Street Machine - - Contents -

DE­SPITE the huge va­ri­ety of cars that par­tic­i­pate at Drag Chal­lenge, it seems that ev­ery sec­ond one is pow­ered by an Ls-se­ries V8. GM’S ver­sa­tile, all-al­loy bent-eight is easy to find, in­ex­pen­sive, rel­a­tively light and goes like stink. It’s a stout choice for ear­lier Hold­ens, and just about any­thing else, too.

But Kyle Depiazza, who lives near New­cas­tle, hopes to swing that sit­u­a­tion back to­wards later-model Ford V8s. Trad­ing un­der his Kyle’s Con­ver­sions ban­ner, this bloke has been retrotech­ing street ma­chines with later-model Aussie and Japanese donks for the past 15 years. His lat­est pro­ject has been two years of after-hours tin­ker­ing with a su­per­charged Mi­ami V8 in his XE Fal­con, which he proudly cam­paigned at the first Drag Chal­lenge Week­end in Queens­land ear­lier this year.

Kyle bought the XE four years ago with the in­ten­tion of giv­ing it the first Mi­ami con­ver­sion of its kind in Aus­tralia. The Ford en­gine and gear­box, along with a list of other bits Kyle needed, were sourced from a munted FG Fal­con XR8 donor ute. Fit­ting a Ford V8 into a Fal­con was sim­ply a mat­ter of drop in, wire up and fire up, right?

Not ex­actly. The word ‘tin­ker­ing’ sells short the im­mense ef­fort that has gone into mak­ing Ford Aus­tralia’s lo­cally de­vel­oped, su­per­charged al­lal­loy 5.0-litre pow­er­house – and its match­ing six-speed auto – fit and func­tion in the ear­lier Fal­con. The heft of the DOHC, four-valve-per­pot donk meant it couldn’t fit be­tween the XE’S stan­dard shock tow­ers. So the Ford’s front sus­pen­sion has been binned in favour of af­ter­mar­ket struts and rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing; the skinny struts al­low the shock tow­ers to be sliced and plated, pro­vid­ing more en­gine bay real es­tate.

The sump is a Can­ton Rac­ing Prod­ucts item, hang­ing for­ward of the XE’S stan­dard cross­mem­ber rather than aft as in the donor FG. The en­gine pipes were weeks of work for Kyle. “Now we can scan these and have them CNCED,” he says. The Fal­con’s stan­dard fuel tank was re­placed with an Efi-spec unit fit­ted with a Wal­bro pump.

Other trans­plant tweaks in­clude a fire­wall scal­lop to al­low clear­ance for the en­try duct into the rear of the blower, and a re-plumbed heater core un­der the dash to keep it cus­tomer-friendly and street-le­gal; the air con will soon be piped into place. For cool­ing, the FG’S ra­di­a­tor and fans were swung in the XE nose with a few stout but sim­ple brack­ets. The cross­mem­ber un­der the FG’S match­ing ZF six-slusher is fabbed and

re­tains the stan­dard FG rub­ber mount. Un­der the rear is a stan­dard-type (but later-model) Borg­warner built with a True­trac and 3.7s.

The Kyle-built cen­tre con­sole that sur­rounds the FG sports-mode auto shifter looks like it was fit­ted in 1984, as do the in­stru­ments that have also clev­erly been con­verted to take sig­nals from the FG’S Can-bus man­age­ment sys­tem, and show 8000rpm and 240km/h with clas­sic fac­tory fonts. Bril­liant!

Stan­dard, the su­per­charged Mi­ami V8 ran a mod­est 6psi boost (or there­abouts), so didn’t re­quire in­ter­cool­ing. How­ever, the in­take man­i­fold de­sign has pro­vi­sion for an in­ter­cooler, so Kyle added Aussie-made Street­fighter hard­ware, al­low­ing for around dou­ble the boost.

No one’s go­ing to ar­gue that 620hp at the treads and 11-sec­ond runs all event long at Drag Chal­lenge Week­end (with a best of 11.00@120mph) is a great start from the 100 per cent street-le­gal combo. Can the su­per­charged Mi­ami-pow­ered Fal­con chase down some of the wilder sin­gle-digit LS or Barra trans­plants? Who cares? With a breadth of real-world per­for­mance – docile idle, re­laxed 2000rpm cruise at 110km/h, su­per-sippy fuel econ­omy, and that su­per­charger’s soul-sat­is­fy­ing shriek – this is an awe­some trans­plant that sure ticks plenty of boxes!

Kyle’s Con­ver­sions has five cars en­tered in 2018 Drag Chal­lenge: The XE and VT, an E46 BMW with an LS, a VS Com­modore with an LS on ni­trous, and a VK Com­modore run­ning a Toy­ota 1J six. Fun times!

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