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Elite-level 1966 Ford XR Falcon ute

By Boris Viskovic | Photos: Nathan Jacobs, 10 May 2020 Features

Elite-level 1966 Ford XR Falcon ute

This killer XR Falcon is what happens when a 10-time Summernats elite hall veteran builds himself a work ute

IF YOU haven’t heard of Steven Alldrick or his business, Deluxe Rod Shop, then you may have been living under a rock for the past 10 years or so. Then again, Steve doesn’t really like to blow his own horn or talk himself up. He’s quietly spoken, modest to a fault and always turns out beautifully built, subtly styled hot rods and street machines.

This article was first published in the April 2020 issue of Street Machine

Ford Falcon XR ute

For a bloke who’s still in his 30s, he sure has built a lot of nice cars, but that’s because he’s pretty much been doing it his whole life. Steve is following in his father Ray’s footsteps, who ran TCR Carponents for many years. The fact he’s a second-generation hot rodder has definitely given Steve a bit of a head-start and is probably part of the reason he’s such a prolific builder.

Watch next: One-of-one XW GS Silver Fox van restored by Deluxe Rod Shop

Ford Falcon XR ute rear

The original Vista Green paint looks great as the sun goes down. The clean lines and lowered stance are complemented by a little bit of hot rod styling with the big and little rubber

How prolific? How does 10 different cars unveiled at the past 10 Summernats sound? Many people would be proud to have achieved that once in their lifetime!

Watch next: Steve's XR ute unveiled at Summernats 33

Ford Falcon XR ute side

After each Summernats, Steve doesn’t just kick back and admire his hard work either; he gets right back into it, as there’s only a few weeks until the Victorian Hot Rod Show. At this year’s VHRS, he took home the Top Ute trophy, and has displayed 20 different cars at the show in the past decade.

Read next: Twin-turbo Windsor-powered 1965 XP Falcon ute

Ford Falcon XR ute bonnet

The teardrop scoop is a masterpiece crafted by Steve out of steel, and even incorporates the twin swage lines from the original bonnet. It is inspired by the Thunderbolt Fairlanes and lightweight Galaxies of the mid-60s

While the majority of the Summernats unveil cars were built for customers, the very first – a ’34 Ford roadster – and this XR ute were built for himself. He did also slip in a ’32 Ford tudor for his wife Kathleen a few years back, but this ute is special, because Steve’s had a desire to build one for quite a while.

Read next: Stunning 10-second street trim XT Falcon ute

Ford Falcon XR ute engine bay

Initial plans were going to be a 5.0L backdated with tin covers and all of the factory markings. Plans changed, and a 500hp 347 Windsor pulled from Steve’s ’34 roadster found its way in there instead. The 347 was given a bit of a birthday, with RHS heads, Victor Jr intake, Scat rods and crank and a 750 Ultra HP up top

“The car came from Glen Innes and I had it sent down by CEVA Transport and got a permit to drive it home,” he says. “There’s a big hill in Whittlesea about 40km from our house and it never made it up the hill. It was a tired, old, flogged-out six-cylinder. Kathleen was following me and her windscreen was covered in engine oil. I was sitting on the side of the road and thought, f*ck it, I’ll put a Windsor in it straight away. That’s where it snowballed; it was a mint unrestored grandpa ute.”

Initially, that snowball was going to be pretty small: “Originally I was just going to put in a 5.0-litre with all the tin valve covers and make it look like it should,” Steve says. “So that’s why the 347 has ended up looking like it has, because I already had all that stuff sandblasted and primed and ready to put on just a stocky motor.”

Ford Falcon XR ute underside

Underneath is just as tidy as up top, with the body colour extending to the floorpan. Ventilated discs with XF Falcon alloy calipers help in the braking department

Well, that little snowball grew to the size of a small car, and what ended up in the ute was a 500hp Windsor that was screwed together by David Baird using a whole bunch of stuff from Pavtek, such as the CNC-ported RHS ally heads, a port-matched Edelbrock Victor Jr intake and custom-grind cam. To be honest, this is the motor out of Steve’s ’34, which ran low 11s, but it’s had a pretty major freshen-up and should easily push the ute to similar ETs.

The rest of the driveline has also been updated, with a C4 fitted with a TCE 4500rpm converter and an XT GT Falcon diff that has 3.7:1 gears and a Truetrac LSD. You may have noticed that there’s no fancy shifter on the floor; instead, Steve fitted a factory column shift, custom fabricating the linkage to go around the headers.

Ford Falcon XR ute

The thirsty Windsor needs a good supply of fuel, so Steve mounted an Aeromotive pump, as well as the filter, regulator and fuel pressure gauge in the tank compartment under the tray

It wasn’t just the driveline that snowballed either; the bodywork copped a lot more love than Steve initially planned as well. “I had some heartache because it had been side-swiped in 1970 and the whole thing had been repainted, but because it was that old it looked like factory paint. Kathleen said: ‘You can’t leave the dent in the tailgate,’ so I started knocking the dent out of the tailgate and it wouldn’t come out. It had two inches of bog in it. Not an ounce of rust; the best inner and outer tailgate you’ve ever seen – but just a big dent in it full of bog. “So I ended up stripping it, blasting the frame, folding and English-wheeling up a new skin and metal-finishing it all.

Ford Falcon XR ute wheel

The 16in So-Cal Speed Shop Hot Rod wheels are a nod to Indy and NASCAR wheels of the 1960s. They’re a proper spindle-mount deal with a knock-off spinner, and are fitted with 175/75 and 225/55 rubber

“The whole left-hand side was the same,” Steve continues. “It had an inch of bog because they’d run it down a gate post. I tapped the dents out of the guard, the door and the quarter panel on the left-hand side and there’s not an ounce of bog in it now. It was just that they’d trowelled it from one side to the other and hadn’t bothered to knock the dents out.”

The right-hand side also needed a bit of attention. It had a quarter panel put on back in 1970 and Steve put a Rare Spares door skin on and a new guard.

Ford Falcon XR ute interior

This was a base-model ute – not even a Falcon 500 – but Steve made it a bit more liveable with carpet, armrests, pleats in the seat and a radio. Fancy!

While all of that was just to get the car back to a factory-fresh state, the work on the bonnet is some serious metal wizardry. “I got bored one Sunday,” Steven laughs. “I bought a shit bonnet off a guy that already had a hole cut in it, because I didn’t want to wreck a good bonnet. I made the teardrop in about eight hours; then it took me the next week to make the underframe to make it look factory.”

What’s really cool is how Steve has continued the swage lines that run down the middle of the bonnet. He achieved that using a Pullmax with nylon dies, and then TIG-welded the scoop to the original bonnet skin. There’s a few Falcon Nazis who have said: “Why’d you do that?” But don’t panic; Steve’s got the original bonnet painted and hanging in the shed.

Ford Falcon XR ute dash

You can’t buy new radio knobs for XR Falcons, so Chad Forward 3D-printed them before Steve smoothed and painted them. The last pieces of the puzzle, which arrived just in time, were the gauge surround and shifter quadrant. Steve’s good mate Darren Mantel did a 350km round trip the week before Christmas to pick the parts up and drop them off

“Honestly, I think reverse-cowl scoops have f*cked the nation,” he declares. “I had a bunch of judges at Summernats come up to me and thank me for not putting Welds or Center Lines on it and for not putting a reverse-cowl on it. They said: ‘Your car probably went further because you did something different.’” If you’re still having issues with it, look up Thunderbolt Fairlanes and lightweight Galaxies from 1964 and it might start to make sense.

For a bloke who spends his days building cars for other people, it’s great that Steve still gets a buzz out of crafting a car for himself. “I’m stoked!” he says. “You probably get more excited about customers’ cars in regards to what you’ve done and how you’ve done it, whereas this is more like a restored car, but you’re just excited because it’s your own. I just love going to Summernats and being a part of it, and always strive to have a car there.”

Ford Falcon XR ute radio

10 OUT OF 10

AT STREET Machine Summernats 33, Steve was honoured with the Master Craftsman award, but a few of the punters seemed a bit confused as to why he won that with what appeared to be a restored Falcon ute. Of course, that’s not at all what the award was about; it was presented to Steve because he has unveiled 10 different cars in 10 years at Summernats.

This year was extra special for Steve, as it bookended a decade of debut cars that started with his own ’34 roadster and finished with another car built specifically for himself rather than a customer. It’s an outstanding effort, and it’s great to see Steve – and his team – recognised for all of the amazing work that comes out of Deluxe Rod Shop.

Summernats unveil

SUMMERNATS 24
Steve Alldrick – ’34 Ford roadster
Top Open Hot Rod

SUMMERNATS 25
Ewen Macdonald – ’33 Ford coupe
Top 10, Top Closed, Top Engineered

SUMMERNATS 26
Anthony Newman – EH Holden
Top 10, Top Engine Bay, Top Undercarriage

SUMMERNATS 27
Neil Monette – ’34 Ford coupe
Top Engineered Hot Rod

SUMMERNATS 28
Kathleen Alldrick – ’32 Ford tudor
Top 60

SUMMERNATS 29
John Basso – XW Falcon van
Top 60

SUMMERNATS 30
James Family – ’29 Ford tudor
Top 20

SUMMERNATS 31
David Murphy – ’32 Ford roadster
Top 10, Top Engineered Hot Rod, Top Open Hot Rod, 3rd Top Undercarriage

SUMMERNATS 32
Mike King – XM Falcon coupe
Top 10, PPG Supreme winner

SUMMERNATS 33
Steve Alldrick – XR Falcon ute
Top Ute, Master Craftsman

Steven Alldrick

The family that trays together stays together. Steve with wife Kathleen and kids Zoe (5) and Jake (3)

STEVEN ALLDRICK
1966 FORD XR FALCON UTE

Paint: PPG Vista Green

DONK
Type: 347ci Windsor
Inlet: Edelbrock Victor Jr
Carb: Holley Ultra HP 750cfm
Heads: RHS 225cc CNC-ported
Valves: 2.02in (in), 1.60in (ex)
Cam: Pavtek/Marshall custom-grind
Pistons: SHP forged
Crank: Scat
Conrods: Scat H-beam
Radiator: Four-row with 16in electric fan
Exhaust: Four-into-one headers, 17/8in primaries, twin 3in stainless
Ignition: ICE

SHIFT
’Box: FoMoCo C4 by Allen Walten
Converter: TCE 4500rpm stall
Diff: XT GT, 3.7 gears, Truetrac

BENEATH
Front end: Standard, 24mm sway-bar
Shocks: Monroe
Steering: Standard
Brakes: XF Falcon alloy calipers (f), drums (r)

ROLLING STOCK
Rims: So-Cal Speed Shop Hot Rod; 16x5 (f), 16x8 (r)
Rubber: Nankang CM-20 175/75R16 (f), Toyo Proxes 225/55R16 (r)

THANKS
Jim Wolstencroft for the bodywork and buffing, lending a helping hand and being a mate who is always there; Mick McCallum for bodywork and all the after-hours work; Theo from Pavtek for engine advice; Kathleen and the kids for all the lost Sundays, for keeping me fed and watered and for the finance; my mates Neil Boniface, Ron Mills, Edward and Ken, Darren Mantel, Dain and Kelly Souter, David Baird, Troy Nutter, Scott Green and Brendon Watts; Melomotive; Oxytech; Zed at GT Ford Performance; Scott and Cam at SG Auto Electrics; Brendan Carroll at Car Builders

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