FEW things in life are better than blowing someone’s doors off with a car that looks like granny’s grocery getter. Anthony Burns knows a bit about sleepers – his 6.0-litre LS-powered XD wagon ran 11.4 at Street Machine Drag Challenge in 2016. The wagon is only a set of heads or a few psi away from running 10s, but having to ’cage the car would ruin its familyfriendly aspect.
Anthony decided to build something new for this year’s event, and he found the ideal candidate in this ’84 XE ute. It didn’t have any real rust issues and, shopping trolley dings aside, was reasonably straight. The engine choice for the new project was a simple one.
“I’m well aware of how fast Barras can be, and how reliable and smooth they are,” Anthony says. “I like having a Ford-powered Ford!”
This particular Barra came courtesy of an aspirated Territory.
Anthony has added ARP head studs, some billet oil pump gears and a second-hand set of Plazmaman valve springs. The intake and exhaust manifolds are standard BA turbo, but the stock BA snail soon evolved into a Gen 2 GTX35/82R. All of the plumbing bar the power steering high-pressure line was fabricated in Anthony’s shed. On E85, the poor old N/A motor spat out 380rwkW, so the ute should be able to run some pretty decent numbers.
Anthony was determined to use as many standard Ford parts as possible. The base of a BA radiator support was welded in so that the standard radiator and fans could be used. The engine mounts are a combination of XE and early E-series. The fuel tank return line is from a BA ute. The steering box, fuel tank and 3.45:1 LSD diff were donated by an XG XR6. However, as far as using factory parts and keeping the car sleepy goes, the pièce de résistance is the trans and shifter.
“I worked so hard to make sure nothing stood out,” says Anthony.
“As a car guy, if you walk up to a car with an RACV badge and a
bloody sun visor but it’s got a reverse-cowl and Welds on it you go: ‘I think something fishy is going on there.’”
Anthony wanted overdrive for travelling long distances between tracks, but a big shiny shifter on the tunnel would’ve ruined the car’s snoozy demeanour, so he slapped together a brilliant mishmash of Ford parts. The internals from a BA turbo BTR were stuffed into an AU column-shift case, and a linkage was cobbled together from AU and XG parts. The column itself is from an XG but is dressed in XE plastics. “We only had to drill two holes to make it all work,” he says.
Apart from the running gear, the ute is very stock – even the suspension is standard except for adjustable rear shocks. It should make for a fairly comfortable ride to campaign in Drag Challenge 2017! s
Brand: Ford Barra Induction: Factory manifolds, eBay intercooler ECU: HP Tuners and nGauge Turbo: Garrett Gen 2 GTX35/82R Head: ARP Head studs, Plazmaman valve springs Oil pump: Billet gears Fuel system: 20L fuel cell; 2 Bosch 044 pumps for E85, XG tank and Walbro pump for 98 Exhaust: 3.5in stainless system, two mufflers
Gearbox: AU BTR, BA turbo internals Converter: 3000rpm Diff: XG 3.45:1 LSD
Springs: Pedders (f), stock with two leaves removed (r) Shocks: Pedders (f), adjustable shocks (r) Brakes: Stock XE with slotted rotors (f), stock XG with slotted rotors (r)
Rims: Jeep Sunraysia; 15x6 (f), 15x8 (r) Rubber: Mickey Thompson ET Street 255/60 (r)
Jay at Fluidrive in Bendigo; Ash at A&H Trim; Jim Gianna at XR6 Turbo Developments for the tuning; Dean Haddock and Luke Mannix for all their work