was December 2nd 1975 when the Tango GT was
delivered to Brian Pollock Ford. It turns
out the car was a special order for the Manager
of the new car section, who, at first, was
reluctant to sell the car to Dad. The XB range
only had 6 more months to run which meant
it would finish around June of 1976. First
available in 1973, it proved to be one of
Fords most popular models. The sales team
at Brian Pollocks realised the power that
future sales generated and Dad was determined
to have the Tango GT.
was optioned with parchment interior, power
steering, and protection pack and was fitted
with air conditioning at the dealership. It
was often cheaper to retro fit the air con
than order it from the factory. At some stage,
a long-range fuel tank was fitted, possibly
for the long haul to South Australia. Not
long after delivery in early 1976 Dad ventured
to Mount Gambier with his Mum. He decided
to tow a caravan, something that would give
today’s GT fan a heart attack. I will attempt
to extract more information about the trip
from Dad at a later date…..
Sant is an enthusiastic young GT fan. He and
I met on the email, discussing our relative
futures as “two blokes interested in GTs.”
I had asked for any information on GTs and
his reply was the start of our friendship.
He’s had a number of Fords, but always in
search of that elusive GT. He’s currently
proud to own a K code XY GS. A chance period
of ownership included his XE Fairmont Ghia,
which I ended up buying from him as a first
car for our son David. Silver in colour, it
was an ideal first car, which David could
learn his trade and get experience. Deano
then purchased another Ghia and emailed one
day asking if I could get hold of some clips
for the headlights, a process I had already
gone through for David’s car. I was in Fyshwick
on the Thursday before Easter 2004. I remembered
Deano’s request for the clips and went around
to the Ford spares shop. I pulled up outside,
right behind a gorgeous Thunderbird. I had
no idea whose it was but after walking around
it twice and going inside the shop, I met
up with an old mate, Kerry Hughes.
owns Americar Imports, a shop catering for
people who want to own American cars. I once
bought an XA GT from him which I believe was
an RPO83 but sold it before I had a chance
to verify it. RPOs were not really recognised
the way they are today. Kerry owned the Thunderbird.
We talked for a while about our cars and Kerry
asked if I wanted to buy an XB GT.
was with another man who he said owned the
car. He introduced himself as Bob Harris and
said his son actually owned the car. They
hadn’t had the car very long. I was only vaguely
interested as I had 2 GTs and the TS50 already
at home in the shed. I asked what colour it
was. “Bright orange!” he said. I pricked up
my ears. “What about the interior?” I asked,
hoping against hope it could be the Tango
car. “ Beige.” Hmm, it could be…I thought.
“Is it auto or manual?” This would define
the need to view it. “Auto”, said Bob. My
God the combination was right so far. I told
him my Dad used to own a bright orange auto
GT with beige trim. The hair on my neck was
starting to stand.
out of the blue a car the family owned almost
30 years ago had come to light. Bob asked
my dad’s name. “Bob Allen”, I replied proudly.
He said he thought the name in the handbook
was Bob Allen. Yes, it still had the logbook
in it. Bob and his son Brad had been told
of a GT sitting in a shed in Queanbeyan. If
it was to come to light, of all places it
should be Queanbeyan! The owner of the shed
wanted the car removed. It had resided, lonely
and cold, for almost 23 years in the shed
as part of an unfinished project of the old
found the car as a bare shell, sitting in
the corner of the shed with the rest of the
pieces in about 100 polystyrene boxes, scattered
on the shed walls and floor. The owner, as
far as I can gather, completely dismantled
it before suffering an illness and giving
up on the restoration. Its last registration
was in 1982, 23 years ago. If it hadn’t been
for my mate Deano requesting those clips the
opportunity would almost certainly have passed.
I had no other reason for being in the shop
that day. I’m still amazed at the amount of
Karma that surrounds cars.
had to see this car.
Harris is a shy, reserved bloke who agreed
that we should visit and view the GT but wasn’t
sure his son, Brad, wanted to sell. That would
have to wait until we met that evening. I
can’t remember the short trip home that afternoon
except the phone call to my wife Angela. “We
have to go to Kambah, this evening” “I think
I may have found Dad’s old XB!” Always approving,
Angela agreed. She could see and feel the
excitement I was trying to cope with. That
eternal car chase that takes days with me,
trying to justify buying a car or passing
it up wasn’t there this time. I knew that
if it was the right car, we should do something
to rescue it or at least help with its resurrection.
feeling walking into that shed was weird.
The GT was sitting on two drums at the rear
and the front end resting on the concrete
floor of the shed. It was indeed a bare shell.
I don’t recall seeing anything attached to
that shell, that hadn’t been removed. Not
a nut or bolt. Brad had started some work
on the outer sheet metal. A panel beater by
trade he had purchased the GT to rebuild and
probably on sell again. I’m still trying to
work that part out.
talked nervously for a while about what the
car meant to us and what Brad and Bob had
planned. They were both very obliging and
felt that if I wanted the car, it should be
returned to its family. I was a bit nervous
about taking something they had planned to
restore and sell for profit. We agreed on
a price that suited both camps I think. Cheap
enough for us to afford and complete the restoration
but hopefully enough for Brad also to regain
his outlay. The best part was when they offered
to help me with the monumental task of restoring
it. It was decided it should be done properly
or not at all and I’m pleased agreement could
be reached on so many small details.
Bob produced the owner’s handbook. “Mr R.M.Allen,
127 Lowanna St Braddon, ACT. Still there after
nearly 30 years. Some of dad’s handwriting,
scrawled throughout the booklet, brought back
vague memories as I flicked through the pages.
Bob said he’d tried to contact a few ‘Allens’
in the phone book without success. Dad had
moved from Braddon in the 80s and the book
entry had been removed.
sifted through boxes of parts for an hour
or so, amazed at how some of the bits had
stood the test of time and were still serviceable.
Bob’s a mechanic by trade and Brad a panel
beater/spray painter. We agreed that most
of the original parts should be used in the
restoration. A process that would involve
hundreds of man-hours and about 18 months
was about to begin.
was the Easter long weekend in April 2004
we started the crusade, as I call it. All
the panels were really straight. Two new front
guards came with the car. The doors are original
items with one requiring a new skin, also
with the car. Brad thought it may have had
a scrape or two over the years, but remember
it had been sitting in that shed for 22 years,
of the main things required was a list of
missing or damaged parts we’d need along the
way. I had to source the necessary items from
Ebay, second hand wreckers, friends and Bob
was able to gain parts from places he knew
as well. The early work for the “apprentice”,
as I was soon to be known, was cleaning and
stripping parts and panels. It’s a lot of
work but worth the effort when the finished
result rolls out of the garage. All the metal
work had to be stripped of existing paint.
Luckily no rust was found anywhere. Very little
panel beating was needed either. In all, this
body would be one of the best, saved mainly
by it sitting in the dry shed. Brad has had
to repair things like to front indicator panel,
the door skins and welding the protection
strip tabs on the sides of the car.
had purchased new rubbers for all suspension
parts including upper control arms, riveted
ball joints, rear shackles and sway bar. This
XB handles and feels like a new car. I kept
everything Ford as well. The wheels were stripped
and rubbed with 800 grade ‘wet and dry’ sandpaper,
then correct Argent silver paint. I had a
set of GT centres, which I had re-chromed,
along with various other parts. All the bolts
and nuts from the engine bay area were cleaned
and treated by the chroming shop to give a
new appearance. It’s a long and tedious process
and I had to rely on the various businesses
to complete the work, which occasionally ran
into weeks at a time.
interesting but exhausting task is the researching
of ‘correct’ location of parts on the car.
I searched the Internet and emailed friends
to get pictures of XBs as original as possible.
I attended the GT Nationals in Ballarat at
Easter 2005 and took many shots of engine
bays, trim, nuts, bolts, screws etc. They
have been invaluable over time to look through
when we had doubts. To my knowledge each and
every nut and bolt, screw and clip are original
factory items in their correct position. I’ve
learned many differences about certain models,
even down to different month variations. I’m
afraid it’s probably an obsession but the
end result is pleasing.
taken about 18 months and the job is done.
We haven’t worked on it every weekend, but
most Sundays. It’s been great to be working
together, watching the V8 Supercars on the
television, listening to the football on the
radio or just enjoying the music. I’ll miss
it, I think. I’ve learned a great deal over
the time. It’s been a huge favour to be able
to use Bob’s shed as he has donated it basically.
Not many people give up a space in their garage
for someone else’s car for 18 months. I appreciate
that part more than any. I’m also very appreciative
of Bob and Brad’s time dedicated to getting
it finished. I owe them a lot.
presented the car to Dad on his 76th birthday
in September. It’s hard to tell what he thought.
He was overwhelmed about a car he’d owned
30 years ago should be found in Queanbeyan
and then be restored from such a condition.
I think he’s proud to be part of that amazing
world of GTs and what we go through with our
cars. They are more than metal and I’ve found
the help of friends to be the best part.
automatic XB may not be everyone’s cup of
tea for a GT, but hey, you don’t get to find
the one your Dad owned 30 years ago very often.