STEVE Grew is certifiably car-crazy – he’s driven, owned, imported and built a few of everything. “I’ve had over 400 cars,” he laughs. “My first car when I was 16 was a V8 XW Fairmont. I’ve had multiple HSVs, FPVs, Chevs, Holdens, Supras, rotaries, GT Falcons, GTS Monaros, and I’ve owned more than 30 ’69 Camaros – I know every nut, bolt and washer on them.”
First published in the December 2021 issue of Street Machine
Indeed, two Camaros occupy his shed currently – a white ex-SEMA show car with a 650rwhp LSA and a black Z28 currently copping an injected 502 BBC – as well as a BMW E30 M3 and a blown ’55 Chev. And the XC Falcon you see here? “I got this because I really wanted a Falcon hardtop,” Steve says.
Russell Sheppard had owned this XC coupe for 20 years and had already built it into a trophy-hauling tyre-torturer called TUFFXC when Steve came across it. “I’d built a Hugger Orange Camaro, a really beautiful car, and Russell was looking to trade his XC,” Steve says. A deal was made and the coupe then took pride of place in Steve’s garage.
When Russell originally bought the hardtop, it was a Raw Orange GS Fairmont with a six-cylinder and single-rail, and he fitted a couple of tough Clevos to it before cranking it up to 11 for the current build. “Russell’s a burnout nut,” laughs Steve, indicating the metal mountain hanging out of the bonnet and the super-tough driveline. But Russell wanted to take home a pile of trophies, too, and crafted the rest of the car accordingly. Steve has retained the smashing Vapour Silver paintjob laid down by the guys at Truck Bake six years ago, as well as the killer underpinnings, but wanted to change other aspects to suit his taste.
While Steve left a lot of the already gorgeous XC shell alone, the entire interior has copped a serious overhaul. “The interior was a real challenge and took much longer to finish than we expected,” he says. Every last bit of the cabin has been replaced or refinished, with Steve taking inspiration from the new BMW X6 M Competition. The front seats are heavily modified VF SS ute items, while the rear seat is made from a seriously reshaped BMW sedan rear pew. There’s also an extensive Pioneer sound system, with two sets of splits in the front and four 6x9s in the custom-made parcel shelf. Of course, even all that audio gear struggles to drown out the thunder of the blown big-block.
Clearly, not a smidgen of effort has gone into disguising the powerplant from the world – the polished tower o’ power isn’t so much protruding from the bonnet as it is bursting forth in an attempt to touch the clouds. The engine is a serious bit of kit with nary a factory FoMoCo part in sight, and was screwed together by the team at Big Al’s Toybox in Connecticut. Based around a Ford Motorsport SVO block, the bottom end consists of an Eagle steel crank, Liberty Performance H-beam rods and JE slugs that stretch the capacity out to a rather monstrous 572 cubes. Sealing the decks are Edelbrock Victor Jr heads, while a Comp solid-roller bumpstick commands the show through Comp lifters, Manley pushrods and Comp roller rockers. Below decks, a high-volume Melling oil pump supplies the engine with lots of lovely lube from a Canton Race sump.
While a 9.4-litre mill is always going to be pretty potent, this one is receiving a little help from a belt-driven intake. The polished TBS 14/71 swallows copious amounts of 98-octane juice and air supplied by the twin Dominators and shoves it into the big-block, resulting in a head-stomping 1066hp at the crank on a safe street tune, with plenty more on tap. All that power is pointed rearwards via a Powerglide from Geartorque and into a fabricated nine-inch housing containing a Strange Pro aluminium centre.
You might think that a car built for burnouts and trophies wouldn’t have the most amazing suspension, but EVILL XC doesn’t have a skerrick of the factory bouncy bits left. Every component has been fabricated to handle the abuse Steve is capable of applying to it, whether on the street or the track. The ride height is adjustable from speed-bump safe to a level that causes ants to duck for cover, thanks to airbag suspension controlled by an AccuAir e-Level system from the centre console.
The job of pulling up the big hardtop is left to Wilwood, with four-piston calipers all ’round, 13-inch discs on the front and 12-inch ones out the back. “They’re the smallest discs on any of my cars!” Steve laughs. “I’m a hard braker – I like to get the max out of the straights and dive on the brakes right at the last second. Passengers in the car with me shit themselves coming into the hairpin at the end of the Queensland Raceway back straight. It’s good fun for me, but it’s amazing I don’t have dents in the passenger-side firewall!”
The hardtop is now a proper show-and-go all-rounder, so Steve’s looking forward to giving it a belt at Powercruise and other events. But even the raucous blown big-block won’t stop him from hitting the streets in it. “It’s an angry engine – it wants to be flogged,” he says. “It’s cool as hell to drive – you can drive it up the street without issue or stick it on the track and blow the tyres off for 300 metres.” How could you say no to that?
1977 FORD XC FALCON GS
|Paint:||PPG Vapour Silver|
|Block:||Ford Motorsport SVO 572ci|
|Blower:||The Blower Shop 14/71|
|Intake:||The Blower Shop|
|Carb:||Twin 1050 Dominator|
|Heads:||Edelbrock Victor Jr Cobra Jet|
|Camshaft:||Comp custom solid-roller|
|Rockers:||Comp Ultra Pro Magnum XD|
|Rods:||Liberty Performance forged 4340 H-beam|
|Ignition:||Mallory Unilite distributor, MSD 6AL-2|
|Cooling:||Custom aluminium radiator, twin SPAL fans|
|Gearbox:||Powerglide with transbrake|
|Diff:||9in, Strange aluminium centre, 3.9:1 gears, billet 35-spline axles|
|Springs/shocks:||AccuAir air struts (f), Ridetech air struts (r)|
|Brakes:||Wilwood four-piston discs (f & r)|
|Master cylinder:||Wilwood underdash|
|Steering:||BF Falcon rack, Astra pump, Ididit column|
|Rims:||GT Wheels custom two-piece; 18×8 (f), 20×13 (r)|
|Rubber:||Nitto Invo 255/35/18 (f); Nitto NT05 315/35/20 (r)|
Chris & Ryan at Trim FX Gold Coast for the custom interior and boot; Marty at GT Wheels for helping me design and produce the one-off wheels; Peter at XStream Installs; James at Hennessy Engineering; Brent at Clagiraba Auto Electrics; Nelson at Billet Automotive Buttons; Scott at Willy’s Wash ’n’ Wax; Rob Herrod and Ryan Story at DJR for letting us shoot the car in their workshop