Back to the topic of 4 wheels and with good reason too. My grandfather passed away more than 15 years ago. But before he left this world, his daily drive was a 1964 Ford Falcon XM Pursuit. For a guy that used to smoke more than 1 packet of cigarettes a day, he still managed to live a long life into his early 80s
So as it goes, death comes around for us all, but what about the possessions that our passing souls leave behind? Well my grandfather’s 64 falcon had been parked in an asbestos ridden garage for some 25 years. Almost forgotten, but always remembered as an icon in my grandparents life. The Ford was garaged shortly after the torque converter went south and with his aging physical and mental state it was decided to let the old XM sleep, rather than spending the money to have it repaired. The windows were wound up, doors were locked and a bed sheet was draped over the car – just to keep the dust off.
25 years later, on the first and hottest day of December, I spoke to my aunty about the possibility of getting the car restored and running again in time for my wedding. To my delight she was enthusiastic about me taking the car, but warned that all tyres were flat and that the asbestos garage was literally on its last legs. The deal was that we could take the car, so long as we removed some of the junk that was stored in my fathers once family home garage.
Opening the doors to the garage was like opening a crypt that had never seen the light of day. As soon as the sun rays beamed into the garage, the bugs that were inhabiting their safe house quickly scattered for the darker shadows. With the garage doors wide opened, the round iconic falcon tail lights presented themselves in true classic Falcon form.
WOW – it wasn’t just a car, it was a time capsule of many family memories. Opening the trunk we found everything you’d expect to see in the trunk of a car. Spare tyre, chrome Ford hub cap, tool box, original Ford jack, a sickle?!?!, bags and bags of screws and nails. Hmmm no wonder all tyres were flat.
Towing the car out of the garage wasn’t going to be easy. Apart from all tyres being flat, we already suspected that corrosion would have seized many of the moving parts. We took a punt and used some old rope found in the garage and hooked the rope to the tow bar of my brothers van. It only took two pulls before the rope was at full tension before it snapped. Foolish to think that this old guy was going to get out of bed that easy.
We then resorted to the original Falcon jack to hoist up the rear of the car. Our aim was to check that each wheel could be spun by hand. The left rear wheel spun freely so we moved and jacked up the front left wheel. Here was our problem. The front wheel had completely seized and the most probable cause was the drum brake. With a bit of fiddling around, we adjusted the drum brake spring to release tension on the outer hub. Re-installed the wheel and we have a freely spinning wheel.
No mucking around this time. Anthony made use of his tie-down straps often used to deliver our Laro motorbikes around town. Capable of taking up to 2.5 tonne, we imagined that it was more suited to the job rather than the 25 year old rope we began dealing with.
Like as if the garage was given birth to an old car, we pulled and pushed the Falcon out and into the real world again.
The odometer reads 96,493 which we think are kilometres rather than miles. Still to be confirmed though. As with any restoration project, our next step is to start taking stock of parts required to get the old boy going again.
Have you ever uncovered an old barn find? Let us know, we’d like to hear about your story.