Damien Kemp’s 1966 Ford Fairlane

Damien Kemp’s Fairlane fastback is a purpose-built Drag Challenge machine

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

FINDING people who’ve purpose-built street-friendly machines specifically to take on the gruelling trials and tribulations of Street Machine Drag Challenge is quickly becoming commonplace every time we open the entries, and Damien Kemp’s 1966 Ford Fairlane fastback is no different.

Famous for piloting the outrageously cool 1000hp Fundabolt gasser, Damien decided to build something a bit tamer for Drag Challenge, while still keeping that 60s flavour. “I pulled the car out of a desert in Arizona, which is why it has that real sunburnt look,” says Damien. “I built the car ready for last year’s Drag Challenge, but then my son was born so close to the event it just didn’t work out.”

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Damien converted the Fairlane to right-hook using a ZD Fairlane dash, and then cherry-picked all the old running gear from his Fundabolt gasser to give the fastback some snot. “I built the whole thing myself except for the exhaust,” he says.

A Windsor mill headlines the act, using a Scat stroker kit to take it out to 408ci, with Edelbrock heads, intake and an 850 Demon carby. With a 100-shot of giggle gas, Damien theorises the donk is good for around 520 horses, making for a pretty stout package. The rest of the driveline consists of a C4 auto that is shifted with a genuine set of Hurst Lightning Rods from the 60s, plus a 3800rpm converter and a nine-inch rear end with 3.7:1 gears.

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Damien loves keeping his cars in the 60s era of drag racing, so the Fairlane also features a Don Garlits tacho from the 60s and original Ansen wheels.

So far Damien’s only had the car at the track once, flashing up an 11.1 on his best of three passes, and due to having no rollcage he’ll be limited to how far he can push it at DC. “I haven’t really driven it much since I built it; just the once at the track and a few times on the street from Melbourne to Geelong,” Damien says.

While the exterior remains unchanged, Damien re-did the interior with extra Drag Challenge creature comforts to make the road miles less torture. “I put all new sound deadening through the car when we did the interior; I coated the whole underside as well and just made it a bit nicer,” he says.

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As for Drag Challenge aims, Damien just wants to fun with his mates. “A few of my mates are in Dial Your Own so I went with that class, and it’s a good way to have a week off work and spend some good time with your mates,” he says. “It’s also a really good test of your knowledge as well, having to fix a car at the side of the road without major help and making the car do 1500km and at least five passes in a week.”

UPDATE: Damo finished in 11th spot in DYO and ran a best of 11.134 at 121mph.



Class: K&N Dial Your Own

Engine: 408ci Windsor

Transmission: C4

Converter: 3800rpm

Diff: 9in, 3.7:1 gears

Nitrous: 100hp shot

PB: 11.1sec