Words and pictures by Jeff.
Features and options include; Momo steering wheel with cruise control, Recaro bucket seats, Limited Slip Differential, projector headlights, sports suspension and lots more.
My Blue Boy has an interesting history and story of neglect, love, rebuild and eventually restoration.
Ford Australia’s X Series was originally introduced in September 1960 with the XK Falcon which actually ran through all the way to the XH in 1999 for the ute and panelvan. Ford spent considerable money developing the all new E Series and launched it in 1991 with great fanfare.
The E Series came out only in sedans and wagons. It was the first of the wind tunnel tested Fords in Australia starting with the EA and was followed through with the EB, ED, EF and finally the EL in 1998 before radically changing the platform once again for the release of the AU. The AU platform basically continued to the FGX, finally ending production on the 7 October 2016.
Originally I bought this Cobalt blue XR6 ED wagon as a daily driver from a friend who had lent money to a mate to buy this car but never came good, so my friend got the car back and I bought it off him for $800. It was kind of a help out for both of us at the time.
At the time this ED was nothing much more than an affordable runaround. Little did I know at that time that it was a rare car. There were many thousands of ED XR sedans produced in both 6 and 8 cylinder, however there were only 317 XR6 ED wagons ever built and no XR8 wagons. There were about the same number of EL XR6 wagons too.
The XR6 wagon was canned by motor journalists of the day for still having rear cart springs unlike the Holden wagon so Ford dropped the XR wagon after the EL. Nonetheless the E Series Ford wagons were the last Aussie car that could still pull a double horse float.
Back at the beginning of the E Series, Ford got Peter Brock to customise the EA after Holden told Peter, “We’re going to have to let you go Peter” when he could not produce any evidence that his hocus pocus Polarizer did anything useful. But alas Ford and Brock was an oxymoron and few Brocks were ever produced. For the EB XRs, Ford turned to Tickford racing (UK) who specified a performance level for the sports Falcon. These were originally known as the Tickford S-XR6 and S-XR8 in the EB model (6 and 8 cylinders consecutively)
When the ED XRs arrived, Ford put a revised Cosworth styled grill on with four headlights. ED XRs came out in Cobalt Blue, Cardinal Red, Dynamic White, Black Pearl and the very sedate but pleasant Polynesian Green.
As I started to gain interest in my XR, I was soon massively t-boned at a local roundabout. My ED already had significant hail damage (and it’s a big long roof) and the rust in the long sills and door pillars was chronic.
As a result of the T-bone it was written off for $4,500 which is when I realised that this is not your average Falcon wagon and I was able to keep it.
I then made the decision to find a good ED wagon body that was rust free. While dismantling my t-boned wreck for all the XR parts, I found the build specification sheet under the bonnet liner. These build spec sheets turn up in all manner of interesting places. The build spec was for a Futura.
As it turns out, all the ED XRs were built to the Futura model. The Futura model was reintroduced by Ford in the ED with much excitement after a very long hiatus. Having that knowledge then meant I needed to find a good suitable wagon with the same specs. I looked high and low. I looked at a couple of ED XR6 wagons for sale and turned them down stupidly because they were in poor condition.
However, I did find a Biscayne blue Futura wagon in excellent condition. No rust and a cooked head which I didn’t matter. I put it on a trailer and towed it home behind my XR6 wagon.
The previous owner owned a car wrecking yard and had bought the Futura new for his wife for life. He fish oiled all the cavities and crevices knowing where these Fords eventually rust out however his wife one day cooked the head and not dinner that night so it was on the market.
My poor old written off XR6 Cobalt blue wagon was still drivable and had a heavy-duty Class A towing pack so off I went to pick it up from Woodend. I hardly knew I was towing another car home of the same size and weight on a tandem trailer only when I glanced in the rear vision mirror.
Once home it was time to start swapping over all things XR. This included the seats, door cards, wheels, suspension, differential, headlights, brakes, grill and headlights, decals, steering wheel, engine, exhaust, etc. I put all the external XR trim and badges to one side until the full respray some years later.
So, at this stage I just had a replacement standard cylinder head put on the engine but at least it now handled like it was on rails and not a rolly polly wandering old Ford. Later I got the engine and Tickford cylinder head fully reconditioned before putting it in.
Basically, the Tickford head has a lumpier camshaft, larger exhaust valves and uses a higher fuel rail pressure.
The interior took some effort. A good friend and motor trimmer rebuilt the damaged Recaro seats and was very lucky to find some very rare original Chaser pattern fabric which was only used on the ED XRs.
After I fitted the reconditioned Tickford engine, it was now performing to specification and driving beautifully. It was when Blue Boy turned 25, I put him on CPS plates and got myself another daily driver.
Now it was time for the full strip and respray. My dilemma at this stage was choosing Cobalt Blue or sticking with the Futura Biscayne Blue. Enough Ford enthusiasts in the E Series club told me Biscayne Blue is a particularly nice colour however the wagon would be worth more in Cobalt Blue.
However respraying everything in Cobalt Blue would have been a massive undertaking and basically means engine out again which I wasn’t keen on. Once reprayed it was finally time to put the external XR trim and badges on. I’m not pretending it’s a factory ED XR however it is 100% to the correct specification if only for the unique colour. There were never any XRs in Biscayne blue and as this body no longer comes with matching numbers, however I’m very happy with the result and works well with the XR’s external red trim and it’s unique.
Overall it is one of the nicest cars to drive and it’s starting to turn heads. The long wagon wheelbase on Boy Boy also makes it very enjoyable to drive and still fun to push through long windy country roads at speed. I do hope to take Blue Boy on a seriously long drive soon as it is so easy to relax behind the wheel as well as being responsive and fun to drive.
If you’re considering buying an E Series Ford, from what I know now; they are all collectable and good condition ones are now going up in value. Sports variants are being snapped up even with rusted out pillars and sills and being restored. For a non sports version, I recommend the ED and particularly the wagon.
The ED is the best of the build improvements and the last of the glass headlights but absence of cup holders.
Make sure there’s no rust in the pillars behind the front guards and in the sills as well as they nearly all rust there.
Parts are cheap but trim replacement bits are becoming expensive so look for a good interior as old plastic bits have their challenges.
Feel free to ask me about the E Series Fords as I have had plenty of experience now.
I’ve included an advertisement for an ED XR6 with no options selling for $16,000 so I think I made the right choice to love and restore this car.