Rare Bird of Prey By Henry De Los Santos Photography: Henry De Los Santos Thanks to the gas crisis of the mid-'70s, while we were struggling with a shortage of new horsepower-packing street machines from the Big Three, our counterparts in the Land Down Under were treated to some awesome new rides from FoMoCo of Australia, including the Cleveland-powered Falcon. The Aussies have always been big on road racing, which is the origin of the Falcon XB-GT. These were factory-designed race cars built for the sole purpose of kicking some Holden butt. Reed Herman of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is an American who took early notice of these cars, but he also understood the unfortunate red tape he would have to endure in order to obtain one. So he waited. Many years later, the Australian Ford Falcon reached an age that enabled Reed to import one onto American soil with little, if any, resistance from the Feds. Shortly thereafter, he found just the '75 he wanted. His original intention was to simply restore it, but that idea quickly took a back seat. The car is now the only Australian Falcon in the United States with a big-block conversion. Granted, it's not a real XB-GT (only 123 '75 XB-GTs were built), however, Reed has gone to great lengths to create an ultra-cool street machine that's very similar to the Aussie original. Rolling stock consists of American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with P245/45R16s up front and a set of monstrous Dunlop SP P335/35R17s out back. The sheer rarity of the Falcon makes it attractive to most collectors, but for Reed, it's all about aesthetics, heritage, and building a bird of a different feather. Car Craft: An Australian Falcon is a far cry from the typical street machines. Any particular reason you wanted to build one? Reed Herman: I think the Australian Falcon combines the best styling cues from all the American Fords of that era. Plus, it's just my personality. I always like to have something different and cool, but in this instance, I had to go to Australia to get it. CC: How difficult was it to register a righthand-drive car in the U.S.? RH: Quite easy. Anything over 25 years old is both EPA and DOT exempt, meaning you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. CC: Did it take long to acclimate to righthand drive? RH: That's the number one question people ask. It's not that different--you're only two feet over in the car. Put it this way, you either get used to it, or else you'll constantly run into things. But really, it's not as weird as some people think. No, the photo is not backwards. This is a true righthand-drive Falcon just as it came off the streets of Melbourne. Reed placed Park Auto Upholstery in Hopkins, Minnesota, in charge of the mostly stock facelift. Reed added a set of Procar Rally buckets for added comfort, along with a Kenwood deck and Boston Acoustic speakers to handle the tunes. CC: How tricky was it to fit the massive 335s out back? RH: Pretty easy. The wheelwell is huge from the factory, and I didn't even have to roll the fender lips. The Details Car: 1975 Ford Falcon XB-GT Owner: Reed Herman, Minneapolis, Minnesota Engine: 429ci big-block Heads:Aluminum Edelbrock Performer RPM, 2.19/1.76-inch intake/exhaust valves, 1.7:1 Crane Cams roller rockers Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM with Holley Pro series 950-cfm carb Camshaft: Comp Cams solid-roller, 256/266 degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift, 0.580/0.615-inch lift Transmission: Ford C6, B&M 10-inch 2,500-stall converter Rearend: Ford 9-inch, Currie 3.70:1 gears, 31-spline axles Based on an iron '69 block, the original 429ci big-block has been punched out to displace 435 ci, with 10.6:1 forged TRW slugs, Eagle H-beam rods, and an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake topped with a Holley Pro-series 950-cfm carb. The big-block employs a brutal Comp Cams solid-roller bumpstick to get things in motion. This naturally aspirated mill easily pumps out 516 lb-ft of torque at 5,100 rpm and 551 hp at 6,200 rpm. Front suspension: Stock with boxed/braced Shelby control arm modifications, Pro-Motorsports Negative Wedge kit, Global West urethane bushings, KYB shocks Rear suspension: Branda leaf spring with Global West road-race shackle kit and Del-A-Lum bushings, KYB shocks Brakes: '71 Mustang calipers with 11-inch cross-drilled discs, front; Cadillac calipers with Lincoln Mark VII 11-inch discs, rear Wheels and tires: 16x8 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with P245/45R16 Dunlap SPs, front; 17x11 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with P335/35R17 Dunlap SPs, rear Body mods: Factory Ford Racing chin spoiler, rear wing, '73 XA Falcon taillights Paint: Ford Cobalt Blue by The Paint Genie in Hopkins, Minnesota, with Silver stripes by Pinnacle Signs and Graphics in St. Paul Cost to Build: $58,000 Reed emphasized that the XB-GT paint scheme is just as it would have been from FoMoCo, and he even managed to procure real factory components, including the front chin spoiler, air dam, and rear wing.