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688hp street and strip 1969 Ford Falcon XT

By Craig Parker | Photos: Nathan Jacobs, 22 May 2018 Features

688hp street and strip 1969 Ford Falcon XT

Jarrod Wood's Ford Falcon XT is a formidable strip weapon that doubles as a tough streeter, as proven on Street Machine Drag Challenge 2017

This article on Jarrod's XT Falcon was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

WITH its six-point rollcage, Kirkey seat and 275-wide Mickey Ts, Jarrod Wood’s XT might look like a full-on strip car, but as the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

“It’s actually a tough streeter,” Jarrod says. “We built it to have fun in; something that anybody can jump in and drive.”

Ford Falcon XT rearJarrod thinks the rear guards may have been radiused and pumped in a previous life. Still, with no mini-tubs and only the dog-leg trimmed, the massive X275 M/T radials are a very tight fit

In 2017, Jarrod and a few mates decided to join the fun of Street Machine Drag Challenge. “We were there for the beer and biscuits,” he says. “It was more about having fun. Other than setting the timing in Adelaide and changing the tyres, we never put a spanner on it. We were on the beers by five o’clock every day; it was great!”

Related: Harrop-blown 302 Ford XT Fairmont at Drag Challenge

Ford Falcon XT sidePrior to DC, the Falcon had only raced at Heathcote, where it didn’t need a rollcage. However, to be Drag Challenge-approved it had to pass ANDRA tech inspection, so a ’cage was a must. “It’s full bolt-in,” Jarrod says. “It takes about four hours to bolt it in, or take out. I’m hoping to get the car engineered with the ’cage – minus the door bars. That’s why we moved the top bulkhead bar back, so the sun visors would still work. The ’cage doesn’t affect the operation of anything in the car.”

Related: 371 Windosr-powered Ford XR Falcon streeter

Ford Falcon XT wheelWhen ordering the diff, Jarrod virtually ticked every option box, including 5/8in wheel studs. “They make changing the wheels twice as easy,” he says. “I’m so glad I got them”

Let’s wind the clock back even further. Around nine years ago, Jarrod purchased the XT as a going concern. Not long after, it suffered a series of issues, starting with a blown engine. Jarrod’s good mate Gary Myers took time out from his busy tyre-frying and SMOTY-winning schedule to build Jarrod a tidy street engine. Unfortunately, the rot didn’t stop there. Soon it had a busted gearbox, whiny diff and peeling purple paint – full rebuild time!

Related: Turbo Barra-powered 1968 Ford XT Fairmont sleeper

Ford Falcon XT bonnetThe CHI Pro Series manifold is huge – 78mm taller than CHI’s normal single-plane item. To clear its height, Jarrod designed the Boss 428-style scoop – on steroids – which Mick’s Motorsport Composites turned into fibreglass reality

The quality of the car belies Jarrod’s modest financial investment. “I can’t afford to pay for a car like this,” he says, “so I try to do most of it myself. Everything else I look to do contra.”

The top end of the XT’s 688-horse mill is a prime example. Jarrod did some work on Eddie Abelnica’s Touring Car Masters car; payment was the CHI cylinder heads and intake off Eddie’s ballistic red XB hardtop.

Ford Falcon XT engine bayBody and paint was a similar deal. Jarrod’s pretty handy in the body department; Gary’s Mustang has benefited from his handiwork a number of times. However, when it came to laying on the new Silver Fox duco, he struck a deal with Nathan at Auto Panel Repairs, Wagga Wagga. After all, as Jarrod says: “Half the fun with cars is hanging it out in the workshop with mates. Most Friday nights we all catch up for a few beers at one place or another.”

Ford Falcon XT engineOne of those haunts is Smith’s Speed Works. It’s run by Craig Smith, who was responsible for a ton of work on the car, including the chrome-moly ’cage, mounting the Kirkey seat, extractors, 3.5-inch exhaust that runs up and over the diff, and the new engine.

Ford Falcon XT engineThis Peterson device is an oil primer. It has lines running into a plate that sandwiches between the filter and the block. Before starting the engine, Jarrod snaps a battery drill onto the wobble drive and spins it up, delivering vital oil pressure to all the critical bits

That donk is good for 688hp at 6900rpm and 584lb-ft at 5300rpm, and has seen the car run consistent low 10s (with a PB of 10.06@133.74mph). Incredible, considering the mill is all wrong, according to Jarrod. “It was originally built to make torque,” he says. “The cam’s specced to suit the original dual-plane manifold and smaller 950 carb. We’ve changed all that for a 1050 Dominator and huge CHI Pro Series intake – that I spent 16 hours porting.”

Ford Falcon XT engineThe Moroso vacuum pump helps make more power, plus there’s a PWR oil-to-water oil cooler way down the bottom. Jarrod could drive this beast across the Nullarbor in 50-degree heat and not be concerned about oil temp

In addition to having all top-shelf gear, the engine’s standout features include 55mm needle roller-cam bearings, Xceldyne cam belt drive and System 1 oil filtration set-up off Mr Myers’s GM176 Mustang.

“The engine has been awesome,” Jarrod says. “Other than a rocker service – nothing! The key is maintenance and priming the oil before starting.

Ford Falcon XT interiorThe XY Fairmont trim was already in the car. The race seat is new, and Jarrod also fabricated the new dash insert to accommodate the extra gauges

“One of the best things I added was the Magnafuel shear plate,” he continues. “It’s only 13mm thick, as most of it drops down into the manifold. It didn’t make it go any better, but it transformed how the car drove; it’s a lot nicer to drive. My kids Kate and Ryan have driven the car on their L-plates. And although she won’t tell anybody, the missus, Tanya, loves driving it. At Bright the other year, it was like whoever wanted to drive it, could. In fact, Deby Myers drove it one-handed, because her other arm was in a sling!”

Ford Falcon XT interior rearBody-wise, the XT is stock except for the massaged rear guards, bonnet scoop and the unique fluoro-orange side stripe. “I designed it myself,” says Jarrod. “Everyone does the same thing, so I decided to mix it up and follow the lower bodyline. This was my take on the whole car; it’s what I think a muscle car should look like.”

The tough and reliable drivetrain includes a Protrans C4 and Altra 9 rear end complete with beefy 5/8-inch wheel studs. “With a previous combo, the first time I used the transbrake, it broke the spring seats off, twisted the diff up and smashed it into the floor. I wasn’t taking any chances this time; I pretty much ticked every heavy-duty option box – including 5/8-inch studs.”

Ford Falcon XT dashPlanting the rear hides to deliver those 10-second passes are Calvert Racing adjustable shocks, CalTracs and solid front bushes. And while 4.56 gears and a 6000rpm converter might not sound very street-friendly, the converter is ‘tight’ and doesn’t flash out until you stand on it. Mind you, for Drag Challenge Jarrod did install taller 30-inch tyres for the highway runs to drop the revs. Sitting on 3400rpm at 95km/h, the XT returned 27 litres per 100km while towing a trailer and with four guys on board – that’s not too shabby.

Ford Falcon XT onroad"The car is very consistent," Jarrod says. "On Drag Challenge it ran within a tenth of a second at every track. I raced it again a week ago after not racing it for a while, and it ran within six-thousandths of its PB. It would be a good bracket car"

“The whole combo is super-reliable,” Jarrod says. “It’s done 211 passes and well over 7000km! I’d like to make more power, but the engine won’t wear out so I’m reluctant to pull it apart.”

Even better, the car has never lost its streetability. The boot is often carting Eskys and chairs to events; it’s even done a Bunnings run to pick up a bootload of cement bags. Now that’s what I call a street car.

Ford Falcon XT boot

FUEL’S ERRAND

In street mode, the Carter pump (1) pulls fuel up out of the stock Falcon tank (2), priming the surge tank (3). After passing through the in-line filter (4), the Aeromotive A1000 (5) pumps pressurised fuel through the –10 line (6) up to the engine. The –8 line (7) is the return from the regulator (mounted in the engine bay), while the other two –8 lines (8) are breathers. Being fearful of getting dud PULP, Jarrod switches to VP MS109 race fuel at the track. To swap, he drains the surge tank via the fitting (9), switches the Carter pump off, then manually fills the surge tank with VP race gas via the boot-mounted filler (10). Easy-as dual-fuel! The car uses 1.5L per pass and the surge tank holds four litres.

Ford Falcon XT onroadJARROD WOOD
1969 XT FORD FALCON

Paint: PPG Silver Fox

ENGINE
Brand: Ford Motorsport 408ci
Heads: CHI 208cc
Intake: CHI Pro Series
Camshaft: Comp Cams solid-roller
Conrods: RPM H-beam
Pistons: JE 4.030in forged
Crank: RPM 4.00in Internal Balance
Oil pump: Melling
Fuel system: 1050 AED Dominator, Aeromotive A1000
Cooling: PWR aluminium radiator, Spal 16in fan
Exhaust: 17/8in primaries, 3.5in system
Ignition: MSD distributor, coil and leads

TRANSMISSION
Gearbox: Protrans C4
Converter: SDE 8in, 6000rpm stall
Diff: Altra 9, 4.56:1 gears, 35-spline

SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Front suspension: King springs
Rear suspension: Leaf springs, CalTracs, solid bushes
Brakes: Wilwood (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood

WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Weld RTS; 17x4.5 (f), 15x8 (r)
Rubber: M/T 26x6 (f), M/T ET Street X275 (r)