This article on Daniel's Cortina was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Street Machine
HAVING built a tubbed Cortina with no back seat, a nitrous-sniffing Cortina that was a Summernats Tuff Street Runner-Up, followed by PSIDUP – a Cortina that holds the Australian radial-tyre ET record (see more below) – it was pretty much inevitable that Daniel ‘Pazzo’ Nunziante would follow those with, you guessed it, another Cortina!
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“I love them,” says Pazzo, in case we hadn’t already gathered. “The others were not very family-friendly though. They got out of hand and turned into race cars – especially PSIDUP. Also, it’s hard to compete at that level and have my kids involved. So, I purposely built this one for the street, something we could all enjoy – jump in anytime we wanted and go for a cruise.”
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Pazzo managed to prove this within a few hours of finishing the car. “Its maiden voyage was the run out to the start of Drag Challenge,” he says. “After finishing the exhaust late Saturday night, we drove it around the block for a half-hour to get a feel for the brakes. Then, on Monday morning, we all piled in and headed to Calder. That was the car’s first proper drive. It was like 30 degrees that day, but it ran great. It’s just a cruiser that drives surprisingly well, sitting just under 3000rpm at 90 kays.”
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“For power and speed, you can’t beat a race car,” says Pazzo. “But at the track you hate them, as stuff is always going wrong. This car is different; whenever the weather is good, we jump in and go for a drive – that’s what I built it for”
But while Pazzo might think of it as “just a cruiser”, it should be noted that it does have 875hp between the front rails. “Yeah, it’s tough,” he concedes. “But PSIDUP made 3500hp, and my new Mustang will make 5000. Having all that power and all that speed – it’s hard for anything else to compare.”
While double-beadlock wheels are big-time overkill on a street car, Pazzo had them lying around from his previous build, so he thought: “Why not?” “To be honest, I just like the look of them,” he says
Glenn Wells is the engine whiz behind the big-inch small-block. Glenn’s built a host of engines for Pazzo, as well as four or five for his dad, plus a heap more for his friends. “I send everyone to Glenn,” Pazzo says. “I’ve been using him for an easy 10 years. He looked after PSIDUP, which was the first radial car in Australia to run 200mph, as well as the first to run a six. He’s also looking after the 481X in the new Mustang.”
To make that power while staying 98 PULP-friendly, Glenn went for maximum cubes – 451 of them to be precise – which has paid big dividends. “Other combos that have made similar power have felt lazy once you load up the car,” says Pazzo. “This engine is sharp, even with the big tyre and full of people.”
Helping to make it sharp are Higgins-ported Clevo heads, an ultra-tall Scott Cook intake, a Pro Systems 1050 carby and a monster solid-roller cam ground to Glenn’s own specifications.
“I hear a lot of people having lifter problems with solid-roller cams in street cars,” says Pazzo, “but all my cars have had solids, and – touch wood – I’ve never had a problem.”
Big power needs a big exhaust, which Extracted Performance nailed. It starts with two-inch primaries that step up to 21/8, dumping into cavernous four-inch collectors. Through the X-pipe it steps down to 31/5-inch, before exiting out through twin 3½-inch mufflers.
Even with the Alfa Fibreglass 4in reverse-cowl bonnet, the tall Air Supremacy intake manifold and carb spacer still manage to push the Pro Systems 1050 out into fresh air
From the engine back, it’s as stout as they come: MDT Powerglide, chrome-moly tailshaft and Strange nine-inch with 35-spline axles by Chris’s Differential Services.
As manager at All Race Fabrications, Pazzo didn’t have to look very far for top-shelf fabrication work. The All Race crew, including Brenden ‘Bubba’ Medlyn (2016 Drag Challenge Champion), Brett, Kane and Ryan all helped out on the project. The adjustable rear chrome-moly control arms, cooling system, rear tubs and a host of other bits and pieces are All Race’s handiwork.
Thanks to Glenn Wells, that tower of power is packing 451 cubes and 875 dyno-proven neddies – yet happily runs on 98 PULP
With the big rear meats being such a tight fit inside the mini-tubs, the adjustable arms were a must to keep the factory-style triangulated four-link centred and stable. There’s also a big SCF Race Cars rear sway-bar to plant the tyres.
Despite its 9sec potential, GASDUP does not have a rollcage; this bar work is for mounting the two Menscer Motorsports coil-overs you can see just poking up into the boot
What’s noticeably missing is a rollcage. “This is a street car, not a race car, so no ’cage,” says Pazzo. However, pop the boot and you see what looks like ’cage work; in fact it’s the mounting structure for the pair of two-way adjustable Menscer Motorsports coil-overs. “At $2600, they’re definitely overkill for the street,” Pazzo says. “However, like the double-beadlock wheels, they were left over from PSIDUP, so I thought I may as well use them.”
Colour choice was easy: “Years ago, when I painted the candy purple car [also called GASDUP], I used this silver as the base. It looked awesome, and I told myself: ‘One day I’m painting a car that colour.’ Also, seeing as PSIDUP was orange with a silver stripe, I thought I’d do my street car the opposite.”
Talk about trapped in the 70s! This mega-tough streeter retains its ‘classic’ poo-brown interior, right down to the original loop-pile carpet
Rather than go nuts inside, the factory poo-brown theme has been retained. SOC Audio & Upholstery retrimmed the seats, but the factory carpet was left as-is – albeit with a hole cut in it for the B&M Pro Stick shifter. The other noticeable interior upgrade is the Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges. Other than that, all the original ‘charm’ is still there.
As happy as Pazzo is with how well this Cortina turned out, his kids love it even more. Having grown up around tough cars all their life, they’re understandably hard to impress. “We’ve all gone out to a couple of Saturday-night cruises; I just touch the throttle and my daughter yells at me, but then giggles her heart out,” Pazzo says. “This makes my boys and I laugh; we all have lots of fun cruising in it.”
Now that’s what you call real street.
PARTY OF FIVE
ONE of Pazzo’s other Cortinas, PSIDUP, set the APSA world on fire back in November 2016 when it smashed the Australian radial record with a blistering 6.58@221mph! While the twin-turbo, 632-cube Corty has since run faster (228mph), the ET record still stands today.
Pazzo’s chassis man, Craig Burns (SCF Race Cars) convinced him things were getting dangerous, as PSIDUP’s rollcage was inadequate for the speeds it was running. Therefore, the car and engine were sold off separately to fund Pazzo’s new project: a three-quarter-chassis Fox-body Mustang. With Craig doing the chassis and Glenn Wells looking after the Alan Johnson 481X (540-cube Pro Mod motor), they’re sure to hit their target of being the first Australian radial car into the fives!
DANIEL ‘PAZZO’ NUNZIANTE
1975 FORD TD CORTINA
Paint: HOK Silver
Brand: 451ci Windsor
Intake: Scott Cook Air Supremacy
Carby: Pro Systems 1050
Heads: Higgins Cleveland alloy
Camshaft: Glenn Wells solid-roller
Crank/rods: Callies billet
Pistons: Custom CP
Oil pump: Melling
Fuel system: MagnaFuel 750 Pro Tuner
Cooling: All Race custom
Ignition: MSD crank trigger, Power Grid
Gearbox: MDT Powerglide
Converter: SDE Converters 6800rpm
Diff: Strange 9in, 4.1:1 gears, 35-spline
Tailshaft: JG Drivelines chrome-moly
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Stock springs, Koni adjustable shocks
Rear: Menscer Motorsports coil-overs
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston (f), drums (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld Racing V Series; 15x3.5 (f), 15x10 double-beadlock (r)
Rubber: Moroso DS2 26x4.4x15 (f), M/T Street Radial Pro 275/60R15 (r)