MARCUS Cripps and the crew from Speed Pro know a thing or two about fast cars, so it should come as no surprise that Marcus’s own XD Falcon happens to be a 1400hp, sevensecond street demon.
This article was first published in the August 2020 issue of Street Machine
The XD was originally purchased for a measly $1800 as a replacement for the Speed Pro XB Falcon, which was getting quicker than initially intended – a good problem to have, if you ask us!
“The XB went a 9.4 at over 140mph, and it was at that point where we’d have to ’cage it and fit a ’chute in order to keeping going with it,” says Marcus. Not wanting to chop up a car that had been in his family for generations, Marcus chose the XD as the business’s new development mule.
The rear end of the XD was given a makeover for the Barra transplant, getting a Strange nine-inch fitted by All Race, as well as split tubs. Marcus stayed true to factory by sticking with leaf springs, using Gazzard Brothers springs, shocks and anti-roll bar
The XB’s 460ci Windsor found a new home in the XD, before copping some nitrous and comfortably wheelstanding its way to low nine-second passes with 1250hp on tap. A Speed Pro customer ended up purchasing the Windsor mill and the majority of the driveline shortly after it had a freshen-up at Dandy Engines, which left Marcus pondering what to do next with the red brick.
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The XD was in pretty good shape when Marcus got it around six years ago, but the exterior copped a fresh coat of the factory Monza Red to keep it looking sharp
Enter the Aussie force to be reckoned with: the mighty Barra. “I was originally looking at doing a twin-turbo small-block Ford, but I thought a Barra would make a good interim engine,” says Marcus. “We had done the carby and nitrous stuff with the old engine, so we thought we’d try learning EFI and turbo things with the Barra.”
The rear spinners are Billet Specialties Win Lites, measuring 15x10 and wrapped in 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson Radial Pros
The original plan for the Ford six followed a typical budget recipe: throw some valve springs, head studs, oil pump gears and the basic kit at an LPG green-top Barra and boost it to the moon. Those plans quickly snowballed though when Jason Ghiller from Tunnel Vision Turbocharging got involved, as he knows a thing or two about super-quick Barra XDs.
Frank Marchese from Dandy Engines also had a hand in the project, helping Marcus choose what size turbo to run and doing the majority of the machine work on the donk, ready for Jason to assemble. “Frank basically said we can choose something small and responsive for the street, or something bigger so we could focus on our times at the track,” says Marcus.
CO2 helps regulate the monster Precision 88/91 hairdryer at the track, while the fuel cell feeds the Barra with the delicious X85 VP Racing ethanol race fuel
With the turbo size sorted and a goal of at least 1000hp set, a menu was drawn up for the mill. It consisted of a standard-stroke billet crank from Auscrank, Nitto rods and SPS pistons, all topped with a handported head wearing custom-grind cams. Both the drool-worthy intake and exhaust manifolds are custom-fabricated pieces made in-house at Tunnel Vision. The turbo is a Precision 88/91 sourced from Speed Pro, along with the majority of the engine internals and a FuelTech FT600 ECU to control the show.
Modern Barras shoehorned into older Falcons aren’t an unfamiliar sight these days, but this has to be one of the cleanest we’ve seen. Adorned with a custom Speed Pro engraved coil pack cover, the mighty 4.0L sits pretty dressed up with the Precision turbo and custom Tunnel Vision intake plenum
It’s no run-of-the-mill Barra though, with Marcus and Jason opting to try some new things out with this build. The oiling system is supported by an external Savy pump, and the fuel system also uses a Waterman cabledriven pump. “We went with the oil pump to push Jason’s boundaries a bit, as he’d never done one before, and it helps with the oil pressure up top when we’re at the track,” says Marcus.
The driveline also scored a solid beefing-up to handle the new-found fury. A Protrans TH400 makes home for an SDE converter, while Marcus shipped the car off to All Race Fabrications to have the rear end renovated. “I’ve never been happy with the way the rear end sits on XDs, so I had the boys at All Race move the rear springs inboard, split the tub and set up the Strange nine-inch rear that we supplied,” he says. “It was just for looks at the end of the day; we’ve always run the 275s on the 15x10s, so there was no other advantage.”
The car was turned around in roughly two years, and with 1400rwhp and 40psi at his disposal, Marcus quite comfortably ran a 7.96@173mph on the car’s third pass – and in street trim. “It drove straight as a die, and we had the guys from FuelTech and Gazzard Brothers helping with the tuning of the engine and suspension, so it was a really good first time out for the car,” says Marcus.
The inside is largely standard, albeit with a few neat performance upgrades. The car was fully ’caged by the wizards at All Race Fabrications, while the front copped a new pair of Racetech seats and RaceQuip seatbelts
The XD has been used as a showcase for all the products Speed Pro sells, as well as giving Marcus and his crew real-world experience and knowledge with the gear they offer. “Ninety per cent of the parts in the car were sourced from Speed Pro: the lines and fittings, wheels, brakes, suspension, engine parts, turbo, diff, seats – just about everything,” says Marcus. “We’ve had people ring up and want to copy the set-up of the XD down to the fuel pumps and lines, so it allows us to advise customers properly on what best suits their needs.”
While the car was built with drag racing duties in mind, Marcus still makes sure it gets its fair share of street use. “Even with all that power, it has great manners on the street,” he says. “I use it to take the girls to netball, go for pizza runs and stuff like that; it’s still the tough street car I wanted.”
The FuelTech FT600 ECU comes with a neat switch panel, allowing Marcus to adjust boost levels, tunes and other settings without having to jump back onto the laptop. We think the ‘Send It!’ and ‘All In’ buttons are fairly self- explanatory
Marcus has already achieved his initial goal of a seven-second slip, so his next aim is to hunt deeper into seven-second territory and make his debut at Street Machine Drag Challenge. “One of the ideas for the build was to run Drag Challenge, so we’re hoping to go there, run a few sevens and just have a good time,” he says.
1980 XD FORD FALCON
Paint: Monza Red
Brand: Ford Barra
Intake manifold: Tunnel Vision
ECU: FuelTech FT600
Turbo: Precision 88/91
Head: Ported standard
Camshafts: Custom grind
Crank: Billet Auscrank
Oil pump: Savy external
Fuel system: Waterman Sprint cable-driven pump
Cooling: Race Radiators
Exhaust: 4in stainless
Ignition: Smart coils
Gearbox: Protrans TH400
Bellhousing: Torque Power
Diff: 9in, Strange centre, 35-spline axles
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front: Gazzard coil-overs
Rear: Gazzard split-leaf springs, Gazzard shocks
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Billet Specialties Win Lite; 17x4.5 (f), 15x10 (r)
Rubber: M/T SR Radial 26x6 R15 (f), M/T Radial Pro 275/60R15 (r)
Jason at Tunnel Vision; Frank at Dandy Engines; Nathaniel at FuelTech; Daniel (Pazzo) at All Race; Scott at Gazzard Brothers; Chris at Race Wires; Precision Turbo; Speedflow for the fittings and hoses; Race Radiators; SDE Converters; Protrans; Tuff Mounts for the engine and trans mounts; VP Racing Fuel for the X85; Plazmaman for the Pro Series intercooler