THE PROFES SIONAL

AN IMMACULATE DRAG CARCUM- STREETER, LORENZO CAPOGNA’S PRO STREET XA IS TOUGH AS NAILS AND LOOKS THE GOODS

STORY CARLY DALE PHOTOS BEN HOSKING

OFTEN when builds drag on for over a decade, the finished product can end up looking a little a little bit ‘off-trend’.

That’s not the case with Lorenzo Capogna’s XA Fairmont, despite the fact that the build was a 15-year labour of love.

“I wanted to build a pro street, mini-tubbed XA with twin four-barrel carbs out of the bonnet,” says Harley builder Lorenzo. “So I bought this in ’03 for $5500 as a one-owner, genuine V8 Fairmont with a complete service history and matching-numbers engine and chassis.”

A drag-spec ride was always on the cards, as Lorenzo pilots an eight-second Harley in his spare-time. “My initial plan was to bolt together a drag car to race within the Super Sedan bracket several times a year,” he says.

Lorenzo stripped the restorers’ wet dream, sending parts every which way. The engine was shipped to Trick & Mansweto, while the body and chassis were prepared for battle.

That included tubs and rear-spring relocation, a shortened nine-inch, chassis connectors and an ANDRA-spec ’cage.

In keeping with Lorenzo’s vision, a couple of strict stipulations were in place for the engine.

“I wanted twin four-barrel carbs, and to use the original engine,” he says. “And as I’ve known Jason Mansweto for a long time, I trusted him with the build. He reckoned we’d get 700hp out of that set-up, and he was right on it.”

Tristan ‘Tricky’ Triccas CNCed a custommade manifold to team with the twin Pro Systems Dominator 750 carbs. “Tristan tried to talk me into a single carb but I was adamant on the twins, so it cost a lot of money to make that work,” Lorenzo grins. Underneath, the 351ci Clevo is stroked to 393 cubes with a Scat crank, flat-top pistons, CNC-ported CHI 3V alloy heads and a Camtech solid bumpstick.

Backing the motor is an Al’s Race Glides C4 trans with a 6500 Dominator converter.

This feeds to a three-and-a-half-inch tailshaft bolted to the shortened nine-inch, packed with 4.11s, a Truetrac and 31-spline Strange axles, built by Lorenzo’s mate, Tony.

Keeping with the drag theme, there are QA1 coil-overs up front and a re-built rear leaf set-up with a 4.5-inch squat. Under all four corners are the modern go-to drag rims: Weld V-Series, with skinny 17x4.5-inch frontrunners and meaty 15x12.5s under the bum.

With speed a factor, the car had to be red.

Lorenzo’s rello Albert smoothed the body out before drowning the sedan in PPG two-pack Ford Race Red with gloss black-outs. Later on Lorenzo changed to matte black-outs, thanks to Dom at TM Smash.

“As the XA started to come together towards the last few years of the build, I realised that it was coming out too nice and it should be more than a dedicated drag car,” Lorenzo says of his move to a street-and-strip XA; a move that forced him to rethink some things.

“At first it was going to have race seats,

AS THE XA STARTED TO COME TOGETHER, I REALISED THAT IT WAS COMING OUT TOO NICE AND IT SHOULD BE MORE THAN A DEDICATED DRAG CAR

LORENZO CAPOGNA 1972 FORD XA FAIRMONT

Paint: Ford Race Red

POWER

Donk: Cleveland 393ci Induction: 2 x 750 Pro Systems Dominator, T&S manifold Heads: CNC-ported CHI 3V alloy Compression ratio: 12:1 Cam: Camtech 260 solid Pistons: Flat-top Crank: Scat stroker Water pump: CVR High Performance Ignition: ICE Fuel pump: MagnaFuel Pro Star 500 Fuel: PULP Cooling: PWR alloy radiator, single thermo fan Exhaust: 2in Pacemaker heads, 3.5in dual system, Aeroflow mufflers Output: 705fwhp

COGS

Gearbox: C4 Converter: Dominator 6500rpm Diff: 9in, 4.11s, Truetrac, 31-spline Strange axles Tailshaft: 3.5in with Strange ends and yoke

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Springs: QA1 coil-overs (f), XA leaf (r) Shocks: QA1 (f & r) Steering: Rebuilt XA Brakes: XA discs with XD calipers (f), XA drums (r)

ROLLING STOCK

Rims: Weld V-Series; 17x4.5

(f), 15x12.5 (r) Rubber: Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro (f & r)

INTERIOR

Wheel: XA GT Dash: XA GT Shifter: Precision Performance Products Gauges: Auto Meter Seats: XA GT (f), XA Fairmont (r)

THANKS

Jason Mansweto for the motor; Tristan Triccas for the motor, heads and manifold; Con Constantinou at Pro Street Metalcraft; Albert for the body and paint; Dom and Jason at TM Smash Repairs for painting the black-outs and flow coat; Brad from Al’s Race Glides; Pete at Gauge Tooling for making a lot of little knick-knacks on the car; Pat for the electrics; my mates Stef, George, Darryl, Attilio and Dom, who all helped out tremendously

I WOULDN’T DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY; IT’S PERFECT IN MY EYES. ALL I WANT TO DO IS DRIVE IT

CONVERTED TRY

“JASON suggested the 6500rpm converter, saying: ‘It sounds large, but trust me, it’ll drive fine for the street – if you want to race it, this is what we need,’” Lorenzo says.

“At the time I was more focussed on drags. Then once the build moved in the street-car direction, I worried that I’d gone the wrong way with it. But it actually drives unbelievably well. Everyone who jumps in the car is quite surprised at how well it cruises – it’s on 3000rpm at 100km/h.”

so I gave the original seats to an old restorer who lives across the road from me. When I changed my mind, I figured I’d love to have the original seats back. And sure enough, 10 years later, he still had them!”

Lorenzo and a mate then finished off the now road- and strip-ready interior. It’s all GT-spec inside, with the seats trimmed to suit, while the tiller and refurbished dash are both genuine GT units. To one side is an Auto Meter tach, with more gauges peeking through the windscreen.

“Some of the best times during the build were when my mates came over to work on the car.

About 90 per cent of what I did at home was with help from friends,” Lorenzo says. “It was a long, long process, as I was also racing, starting a new business and building a house. Early on I began working on bikes after-hours at home to pay for the XA. When that took off I then had cash but no time to work on the car!

“Now that it’s finally done, the feeling of accomplishment is amazing,” he continues. “I wouldn’t do anything differently; it’s perfect in my eyes. All I want to do is drive it. I’m not too fussed about racing at the moment, I’m enjoying the car as it is – it drives incredibly well.”

And although he’s won a few trophies at local shows, it’s the time behind the wheel that Lorenzo craves.

“I’d prefer to take it on the monthly Facebookorganised Street Muscle Cruises. I just love using the car. To get in and see the original dash with everything working and exactly how I want it; I can’t get enough of it.” s