Procharged XE ESP Falcon

With a Procharged Windsor for go and big Brembos for whoa, Mat Brown's XE ESP is an Aussie pro touring king


WE FEATURE plenty of cars with crazy colours and more body mods than a piercing specialist’s catalogue, but some like to leave that sort of thing in the hands of the original designers. You could be forgiven for thinking Mat Brown’s XE Falcon ESP is just a particularly tidy example with a set of aftermarket wheels, but you only have to look at the size of the brakes behind them to realise there’s a lot more going on here.

First published in Street Machine’s Yearbook 2021

Mat’s a bit of a Ford guy, but he doesn’t have a one-track mind. “I always had a Ford ute for work and crazy modified Datsun 1600s,” he says. “I drifted Silvias for a few years, and had a genuine Blue Meanie, but it just didn’t appeal to me.”

After a stint fiddling with murdercycles and an LS-swapped TD Gemini, Mat went on the hunt for an XE. “When I was younger I wanted an XY, but they were everywhere,” he says. “I loved the Dick Johnson Greens’-Tuf XE, and I always had a soft spot for ESPs.”

A friend pointed Mat towards a fella in Newcastle who had a six-cylinder ESP for sale; it turned out he’d only had it for 18 months and was the second owner. The car was dead straight but severely stone-chipped from a life lived on dirt roads. Happy as a pig in mud, Mat handed over the folding stuff.

“Everything was covered in red dust,” he says. “I had it steam-cleaned and I nearly fell over – the trim was immaculate.” This ESP’s a bit of an oddity too – it left the factory with window winders instead of the electrics you’d expect of a Ghia-based machine.

The car was stripped to its undies and Mat enlisted the help of his brother-in-law Scott Wrona to sort out the panel and paint. Being so tidy, the body didn’t need any serious work, but Mat wasn’t a fan of the all-white look. The lower half is now the obligatory ESP charcoal, while everything above was drenched in crisp Winter White from the FG colour palette. The orange ESP stripe was given a little more pop than the factory pale colour to match the 20-inch Simmons FRs, and the badges
and trim have all been dipped in black, but otherwise the body is completely as Ford intended. Even the engine bay has avoided a visit from the welder, with every factory hole and seam left in place.

While the sheet metal may be ridgey-didge, the donk between the towers is decidedly not. “I knew how I wanted the car to look, but I didn’t know which way to go engine-wise,” Mat says. “Everyone said Barra, but I had to have a V8. I seriously considered an LSA, because all of my mates’ big Clevelands overheat and I wanted to drive it a lot.”

A visit to Scott Kuhner at Insight Motorsports led to a different idea: a cranky stroked and supercharged short-deck Windsor. Rob from Edmargs Engine Reconditioning filled an AU XR8 block with a Scat crank and rods, a secret-squirrel Comp stick and a set of JE pistons. Up the top, tickled iron GT40P heads seal the bores, while air enters through a 90mm Wilson throttlebody and an Edelbrock Victor Jr manifold. E85 is dumped into the 347-cuber via 1600cc injectors, while LS coils light the fires and a MoTeC M800 controls the whole shebang.

Of course, the party starter is the F-1A ProCharger supplied by DNA Motorsport, which feeds the little Windsor 15psi of boost. All that air and fuel turns into 620rwhp and a lot of noise that the rear 285s and twin Hooker mufflers struggle to tame.

Directing the power rearwards is a custom clutch from Western Clutch Service that feeds a T56 Magnum six-speed trans — another of Mat’s controversial choices. “My mates couldn’t believe I was fitting a manual to this car, but I wouldn’t do anything else,” he declares. “I wanted to build a driver’s car.”

More driver-centric mods include a set of XYZ coil-overs and fat custom-made sway-bars for superior cornering capabilities. Of course, anything that goes fast has also got to stop, and the ESP’s combination of ginormous six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembos should keep things from getting too interesting.

Mat is quick to point out all the fabrication that Johnny Camilleri from Johnny’s Custom Metalworks carried out on the ESP. His work included fabbing the custom radiator and intercooler, building the entire exhaust, mounting the brakes and building the nine-inch housing.

While the ESP’s been ready to hit the road for a while now, Mat’s so busy that he hasn’t had time to do more than a quick trip around the block. You can bet it’ll be copping a hiding soon though. “I’m not too precious,” Mat says, “I like to drive my cars and I’m keen to take it roll racing.”


Paint: PPG Winter White over Dark Charcoal
Type: Ford Windsor 347ci
Crank & conrods: Scat
Pistons: JE
Heads: GT40P
Cam: Comp
Valve springs: Isky
Rockers: Crane
Intake: Edelbrock Victor Jr
Blower: F-1A ProCharger
ECU: MoTeC M800
Sump: Custom
Headers: Custom
Fuel pumps: Walbro
Gearbox: Tremec T56 Magnum
Clutch: Western Clutch Service custom twin-plate
Tailshaft: 3in chrome-moly
Diff: 9in
Suspension: XYZ coil-overs, custom sway-bar (f & r)
Brakes: DBA 387mm discs & Brembo six-pot calipers (f), DBA 330mm discs &
Brembo four-pot calipers (r)
Rims: Simmons FR; 20×9 (f), 20×10.5 (r)
Rubber: 225/35/20 (f), 285/35/20 (r)

Johnny at Johnny’s Custom Metalworks for all the fabrication; Nandu at DNA Motorsport for the ProCharger and mounting kit; Scott Kuhner at Insight Motorsports for the engine management and tuning; Simon Borg at Force Hydraulics for all the hoses and fuel system; Rob at Edmargs Engine Reconditioning for the engine; Jason Lowe for the powdercoating; Jason Reynolds for the final fit-up and all the pain-in-the-arse fiddly stuff