CHANGE OF HEART – 1973 XA Falcon

Duncan Macfarlane’s ’73 XA Falcon is one of those simple cars that you can’t help but like. The neat four-door wears a few battle scars, some mild patina and a tough stance thanks to some big rubber on satin-finished Centerlines – the car looks super cool, but the real story is tucked away under the bonnet.

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Rather than an old carby-fed eight, the big rig is riding with a late model, injected turbo six and it had plenty of people fooled at its first drag meet a few years ago. Whisper quiet, the Falcon soon had necks snapping when it picked up the left front wheel and had it hanging past the 60ft mark on its way to a 9.66 @ 139mph. The car was then the talk of the event. Weeks before, Duncan proved the cars streetability with a drive from Kalamunda to Pinjarra for the Murray Max show. The old girl is an overall performer.

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“The car never misses a beat. It drives like a normal car until you stand on the gas and then all hell breaks loose! It is an awesome car to drive – no doubt about it” said Duncan. The most amusing part of the story, Duncan hadn’t even been in a turbo-powered car before embarking on the conversion. “It was after having a few beers with some mates that the ideas started to fly around. The more we talked about the turbo motor the more it made sense. That week I called up the guys at 6Boost over East and started getting some info about what I needed to make one boogie”

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Before too long, Duncan had a fresh FG 4-litre six sitting in his garage ready to go. To fit the engine in it wasn’t too much of a hassle at all, just a basic change of engine and gearbox mounts and a little bit of metal off the firewall. “The engine is basically standard apart from some small mods to the head. No real magic in the motor, just the Precision 67/66 turbo on a 6Boost manifold to produce the power. The Ford sixes are just that good” Fuel delivery was critical though, so a combination of Aeromotive and Process West components have made their way into the set up along with boot-mounted surge and fuel tanks.

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When it came to choosing a tuner Duncan discovered that the guys at WTF Auto knew what was up with his weapon of choice – the Haltech 2500 Elite ECU. “The unit is fantastic. For both street and race, it can’t be beaten in my opinion. Technology has really come along over the last few years and the Haltech really does it all” explained Duncan. After the initial soft tunes, the guys at WTF gave the Falcon a serving of E85, upped the boost to 24 pounds and reeled off 615hp at the rear treads. “I was stoked with the result. It is amazing that such simple upgrades were only needed to net such a good result. To get that sort of power out of an eight you are looking serious internals”

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Backing up the motor is a Turbo 400 box with TCE 4,000rpm converter. A 9-inch rests at the back end with a set of 3.25 gears. “I decided to mini-tub the rear so I could get some more rubber on there. Caltracs were a necessity too. I managed to get a set of 295/55/15 ET Streets onto the 10-inch wide rear wheels – Just the thing for the drags. They tuck under nicely too” a Hoppers Stoppers brake kit makes sure that the Falcon can actually pull up when needed whilst Bilstein shocks make some difference on the nose.

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“I have tidied up the body a little bit by pulling some minor dents out and fixing the paint in a few areas. To be honest, I kinda dig the patina look. It is no show car by any means so the few rough bits here and there kinda add some attitude I reckon. It was a one owner job so it was more than decent to basically leave as is”

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Inside the car, Duncan replaced the carpets and had the Kirkey race seats trimmed to match the standard Falcon cabin. A B&M shifter resides in front of the parachute release and in the passenger side footwell are the electrical items for the Haltech ECU. A Haltech Racepak is the only necessary item to keep track of the engines critical levels. The black roll cage tries its best to remain stealth.

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With the car running such impressive numbers from the get-go, Duncan has decided to up the ante and start pushing the limits a whole lot more. “I am already looking at doing a built motor with the idea of upping the turbo size and increasing the boost levels. It would be ideal to have the car leaving on the transbrake and delving into the low nines. Hopefully we can the car to that level next season and retain some of its streetability at the same time” explained Duncan. It still surprises me that more people haven’t taken the plunge to drop these amazing motors into some old school muscle, hopefully Duncan’s efforts inspire a few ‘copycat’ builds.

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