TUNNEL VISION

ZORAN KRSTEVSKI ENVISIONED THIS SPECTACULAR XE FALCON EVERY DAY FOR 12 YEARS. NOW ITíS FINALLY A REALITY

STORY AIDEN TAYLOR PHOTOS BEN HOSKING

EVEN though Zoran Krstevskiís XE Falcon took around 12 years to build, his vision for the car never once varied. It was always going to be blue with a factory-style interior, fat stance, skinny front-runners and finished off with a little something poking out of the bonnet. Given all the styles that have come and gone since the early 2000s, this boxy Falcon have easily turned into a mish-mash of themes, but instead it ended up being a Summernats Top 20 stunner.

Zoranís love affair with XE Falcons started when he was young. ďI always had them in the family, he says. ďI had an XD as my first car, and since then Iíve had about 15 of them in my possession because I used to part them out.

ďI just love the shape of the XDs and XEs and I was always tinkering with that model car, so when it came to building a street machine, the 80s-era Falcon was the only option, he continues.

Zoran picked up what is now THE XE in the late 90s. At that stage the car was good from far but far from good, but Zoran had plans to eventually transform it into a masterpiece.

ďIt already had the 351 Cleveland, which I then had built up with more power, Zoran says. ďI did a stage two shift kit on the C4 auto and it had the nine-inch, so it was a fun car. I used to take my dad out in it and scare the shit out of him.

In the year 2000 the auto went bang after some shenanigans with mates, and at the time Zoran didnít have the money to fix it, so he put the Falcon away until conditions were right to finally turn it into his dream car. It sat for almost a decade before he really got stuck in.

I JUST LOVE THE SHAPE OF THE XD AND XE, SO WHEN IT CAME TO BUILDING A STREET MACHINE, THE 80S-ERA FALCON WAS THE ONLY OPTION

ďI didnít want to build it half-arsed; I wanted to build it right the first time and build the car that I had been envisioning in my mind for years, Zoran explains. ďMyself and Nathan Allen [of CMEFRY burnout fame] started the build and did bits and pieces here and there, usually after a few beers, but we were a bit too young and didnít finish things off to the standard that I really wanted.

ďIt wasnít really until my dad passed away in 2009 that I really got my arse into gear. My best memories in the XE were when I used to take my dad out in it and I really wanted to build the car in memory of him. I became determined to see it finished.

Zoran saw the work that Aaron Gregory had done and decided to leave the XE with him to get the engine bay spick and span. ďI just left it up to him and said I wanted it neat and to stay true to the factory lines of the engine bay, and he did an incredible job.

Chris Spicer and Dave McFarland at Killer Customs tubbed the rear end to fit 15x10 Center Line Qualifiers with big Mickey Thompson rubber and fitted up a four-linked Strange nine-inch rear end. They also installed a rollcage, which is tucked up as hard as it gets against the pillars and features removable side intrusion bars for street duties. Shaunís Custom Alloy fabricated the fuel cell in the boot, which uses the factory fill point.

From there the XE went to Phil Xerri at Philís Body Repairs for its custom metallic blue paint. Zoran wanted to retain the factory look of the car but tidy it up and give it that ESP look.

While the car was away getting sprayed, Jason Mansweto was building the Falconís new engine. ďI wanted 600-700hp before gas on pump fuel, but the main thing was reliability, Zoran says. ďI didnít want a big cam and angry, heavy valvetrain; I wanted it to sound nice and make good power but still be able to cruise with the family. Thatís exactly what I got.

The engine is actually a NASCAR-block 351 Cleveland that Zoran pestered his cousin over for the best part of 12 years, taken out to 393ci and stuffed with custom Arias pistons, Compstar rods and a Scat crank. Up top it runs custom CNC-ported 225cc CHI heads, CHI intake manifold and a 870cfm Street HP Holley and NOS Cheater plate kit.

ďIt ended up being around 13:1 comp and it revs to 8000rpm. On the engine dyno it made 662hp on pump fuel and we can still give it a 250-shot of nitrous, Zoran says.

Backing the motor is a Hughes C4 reverse-pattern auto with a transbrake. Eventually Zoran wants to send the car down the strip with the aim of running an all-motor nine-second quarter, but itís never going to be a car that he chases times with; it holds too much sentimental value now and has turned out too nice.

The car then went to Paul Sant at ProFlo Performance, who plumbed everything up, got the car running and sorted out the McDonald Brothers tubular A-arm front end. While it was there, Mark Sant from Ontrak Auto Electrical wired up the XEís electrical system. It was at that point the boys suggested to Zoran that his car might be good enough to unveil at Summernats.

ďThe thought crept in when Paul Sant asked if I had spoken to Owen Webb, because he thought it could be an unveil car, so I touched base with him and kept him in touch with the build. Come December sent him some shots of the trim and he said: ďYouíre in!Ē Looking at the interior, itís easy to see what impressed Owen. Itís a real highlight of this Falcon, offering something that we havenít seen done in an XE before. ďI wanted to keep it factory-looking but really modernise it and bring it into this era, Zoran says. ďIíve always liked cars that look and go fast but are classy on the inside, and thatís what Iíve tried to achieve with this.

The Recaro seats have remained up front, and Zoran also had another pair customised to fit the rear. ďWith the tubs, the middle seat was pretty much made redundant anyway, so I suggested to Luke at X-Trim that we make it two seats with the centre console running up between them. We ended up moulding the two Recaros around the tubs and chopping them down slightly so the headrests sat at an even height with the fronts. Luke knocked it out of the park.

UNDERNEATH: The underside of the XE is detailed just as well as the rest of the car, with the undercarriage painted the same electric blue as the exterior, highlighted by a beautiful chrome-fi nish custom exhaust

BOOT: Itís all business in the back, with a big custom fuel cell fabbed up by Shaunís Custom Alloy, which fi lls from the factory fi ller behind the number plate. Thereís no missing the two big nitrous bottles, which feed a 250-shot Cheater plate system up front

INTERIOR: Itís the little touches like the billet steering column and indicator stalks that really give Zoranís XE a classy look. The daggy hand-operated XE park brake has also been relocated to the fl oor next to the driverís seat, like in an HQ Holden

REARSEAT: The idea for the twin rear seats came from Zoran, who already had the pair of Recaros lying around. They look right at home in the back of the XE, highlighted by the custom centre console between them. It all came up a treat, and is one of the most striking features of the car

DASH: Zoran wanted to refresh the interior and bring it into this era, so rather than pepper the dash with mechanical gauges, he fi tted the single Racepak Street dash. It displays all of the engineís vitals, and Zoran has hooked it up to a datalogger mounted under the driverís seat

I WANTED 600-700HP BEFORE GAS ON PUMP FUEL. I WANTED IT TO MAKE GOOD POWER BUT STILL BE ABLE TO CRUISE WITH THE FAMILY

LEFT: The bespoke centre console houses a number of custom buttons. The row down the passenger side controls the nitrous system, with bottle heater, purge and arm buttons, while the driverís-side row powers the ignition, starter motor and fuel pump. The passenger-side lever is a very nicely fi nished parachute release

ENGINE: The 393ci Cleveland in Zoranís XE Falcon was an old NASCAR motor. Zoranís cousin had it stored in his shed for a number of years, and after plenty of pestering eventually gave in and donated it to the XE. Jason Mansweto pumped up the cubes and compression and gave it the gas - now itís making 662hp on pump fuel before you hit the nitrous

Luke used ESP-style trim on the seat centres, but finished the rest in black leather. Zoran also wanted chrome piping, so Luke worked that into the door cards and matched it with silver stitching on the seats.

The custom centre console houses all the buttons for engine start, fuel pumps, and nitrous arm and purge. Theyíre made so that Zoran can easily access them when heís strapped in with a race harness.

By this stage, Zoran had just two weeks to have the car finished and ready to unveil at Summernats 32. ďThe car had no glass, no chrome work, no bootlid, no bumper bars; it literally just had its doors, he recalls. ďMy cousin Tony Cvetanovski and I did the fit-up. We were petrified of scratching it, but there was no turning back; it was full steam ahead for about two weeks. It was crazy!Ē But they got it there, and THE XE received a warm response when the covers finally came off.

ďI had a lot of people tell me it was never going to get done because it sat for so long. Most people didnít see it until it was unveiled, Zoran says. ďIíve been going to Summernats since number 10 and only missed three since then, so Iíve seen it evolve. It was crazy just to be part of it, and to have my car there in the hall was a dream come true.

Imagine how Zoran felt then when THE XE placed in the Top 20 and took out third place in Elite Sedan! ďIt was a real whirlwind experience Iím still coming down from it, he laughs. ďI had my whole family there Ė the kids, my cousins, it was great. I even had my first drive in the car on the Sunday with the kids and missus at Summernats. I spent half of Sunday cruising, which really topped the weekend off.

ďItís still surreal; in February 2018 the car didnít have a nut or bolt on it, Zoran continues. ďNow I just want to enjoy it, get it out there with the family and support some events. Itís a car that will never s be sold; it was built in memory of Dad.

ZORAN KRSTEVSKI 1982 FORD XE FALCON

Paint: Custom metallic blue

ENGINE

Brand: Ford Cleveland 393ci

Carb: Holley 870cfm Street HP

Nitrous: NOS Cheater plate kit, 250-shot

Inlet manifold: CHI

Heads: CHI CNC-ported 225cc

Camshaft: 252/260@50, 650 lift

Pistons: Custom Arias

Crank: Forged Scat

Rods: Callies Compstar H-beam

Oil pump: Melling

Ignition: ICE

Exhaust: Pacemaker Headers, custom exhaust

Radiator: Custom PWR

Fuel pump: Aeromotive A1000

Preferred fuel: Pump 98

TRANSMISSION

Gearbox: Hughes C4 race íbox

Converter: SDE 5800rpm

Diff: 9in, Strange Truetrac, 4.10:1 gears

Tailshaft: Rickyís Driveshafts

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Front: McDonald Bros tubular A-arm, Viking double adjustable coil-overs

Rear: Mini-tubs, four-link, Strange double adjustable coil-overs

Brakes: Slotted Wilwood (f & r)

Master cylinder: Wilwood dual

WHEELS & TYRES

Rims: Center Line Qualifier; 15x4.5 (f), 15x10 (r)

Rubber: Mickey Thompson Sportsman SR; 26x6 (f), 28x12 (r)

THANKS

Paul Sant and the ProFlo Performance team; Jason Mansweto at Mansweto Racing; Phil Xerri at Philís Body Repairs; Grant and Luke at X-Trim Motor Trimming; Chris Spicer; Dave McFarland; Aaron Gregory (Memphis Hell) and Brad Grech (Ultimate Metalworks) for the fab work; Mark Sant at Ontrak Auto Electrical; Claude Grasso at All Type Carbs; Chubby at Lowe Fabrications; Daniel Levy at Killer Finish Paint Correction; my cousins Tony and Rob Cvetanovski; Matt Scala; George Saad; the Rocket Industries team; our loyal Black Track Towing customers; my beautiful supportive family, including my dad (RIP) and especially my fiancťe Lisa for the emotional support, kicking my arse when needed and helping get the car ready for Summernats