427ci twin-turbo Windsor engine

The Dandy Engines XW is back on track, and owner Frank Marchese has resumed his pursuit of a six-second pass at 200mph.

Photographers: Nathan Jacobs

The previous combo certainly had the potential to get the job done, with an identical package having run 7.08 in Steve Bezzina’s blue XW GT (both cars appeared in SM, Oct ’15). Unfortunately, Frank’s hand was forced a little when, as he puts it: “The aluminium engine block broke into 10 million pieces, so I’ve been off the scene for a year or so.”

While most turbo combos are running methanol or E85 these days, Frank prefers to run the car on VP Racing Roo16 fuel. “I just find the window is nice and wide for tuning and it’s repeatable and very simple,” he says

After reassembling the package, the Dandy crew took the car to the Jamboree up at Willowbank in Queensland and ran a half-track PB that matched Steve’s 7.08 pass.

“But we didn’t run it out the back door,” Frank explains. “These cars make 40-43mph in the back half of the race and I ran 160 to half-track, so I’m confident we can do it.”

So, what’s changed? Well, basically everything from the manifold down. The Dandy Engines inlet, 90mm Wilson throttlebody and twin 88mm turbos are untouched, but the block is now a Dart Iron Eagle cast-iron unit, although World Products is developing a new block using a high-psi casting compression technique for added strength.

“World is working with us,” Frank says. “Because our cars are some of the heaviest in the world running a small-block, they want to give us the block to push its boundaries.”

The heads are now Higgins Race Heads large-port units that are straight off the shelf and so good that the car now makes an extra 100hp naturally aspirated! Steve’s XW on 30psi of boost has made 2080hp at the wheels, but with 40psi Frank is expecting the car will generate around 2200hp at the wheels. Factor in driveline losses and you’re looking at a staggering 2800hp at the flywheel. Out of a small-block Ford!

The rest of the rotating assembly is mostly unchanged, with a Bryant crank, Bill Miller Engineering (BME) rods and pistons and a custom solid-roller cam from Proline.

To keep the intake temps in check, there’s a Profab 4000 intercooler that sits in the back seat.

While making so much power out of a 427ci small-block is impressive, the real testament to the tenacity and hard work from the Dandy Engines team is getting the untubbed, leaf-spring, 275 radial cars down the track so quickly and consistently. While the Gazzard Brothers mono-spring shocks and CalTracs help, it’s the smarts in the FuelTech ECU that offer an edge when it comes to getting big power to a small tyre.

“The best thing I like about it is that it has all the features built-in: boost control, traction control, timing control, everything you need,” says Frank. “And then it has a very smart and very quick closed-loop system that helps me tune the engine as I’m increasing the boost, or as the weather changes. We control the boost and wheel speed off the line, so if it starts losing traction we back timing off.”

While Frank’s back in the workshop in Melbourne, the car is enjoying the sunny weather in Queensland for a bit longer, which means there is more racing to come soon. No doubt we’ll see that six-second, 200mph pass very soon.