American bloke buys a Barra-swapped XH Falcon and takes on Hardass 1000!

David Gallimore wanted to experience an Aussie drag ‘n’ drive, so he bought a Falcon panel van with the mighty Barra

Photographers: Michelle Porobic, Luke Hunter

We’ve often run stories about Australian’s buying or shipping cars to the US to take on the likes of Hot Rod Drag Week, Sick Week and so on, but we didn’t expect the script to be flipped.

Durham, North Carolina local David Gallimore has contested many a drag ‘n’ drive in the US, but always had SM Drag Challenge on his bucket list. So much so he purchased this XH panel van to do the event, which was an unfinished project with a Barra swap.

“I browse marketplace in Australia from time to time, and found the van,” he says. “I spoke to Ben Neal who I met when he had the Barra Cresta over here for Drag Week, and he told me to lowball the guy. We ended up coming to a deal, and Ben picked it up for me.”

The XH isn’t Dave’s first time playing with the Barra platform. Having seen Benny Neal’s Cresta in the States, he decided to source a Barra that eventually found its way into his Chevelle. “I love different engines, so when I saw the Barra I had Benny sort one out for me, which is still in the Chevelle.”

As for the XH, it uses a BF Barra, Pulsar 35/82 and BTR ‘box. Empire Racing & Mechanical went over the car for Dave prior to him landing down under, where it was also tuned to 350rwkW on 98.

Unfortunately, due to family commitments, Dave had to miss Drag Challenge 2023 in October last year. So, when Harry Haig announced the first Hardass 1000 would go ahead in March, Dave saw his opportunity to finally get some drag ‘n’ drive done in Australia.

With his wife along for the ride, Dave spent the week of the Hardass 1000 touring Victoria, racing at rural tracks and getting a very quick induction into Australian drinking culture. “I’ve definitely got some work to catch up to you Aussies, you guys can drink!” he says.

With the Hardass now done, Dave and wife Aimee are enjoying a touring holiday to soak up all Australia has to offer, before the Falcon will be shipped to America. They couldn’t be happier with how their trip is going so far:

“It’s often been said that the people you meet are one of the best parts of drag and drives,” he says. “This holds true even when you’re on the other side of the world. The car guys of Australia are just as great as the car guys back home. Shout out to all our new friends who made sure we had the time of our lives.”