WE ALL know that one guy: he’s as loose as the stickshift in an Alfa, thinks every street car needs to have a cam with over 300thou part’s okay), is totally passionate about his brand of wheels, has junked more engines than the local scrap guy, and lives and breathes everything street machining.
‘That one guy’ in this case is Daniel D’aran. He’s a member of the Thirlmere Fryers, which means his car is tough as nails and spends half its life with the rear end up in smoke. After 18 years working in a mining pit, Daniel has recently taken his car life to the next level, with a new fabricating career at home and the rebuild of his stunning XW Falcon, a car he has owned for 23 years.
“I remember the first day I bought that car,” Daniel says. “It had a 302 Clevo in it and drove it straight into the shed after picking it up, ripped the diff out and fitted a nine-inch with a spool. Over the years, especially when I was into the burnout scene, I’ve killed a lot of motors – probably 10 or more, now that I think of it. I’d get in those burnout comps and wind those gauges around until they got dizzy, time after time.”
The latest rebuild is a long way from the budget builds of his earlier days; the XW was completely overhauled down to the last nut and bolt.
“I built it myself,” Daniel says. “I started by cutting the rear rails and stepping them inwards and then moving the leaf springs to the inside of the chassis rail so I could fit a 15x14 under the arse. I did all the tubs myself, raised the tunnel in the car so I could get it to sit nice and low, and added an ANDRA-spec rollcage for racing.” Other modifications include a smoothed engine bay, and the firewall has been replaced with a flat-sheet job.
The engine sounds plenty tough. When Daniel was thrashing to get the car finished for Summernats 31, the engine was sent to Westend Performance for dyno-tuning and the factory block had a serious meltdown. All the main caps except one tore loose from the block, so the crank all but fell out of the bottom of the engine. A new Dart Windsor block was sourced at the last minute and fitted with a Scat rotating assembly and a set of Yates C302B ex-NASCAR heads with custom-made pistons.
“I have two different sets of carbs – petrol and alcohol for different tune-ups,” Daniel says. “A lot of guys have problems with alcohol filling up their sump when cruising, but I’ve found that by winding the fuel pressure back to one pound at idle, you can still cruise the car fine without it fuelling up. Step on the noise and the fuel pressure shoots straight up to where it should be with the belt-driven 80A-0 fuel pump that is gravity-fed by a 70-litre rear fuel cell.”
Surprisingly, this system works fine; it’s a combination that Daniel has had for a long time, so he has had the opportunity to refine it to make it great on the street.
The Yates heads are topped with a custombuilt Hogan sheet-metal intake with twin 850 Quick Fuel carbs.
On the engine dyno the donk made over 700hp. It’s backed by an Al’s Race Glides C4 three-speed auto with reverse-pattern valvebody and a bunch of aftermarket bits that Daniel has never been able to kill. The engine is swinging an Aussie-made Dominator converter that stalls to about 5800rpm.
Even though Daniel buzzes the motor to over 7800rpm, it still runs a wet sump, and once he gets a bit of fine-tuning completed he will hit it with the direct-port nitrous system that can add an additional 500hp to the mix.
It’s a full-weight ride that should run into the high nines aspirated, and with the massive rear sneakers should touch on high eights on the bottle.
The rear end of the car is equally impressive, with a sheet-metal nine-inch housing built by Daniel on his rear-end jig, and a set of coil-overs replacing the stock shock set-up.
A fresh coat of jam by TSR Smash Repairs really brought the whole project together, while the interior is just as smooth as the rest of the car. Recently the XW has become Daniel’s everyday driver after he lunched the 600hp Clevo in his grandpa-spec XR Falcon. No surprises there.
While the interwebs are full of turbo deals that are said to run faster, few cars epitomise the old-school cool of a real tough aspirated streeter more than this ride. You can be sure that a good story will always follow this car! You can check out more shots of DOGNUT and Dan’s other rides on whichcar.com.au/StreetMachine
JUST prior to it being shipped to the US for Hot Rod Drag Week, the twin-turbo VH of Craig and Tanya Thompson (below) was spotted at Willowbank making a few last-minute shakedown passes. The car has run a best of 8.28, but with an 8.50 class index they have been trying to wind the tune back. Word has it they will be fitting a Gear Vendors overdrive to the car once it arrives in the US.
Ben Neal is also sending his Barra-powered Cressida, Jamie Farmer has reloaded his LS-powered Falcon ute, and Brian and Dianne Jensen will make the trip again too, to compete in their big block-powered LX hatch that has placed the previous two years.
Sadly, Terry and Anita Seng will be pulling out after a monumental thrash to get their VH Commodore finished. “We’ve got some problems with the car that we haven’t been able to sort before sending it,” Terry said. “I don’t want to go there and make an arse of myself; I’d like to get this thing really sorted before heading over at the end of this year and doing a number of meetings.”
It really is a pity that the team won’t be going this time, but sending a car that is anything but perfect to Drag Week would be a huge mistake.
STICK WITH IT STILL find it strange that many modern transmissions don’t have a dipstick? Well, there is a solution for one of the most common GM transmissions, the 4L80E. Lokar has released a dipstick that fits in – of all places – the fill plug! Whoever would have thought of that? Check out your local stockist or the interwebs to get one.
GRUDGE MATCH ANOTHER Grudge Kings meeting in Sydney is fastapproaching as write this, and it’s brought a lot of new cars out of the woodwork.
Craig Burns from Street Car Fabrications has debuted his stunning new tube-chassis Mustang Outlaw Radial car, built entirely in-house. Powered by a billet Brad Anderson Hemi with a D-rotor PSI blower, the car made some shakedown passes recently, with a 1.14 60-foot straight off the trailer and 4.55 over the eighth. On the second pass the car left on a 1.12 60-foot with an amazing 4.18 over the eighth.
Another standout was Jeremy Callaghan’s stunning Camaro, which looks to have had a $200K magic wand waved over it, with an awesome paintjob by Custom Bodyworks and a new 481X motor up front.
Matt Grubisa was also spotted testing with a new turn-key ride fresh from the USA. Word has it the twin-turbo deal has run into the 3.7s already!
WE’VE seen all manner of LS conversions, but for sheer driving pleasure, there’s not much that would top this 1976 Porsche Carrera, which weighs in at just 900kg.
Queenslander Reece Jones bought it as just a bare shell, and after two years of concentrated work the car is ready for engineering.
“I spent the first six months planning the build and searching the internet around the world for parts,” Reece explains. “After that it’s been full-on. Luckily a good mate of mine, Jay Logan, was great with the TIG, so we started manufacturing everything at home.
“The biggest issue in fitting the LS was the length of the motor,” he continues. “Most people use a Porsche gearbox when doing any type of re-power conversion, but I didn’t have one to start with.”
Instead, Reece started working on a transaxle out of an all-wheel-drive Subaru STI. He effectively cut the last 30cm off the gearbox, made a new bellhousing, machined a new flywheel and adapted a Subaru clutch to the package.
His research led him to Tom from Subarugears, a company that makes reversed five-speed Subaru transmissions for rearengined VWs and Porsches. He overhauled the ’box with a better set of gear ratios and even swapped out the crown wheel and pinion to suit the torque of the LS.
Even with this shortened ’box, all the accessories needed to be removed from the front of the motor to get it to fit. After an engine cradle was built from scratch, the LS fit with just 9mm to spare.
In place of the RSR oil cooler in the front of the car, Reece has fitted an early Jeep radiator that has been trimmed down, and has run all the cooling lines in hard-line alloy up through the wheelarches and across the floor of the car to a Davies Craig electric water pump and controller in the rear.
“Width-wise, there is actually a ton of room in the back of these cars, and once I get it legally registered I will fit a turbo set-up to smarten things up,” Reece reckons.
The car itself has had some serious mods too, with carbonfibre guards and fibreglass deck lid, bonnet and bumpers. The pedal box has been replaced with a Tilton 600-Series, and brakes are two-piece 300mm Rebel Racing rotors with Brembo four-spot calipers all ’round.
The engine has had a freshen-up with a mild cam and still runs a factory ECU. With horsepower in the low 400s at the tyres and the car roughly 300kg lighter than factory, it We’ll should have easily more run on into this the car bottom soon. 11s s as it is.