This article on David's XP Falcon was first published in the January 2019 issue of Street Machine
THESE days everyone expects everything to be finished yesterday, be of top quality, yet cost next to nothing. That’s what makes David Scholz’s custom XP Falcon a breath of fresh air. The build took almost two decades and its scope expanded significantly in that time, yet he never wavered from the goal of hand-building his own cruiser.
To lower the roof, David replaced the front windscreen opening with the two-inch lower and flatter XP coupe item. He raked the rear four inches, then created new sweeping C-pillars that are more heavily pitched to flow the roofline down in a similar curve to that of the rear wheelarch. He then filled the resulting hole with a cut-down 80 Series Land Cruiser rear ’screen
Okay, so David owns and runs DJ’s Sandblasting & Restoration, but this actually hindered the process more than it helped.
“I build customers’ cars for a living, so my main problem was finding the time,” he says.
“I sunk 2200 hours into the XP; that’s why it took me 19 years to build.”
All locks, handles, moulding and badges were binned, and a hand-formed steel reverse-cowl scoop added. The quarter-vent glass was deleted for a sleek finish
Back in the 90s David sold off his custom XD pano-cum-XF ute to fund his wife’s new daily driver, so he desperately needed another cool ride. He’d fallen in love with the XP’s rounded rear quarters and tail-lights when he first saw his aunt’s car as a kid, so when he stumbled across one at a local auction he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He knew the car and its original owner, so he bid and won the factory sedan for a mere $1750.
Read more: Restomod 1966 Ford XP Falcon coupe
It wasn’t long before the modifying bug bit again. “The intention was to build a nice street car running a 289ci Windsor, a C4, nine-inch and mini-tubs,” David says.
With an engineer commissioned, David got cracking. The body and panels were stripped and dipped to reveal a solid base with very little rust repairs required.
Read next: Reborn 1965 Ford XP coupe showstopper
The Falcon sits low thanks to a narrowed and high-mounted Jag IRS, and mini-tubs. The 16x8 Center Line Trigon rears are now centred in the wheelarches, lengthening the wheelbase by 35mm
“As the engine bay has been the focal point of all my builds, it was always going to be tidy,” David says. A flat firewall and new radiator support were soon fabbed before a 289ci mill was test-fitted between the towers.
Then an off-the-cuff comment saw David blow that build plan out of the water.
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The blinging engine bay sports a heap of custom mods. Not only is there a flat firewall and no towers or inner wheelwells, David’s also created his own serpentine system to run air conditioning without the water pump. Both the a/c and the billet alternator are mounted low thanks to the bespoke system
“My mate Ken mentioned a roof chop, and after that it got a bit crazy,” he laughs. He whipped out the grinder and lopped two-and-a-half inches from the front and four-and-a-half inches from the rear, with new sweeping C-pillars.
This radical outer treatment changed the final vision for the XP into a heavily modified ride, which meant the stock chassis and mild driveline no longer cut it. Under the rear, David has extended the rails to create a full chassis, then double-skinned the floor for a flat under-body with exhaust provisions. Jaguar IRS has been set high into the body and shifted back to lower the ride height, while centring the rear wheels in the arches. Mini-tubs were then moulded around the new rear clip.
“I wanted to have it look really low and still be legal, without cheating by using airbags to dump it down,” David explains.
Extensive fishplating coupled with 6mm-thick front chassis rails were added forward of the original horns, making the wheelwells and shock towers redundant. The result is a spacious, open-air engine bay
With the rear done, the XP sat nose-high, which meant that the front end needed an equally serious makeover to get all four corners to the weeds. A custom polished stainless Rod-Tech IFS got the job done. Front chassis rails were then added, alleviating the need for further strengthening, while also making the wheel wells and shock towers redundant.
“Once the towers went that meant I could fit a bigger engine, so I did,” David says of the 351ci Windsor cratey that has been set back in the spacious bay for improved weight distribution.
It was at this point – after 17 years – that David finally set himself a non-negotiable deadline.
“Our business became the major sponsor for the Valley Hot Rodders Cruise On event, and the XP would feature on all of the posters and memorabilia. I had just over 12 months to finish it.”
With fresh enthusiasm David attacked the bodywork in his detailed style. Factory joins were seam-welded before the lot was painstakingly sanded flat. Every panel of the custom sedan then copped a controlled drenching in Spray Chief’s Candy Tangerine, a four-layer candy pearl.
David continued his one-man modifying mission inside, with dash mods, a custom console and he even created the door and boot cards! He faced the white Dolphin gauges towards the modified 2013 Lancer driver’s seat. A Billet Specialties steering wheel points the car in the right direction while a Hurst shifter changes the T5’s gears
Inside, modern niceties like air con and fast glass improve occupant comfort, and the rest of the interior has been finished in show-worthy style. Steve Baum from Stateside Trim has swathed the 2013 Lancer front seats and custom rear bench in white marine-grade vinyl adorned with Pursuit 351 embroidered inserts. That same motif carries through to the scuff plates, boot and around the outer door poppers.
As D-day loomed, David had the car seen to by the engineer and soon had the XP rego’d with the same plates it wore from the dealer back in ’66. He was going to make the deadline!
“I drove the car to Cruise On with nervous anticipation,” he says of the well-received debut. “I’m really happy with how it turned out; it’s everything I wanted it to be and a little bit more. If I’d had the momentum and money for the XP to hit the scene 15 years ago, it would’ve been quite an out-there build.”
And it still is, with Pursuit 351 taking out a decent trophy haul from the 2017 Extreme Auto Expo show along with a Meguiar’s Superstars invite to MotorEx 2018. Yet the car was built for cruising, and after almost two decades David has quickly made up for lost time.
“I’ve clocked up around 1500km; it handles so well, it’s a fun car to drive,” he says. “Overall I feel that I’ve proved that with determination and some skill, a high-quality car can be created without a crazy cost.”
1966 FORD XP FALCON SEDAN
Paint: Spray Chief custom Candy Pearl Tangerine
Brand: 351ci Windsor crate motor
Carby: 600 Holley, shotgun scoop
Manifold: Typhoon, polished
Camshaft: Mild Crow roller
Oil pump: High-volume
Fuel system: Holley Blue electric pump
Water pump: Chrome Proform electric
Cooling: Aussie Desert Cooler four-row XY GT radiator, twin Davies Craig thermo fans
Exhaust: Stainless-steel 2½in headers to twin 3in system, ceramic-coated, Magnaflow mufflers
Ignition: Accel electronic dizzy
Power: Approx. 350fwhp
Gearbox: T5 Mustang
Clutch: Mal Wood heavy-duty
Tailshaft: ZA Fairlane shortened
Diff: Narrowed Jaguar, LSD, 3:00:1 gears, modified Jag axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Custom IFS polished stainless, Rod-Tech coil-overs
Rear: Custom Jaguar IRS, Rod-Tech coil-overs
Steering: Flaming River column, Commodore rack-and-pinion
Brakes: Commodore vented discs and calipers (f), Jaguar inboard discs (r)
Master cylinder: 7in, 90-degree angled under-dash pedal box
Other: GM stud pattern
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Center Line Trigon; 16x7 (f), 16x8 (r)
Tyres: Dunlop; 195/50 (f), 245/50 (r)