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.
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 Q&A
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.
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.