Barra-powered XD Falcon sleeper – video

Jason Ghiller finished in the top 10 at Drag Challenge in his unassuming, 8-second Ford XD Falcon sleeper

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

JASON Ghiller debuted his bowling-club beige, Barra turbo six-powered XD Falcon at Drag Challenge last year, and was back for more in 2017, running in the Haltech Radial Blown class. “I’ve changed the oil and sparkplugs,” a confident Jason said. “Preparing for this year has been good as I haven’t had to spend as much money as last year!”

Ford XD Falcon sleeperThe fact it’s been driven 12,000km in the past year quickly dispels any doubt about the driveability or reliability of this sensational sleeper Falcon. The car carries an FG-spec Barra engine – block, head and cams – dropped into the XD with a BA-style sump. These later-gen Ford sixes have pretty good bottom ends in them, but the crank in this one is an ultra-reliable Tunnel Vision – Jason’s biz – billet item, tethered to the SPS pistons with Nitto I-beam rods and smothered by a Ross Performance Balancers front pulley to help with the 7800rpm he uses at the strip.

Ford XD FalconOn each side of the head are bespoke Tunnel Vision manifolds with the exhaust carrying a Ferris-wheel GTX47 ball-bearing turbo – umm, 40psi! Jason runs a Haltech Elite 2500 management system: “It allows me to do clever stuff to allow the car to launch harder,” he says. The transmission is a well-built GM TH400.

Ford XD Falcon“I drive it every week and it’s never been trailered to the track,” Jason continues. “It’s a ‘real’ car. It cruises at 110km/h easily at 2900rpm and gets reasonable fuel economy.”

Jason has put some effort into tuning the rear suspension over the past 12 months, and that is surely one of the big reasons the car has gone from a PB at Calder of 9.2 to 8.6 earlier this year. The XD retains leaf-spring architecture for its rear suspension, but there’s a nice dose of clever stuff: Calvert mono-leaf springs and Gazzard Brothers dampers on a CalTracs-type installation to prevent axle wind-up and get the grunt down.

Ford XD FalconAlthough the heat didn’t worry the car like it did some others, Drag Challenge threw up a couple of curly situations for Jason: “At Mildura, an intercooler pipe came off and threw a hose clamp into a drive belt,” he explains. “The belt was replaced – but the wayward hose clamp had damaged the crank trigger sensor.” Lady luck stepped in, with a workshop in Mildura, Motorhouse, having the correct Haltech sensor sitting on a shelf covered in dust. “It could have been disastrous!” Jason admits. The only other work the car received was a precautionary oil change.

Ford XD FalconHe may not have won the Haltech Radial Blown class, but at the end of the week Jason and his simple, modest yet incredible Falcon was the quickest Ford, the quickest six-powered car and a Top 10 finisher.


Class: Haltech Radial Blown


Engine: 4.0-litre Ford ‘Barra’

Turbo: Garrett GTX47

Transmission: TH400

Converter: SDE 3500rpm

Diff: 3.5:1

Power: 800rwkW

Previous PB: 8.6@158mph

Best Drag Challenge Pass: 8.64@156mph