Casey Thomas’s 1977 Ford XC Falcon

With his brothers in tow, Drag Challenge newbie Casey Thomas has brought his well-travelled XC Falcon to the table, racing in the Pacemaker Radial Aspirated class

Photographers: Luke Hunter, Shaun Tanner

An IT man by trade, Casey Thomas shipped his XC Falcon to the Mother Country while he worked there, racking up plenty of miles across the UK in the big Aussie barge. Returning Down Under in September last year, he thrashed on the car to get it ready for his Drag Challenge tilt.

For the past six years, the ’77 sedan has run a 400 Cleveland donk, stroked out to 434 cubes. For Drag Challenge, Casey used a FiTech EFI system, but has since opted for a Barry Grant Dominator carb atop a hard-to-find CHI high-rise manifold. CHI 3V heads round out the package. At the rear wheels, Casey has managed to squeeze out 563hp, though the car was then detuned to reliably dispense 442 ponies. The mill is backed by a Powerglide auto and freshly rebuilt Detroit Locker nine-inch.

Casey and the boys had a relatively stress-free run over the whole week. “We replaced an axle bearing at Warracknabeal, but otherwise the car ran flawlessly,” he said. “There were still a couple of moments when I asked myself: ‘What the bloody hell have I done here?’”

The only XC to compete in this year’s event, Casey recorded a best pass of 11.87@111mph on Day One at Calder Park. “The car’s run a 10.6 before, so I know it’s fast,” he said. “I wasn’t there to prove anything aside from reliability. Having been away for a few years, it was great to get back with the brothers and have a bit of fun.”

Casey is a sure bet for next year’s Drag Challenge. “I’ve bought an XY Fairmont wagon from the Isle of Man that I’m doing a turbo Barra conversion on. I’ll be racing that next time – you can’t beat boost!”

Class: Pacemaker Radial Aspirated

Engine: 434ci Cleveland
Intake: FiTech EFI
Trans: Powerglide
Converter: 4800rpm
Diff: 9in, Detroit Locker, 3.9:1 gears
Power: 442hp
Previous PB: 10.6sec
Best DC 2019 Pass: 11.87@111mph