Friday 31 May 2019

S-Pack Society of Victoria.

Jokes fired wide in a delicate attempt to skirt insensitivity, as it's time for a closer look at the sports-styled variation of Ford Australia's large-car offering through the 1980s: the Falcon 'S' Pack, here based on the 1982-1984 XE Falcon GL specifically.

Kicking off with some three year old Instagram posts and a scan dragged off the interwebs, recycled and repackaged with a photoset from the slightly-shallower depths of my phone's absurdly deep Camera Roll, rinsed out to share in May 2019. You'd never know.

"From Saturday night; a restored or well-tarted-survivor XE Ford Falcon S-Pack sedan... post-first facelift for the fourth generation of Australian Ford Falcons, and a mild sports package for the entry GL variant available on the sedan, wagon, and ute. A basic 'skirts and stickers' package that included that front spoiler, the foglamps, stripes, sporty trim, and so on. Simple, but a great looking thing.. and it's properly fantastic to see these (particularly the XE S-Pack) get a bump in popularity/appreciation in more recent years... #fordaustralia #fordfalcon #falcon #xefalcon #xespack #falconspack #1982"

"...and a close-up of the S-Pack's "S" decal; the end-point of one tremendous, near-continuous decal that works its way around the car. S for Style. S for Sophistication. S for BahamaBeigeWithRedDecalsOverBrownWool..en Sports Seats. The Ford Falcon S-Pack: a carefully positioned hypen away from an insult to the handicapped... #fordaustralia #fordfalcon #falcon #xefalcon #xespack #falconspack #1982"

In Ford's words..?
"If you're a person who is going places, and want a car that will get you there, the new Falcon 'S' Pack is the answer. It incorporates all of Falcon's practicality with a touch of individuality.
With its Alloy Head II engine the new 'S' Pack has more power as well as improved fuel economy.
It boasts a Watts Link Rear Suspension System, which features a Watts linkage, 4 trailing arms and progressive rate coil springs. This new system provides the car with a significant improvement in surefootedness and control.
The 'S'Pack gets its sporty appearance from a number of well chosen features. The exterior has special body striping and blackout treatment, fog lamps, black front spoiler, slotted steel road wheels, and ER70H14 steel belt radials.
Inside, the look is equally individualistic. Seats are faced in striped wool blend cloth, instrumentation is comprehensive; having speedometer, tachometer, fuel, temperature and oil pressure gauges, volt meter, trip meter, and an LED digital clock. An intermittent wiper setting is also provided.
This is the car for the Falcon driver who likes the idea of looking a little different. No matter the time of the place."

...and as for that photoset, how deep are we talking? Ah, well that'd be October 2017 and the Ford Performance Club of ACT's 2017 "Capital All Ford Day" in Queanbeyan NSW, where there just so happened to be a particularly spectacular example of this sporty early-eighties Ford. Tidy, complete and seemingly very original - it was hard to miss!

The start of the 'S' Pack's fantastic (and XE-specific) body striping that works its way around the car, along with a look at the included fog lamps and black front spoiler...

...the slotted steel road wheels and ER70H14 (now 205/70 R14) steel belt radials.
The "ALLOY HEAD II" badge proudly refers to the then-latest 3.3 and 4.1 litre variations of a six-cylinder that traces its roots back to the Ford US Thriftpower Six twenty years earlier; the 5speed in this particular car pinning this one as the smaller of the two capacities offered at the time.

FALCONS: plural noun. There's more than one.

Rubbish jokes aside, that is actually another S-Pack parked to its right!

The end of the decal that has busily made its way around 11 metres of Australian Ford sheetmetal..

Speaking of which, this "CHEATER" (often "Aunger" brand) window louvre is a classic bit of 1980s Australiana. I sure hope someone was wise enough to hold onto all these model-specific moulds, as I have no doubt these are going to become a hot item again when the 80s/90s Aussie stuff really gets into its stride in years to come...

Fantastic stripe package outside, fantastic stripe detailing inside.
I know taste is subjective, but I'm honestly surprised how bloody handsome I find the entirety of the 'S' Pack inclusions on the 1982-1984 XE. A home run. Leaves me curious as to what else those involved may have had their hand in locally..

Fluffy-dice-cubes ("...I think it's time we went for a cruuuuuiiiise...") packed away for safe-keeping and instruments revealing the ~170,000km (~105,000mi) apparently traveled with great care over this Falcon's then 35 years. An absolute credit to its owner/s.

All in all, a rare sight to see out and about these days. Sadly most were thoroughly used up and binned long ago, just as many of their late 90s and early 2000s Falcon "XR6" equivalents are having their last laps around roads today. But time goes on, numbers thin, values of the survivors increase, restorations become justifiable, and eventually.. eventually.. shining examples will find their way en masse to the middle of a sports field on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I'm excited..!

Tuesday 30 April 2019


A November '80 RN46 Toyota HiLux exhibiting the painfully familiar classic Japanese vehicle combination of legendary mechanical reliability buttoned to sheetmetal that rusts with truly breathtaking enthusiasm. Usable till the doors literally fall off. Thirty nine years old and cosmetically in line for the bin decades ago; not much locally gets to exist to the point it's this far gone...

A bloody shame too, as it would've been a cool thing if even remotely salvageable.

When factory spec/options and originality can be the difference between life and death for a classic car, this chipper 541-solid-yellow single-cab 4x4 'Lux I stumbled upon at the wreckers a fortnight ago sure had plenty going for it...

 ...but the rust... God, the rust; no, even the most naive underestimator on the hunt for their first ever project car would know better.

But that near time-warp originality makes for a fascinating photo-set if nothing else. I absolutely loved seeing those 16" split steel rims and appropriately dainty 205R16LT tyres - sitting right where Toyota had put them almost forty years earlier - along with a look at the crusty WARN manual Locking Hubs before they're surely re-purposed by somebody...

All original paint and striping around this side too. To see bodywork this far gone that's so unmolested is a treat. How had nobody attempted to patch this at any point? Where had it been for nobody to have to?! How long had this been off the road?!

Victoria's lack of annual inspections mean you could continue to pay your registration every year and fly blissfully under the radar, but living in a climate relatively gentle on bodywork (understandably, given the inspection-less system works at all in this state) there's absolutely no way this could go un-noticed on the road. This isn't Canada!

There's seemingly not a single spot of paint left on this chassis.

The leaf-sprung solid-axles, front and rear. A proper little four-wheel-drive.

Towbar of course, because Australian commercial vehicle. 140Nm (103 lb ft) 18R be damned!

78,582km (48,829mi) on the clock? Frighteningly, I'm thinking this may actually be the first time 'round. Ouch.

"You put those bloody multigrips down!" Absolutely loved this. Had to fight the urge to take the character-laden glovebox panel with me...

It's beautiful aging and patina that just has to be left alone. Photos taken to record and I'm on my way...

Rust in peace HiLux. Your job's done.

Sunday 31 March 2019

The CONC Flying Dragon.

Another one of those posts I've been meaning to make for quite a while now, to the somewhat-alarming point it has already been five years since I took these photos! I was definitely in the process at the time in any case; that counts, right?! Ha - I get there eventually...

1986 CONC Flying Dragon, by Speed Star.
15" FR, 1565 ; 15 x 6.5" +19
4H 114.3
August 1986

Two non-directional face castings (depending on valve location) in one size only. Standard Speed Star three-piece (barrel halves welded) construction. Familiar 20 bolt pattern Reverse (15") and Full Reverse (14") barrels. Two colours. Two cap designs. Rare. Rare.
This tall-cap "FR" 15" version is seemingly the rarer of those two, too; no real surprise when the advertising I've come across (some shots below) highlights the Full Reverse 14" FF version in particular. I've genuinely only seen a handful of sets on the market in years of casual wheel browsing...

Despite the relatively simple construction for a Speed Star made wheel at the time (no Electron Lock, minimal size/colour options, non-directional faces..); there's still some great detailing and an absolutely brutal design from my favourite era of SSR. I've banged on about it before, but I really believe ~1984-1994 Speed Star produced some of the most unique and technically interesting wheels ever made..

...the photos above showing the channel for the red pinstripe, the hollowed out spokes and a face mounted to the barrel flange on delicate cast columns for air-flow between.

Some full page Option Magazine adverts from the period:
Interesting to see the 15" FR version and the main 14" wheel don't have the "飛龍" "Flying Dragon" sticker opposite the valve...

Black face, gold fasteners, 14" FF on a fourth generation EF Honda Civic...

...and what appears to be that same Civic alongside some racing equivalents at the track!

That's all for this one anyway. We're done. Hopefully you enjoyed the closer look at this unique old wheel..!