Phil Edmondson's turbo small-block Ford-powered XB Falcon coupe came ever so close to an eight-second pass on Drag Challenge


ADELAIDE-based New Zealander Phil Edmondson did a ripper job at his second Street Machine Drag Challenge, heading home with a PB of 9.018@158mph – oh so close to the magical eight-second mark. Running in the ultra-competitive Haltech Radial Blown class, Phil’s XB coupe placed ninth in class and 12th overall. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on at future Drag Challenges.

 Powering the coupe, nicknamed ‘the White Whale’, is a BorgWarner 88mm turbo-fed 383ci SVO small-block, with CHI alloy Cleveland heads, Diamond pistons, Oliver rods and Scat crank. Built by Rino Conte at RC Performance Engines, it’s controlled by a FuelTech FT600 ECU and fed on E85. “We had help from Frank Marchese at Dandy Engines with the engine dyno, where it made 1423hp, with 1300ft-lb at 6500rpm on 25psi,” Phil said with a knowing smile.

Getting that huge amount of power down the line is a Reid-cased Coan Powerglide and a 3500rpm Neal Chance Racing converter. This feeds to a fabbed nine-inch with Strange centre, 3.5 gears, 35-spline axles and full-floaters.

 All that is well and good for the strip, but how did the road-driving part of the event go? “Other than replacing a silicone joiner in Swan Hill, the car ran perfectly,” Phil said. “The crank sensor played up on Day Five at AIR, causing a few issues. Fuel-wise we had planned on doing the whole event on E85, but our ordered fuel didn’t arrive in Portland. So we drained the fuel cell, filled it with PULP and adjusted the ECU’s fuel map to suit. We swapped back to E85 in Adelaide and re-tuned it.

 “The car did the whole trip really well and made it home in one piece, which is always a great result. I’m very happy with how the coupe placed, although we were hoping to run an eight-second quarter. The plan was to turn it up at Portland, work on the 60-foot and first half, then give it everything on Friday at our home track. I need to say a massive thanks to Outlaw Speed Shop and Adelaide Motorsport Fabrication for all of their help in getting the Whale set up.

“I plan to compete in 2018, as long as I can get the leave from work. A second turbo would be nice, but if I can get more seat time and dip into the eights then I’ll leave it as-is.”