650hp 1970 Ford Ranchero at Drag Challenge 2018

Stephen Willies has turned his tough Ranchero tow car into a proper racer for Drag Challenge 2018

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

SYDNEY’S Stephen Willies built his ’70 Ford Ranchero as a matching tow car for his eight-second ’70 Ford Torino drag car. “It’s cool to use a car of the same make and colour as a tow vehicle, like they did back in the day,” he says.

Ford Ranchero ute engine bayBut it seems all that quarter-mile action has got into Stephen’s blood, as he’s now turned the classic ute into a massively stout race car in its own right! Under the hood sits 521 cubes of Ford goodness, thanks to a Ford Racing stroker kit, topped by Kaase race heads, an Edelbrock Torker II manifold and a 1000cfm Pro Systems carby. Getting the power down the line is a C6 trans with a relatively streetable Dominator 3500 stally. A nine-inch sits out back, packed with 3.55s, Detroit Locker and 31-spline Strange axles.

“I’ve owned it for three years but only had it on the road for the past six weeks,” Stephen says. “I wanted to do Street Machine Drag Challenge last year but it wasn’t ready in time.”

So how does he reckon it’ll go? “I’m only allowed to go 11.00 seconds as I don’t have a ’cage,” he says. “Being in Outlaw Aspirated I’m hoping to be a medium fish in a small pond.”

Ford Ranchero uteStephen reckons he’s got the highway driving sorted too: “It’s a factory air and power-steer car, which is why I chose it in the first place.”

We reckon that a/c should be getting a workout on the drive to Swan Hill this evening!


Class: Tuff Mounts Outlaw Aspirated

Engine: 521ci Ford
Intake: Edelbrock Torker II, 1000cfm Pro Systems carb
Transmission: C6
Converter: 3500rpm Dominator
Diff: 9in, Detroit Locker, 3.55:1 gears
Power: 650hp@5900rpm
Previous PB: Untested