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Old 01-07-2014, 01:02 AM   #1
Claytopia
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Default Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hi All

A little while ago I started to get a bit more active on Ford Forums, I mentioned that I was restoring an XB GT Hardtop and a few members asked me to start a thread, well here it is…

The history.

The year was 1968 and my father has just seen this cute blonde… sorry that’s too far back, Ok the year was 1997 and I was on the hunt for a nice tidy falcon hardtop to waste my time, money and youth on.

Most of the cars I had seen were, to put it nicely, utter pigs’ ploppies. I even drove 2 hrs to go and see one the owner had said was almost perfect body wise with a sweet 250 six in it. It had actually rusted through the floor pan both sides at the front and if you closed the drivers door too hard the whole back quarter flexed and showered rust everywhere. Oh and that sweet six took 5 minutes to start, blew smoke into the cab and wouldn’t rev past 3k. I left less than impressed.

Well at the time there was this bloke selling his XB GT for 11K, I didn’t have 11k but it was by far the best car I had seen out of the 30 over the last 9 months so I offered 9k but he never got back to me. I went away glum but my father being the champ he is rang the bloke and must have said some mighty pretty words because they settled on a price of $8500, which was great seeing as it was in the budget and he had also put his price up to 12k.

And so the deal was struck. At first the car was registered in my mums name due to me having lost my licence only a short time before and for me to get insurance was either the funniest thing that the insurance companies had heard or they wanted 4k a year to insure it for 5k a year. Under Mums name it was $300 for the full $8500 and so in 1997 my Mum bought her first car, a 1976 XB GT Hardtop.

Now the plan had always been to build up a Mad Max tribute style of car but after finding out I had just bought a one of a kind GT, yes that’s right it’s a one of a kind; you see only 3 Hardtops from factory were painted in Antique beige and this was the only one with a parchment interior (it was black when I bought the car). From factory it had air con and power steering and was automatic. When I bought it air con and power steering had been removed and it had a top loader.

So while it looked nothing like it had from factory when I bought it I knew back then that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t do right by the car.

And so after a house, a reliable car for me, an engagement ring, another house, a wedding, a honeymoon, several OS holidays, two kids and a new car for the family, I was told by the much-better-half, “pull your finger out and start on your car”. (Yeah she’s great and smoking hot too and no you can’t clone her). So I built a small 7.5 x 12m shed and started to strip the car ready for a full bare metal rotisserie restoration.
And after all that dribble, here are the before pics.

P3150001.jpg

P3150002.jpg

P3150003.jpg

And so come with me if you will on a restoration that will last longer and cost far far more than I ever intended, Oh and honey if your reading this everything has come in under budget and I just love it when you mother stays with us.

Cheers
Clayton

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Old 01-07-2014, 07:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hi Clayton

Good luck with the build, there's a lot of guys on here that have done resto's on these things and will have great advice for you that should help you keep the budget realistic. Biggest cost, (and the great unknown), will be panel and paint. Everything else is relatively easy to keep in check, unless you go silly with engine etc. (And who would do that?????? Ummmm!)

Cheers Graeme
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

HAHA Thats a ripping opener.

Good luck mate, I love the colour combo and the story.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Clayton was this car owned by Lyn and Anthony K ....?
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Good on ya for starting the build thread mate - it should help keep you motivated. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the beasty!
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

All the best with the build, it must be nice having a one of one combination GT.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hey Clayton, welcome and wow, you have got something special there!!!

As Graeme said paint and panel work will be the biggest challenge both for your budget and sanity but once it's all done that will be forgotten.

As for engine just think of how you want to use the car and get an engine built accordingly. Don't get hung up on dyno figures and chasing numbers.

I'll be watching with great interest.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

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Clayton was this car owned by Lyn and Anthony K ....?

No Idea, I bought the car off a guy named Ray Teakle.

One day I was dropping a mate home and his neighbour came running out, apparently he knew a guy who knew the owner. So as much as you trust information told to me by a guy ,who knew a guy who knew one of the past owners ... here it goes

The car was once owned by the secritary of the NSW GT Club who then sold it to another guy who put a 3/4 race cam in it (ahh the days of 1/4 etc. race cams...) and drag raced it. Apparently it has done either a 12.3 or 11.7 quarter mile. I'll take that with a grain of salt.

What I can tell you is that it was sold by hastings-Deering, Lidcombe NSW apart from that the rest is currently a mystery.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

HAHAHAHA

What a great read mate

And what a ripper car to have got your hands on unreal good luck with it mate and as Don Bourke used to say Don't hold back with your resto,,,

I've only been a member for a few days and have also started restoring an XB coupe unfortunately not a GT but it is GS,,,

Mate I can't believe how lucky we are to have a collective of blokes that are willing to share their knowledge at the drop of a hat,,,,

My hat comes off to them

Cheers Shane

p.s. Glad I'm not the poor bugger who gave it away sorry I mean sold it
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hey mate,

Looks awesome! Perhaps consider getting a thread going under the projects section, I reckon many more people will look at it if its there.

Cheers

Stewart
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Old 02-07-2014, 02:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

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Hey mate,

Looks awesome! Perhaps consider getting a thread going under the projects section, I reckon many more people will look at it if its there.

Cheers

Stewart
Hey Stewart

You know I didn't even consider posting over there. I just went oh oh oh, I have a coupe, I'll chuck it on the coupe restoration and build section.

I don't really want to run two threads for the same thing, I'll just drop a thread over there and tell them to check out this one cause we all know the coupes are where its at.

Cheers
Clayton
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

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The car was once owned by the secritary of the NSW GT Club who then sold it to another guy who put a 3/4 race cam in it (ahh the days of 1/4 etc. race cams...) and drag raced it.



Ahh the good ole days, So many young blokes had 3/4 race cams, sadly I only had a 1/2 race cam and still blew them away (on private test tracks) of course.

Good luck with the build mate.
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Old 21-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hi All

I went to add the next installment last night, only to realize that I will have to get a Photo bucket etc. account otherwise you will only ever had the most recent pictures.

So i will get onto that and post some pictures and the tale of the day the motor can out... of the car.
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Old 22-07-2014, 09:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

So last time we left off I admitted that my wife kicked me in the butt and said “here honey I found these in my hand bag, they look like yours; now get onto your car”, so after firmly reattaching my mates I got into the shed.

From the first post you can see I took a few before pictures. I have been keeping a photo and video record of the strip down as I go, really thrill a minute stuff like : Photo 1, here is a picture of the driver side bonnet hinge, photo 2, here is a picture of a snap lock bag with driver side bonnet hinge bolts written on it, and just when you think it can’t get topped, hold onto your hats for photo 3, the driver side bonnet removed in a box with bonnet hinges written on the box and if you take your time and look closely you will see on the ground in front of the box a small bag of bolts with bonnet hinge bolts driver side written on it.

Now I don’t want you to get too excited; not all the pictures are that high quality. I mean this is a story about rebuilding a car, not my totally adequate photography skillz (the z is intentional, it gives it a street edge) Some of the sequences have quite a large number of shots in various stages and sub-stages for full disassembly, just thinking about revisiting the series where I pulled the dash out makes me swoon…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so if you have a videos running at 24f/s does that then equal 24 000 words a second? Of if you’re watching at 36f/s is it then 36 000 words a second, and what about the refresh rate of your screen, if you’re watching on a 200htz screen at 36 f/s even at that f/s the screen is going to refresh each frame several times, does that then make it 200 000 words a second or do they multiply 200htz x 36f/s x 1000words is a massive (pauses. checks with calculator. grins smugly.) 7.2million words a second….

Sorry about that, I’m back - I’m saying don’t just take pictures, get right into it and take any videos you may want as well as you may need them later. There are some awesome ones of me rolling and or crawling into various positions in under and around the car shining torches at parts saying engrossing things like “Here we can see where the handbrake cable comes down through the floor pan”, I know what you’re thinking, GTFO this guy has videos of handbrake cables, Yes I do, I just checked I actually have 2 of them (one for each side… PM meJ)

So here are a couple of pictures of when a good mate and I pulled the engine out and put her on an engine stand. The last picture is me post burn, Sav my friend on the right is not a huge fan of the blue oval, in fact I think he has owned one of each major marque except Ford since I have known him. So when I was in the engine bay he commented “I bet I know what your cars thinking”. “What” I asked him and he replied “I was really hopping for more inches!!”. Now that’s a pretty funny comment in itself but what I should add is my lovely wife who was holding the camera and taking a few snaps muttered none too under her breath, “I know how she feels”… and snap, the photo was taken too.

And so without further pause here are a few pics of the day the motor came out.




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Old 23-07-2014, 05:18 PM   #15
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Old 24-07-2014, 07:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Great read mate - you're a ****a!
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Old 30-07-2014, 08:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

I want to live in Claytopia.
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Old 31-07-2014, 06:27 PM   #18
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I want to live in Claytopia.
Amen Koop74
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:19 AM   #19
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

great read!
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:38 PM   #20
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

So the motor came out without a hitch and bolted up to the engine stand - and is still there to this day. Now I can tell you that it appears to be the matching numbers block. Being out of an XB it is one of the square cast examples (not the d) and my block for some unknown reason has the letter ‘r’ stamped into the middle of the square, I did a bit of research (ok fine I googled it - that’s research right?) and looked over the top two pages of entries and found nothing. If anyone has any ideas or theories on what that ‘r’ means I would love to hear them.

Next we dropped the top loader out onto a trolley and it was wheeled under the bench, it looks a little cute sitting there; the little top loader sitting next to its big bloated cousin the FMX. I know that the FMX is never going to see any km’s in any car that I own but I just can’t put it out to pasture.

My car was originally fitted with the FMX auto but when I bought the car it was fitted with a top loader. But as the XB’s were the last of the GT’s I believe they had started to fit the Borg Warner manual box’s at that stage but I tell you a Borg Warner has got about as much chance of getting put back in as the old FMX... None!

It’s funny; as a kid growing up, we all had to have manual cars because Dad always said “you can’t push start an auto” and its true you can’t, I can also tell you that none of us kids ever needed to push start anything but it’s funny how these things stick and so I still have a preference for manual cars.

After the motor, I started to pull apart the dash. Now I can tell you that wiring and I go together like oil and water or chalk and cheese, so the majority of the pictures I have taken were of pulling the wiring out of the car and while I would love to bore the shyte out of you with a quarter of a million pictures of wiring looms and connectors I just can’t bring myself to do it; and so here is a picture of my little girl having a drive of Dads big car with the dash half pulled out.



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Old 04-08-2014, 07:33 PM   #21
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Gift of the gab mate Really enjoying this. Nice car.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:32 PM   #22
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

Hi All

Just a quick update. As you may have guessed I have done more to my car than I have outlined here so far. So rather than type a novella to bring you all up to pace I have been doing fortnightly updates cause to be honest, I work on a computer all day and I don’t want to spend all night on one too.

I had a call from the guy who I had organised to do my paint and panel work. Quick back story - He was one of those guys who used to paint cars when he was back in high school, he has a heap of talent, does a freaking awesome job, has a passion for old school cars (yes even Chargers and Monaro’s) he even opened up his own panel and paint shop and turned out some awesome cars. Every time I went to see him he would have and old muscle car in the shop, In short, the perfect guy to paint your car.

Then the bad news - he gave up his panel shop to help out with the wife’s family business (got to give him respect for that) Lucky for me he still loves working on cars and would do mine as a side project. Not only that; but yes I could get in and TA do all the heavy lifting etc. to keep the cost down. A total win-win right?… Wrong

I got “that” call on the weekend. The business is going full steam ahead, its taking up a lot of his time and he’s got to get out of the unit he was using to work on cars, so -in short -Sorry I Can’t commit to doing your car… Major Bummer...

So while I don’t condone drinking to excess (yeah right) I find myself and Johnnie sitting on the back patio consoling each other and dreaming of what could have been.
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Old 14-08-2014, 01:59 PM   #23
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

I went to see another shop that had been recommended to me.

Firstly the owner tried to put me off with the price, But it was what I have actually put aside in the budget so I said yes that's about what I was expecting.

Then when that didn't put me off he just said sorry mate not interested...

So can anyone recommend a good panel and paint shop in Perth?
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Old 24-08-2014, 10:59 PM   #24
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So just ignore my last two posts for now and I will continue.

So armed with a soldering iron I went around the car and removed all of the wiring. As usual I took a heap of pictures and I tried to keep the wiring as neat as possible but chaos reigned and even as I looped ends together I could feel it just waiting to be dropped so it could tangle itself beyond recognition I even tried spread it out on the ground to look at. It kind of reminded me of something that Dr Gunther von Hagen would demonstrate as part of a display on the vascular system; only with less blood and more light globes.

I recall one night time road trip in the coupe, it dawned on me that no one was flashing me to complain that I hadn’t dipped my high beams, they were obviously so weak that no one noticed which says a lot about the sort of cars I was driving at the time. After that I had the car re-wired - Yes it sounds a bit extreme when all I needed was a relay but it just wasn’t the case.

Now as some of you may have heard the plenum is prone to rusting which lets water leak behind the dash and as shocking as it may seem, mine has that usual spot of rust. So it was a case of out with the old spliced and dodgy and in with the new (sadly not as per original as I would do now)but a semi-show job with an emphasis on being neat and tidy yet still practical to work on if needed.

Have any of you re-wired your cars yourselves? Would you recommend it? Got any tips or tricks? I am thinking about getting someone to make a harness up for me and then installing it myself, does anyone know a reliable place to have the wiring harness made?

It was during all this that I removed the doors and boot with the bonnet having come off before the motor got pulled out. I then put the doors on some panel stands and pulled them apart. The original glass in the driver’s door is covered in deep scratches and so I sourced a set of replacement glass. I ended up getting every window except the rear window as mine was optioned with the demister. On related news, I did find a guy who could reproduce the rear windows with the demister for only 3k each as long as I got orders for 50… Who’s up for a group buy?

So with the hanging panels now off and the wiring sitting in several boxes; the car was finally looking the part… or is that apart…




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Old 25-08-2014, 02:14 PM   #25
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have just spent last couple of weeks doing all my harnesses for my gt coupe which I will start a thread on soon ...maybe!!.... been enjoying reading this thread too much to start mine haha..mines got electric windows as well just to add to the fun ,I had several spare harness that I completely stripped to see what they had and went from there..its painfull when people have chopped them and rerouted wires for what ever evil little device from kmart that they decided would add 3h/p to there car...NOT....doc
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Old 27-08-2014, 08:57 PM   #26
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have just spent last couple of weeks doing all my harnesses for my gt coupe which I will start a thread on soon ...maybe!!.... been enjoying reading this thread too much to start mine haha..mines got electric windows as well just to add to the fun ,I had several spare harness that I completely stripped to see what they had and went from there..its painfull when people have chopped them and rerouted wires for what ever evil little device from kmart that they decided would add 3h/p to there car...NOT....doc
I for one think that you should do a thread on the wiring... infact if you could stay a stage or two ahead of me the whole way i wouldnt mind
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:59 AM   #27
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The more I look at the first pic at the top, the more and more I like the Sandstone Beige
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:56 PM   #28
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The more I look at the first pic at the top, the more and more I like the Sandstone Beige
It's a great colour, you rarely see it and its not red
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:38 PM   #29
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It's a great colour, you rarely see it and its not red

I find it funny in that the XB's had 3 Beige colours, antique, sandstone and mushroom.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:54 PM   #30
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Default Re: Claytopia's XB GT Coupe restoration

And sand stone beige is the only one that doesn't really resemble beige (IMO) probably because of the walnut glow infills
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