ADRIAN ABELA

Street Machine - - Fast Femmes -

WHAT if Ford kept mak­ing the XH panel van and ute through to 2004, and had stuck a turbo Barra four-litre six un­der the bon­net? Adrian Abela’s pano an­swers that ques­tion, and the Vic­to­rian brought his three-seat com­mer­cial along to Drag Chal­lenge 2018, cruis­ing three-up and run­ning 10s!

“We pulled this van out of the wreck­ers and eight months later it was at Drag Chal­lenge. My 15-year-old son Josh sug­gested it and I thought it was a great idea,” Adrian ex­plained. “Josh pretty much did all the span­ner work to put the Barra in the car and get it work­ing, all in our spare time, as I was too busy with work to fig­ure out what mounts or cross­mem­ber or man­i­folds we needed.”

Start­ing life as a Ba-era en­gine, the fourl­itre six’s bot­tom end now runs forged and bal­anced in­ter­nals, along with up­graded oil pump gears and tim­ing chain. “It has all the ba­sic stuff, in­clud­ing an Atomic flex-plate,” Adrian said. “It runs a GTX3582R with a bil­let front wheel, and we maxed out the ac­tu­a­tor at 21psi run­ning on E85. It has a stock com­puter, FG man­i­folds and a BTR four-speed auto.

“We wanted to run the fac­tory gear­box and with a col­umn auto, but the link­ages are all on the op­po­site side. So Pre­ston Au­to­mat­ics built a BTR set-up for the col­umn on the XH.”

Along with the col­umn-shifter, Adrian’s XH also rocks a bench seat, al­beit trimmed with EL XR6 foam to give some ex­tra sup­port.

“It is a fairly stan­dard set-up, and it has blown me away how good it goes,” Adrian said. ”Off the foot­brake on the Fri­day at Calder it ran what equates to a 9.9 over the full quar­ter-mile.”

Run­ning in the huge Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown class, Adrian’s high-roof com­mer­cial cer­tainly laid down some im­pres­sive times, with a [email protected] on Day One over the 1000ft at Calder, be­fore cruis­ing to Swan Hill for a [email protected] on Day Two. The XH threw down a [email protected] on the Mil­dura eighth-mile on Day Three, be­fore trekking back to Swan Hill for Day Four and a date with a times­lip read­ing [email protected] Back at Calder’s 1000ft strip on the fi­nal day, Adrian man­aged to run an [email protected] to round out his week 30th in Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown thanks to a cu­mu­la­tive to­tal of 45.54sec.

“The panel van helps us for work, as I own a wreck­ers, so I can throw parts in the back,” Adrian said. “Dur­ing the week it is our work truck. On the free­way it was cruis­ing at 2000rpm like a BA, and the econ­omy was good, de­spite be­ing on ethanol for Drag Chal­lenge!

“I want to thank Josh and my daugh­ter Natalie; Brett and Sarah; An­drew from Pre­ston Au­to­mat­ics; Chris from Chris’s Dif­fer­en­tial; Adam from Tyre­power; Dion at Dyno-mite Per­for­mance, Paul Rogers; and Andy at Spe­cialised Power Port­ing.”

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