Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? I was actually, as it ploughed through mud, wheels bouncing crazily, spraying water, sand and rocks in our general direction. Peter Wolfe’s high-rise XC Falcon 4×4 is a big piece of kit – it weighs 2200kgs and has 429 cubes of Henry’s big-block goodness under the lid. If he got it wrong and chucked it away, photographer Bowden and I were mashed potatoes.
First published in the January 2004 issue of Street Machine
Earlier in the day though it was smoother sailing. We met with South Aussie actor Peter Wolfe and his car at 10am, picked our jaws off the ground at the sight of his towering black behemoth, and then promptly started lapping Adelaide’s Rundle street café strip.
“It’s a real kitten on the road, but it’s fast enough to put away my mate’s 911 Porsche,” he boasts. It turns heads too with the expression on the faces of those who saw it turning from apprehension to wonderment. It’s part of the joy Pete gets from the car.
“The whole thing started out as nothing more than a couple of drinks with a good mate. We had a few, and then a few more, before deciding my two-door would make a mad off-road-style monster truck,” he says. “People love it, but none more than me.”
The result is all very Mad Max and that comes as no coincidence. Peter had the chance, at the tender age of 15, to buy the original Mad Max Interceptor for the princely sum of $6000. He didn’t have the dough so didn’t end up with the car. It burns him that it’s ended up overseas in the hands of an English collector, never again to grace Aussie shores.
Instead Peter decided to go one step better and create his own interpretation in the Mad Max Falcon two-door theme. What he didn’t want to do was go down the Landcruiser/Patrol path that most Aussie-bodied 4WD conversions follow. It had to be all Ford.
It’s not quite as simple as bolting a body on top of an existing F250 chassis either. “If I did it again I would start with a Bronco chassis,” he says. “It makes the whole thing much easier, not needing to be shortened anywhere near the 600mm we cut from the F250 chassis, but there are still plenty of traps in the steering and suspension department. Actually bolting the body on was the simplest part of the job and only took about two weeks.” That’s two weeks in a six-year build, then it took a further six years to register.
“This is a properly engineered conversion, and is totally road legal,” Peter explains. “I spent a lot of time and money with engineers as we had some problems with the lane change test that required heaps of suspension modification. In the end we got it spot on, but it took a huge chunk of time. The RTA were the least of our hassles. Actually they quite like it.”
That all cost loads of cash and he says he stopped counting at 80 grand, but reckons it was worth every bit of the time and money.
The engine, although being a god honest big-block, revs hard to 6000rpm and is said to produce some 500hp.The transmission is a modified C6 (factory converter), and the transfer case a stock F100 piece. Two 31-spline nine-inch diffs are featured, with the rear sporting a Lock Right limited slip centre.
Falcon enthusiasts love it, with none other than Eric Bana stopping in the middle of a stage during the 2002 Classic Adelaide rally, reversing his two-door up the side of the road to get a better look at the parked 4×4. “Will you take a look at that!” he said before continuing on.
Apparently girls don’t mind it either, with Peter teaching his partner all the right terminology such as “big-block” and “C6”.
“She’s not much into cars, but absolutely loves this thing. Most do.”
Those number plates? “Well you can take them however you want. Some people think it’s just Big Bad Wolfe, others work out Big-Block Wolfe, but there aren’t too many that actually put the two together and get the double meaning.”
And Pete’s plans? “I really want to try to use it in some movies, and hiring for special event type stuff. After all the get a free actor as the driver, all included in the deal!”
MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS
Interested in making your own four-wheel-drive traffic terror like Big Bad Wolf? Then you’ll need to use your imagination. After all it’s no fun re-inventing the wheel. While the Ford options are fairly clear (using either Falcon or Cortina bodies on the Bronco chassis) how about some other ideas? How about a Chev C series based A9X style monster sound? Or what about cross breeding with an earlier Torana body atop a Hilux chassis? It would be a pretty close fit.
Since any such conversion no longer requires the vehicle’s original strut towers in place (you will need to remount them as Peter has) big engines can be stuffed into small engine bays, which means that changing plugs is a pain. However, general maintenance is a breeze, as long as you have a ladder.
Another great thing about creating your own mad 4×4 is the respect you will receive from the rest of the traffic. No one cuts you off and that parking space will always be yours
XC Ford Falcon Coupe 4×4
|Mad Max black
|Oversized valves, ported
|Pacemaker headers, twin 2.5in system, Supertrapp
|Ford C6, Stage III shift kit
|Stock, modified for 2200rpm stall
|Ford F100 31-spline nine-inch
|Ford Bronco 31-spline nine-inch Lock Right LSD
|Custom, recalibrated F250, Heavy Duty Front
|F100 discs (f), F100 drums (r)
|Sunraysia 15×10 (f/r)
Doug Potts at Australian Technologies for his chassis work, and making it all legal.