

Brown, 'Espresso' or goddamn 'midnight-custard' - it's tidy - in I get!
All's very nice and neat.. but jeez, the wear on that wheel's a little on the enthusiastic side...

...oh, wow!
Not as though that's a lot of kays for its age (334,151km is 207,632mi), but that's definitely more than I'd had expected for an old auto Corona that still presented this well.
I honestly wouldn't have bat an eyelid had this read ~200,000km. I'm impressed. It has been used thoroughly, yet with care. This is exactly what I like to see.

Nice little bit of detailing there.
Interesting to note the use of the same part for both horn buttons. Someone sat behind that for 35 years and hundreds of thousands of kilometers? That upside-down horn on the left would have driven me absolutely insane...!

Quickly, to some OCD-relief via two-thirds of a Holden (General Motors' Australian division) straight-six masquerading as a Toyota...
..a carb-fed, reverse-flow, push-rod 1.9 litre four-cylinder that rustled up around 78 ponies..

"What should we call it?"
"..x.. let's go with 1X..."

Eesh though, it has held up well. Even that decal is cool. 
On the assumption that everything is as original as it appears to be; it is seriously in really impressive shape for those miles.

...but unfortunately just like the car, we're done