Sunday, May 26, 2024


I’m not sure when the humble early Aussie Falcon became cool fodder for customising but in recent times every rod run and rockabilly shindig I go to they rock up in droves. I enjoyed driving an XP Hardtop back in the 90s with baby blue exterior, stark white interior and moon discs but the four doors never turned my head. Wow how things have changed and Greg (Fonzy) Pennells’ ’62 is a perfect example.

Greg has always been a fan of the early Fords and started with a pretty decent driver that had been sitting around neglected for about 10 years. Although this XL looks for all the world a wild custom to the casual observer the real artistry is in the paintwork, but we will get to that later.

Keeping within the mild custom mindset, big cube motors are not what it’s about and the 200 cui inline Ford six is plenty powerful for this daily driver. Greg refurbished the underpinnings with ZH Fairlane stub axles adding XP discs and Cortina callipers up front, lowered of course. Polyair bags bring the Borgwarner rear down to an acceptable level in the notched rear and cog swapping is still orchestrated by the stock column shifter. Nolathane bushes and Monroe shocks take years of slop out of the suspension and a custom two inch exhaust system flowing through mandrel bends gives the old girl a nice and unique note.

Greg’s stock and trade is a spray painter and panel beater, so there’s no guessing as to who laid down the wicked lines on this one but before a shot was fired a little massaging of panels would be in order. Typical of cars this age, rust was evident in all the usual places and was quickly eradicated before the fun stuff could begin. He started customising the exterior panels by extending the rear tail fins creating an exaggerated tunnel for the taillights. More tunnelling was performed underfoot and above the exhaust for clearance when the “in the weeds look” is activated. No custom would be complete without some form of frenching and twin ariels tick the right box. The other big ticket item is those fabulous fender skirts mimicking the rear door arch and extending all the way to the rear bumper. To perfect the desired look he was aiming for, Greg called on ace body man Paul Kelly of Smooth Customs for a little extra help to really nail it. 

Now to that paint! Greg credits brother Steve and wife Nik for their involvement applying the wonderment of texture and colour that gives this simple XL its knockout appearance. In his words “It’s laced, flaked and crazy down the sides.”  Although most people who gaze at the old Ford would never agree, Greg showed an amazing amount of restraint in the paint department using only two colours, matt blue and white. Think about it, dark blue is still blue! It’s his nod to the legendry painters like Winfield and Watson that score the major points in this build.

All customs need some cool threads right? “Exactamundo!” Local trimmer Graeme Pearson was more than up to the task stitching together a striking blue and white interior appropriate for the era. Greg retained all of the stock operating fixtures, which with a little spit and polish, look bang on. Throw in a few dozen period stickers and trinkets, pearl and flake the stock Falcon steering wheel and finish with a lick of pinstripe. Done!

The last thing this super cool Falcon needed to roll down the road was a set of hoops. Stock steel Sigma rims became perfect 14” x 6” Ford replacements and were quickly disguised with custom caps, black donuts and flappers. As mentioned earlier this is a real driver and Greg added a Mustang 65 litre gas tank for extra mileage between fuel stops.

With minimal time, utilising ingenuity rather than bucket loads of cash, this car is a textbook lesson for any young car enthusiast wanting to create an individual ride without breaking the bank, and the law. A perfect vehicle to learn new skills and cruise with your friends, even on P plates. For our Fonz it’s just his every day beater, his calling card and he’s loving it. Thumbs up from us, “Aaaaeeeyyy!”

Greg was part of the skilful team at Hills & Co Customs but more recently has opened his own customising shop at Berkeley Vale on the NSW central coast trading under (what else would you expect?) Fonzys Kustoms & Restos. If you own a pre 1975 vehicle in need of a transformation give him a call on 0408 694 953 or, and step into his office! “Whoa”.


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