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11-second small-block Ford-powered XL Falcon ute at Drag Challenge 2018

By Carly Dale | Photos: Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic, Shaun Tanner, 23 Nov 2018 Drag Challenge

11-second small-block Ford-powered XL Falcon ute at Drag Challenge 2018

Bruce Howie’s 450hp XL ute has been running consistent 11s so far at DC 2018

BRUCE Howie was only 16 years of age when he bought his XL Ford Falcon ute as a stock six-cylinder from his high-school janitor.

Bruce Howie Ford XL uteThree decades later, most of the factory driveline and suspension is long gone, making way for the current 11-second combo. “It’s a 347ci that I built 10 years ago and it’s been untouched since,” Bruce said. “I’m really happy with it!”

The toughened small-block Ford features a girdled bottom end, forged components, a Camtech cam, AFR heads, an Edelbrock Victor Jr manifold topped with a Pro Systems-built 750 Holley, and is sparked by ICE ignition. “It has 450rwhp at a guess,” Bruce said. “I’ve got NOS to run on it, just not yet.”

Bruce Howie Ford XL uteBehind the mill is a Jerico four-speed cog-box coupled with a 7¼-inch Tilton clutch, and under the rear is a BorgWarner diff with full spool, 4.11s and 31-spline axles. A Gazzard Brothers split-leaf rear finishes off the back end.

We caught up with Bruce on Day Three of Drag Challenge 2018 to see how he was travelling. “I’m running a full exhaust, and my 60ft isn’t any good,” he said. “I’ve recently changed to the Jerico four-speed, so I’m finding that I need to stall it more and drop the tyre pressure to get out of the hole.”

Bruce Howie Ford XL uteBy Day Four they were trying the two-step, set to 4800rpm, to see if the XL could best the PB Bruce set at Heathcote only a few months earlier: 11.1@128mph. By day’s end, he was two-tenths off with an 11.31@119mph.

Ford XL ute engine bay“This is my first Street Machine Drag Challenge, but I’ve been watching for a while,” Bruce said. “I was keen last year, but I wasn’t near being ready and I’m glad I didn’t push it to come. My whole goal is just to finish the event and run 11s at every track.” 

And yep, he nailed it, finishing with a 11.466-second pass at Calder on Friday. 

Bruce Howie Ford XL uteBRUCE HOWIE
1963 XL FORD FALCON UTE

Class: Tuff Mounts Outlaw Aspirated

SPECS
Engine: 347ci
Intake: Edelbrock Victor Jr, 750 Holley
Gearbox: Jerico four-speed
Clutch: 7¼in Tilton
Diff: BorgWarner, 4.11:1
Power: Approx. 450rwhp
Previous PB: 11.1@128mph