SEMA 2011: Meguiar’s Displays Australia’s “Most Impressive Custom”

Part of Meguiar’s Car Crazy display at SEMA is the International Showcase. This is an opportunity to for the world to show off some of their greatest customs. From the land down under, builder Adam Lebrese brought a true icon to Vegas. In the US we don’t get to see these every day, unless you have Mad Max on repeat… Yeah, it’s a Ford Falcon.

The seats and roll cage were hand formed by Lebrese in the F1 style that inspired the build.

The most common question heard while we checking it out was “What is it, a Torino, an Oldsmobile?” Like Chuck Testa would say- Nope, Ford Falcon. A 1978 XC GS Falcon to be exact.

Inspired by F1 racing, this is great example of what can be done with a little ingenuity and fantasy. Whenever I look at this car, I can’t help but envision flaming dragons and scantily-clad warrior ladies; is that weird?

In Australia, the Ford Falcon is considered sacrosanct, being the single most famous Aussie car ever. They have become hard to find, and cutting one up is akin to chopping up a SS/RS Camaro.

That didn’t stop Lebrese, the solid donor car was significantly altered, in fact, only the roof and quarter skins are stock.

Under the hood lies a 351 Cleveland-based 391 stroker with four Weber 48 carbs. These days we are so accustomed to seeing EFI stacks, seeing actual carbs in this configuration is increasingly rare. Behind the 420 horsepower engine is a Tremec 6-speed gearbox driving a Ford 9-inch limited slip rear differential.

The chassis is a feat of engineering marvel. In order to get the ultimate slammed stance and driveability, Lebrese chose RideTech Shockwaves. That is not all that different from the standard fare in hot rodding, but mounting them in a cantilever configuration is. By using a cantilever design, you have more potential to raise and lower the chassis. Although hidden from view, the rear uses a similar design.

If Mad Max had this cool of a cockpit, even the little feral boomarang kid would have tried to steal it. The door handles were integrated into the cowl panel for a slick look.

Inside the Falcon is a hand-fabricated cockpit that is truly artwork. The dash, door panels and floor pans are all hand-shaped sheet metal. The roll cage is a custom piece designed by Lebrese. Even the steering wheel was fabricated by Lebrese.

In Australia, it is taboo to cut up a Falcon. Adam Lebrese thrrew caution to the wind and did it anyway. We think he succeeded.

Suicide doors can make or break a custom. Lebrese pulled it off. Part of what makes it so cool is how you open the doors.

The handles are actually mounted between the cowl panel and the fender. It was tricks like this that led to the 5-year build time.

“Finishing the car was the biggest challenge. Everything was difficult, but that is what makes it fun. If I don’t challenge myself, I’m not having any fun,” Adam told us in that unmistakable Aussie accent.

Many Americans dream of owning a true Australian Falcon. While this isn’t a Mad Max tribute, it is quite cool and it’s for sale. Adam asked us to share that with our readers. If you think this is the car for you, check them out at www.Lebresecustomdivision.com.

The stroked 391 makes 420 horsepower aided by the 4 Weber 48s on top. You can also see the cantilever front suspension.

About the author

Jefferson Bryant

It is almost terrifying the breadth of Jefferson's technical abilities. A fabricator, master technician, engine builder, paint and body guy, dirt track racer, road course driver, or a glossy magazine reporter, Jefferson can do it all. Oh yeah, he's also a YouTube hero.
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