Budget-built Ford EL Falcon GLi ’13s for $1300′ project – flashback

When the guys at Performance Forums came up with the 13s for $1300 concept, I was hooked

Photographers: Luke Oxley

COULD I could buy a car and get it to run 13-second passes down the quarter-mile for less than $1300? The idea was great and the perfect way to get away from the computer and into some hardcore spanner-action.

This article was first published in the July 2011 issue of Street Machine

I started with the easy stuff, lightening the EL Falcon I’d picked up for $100. Out came the interior, then I removed the sound-deadening using $10 of dry ice. Because I planned to use giggle gas, I built a firewall between the boot and cabin using scrap tin, which I sealed with expanding foam.

The NOS wet fogger system was an eBay purchase and I built a custom intake to help get cold air into the engine as well as giving me somewhere to mount the fogger nozzle.

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Throw in a set of slightly used headers with a short side-exiting exhaust and a straight-through muffler and I had all the power I needed.

The NOS Sniper system was great value and adjustable from 75hp to 125hp. The 125hp jets delivered the 13sec runs

The hardest part of the build was changing the diff gears. It’s not an easy job at home but I found a set of used 3.89 gears and a brand new mini-spool on eBay and managed to get it done in the shed. Add a novelty 13S FOR $1300 numberplate and some colder sparkplugs for the nitrous, and we were ready to go.

Ford EL Falcon engine bay

It’s not pretty but it works. The homebuilt cold-air intake also provided the perfect place to mount the fogger nozzle

Thankfully the EL Falcon uses a dizzy to trigger the ignition as it allowed me to fool around with the timing a little; just as well too, because it proved vital to performance. Once I got it all sorted at Heathcote Raceway the old Falcon ran like a demon.

Naturally aspirated, the EL sedan ran a 14.91sec pass but the factory 180km/h speed limiter gave me some issues near the finish line. With no quick fix at the track, the only solution with the nitrous was to click it into overdrive and pray the stock trannie would hold.

It did, and with 125hp nitrous jets in the system the Falcon went 13.41sec over the quarter — and I hadn’t even spent the whole budget!

There’s more in it I’m sure, so now the plan is to try for 12s for $1300. Who says you can’t build a quick car on a budget?

SEE the whole series of the 13s for $1300 Project Bluebird build here on YouTube.


Costs (in 2011):

Car: $100
Weight removal: $10
Expanda foam: $20
Headers & exhaust: $230
Cold air intake: Free (homemade)
NOS kit: $480
Nitrous plugs: $26
3.89 diff gears: $170
Mini-spool: $80
Novelty plate: $33
Time to build: Eight weeks

TOTAL: $1149