My first “nice” car was a 2005 Ford Falcon BA XT. It was only about three years old when I bought it with just over 50k on the clock. Ex-fleet, it was in almost pristine condition and was a major leap forward in driving comfort from the 1991 Falcon it was replacing.
It wasn’t perfect. It had blue tinted windows in the back for some reason and the bonnet release broke almost immediately (a common BA problem) but otherwise it was almost as-new. The dedicated-LPG motor was torquey but lacked the overall power of its petrol cousin.
Otherwise it was as close to as-new as you’d get from a car with 50k under its belt. The interior was spotless and it drove smoothly and quietly.
But it was plain white and bog stock. The cloth interior screamed “entry level” and the subdued exhaust note was just boring.
So, as they always do, the modifications began.
With funds low I started with the easy, cheap mods, most of which were only meant to be temporary. The turning lamps were added to the front bar (and wired as driving lights instead). eBay provided shiny scuff plates. Eventually the extra carpet trim for the underside of the boot lid was sourced. LED aftermarket tail lights were installed.
Things began to escalate. I lowered the suspension and added replica BF Cobra wheels (18 inch instead of the genuine 19) and an aftermarket flat-bottomed Momo steering wheel finished in leather and alcantara. The exhaust received a fairly standard 2.5 inch upgrade which made a surprisingly throaty rumble.
The interior was changed to leather seats and door trims from a BF Fairmont Ghia. The console lid was upgraded to match while wood grain dash spears and additional A/C vents also went it. Minor changes like a chrome shifter surround, new cluster dials (Fairlane spec) and Ghia boot garnish followed.
The wheels changed again, this time 20 inch aftermarket five spokes. I dented them a couple of times on potholes, such is the quality of roads here in Victoria.
As all this happened, the dreams of the end product grew and constantly evolved. I fluctuated between all sorts of ideas, from engine swaps to body kits and more. The mundane modifications that everyone does had already been done and the thirst for more power was growing.
But then, progress stopped. The new door trims meant I needed to install rear power windows, which I never got around to. I purchased a rear spoiler (the boot lip one from the FPV Force 6 and 8 models) which I never installed.
The plan I eventually settled on was to make the car into a Force 8 replica… almost. I liked the subtle styling but I also liked an aftermarket rear bar I found online which was the FG FPV design but fitted for the BA series.
To that I planned to do the standard FPV side skirts and the Force 6/F6 Typhoon front bar with a vented bonnet.
Sadly, daily life and the associated expenses always seemed to be in the way and the Falcon remained in semi-modified state for years until I eventually sold it. Towards the end it suffered some neglect. Then one day the burbling straight six in the low-slung Falcon was gone, replaced by a sluggish but more lifestyle-friendly Nissan Patrol.
My wife didn’t miss it. The big white Ford was “too low” and “impractical” for her. But she had never been a car person so I didn’t begrudge her opinion. She didn’t get it. Only car people understand.
Selling the car was the right thing to do at the time. It was a practical and responsible decision which I do not regret from that stand point. I wanted to keep it and “finish” it but circumstances meant that was not to be.
I loved that car, not just for what it was but for what I wanted it to be. It was never going to be the fastest or the loudest or the best at anything, but it was – one day – going to be exactly how I wanted it.
I miss that car, even though it was really just a bottom of the range Falcon. Most people (especially non-car people) would look at and say “but it’s just a Falcon.” And in some ways they’d be right. But I had big plans for it and I regret not seeing them through. I miss that car and the unfinished business it represents. I miss it because I poured so much time and money into it. I miss it because I loved driving it. It was far from perfect but it was still my pride and joy. It was all about how it made me feel. It was mine.
I also drove it for nearly ten years, so it held a lot of memories. It was a part of my daily life for a long time. I hope it has found its way into someone else’s life, not just a wrecker somewhere. The very thought of that makes me shudder.
Maybe one day I’ll get another one and park it up as a proper project car, one I can finish (if they are ever really finished). Those BA and BF Falcons are getting a bit long in the tooth now but I still love them. The styling, the lazy torque, the Australian-ness of them. You don’t get that with an imported mid-size SUV or dual-cab ute.
I’m reaching the age where driving a hotted-up Falcon is probably flirting with poor-man’s-midlife-crisis territory, but I’m totally cool with that. It wouldn’t matter what people thought because I’d be happy. And if desperately trying to reclaim a part of my lost youth is what makes me happy, then so be it.
There’s plenty of worse ways to not cope with getting older!