George Had­dad


Street Machine - - Story Photos -

FIN­GERS CROSSED! That’s the vibe we should all be send­ing George Had­dad as he pre­pares for Drag Chal­lenge 2017.

George ran Drag Chal­lenge last year in a blue XR Fal­con in the Ra­dial As­pi­rated class. “It went 10.20@135mph and we fin­ished, not a prob­lem!” he says. “But we re­ally can’t make the XR go any quicker. Well, we can, but not with­out an up­grade in safety gear [with re­spect to AN­DRA’S rules] to go quicker than 10.0. We don’t want to do that to that car, so in­stead we’re build­ing a higher-spec car.”

That car is the tradie-spec red XF ute you see here. Eight­iesera X-se­ries Fal­cons have been pop­u­lar rigs at pre­vi­ous Drag Chal­lenges. Three crowd-pleasers last year were Rob Thorpe’s carb-fed 250ci cross­flow Xe-fronted XF ute; the Ls-swapped red XE S-pack wagon of An­thony Burns; and the enor­mous fan­fed beige Barra-pow­ered XD sleeper of Ja­son Ghiller. So it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what George comes up with.

Right now he’s work­ing to­ward a 440-cu­ber based on a Dart Wind­sor block with a set of Nathan Hig­gins-tweaked Cleve­land heads. “We’ve been work­ing on a new port [shape] with Nathan,” George ex­plains. “It’s fin­ished, but now we’re in the process of mak­ing a new in­take man­i­fold for it.” That’s be­ing pre­pared by Scott Cook of SCM En­gine De­vel­op­ments in Bal­larat.

The 440 will be fed from a Pro Sys­tems 4150 carb and sparked with ICE ig­ni­tion. And since Had­dad Race Cars & En­gines is also Rus­sell Oil Pans, there’s no prizes for guess­ing what will be keep­ing the oil sup­ply un­der con­trol. At 7400rpm, last year’s mo­tor was spit­ting out 742hp (and 605-foot­stomps at 5200rpm), so George is ex­pect­ing closer to 800 with the bet­ter breath­ing.

Be­hind the en­gine will be an SDE con­verter and TH400 three­speed auto – the lower first gear will al­low the ute to leave the line harder than the taller-cogged two-speed Pow­er­glide of last year – and a nine-inch axle on a Gaz­zard Broth­ers leaf-spring set-up. “They do a lot of nice work,” George says of the Gaz­zards. “There are lots of leaf-spring cars out there us­ing their stuff that go re­ally fast.”

Ac­cord­ing to George, the ute will be con­sid­er­ably lighter than last year’s XR, too. “Build­ing it fresh means we can take a lit­tle weight out of it,” he ex­plains. “We can make it all work bet­ter. This should be around 300lb lighter, so with all the im­prove­ments we should be in the nines.

“And no, we won’t be leav­ing the canopy on it. Ev­ery­one says we should, but it’s too heavy – two of us can only just lift it!”

With lots of thrash­ing still to be done on the XF (and the XR sit­ting there as a solid Plan B op­tion just in case), George can’t wait to hit the road again in Novem­ber.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tion of [Drag Chal­lenge] im­pressed me,” he says. “I’ve been to one-day events and it’s a she­moz­zle, and yet this is five dif­fer­ent days and lo­ca­tions and it was run like clock­work!”

Gee thanks, George! That’s gotta be worth half a sec­ond and 10mph!

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