Lifestyle

Meet the owner | Craig Nuttall

By David Chapman

CRAIG Nuttall has been a Ford man ever since he owned a Holden at age 19.

‘‘My first car was a HR Premier wagon,’’ he said.

‘‘Once I had a Holden I was cured and then went to Ford.’’

Since then he has owned an XR Fairmont, an XD S-pack ute and an XC Fairmont GXL.

‘‘They were the cars of my youth,’’ he said.

‘‘Then when you have that fourth kid you go into family cars, like an eight-seat Landcruiser.’’

THE CAR

Craig spent 18 months working on the 1968 XT Ford Falcon station wagon to get it registered and on the road.

‘‘And I’ve been tinkering with it ever since,’’ he said.

He bought the car nine years ago and had to do a bit of work to restore it back to its original state.

‘‘It had a blown up 351 Cleveland engine in it,’’ Craig said.

‘‘The original car would have had a factory 302 Windsor so I’ve put one back in it to make it period correct.

‘‘I re-did all the suspension and the running gear — new brakes, new transmission.’’

The vehicle has a C10 automatic transmission on the column and limited-slip rear diff.

‘‘The only feature I’ve added for safety reasons is the power assisted four-wheel disc brakes,’’ Craig said.

‘‘The original had unassisted drum brakes. The car weighs one-and-a-half tonne which is a lot of weight to pull up on unassisted drum brakes.’’

Craig had some help in restoring the car back to its original state.

‘‘I had the engine rebuilt and had a mate help install it,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of the cosmetic stuff I did myself, but the heavy mechanical side of things I had assistance with.

‘‘The guy before me had it as a burn-out car and had fat wheels on it.

‘‘There had been damage to the inside of the guards so I had to get them redone.’’

He only acquired the Venetian blinds recently to add to the car’s originality.

WHERE DID YOUR CAR COME FROM?

‘‘I bought if off a fellow in Tongala who had too many projects on,’’ Craig said.

‘‘I was always after one. It’s the type of car we used to drive when we were young blokes.

‘‘I had an XT Fairmont sedan when I was younger and this car came up.’’

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE CAR?

‘‘I like that it’s comfortable,’’ Craig said.

‘‘Sitting in the driver’s seat is like sitting in your lounge at home.

‘‘It runs extremely well and is reasonably economical for a V8. It’s a very reliable car.

‘‘It’s a very good cruising car, although it does lack the creature comforts — there’s no power steering or air-conditioning.

‘‘It has the arm-strong steering and the quarter-vent air-conditioning.’’

The car has certainly grabbed attention, even winning an award in the Moama Historic Vehicle Club’s poker run.

‘‘The publican at the Barmah Hotel was judging the cars and he said to me ‘out of all the cars out there yours is the only one I could identify with’ so I won the trophy.’’

SO WHAT’S YOUR PERFECT CAR?

‘‘An XW British Racing Green Phase I GT Falcon,’’ Craig said. ‘‘I like the look of the XW, it’s a '69 model.

‘‘Everyone liked the look of the XY because it was a Phase III but I like the XW.

‘‘It’s a very powerful car.’’ Craig had the chance to own his dream car many years ago.

‘‘I had a teacher who wanted to swap his cherry red XW Phase I for my XC Fairmont sedan,’’ Craig recalls.

‘‘His was a 12-year older car than mine and I thought I was buying an old shit heap.’’