Tunnel-rammed pro street ZD Fairlane – SIRZD

Chris Courouzou’s Top 60 ZD Fairlane mashes up full-size prestige and pro street heat

Photographers: Shaun Tanner

Pro street luxury cars may as well be a religion unto themselves in Victoria. Many Fairmonts, Regals, Statos and LTDs have worn big-and-little wheels over the years, and a select few have picked up Street Machine Summernats Top 60 trophies along the way. Chris Courouzou’s SIRZD Fairlane is one such toughie, sporting fat meats and old-school propulsion, not to mention a beastly side profile. Go on, take a few seconds to just drink in the acres of claret-coloured real estate on display here.

First published in the April 2024 issue of Street Machine

“My old man had a show car in the 80s: a Vintage Burgundy XT wagon with a Fairlane front,” Chris says. “I always loved the shape of the Fairlanes, so when this one popped up in the same colour, I picked it up straight away.” The ZD was a K-code car (factory 351 Clevo power, for those unfamiliar) with a sunroof, T-bar auto, a/c and bucket seats. Though it languished in his backyard for a while, Chris eventually began a protracted resto.

The car was put on the backburner more times than Chris cares to admit over the 11 years that followed, with several other projects happening concurrently, but a Summernats 36 unveil deadline kicked him back into gear. Chris runs Thomastown repair shop BBG Autobody, and he’d already stripped the Fairlane down to its undies, repaired the rust, straightened the slab-like panels and covered the whole lot in several coats of Protec Vintage Burgundy and Glasurit clear, including under the bonnet and inside the boot. The underside is covered in a thick layer of stoneguard, as Chris intends to drive the wheels off the ZD.

When it came to time to power the Fairlane, Chris approached Charlie at Sleeper Performance Custom Works with a pile of bits and a desire for some period-style push. The Cleveland block is the matching-numbers original that pulled a caravan around our sunburnt country, but it now holds a forged Scat standard-stroke crank, chromoly Scat rods and forged Keith Black slugs. A High Energy sump supplies slippery stuff to a high-volume Melling pump, while further up a lumpy Crow hydraulic-roller calls the shots. In a move that’s rare in a world of aluminium heads and CNC porting, the Clevo wears fair-dinkum 4V iron heads left over from one of Chris’s earlier cars.

The Clevo’s crowning glory is a Weiand tunnel ram, thrusting twin 450cfm Holley mech-sec carbies through the bonnet. The ignition system is an all-ICE affair, including a control module with two-step functionality stuffed under the dash. Pacemaker headers funnel burnt hydrocarbons into a work-of-art stainless twin three-inch system built by Stacy at SsCustom Engineering; the indecent noises that emanate from this machine are sure to tickle anyone’s aural fancy. About 550hp spins a Dominator high-stall, fitted to a C4 filled with billet bits by Performance Automatics in the US.

An almost-factory front end holds the ZD off the ground, with a couple of small modifications: the discs are now ventilated instead of solid iron, and the shocks are Calvert 90/10s to help transfer some weight to the massive rear boots. Steering is all-Ford too, though Chris swapped the floaty factory power stuff a manual box. While that’s all stock-ish fare, under the bum is a different story altogether! “I bought the wheels before I even started the resto,” Chris laughs. The ZD’s already decent rear tubs were not nearly substantial enough for the look Chris wanted, so while it was under the knife he very neatly extended them to the chassis rails. The leaves are long-gone, and a McDonald Bros four-link locates a shortened nine-inch from Performance Diff Centre.

Inside the cab, it’s clear Chris was happy with the Ford factory’s work, so practically everything is how Henry intended. Of course, no interior survives forty years of family trips unscathed, so most of what you see is either brand-new or new old stock. Rob at Rob Isles Motor Trimming was called to fix up the seats and wrap them in new Saddle vinyl, while Cools Auto Trim supplied new door trims. Heated seats are another hidden, yet suitably luxurious touch. “They’re universal kits that have a high and low function, with the switch neatly mounted on the seat brace,” Chris explains. “They use two separate mats that go on the top and bottom of the bucket seat, under the vinyl.”

The factory cluster and controls are fitted to a NOS crash pad, and you can still whack a KC and The Sunshine Band cartridge into the 8-track and blast ‘Get Down Tonight’ through the centre dash speaker! Rohan at Australian Auto Air in Echuca plumbed up the Vintage Air a/c and modified the Fairlane controls to operate the modern system, while Steve Maheras at SMA Auto Electrics rewired the car from front to back.

With the coveted ’Nats elite hall unveil behind him, Chris is shifting focus to help his dad with the XP coupe he’s owned for thirty years. When asked if he’s finished with SIRZD, he answers in the inevitable petrolhead way. “It was great fun at Powercruise Sydney, but it needs more power! The plan is to drive it and enjoy it for a while, but I reckon a Dart-block combo with a big single turbo would be nice.”

Chris Courouzou
1971 Ford Fairlane

Paint:Protec Vintage Burgundy
Block:351ci Ford Cleveland
Heads:Ford 4V
Cam:Crow hydraulic-roller
Pistons:Keith Black
Sump:High Energy
Fuel pump:Carter
Extractors:Pacemaker 4-into-1
Exhaust:Twin 3in
Gearbox:Performance Automatics C4
Converter:Dominator 3800rpm
Tailshaft:Competition Engines chrome-moly
Diff:9in, Truetrac, 4.11 gears
Springs:King (f), Viking coil-overs (r)
Shocks:Calvert (f), Viking coil-overs (r)
Steering:Manual box
Brakes:Ford discs (f), drums (r)
Rims:Weld Pro Star; 15×5 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber:Mickey Thompson; 195/65R15 (f), 325/50/15 (r)

My dad, Con; my business partner, Gav; Charlie at Sleeper Performance Custom Works; Wayne Cartledge; Steve Maheras at SMA Auto Electrics; Rohan at Australian Auto Air; Joey; Tom at Pro Gloss Detailing.