When you gaze upon Nathan Young’s mental 1500rwhp XB Falcon coupe, a very extreme example of one of Ford’s most iconic Aussie muscle cars, you could be excused for jumping to the conclusion that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Blue Oval devotee. Not so, as it turns out.
First published in the July 2022 issue of Street Machine
SYCO XB has made 1500rwhp early in its development, with plenty more grunt to be had from the twin-turbo 427. But with Nathan working away on a 1600awhp R35 GT-R, the Ford’s position as the quickest street car in his stable may well be under threat!
“I’m not one to take sides; I’m not a Ford guy by any means,” Nathan explains. “I’ve also got a Nissan GT-R and a Valiant, and I’ve owned a VF GTS, too. But an XB coupe has always been my dream car.”
So when this hardtop popped up on Facebook Marketplace, Nathan went to take a squiz at it at his earliest possible convenience. What greeted him was an ex-drag car that had been tubbed and fitted with a ladder-bar rear-end and Lexan windows. It was missing plenty of hard-to-find bits, but Nathan looked past its shortcomings and reasoned that it could form the basis of his dream street/strip build.
“It was pretty bare and basic, but the plan was always to turn it back into a street car,” Nathan says. “All Street Performance & Fabrication guided me through the whole process and the best way to do things, but ultimately left it up to me to make the decisions. Joel from All Street has an XB coupe as well, and he was able to help me out with sourcing the parts we needed to turn it back into a streeter.”
Nathan’s brief to Joel was simple and concise: He wanted a streetable, 2000hp-capable street/strip weapon; something that could take on the rigours of Street Machine Drag Challenge. “I was inspired by Frank Marchese’s XW,” he says. “I wanted to run a Ford small-block motor to retain some sort of originality. So we went with a twin-turbo ‘Clevor’ – a Windsor block with Cleveland heads.”
Said powerplant is a 427-cuber, based on a World block. It’s filled with weapons-grade internals like a Callies Magnum crank, Oliver rods and CP-Carrillo pistons, and a Comp solid-roller camshaft got the nod. The cylinder heads and matching single-plane inlet manifold are Aussie-made Higgins items, equipped with Inconel valves and PSI springs.
But it’s the matching pair of Garrett G42-1450 snails perched upon the custom turbo manifolds that really put the wind into the tough Clevor. Scott Hoffman at Cleveland Exhaust has thus far tuned it to deliver 1508rwhp on E85 at 21psi, so Nathan’s goal of 2000rwhp should be eclipsed once the car has been properly shaken down and the ante is upped to 35psi.
Those meaty 315-wide Mickey T radials fill out the big coupe’s Coke-bottle hips to a T. The 427 decal on the boot garnish is a nice touch, too. “They usually have a 351 sticker there, and I thought it needed something to fill the gap, so I had a mate make a custom decal up,” Nathan explains
Controlling not only the engine but also every conceivable electrical function in the car is Haltech’s new Nexus R5 Vehicle Control Unit. “The Nexus runs absolutely everything in the car right down to the indicators; it’s so good!” Nathan enthuses. “I’ve been learning to muck around with it. The laptop connects to it wirelessly and you can see all the data from every sensor in the car. It’s good to have one unit controlling everything.”
Bolted to the rear of the motor is a Reid-cased Powerglide loaded with a custom converter, which funnels grunt back to a nine-inch diff. It runs 35-spline full-floater axles and 3.7:1 gears and is suspended in the aforementioned ladder-bar rear end – but not for long.
“The only things we didn’t change from when I bought the car were the diff housing and the ladder-bar set-up,” Nathan says. “When I took it to Powerplay and turned it up, it broke a ladder bar. I limped it back to the pits and put it on the trailer, but we’re going back to a leaf-spring set-up now; we think it’ll be better for traction. The new diff housing is here and we’ll stick with the same shocks, but we’re ditching the ladder bars.”
The cavernous tubs also remain from the car’s previous life as a dedicated drag car, and graciously accept the 315/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street R hoops mounted to 15×13-inch Weld V-Series beadlock rims. You don’t need me to tell you that the car sits exceptionally well and looks beyond tough on those portly rear hoops.
The thumping 427-cube, twin-turbo Clevor was screwed together by All Street Performance & Fabrication, and has thus far spat out an impressive 1508rwhp on E85 and 21psi. The plan is to wind up the wick to 35psi in good time and shoot for somewhere north of 2000rwhp, with low 7s at the strip the ultimate goal
Yep, the stance is certainly at the centre of the car’s visual appeal, but the blacker-than-black aesthetic and the charge pipe poking cheekily through the bonnet certainly don’t hurt, either. And now that the car is finished, Nathan has been getting plenty comfortable in the driver’s seat.
“It’s been finished for a few months and I’ve put about 1000km on it so far,” he says. “It drives great, and the big thing is that it’s not obnoxiously loud.
The interior is largely stock except for the Kirkey driver’s seat, rollcage, Haltech iC-7 dash and B&M shifter. “I just told the trimmer to do everything exactly like a stock GT,” Nathan says. “We tried to integrate the Haltech dash into the stock cluster and build the ’cage to go around the factory dashboard to keep it all looking pretty stock”
It just sounds like a run-of-the-mill streeter and you can cruise around and not upset anyone; it’s only when it’s under boost that you realise it’s a bit of an animal. We haven’t raced it yet, but I’m hoping it’ll end up somewhere in the low sevens eventually.”
That would be quick enough to mix it with the big boys in the outright stakes at Street Machine Drag Challenge, where we can’t wait to see it in the lanes!
The rotary dial in the dash controls boost level. Setting #1 is wastegate pressure (or 10psi), which is good for 1050hp at the wheels. Each setting incrementally increases boost (and hence horsepower) from there, making for easy, on-the-fly adjustment
FORD XB FALCON COUPE
|Brand:||427ci Cleveland V8|
|Induction:||Plazmaman throttlebody, Higgins intake manifold|
|ECU:||Haltech Nexus R5|
|Turbos:||Twin Garrett G42-1450, Turbosmart 60mm wastegates, Turbosmart RacePort BOVs, air-to-air intercooler|
|Fuel system:||Three AI pumps, Turbosmart FPR2000 regulator, 2433cc injectors|
|Exhaust:||Custom turbo manifolds, 4in dump pipes, twin 2.5in stainless system|
|Gearbox:||Powerglide, Reid case|
|Converter:||Custom Race Converters|
|Diff:||9in, 35-spline full-floater axles, 3.7:1 gears|
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES|
|Front:||Gazzard Brothers/AFCO coil-overs|
|Rear:||Gazzard Brothers/AFCO coil-overs|
|Brakes:||Wilwood six-piston (f), Wilwood four-piston (r)|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||17×6.5 (f) Weld V-Series 15×13 (r)|
|Rubber:||Rapid P609 215/50R17 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street R 315/60R15 (r)|
All Street Performance & Fabrication; Apex Epoxy Flooring; Scott Hoffman at Cleveland Exhaust