Published on September 9th, 2014 | by Frosty
ESP Project Update 1
My Childhood dream – XE ESP
I was in grade 6 when Ford released the XE ESP Fairmont Ghia. Even at that age I was in love with the car. While I should have been reading Playboy and Penthouse I bought a magazine on the release of Ford’s European Sports Pack. A little about the XD and XE ESP’s – ESP is an acronym for European Sports Pack. The distinction these vehicles had included; Bilstein Shocks, Scheel seats, gold painted “snowflake” wheels, red dash lights and more. You could get them in fuel injected 6 cylinder (4.1 litre), 4.9 V8 and 5.8 V8. Mine is a monza red and black 351 (5.8) manual. There were only 172 made in this motor/gearbox combo.
I stumbled across this car on eBay. The write up sounded good the pictures were good and I thought this was going to be a 6 month project. The car was in Victoria and I am in Hobart. Well let’s say the pictures did not do the task at hand justice, the seller was using more than a little poetic liscence in telling me what condition the car was in and I failed the number one rule of buying a childhood dream online: “Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware). I am now 4 years into my 6 month project! I have discovered how hard Auto electricians and panel beaters can be to deal with and how my timeline and theirs can be two very different things.
My first port of call was getting the engine out and getting it humming. I was told it was a NASCAR block which meant it had a 4 bolt mains it turned out to be some more poetic licence from my seller in Victoria. It did turn out to be a pillow block though. I spent many nights on the computer looking into the task ahead of me. I stumbled across a great forum http://www.espghia.com – the members were very helpful and did not take themselves too seriously. Honestly not sure what I’d have done without them and in particular Baz. It was Baz’s father who checked out my ESP and told me I had a pillow block. After quite a long time and even more dollars I picked up the motor and we dropped it back in the old girl. I have only driven the ESP from the panel beaters to the auto electrician and then from the auto electrician to home and onto the mechanic’s. Good news is it sounded awesome and felt like it wanted to take off, bad news is I had to show a lot of restraint because it was being run-in. I am treating this old girl with kid gloves to the point we even had to use special “running-in” oil for the first 500 kms. After handing it over to the mechanic I have not seen the old girl for almost 2 years. Even divorcees get visitation rights! However 4 weeks ago I got my first conjugal visit, oh the sight of her there in her red splendour, water beading on her bright red bonnet. Then I cast my eye to the interior and saw that the door panels were not fitted, carpet still needed to be put in and I took a deep sigh realising there was still longer for this childhood fairy-tale to play out. They say the reward of patience is patience, I can only imagine the amount of people who have said that to someone else that have been punched in the nose for their pearl of wisdom!
So now I find myself hoping and praying the project will be finished in time for the Tassie spring, for those of you who don’t know, Tassie has one of the best spring and summer climates in the world and combine that with some great roads, picturesque scenery and awesome places to eat, and I have a lot to look forward to.