TOM Juric was mad about cars from a young age. As a teenager, he dreamed about building a wild pro street Falcon, but life as a uni student meant that an EF with AU Tickford alloys would have to do for a while.
This article was first published in the November 2019 issue of Street Machine
“It was a piece of junk, but I loved that thing; I cruised it to death,” Tom says. “I dumped it on its arse and put a big stereo in it – all that stuff you do when you can’t really afford much.”
That was followed by a pretty nice VH Commodore that was an unfinished project; a painted roller that Tom slotted a healthy 308 in and finished off.
Read next: 604-cube big-block 1971 Ford XY Falcon
The stunning paint is Lexus Infrared – for all intents and purposes it’s a candy apple red
Things went quiet on the car front for a little while as Tom focussed on work and his career. Then the itch came back.
In 2013 Tom bought this XY Falcon off eBay; it was – supposedly – ready to paint. “There was more bog and spray filler than there was metal,” he recalls. “The floor was buckled and it was so bad that the guys at the panel shop were looking for another shell. I said: ‘Bugger it, let’s do it.’”
That decision resulted in Tom ordering the entire Rare Spares catalogue of Falcon replacement panels and tasking Tim Bubb and Kane Armstrong at Ol’ School Garage with bringing the car back to life and looking better than ever.
The trim piece across the boot is machined out of ally and features the Falcon logo in positive relief
It’s pretty obvious this isn’t just another XY GT replica with a killer engine combo – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but what isn’t automatically apparent is the amount of custom bodywork that was performed on the car. The work is pretty substantial: deleted fuel filler and rain gutters, re-profiled rear wheelarches, deleted rear window moulds and reshaped front window moulds. The bumpers have also been tucked in nice and tight to the body, and there is more custom metalwork in the boot and engine bay.
To fit those 15x10 Billet Specialties Street Lites under the back, the car was mini-tubbed to the rails so the 295 ET Streets could ‘easily’ be swallowed up. With all of the bodywork done, Ol’ School Garage covered the whole lot in the stunning Lexus Infrared paint. “It was always going to be Mazda Soul Red; then one day I was driving to work behind a Lexus and thought: That’s the colour for me,” Tom says.
The rain gutters were shaved off the car, which was pretty straightforward, but meant about 100 hours of work to reshape the windscreen moulds so that they looked right
For all intents and purposes it’s candy apple red, but Lexus calls it a Quad-Coat finish. Doing a bit of research reveals that, as the name implies, there are four layers to the paint, not three as you’d find in a traditional candy apple. First off, a copper base coat is laid down and covered in clear. That is followed by a translucent red coat before more clear goes over the top. In the case of Tom’s Falcon, it was the final clear, then the stripes, then more clear, then it was chopped back until it was dead flat before, finally, a hundred hours of detailing.
The boot is as neat and tidy as the rest of the car and features a 75L fuel cell and panels to hide the battery and wiring. The Magnafuel Pro Star 500 Series pump is rated to 2000hp, so even with 800hp it’s got plenty of headroom in case Tom decides to go with E85
The interior follows a similar theme to the exterior, where a lot of the original parts have been used but everything has been tweaked and improved. The car still uses an original bucket/bench seating configuration, but everything has been stripped back down to the frame and then re-bolstered to add some much-needed support. All of the interior work was handled by Shane Webb at Image Trimming, and Tom can’t speak highly enough of his work: “Shane came highly recommended, but after working with him I can tell you the praise wasn’t high enough,” he says. “Absolutely great trimmer, super easy to get along with, a great work ethic, intense attention to detail and incredible knowledge. I can’t fault the guy. With what he started with and what we ended up with, it’s absolutely incredible and a credit to him.”
TOCA Performance screwed together the killer 440ci Clevor, which uses a World Products block, CHI heads and Callies internals, and is topped by a 1350cfm BLP Racing BX4 Xtreme carb. The cut-away shock towers are a dead giveaway that there’s an RRS strut front end under the car, allowing plenty of room for the awesome triple-step headers. The custom catch can and radiator overflow tanks were fabricated to neatly fit at the front of the engine bay
Underneath the car is all business as well, with an RRS Phase 2 suspension up front and McDonald Brothers triangulated four-link out back. The steering is now rack-and-pinion and there are disc brakes on every corner as well. Fully adjustable coil-overs front and rear mean the car can be dialled in for the street or the track, although looking at those skinny front-runners, it’s pretty obvious Tom’s goal wasn’t to go around corners in a hurry.
Straight lines, on the other hand, won’t be a problem. Tom turned to TOCA Performance to screw together a small-block Ford, which in actual fact isn’t very small at all. The base for the engine is a World Products 9.5in-deck cast-iron block with billet four-bolt mains. It’s fitted with a Callies Magnum 4.00in stroker crank, Callies Ultra rods and custom-made JE pistons that measure up at 4.185in. If you do the maths, that adds up to a hair over 440 cubic inches.
That’s all good and well, but if your engine is going to make horsepower, it needs to be able to breathe. Tom selected a pair of CHI 3V heads and matching intake manifold, which then had around 50 hours of porting at TOCA Performance to absolutely maximise their performance. The cam is a custom solid-roller grind designed by TOCA to match the engine’s characteristics, and the pump fuel is supplied by a massive BLP Racing carb rated at 1350cfm! It’s no surprise that Tom only gets about 100km out of his 75-litre fuel tank.
Tom needed something with a bit more support than his baba’s couch, so the stock XY seats have been stripped down to their frames and reshaped with extra bolstering. Keeping with the 90s vib-e, Tom filled his dash with a full complement of Auto Meter gauges, including a custom-made speedo that reads in km/h
While it might not be the most economical engine, it’s one of the tougher naturally aspirated combos out there, making a dyno-proven 800hp at the crank. “Tony and Will at TOCA Performance, in my humble opinion, are the best small-block Ford builders in the country – there, I said it!” Tom laughs. “I’m sure he does a lot of other things well too, but Tony knows his engines backwards. I can call him any time and ask his advice and opinion and he’ll give it to me. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for the powerplant.”
It may have taken four-and-a-half years to finish and more money than Tom cares to add up, but the effort was all worthwhile when it came time to unveil the XY at Summernats 32: “That was a surreal experience and something 16-year-old me could only dream of, so to do it was a bucket-list item ticked for sure. The biggest buzz I get is when people come up and talk to me about my car and then share their stories; I used to think it was about the car, but – and this may sound clichéd – it’s really about the community.”
After chatting to Tom at length about his car at Summernats and also for this story, it’s pretty obvious he’s a well-educated and switched-on bloke, and he had some wise words to say about our scene overall: “As you can see, this build was a team effort. I had the absolute pleasure of working on this project with some super-talented and dedicated professionals. I’m sure it’s a common theme with car builders globally, but it takes a team to pull something like this together.
“When you look at the contribution the auto industry makes to the market, I often wonder why the government doesn’t get behind the industry more. Sure, large-scale manufacturing may not be suited to Australia; however, there is a thriving small-scale, specialised industry out there. Why not support and encourage it, rather than demonise it? When you look at what we turned out in this very specific project, long may the street machining industry reign, I say.”
TOM JURIC & BROOKE ERENSOY
FORD XY FALCON
Paint: Sikkens Lexus Infrared
Type: 440ci Clevor
Inlet: CHI single-plane, ported
Carb: BLP Racing BX4 Xtreme
Heads: CHI ported
Valves: 2.19in (in), 1.65in (ex)
Cam: Custom solid-roller by TOCA
Pistons: Custom JE
Crank: Callies Magnum
Conrods: Callies Ultra
Radiator: PWR with twin 12in SPAL fans
Exhaust: Triple-step headers into twin 3.5in
Gearbox: Fully manualised C4, transbrake, reverse pattern
Converter: SDE 5500rpm stall
Diff: 9in, Strange centre, Truetrac, Altra 9 35-spline axles
Front end: RRS Phase 2
Rear end: Triangulated four-link, anti-roll bar
Shocks: RRS coil-overs (f), Viking coil-overs (r)
Brakes: DBA rotors with PBR calipers (f & r); Wilwood master cylinder
Rims: Billet Specialties Street Lite; 17x4.5 (f), 15x10 (r)
Rubber: M/T Sportsman SR 26x6.0R17 (f), M/T ET Street 295/55R15 (r)
My partner Brooke – without you by my side
it wouldn’t have been a success, thanks love; Tim Bubb, Leon Betts and Kane Armstrong
at Ol’ School Garage; Shane Webb of Image Trimming; Rob Dolley and Lucas Scrivener at The Detailing Studio; Jamie Page at ET Chassis; Tony and Will at TOCA Performance; Neil Maxwell at Precise Automatics; Darren at Protrac Suspension; Carl Merz at Mine Signs for the stripes and assistance in the bird logo design