427ci twin-turbo XB Falcon hardtop – SYCO XB

Nathan Young took this XB hardtop from a tired ex-drag car to a full-fat Drag Challenge title contender

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

When you gaze upon Nathan Young’s mental 1500rwhp XB Falcon coupe, a very extreme example of one of Ford’s most iconic Aussie muscle cars, you could be excused for jumping to the conclusion that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Blue Oval devotee. Not so, as it turns out.

First published in the July 2022 issue of Street Machine

“I’m not one to take sides; I’m not a Ford guy by any means,” Nathan explains. “I’ve also got a Nissan GT-R and a Valiant, and I’ve owned a VF GTS, too. But an XB coupe has always been my dream car.”

So when this hardtop popped up on Facebook Marketplace, Nathan went to take a squiz at it at his earliest possible convenience. What greeted him was an ex-drag car that had been tubbed and fitted with a ladder-bar rear-end and Lexan windows.

It was missing plenty of hard-to-find bits, but Nathan looked past its shortcomings and reasoned that it could form the basis of his dream street/strip build.

“It was pretty bare and basic, but the plan was always to turn it back into a street car,” Nathan says. “All Street Performance & Fabrication guided me through the whole process and the best way to do things, but ultimately left it up to me to make the decisions.

Joel from All Street has an XB coupe as well, and he was able to help me out with sourcing the parts we needed to turn it back into a streeter.”

Nathan’s brief to Joel was simple and concise: He wanted a streetable, 2000hp-capable street/strip weapon; something that could take on the rigours of Street Machine Drag Challenge. “I was inspired by Frank Marchese’s XW,” he says. “I wanted to run a Ford small-block motor to retain some sort of originality. So we went with a twin-turbo ‘Clevor’ – a Windsor block with Cleveland heads.”

Said powerplant is a 427-cuber, based on a World block. It’s filled with weapons-grade internals like a Callies Magnum crank, Oliver rods and CP-Carrillo pistons, and a Comp solid-roller camshaft got the nod. The cylinder heads and matching single-plane inlet manifold are Aussie-made Higgins items, equipped with Inconel valves and PSI springs.

But it’s the matching pair of Garrett G42-1450 snails perched upon the custom turbo manifolds that really put the wind into the tough Clevor. Scott Hoffman at Cleveland Exhaust has thus far tuned it to deliver 1508rwhp on E85 at 21psi, so Nathan’s goal of 2000rwhp should be eclipsed once the car has been properly shaken down and the ante is upped to 35psi.

Controlling not only the engine but also every conceivable electrical function in the car is Haltech’s new Nexus R5 Vehicle Control Unit. “The Nexus runs absolutely everything in the car right down to the indicators; it’s so good!” Nathan enthuses. “I’ve been learning to muck around with it. The laptop connects to it wirelessly and you can see all the data from every sensor in the car. It’s good to have one unit controlling everything.”

Bolted to the rear of the motor is a Reid-cased Powerglide loaded with a custom converter, which funnels grunt back to a nine-inch diff. It runs 35-spline full-floater axles and 3.7:1 gears and is suspended in the aforementioned ladder-bar rear end – but not for long.

“The only things we didn’t change from when I bought the car were the diff housing and the ladder-bar set-up,” Nathan says. “When I took it to Powerplay and turned it up, it broke a ladder bar. I limped it back to the pits and put it on the trailer, but we’re going back to a leaf-spring set-up now; we think it’ll be better for traction. The new diff housing is here and we’ll stick with the same shocks, but we’re ditching the ladder bars.”

The cavernous tubs also remain from the car’s previous life as a dedicated drag car, and graciously accept the 315/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street R hoops mounted to 15×13-inch Weld V-Series beadlock rims. You don’t need me to tell you that the car sits exceptionally well and looks beyond tough on those portly rear hoops.

Yep, the stance is certainly at the centre of the car’s visual appeal, but the blacker-than-black aesthetic and the charge pipe poking cheekily through the bonnet certainly don’t hurt, either. And now that the car is finished, Nathan has been getting plenty comfortable in the driver’s seat.

“It’s been finished for a few months and I’ve put about 1000km on it so far,” he says. “It drives great, and the big thing is that it’s not obnoxiously loud.

It just sounds like a run-of-the-mill streeter and you can cruise around and not upset anyone; it’s only when it’s under boost that you realise it’s a bit of an animal. We haven’t raced it yet, but I’m hoping it’ll end up somewhere in the low sevens eventually.”

That would be quick enough to mix it with the big boys in the outright stakes at Street Machine Drag Challenge, where we can’t wait to see it in the lanes!


Paint: Metallic black
Brand: 427ci Cleveland V8
Induction: Plazmaman throttlebody, Higgins intake manifold
ECU: Haltech Nexus R5
Turbos: Twin Garrett G42-1450, Turbosmart 60mm wastegates, Turbosmart RacePort
BOVs, air-to-air intercooler
Heads: Higgins
Camshaft: Comp solid-roller
Conrods: Oliver
Pistons: CP-Carrillo
Crank: Callies Magnum
Oil pump: Titan
Fuel system: Three AI pumps, Turbosmart FPR2000 regulator, 2433cc injectors
Cooling: PWR radiator
Exhaust: Custom turbo manifolds, 4in dump pipes, twin 2.5in stainless system
Ignition: Haltech coils
Gearbox: Powerglide, Reid case
Converter: Custom Race Converters
Diff: 9in, 35-spline full-floater axles, 3.7:1 gears
Front: Gazzard Brothers/AFCO coil-overs
Rear: Gazzard Brothers/AFCO coil-overs
Brakes: Wilwood six-piston (f), Wilwood four-piston (r)
Rims: 17×6.5 (f) Weld V-Series 15×13 (r)
Rubber: Rapid P609 215/50R17 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street R 315/60R15 (r)

All Street Performance & Fabrication; Apex Epoxy Flooring; Scott Hoffman at Cleveland Exhaust