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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Driving History 8: The Falcon Longreach Ute

There it is (actual photograph).  The Ford Falcon Longreach Ute.  Bought sight unseen by me before I moved to Australia.  Ran off a straight 6 DOHC 4.0L engine.  And yes, it looks very much like a earlier Ford Ranchero.  In Australia, the coupe ute has never disappeared.  This was a good car, but as with all cars, there is a story or two regarding it. When I purchased it, it had nearly 300,000ks on it.

There were a couple of things I did like about this car.  One was it's nearly 1000kg carrying capacity.  The other thing I loved about it was its bullbar.  I have never seen a bullbar before or since that looks as good on any vehicle.   It's almost a work of art.

Anyways, I bought it sight unseen.  The Wife had driven it and reckoned it was good to go, and since it passed a roadworthy, I decided to make the purchase.

I boarded the plane in Edmonton to emigrate to Australia on Jan 29th.  The temperature that morning was -42 at the airport.  That's blood freezing cold. 

Conversely, when I touched down in Australia, the temperature was 38C.  This was a shock.  It was HOT.

Anyways the wife picks me up, and as I get in the Ute, I'm thinking, this is a pretty nice car.  The bullbar caught my eye straight up.  I really liked it.  But, I had to have the AC on.  It was too damn hot for Canadian sensibilities.

Well, we've got the air con cranked up and we're driving it out of the city, and The Wife says to me, "What'dya think?"

I'm looking all around the car, snooping in the glove compartment, etc, when I glance across at the dashboard," It's a pretty nice car," I said,"But does it always run that Hot?"

The Wife swore.  We pulled to the side of the highway.  And the car was boiling over, and I'm not dressed for the heat of North Queensland.

We had to arrange a tow.  As the car pissed all over the pavement, we waited over an hour for a tow truck.  The ute was taken back into town.  We had to get the entire system flushed out, and a rebuilt radiator.  We got a ride home (120km away) by the stepdaughter.  She had to come pick us up.

I discovered that the AC would set the engine temperature up, particularly if the speeds were low to moderate.  You could watch the temperature gauge rise if the car was even stopped at a light.  The condition was chronic and I was quoted by the AC man that it would be very expensive to repair.

I went to my wedding in it, armpit rings and all.

I drove it like that for a while.  I had the ute about 2 years.  For the entire time I owned it, I could see the stain it made on the pavement every time I drove into Townsville.

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