Seven-second, twin-turbo Windsor-powered Cortina

Running sevens first time out is no joke, AND Charlie Ters did just that in his head-kicking, twin-turbo Windsor-powered Cortina

Photographers: Joseph Hui

There’s plenty of bad-arse street cars getting built in this country right now, but it’s going to take a lot to beat the twin-turbo TC Cortina that 44-year-old Sydney carpenter Charlie Ters has produced. While Charlie’s 1300kg streeter may not look fancy at first glance, the nasty 363ci Windsor under the bonnet cranks out nigh on 1500rwhp on E85, and has run a best of 7.42@187mph over the quarter on a 275 radial.

First published in the November 2023 issue of Street Machine

“I originally bought the car with an aspirated 347ci Windsor,” Charlie says. “The plan was just to put it on the road and cruise it. My brother had a 10-second car, and at the time I thought that this was the way I wanted to go.

“One day I just looked at what I had built – this loud and over-cammed deal – and despite just getting it registered, I took it off the road to go down the path of turbocharging. The car was already rollcaged and mini-tubbed, but we ripped it all out and started from scratch.”

Charlie now wanted the best of everything for the Corty, as his goal was to go 7.9 seconds on a 275 tyre. “I had a backyard guy called Chris fabricate the four-into-one stainless-steel headers to suit twin 50mm Turbosmart wastegates and a pair of GTX3584RS turbos,” Charlie explains. “He also did the mini-tubs and a bunch of other bits, while Arthur Johnston Engineering in Greenacre started building the engine.”

The small-block Ford in question is as good as they come, based around a new Dart block and filled with a DragonSlayer crankshaft, Callies Ultra conrods and JE pistons. The short block is topped off with a set of CNC-ported, 225cc AFR Renegade heads kitted out with Jesel rockers and a double-row chain, while a flat-tappet cam works the valves.

Induction is via a Victor Jr manifold with eight Siemens 2400cc injectors, with fuel supplied via a boot-mounted, cable-drive Enderle 110 pump feeding an Aeromotive regulator. To keep a lid on intake temps, a quality bar-and-plate intercooler was installed behind the grille.

The entire engine package is controlled via the latest Haltech Nexus R5 ECU with eight smart coils, EGTs and a sensor on all tuning vitals.

Other pieces of the go-fast puzzle include a Reid-case Powerglide transmission by Al’s Race Glides, with a 1.69:1 gearset instead of the usual 1.8:1. With the lower ratio, the car should behave better out of the hole and keep the nose down. The rear end is pretty straightforward, featuring a Mark Williams 3.0:1-ratio nine-inch diff, 31-spline axles and adjustable control arms, all bolted to the factory location.

To get the Cortina race ready, it went to Shane’s Chassis for a new chrome-moly six-point rollcage, anti-roll bar, ’chute mount and diff mount, among many other jobs.

It took about three years for the build to come together, and once completed, the car was initially tuned at Mick’s Motorsport, where it made 1420rwhp on 42psi of boost.

Finally, it was time for the Cortina’s first date with a drag strip. “I did three or four passes, backing off at half-track,” Charlie recounts. “Everything looked sweet, so I punched it out the back door. Boom – 7.9@175mph on a crappy 1.6-second 60-foot! I was over the moon.”

Since then, Charlie and his team have campaigned the Cortina at several more meets. At Jamboree at Willowbank, the diff centre grenaded, so they reloaded for a local test-and-tune meet, where the car went 7.6. Then it was on to Grudge Kings, where the Cortina made the finals with a personal-best 7.42@187mph on a 1.21-second 60-foot. “I was shitting myself on that 7.40!” Charlie recalls.
Moving forward, Charlie is concentrating on no-prep racing, and has joined the Powercruise Street Outlaws Top 50.

The Cortina was originally set up purely for wide-open throttle, but Charlie recently had the car tuned a little differently by Tyson at Autotech, where it made 1493hp at the tyres on 35psi of boost. “It comes on boost like a WRX,” Charlie laughs. “It’s so responsive down low. Mick’s Motorsport did a great job; I’m just setting it up a bit differently now. It’s only on a 28×9 tyre, as it is mini-tubbed to the rails; even a 275 only fits by a millimetre either side.

“At this point, I’m all about just sending it everywhere we can,” he continues. “We are going to head to the Cootamundra 400 and see how [the Cortina] goes on an unprepped airport surface. I really think this car has a 7.20 in it, so we will keep at it.”

For getting the Corty to this point, Charlie would like to thank Pure Fab for the catch cans; Arthur Johnston Engineering; Mick’s Motorsport; Tyson at Autotech; Shane’s Chassis; Queen Street Customs; and his mates Amien, Michael, Ali and Angelo for all the help in the shed.