Having grown up in the back of his dad’s Phase III GTHO, Shaun Eckert has always loved Falcons, though he’s never quite got one finished until now. “I’ve gotten close to finishing cars before; there was an ED XR8 I had tubbed and ’caged, but I ended up having kids,” he recounts.
Ironically, this super-tough XR Falcon came into Shaun’s life as somebody else’s half-cooked project. He snagged the car a year ago from Grant Connor (who took out Street Machine Summernats 31 Grand Champion with his glorious ‘Bad Apple’ XR).
“It only had front seats, and the ’cage and boot were bare metal,” says Shaun. “But it had a $75,000 engine in it, which is the main reason I bought the car.”
That donk is an aspirated 440-cuber, built on a Windsor-based Dart block. A Callies crank spins aluminium rods hooked to Toca Performance pistons. The heads are also Toca units, and the whole shebang generates a considerable 14.2:1 compression and necessitates ETS 105 race fuel.
“It’s got over an inch of camshaft in it; it’s crazy!” Shaun laughs. “It’s all steel under the rocker covers, and it’s got titanium valves and PAC double springs.” Up top is a custom Toca intake and single 1400cfm RayJE Dominator-type carb.
Shaun says the small-block was hooked to an engine dyno before going into the car, generating an eye-watering 1000hp at 8600rpm.
It’s backed by a Bob Grant-built C4 auto with a 5800rpm converter, though Shaun plans to replace it with a 7200rpm unit for future drag strip work. A 3.5-inch tailshaft spins a tough braced nine-inch third member within a four-link rear. With everything in place, the Falcon makes 800hp at the hubs.
Under Shaun’s ownership, the car has received new fuel lines, front and rear glass, a full sound-deadening job, paint on the unfinished components, and more. “It’s been every weekend over the past 12 months to get it where it is,” he says.
Street Machine Supernats marked the car’s debut, though a series of mishaps kept Shaun off Winton Raceway. “I planned on being there at 7am and having my shit together, but it didn’t work out that way,” he says. “Three wheel studs sheared off my brand-new trailer on the way and I lost a wheel, so I was stuck on the side of the road for ages.”
Thankfully, the car was okay, but once Shaun reached the track he saw his mate’s Falcon get involved in a bingle with a Commodore during a track cruise session. That was enough for Shaun to steer clear of the track, instead cruising the pits with his son for some much-anticipated wheel time.
After Summernats 34, Shaun has every intention to send the engineered, fully registered car down the quarter-mile in anger. “It’s teched to 8.0 under IHRA – all I have to do is slot the ’chute in, put head padding on the ’cage, and it’s ready to go,” he enthuses. Once the big converter is in place, he’ll be shooting for eights.