Nitrous-equipped Ford XW Falcon – DOGNUT

Thirlmere Fryer Daniel D'aran takes his head-kicking aspirated XW Falcon to the next level

Photographers: Ben Hosking

This article on Daniel’s XW Falcon was originally published in the August 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine

WE ALL know that one guy: he’s as loose as the stickshift in an Alfa, thinks every street car needs to have a cam with over 300thou lift (well, that part’s okay), is totally passionate about his brand of wheels, has junked more engines than the local scrap guy, and lives and breathes everything street machining.

‘That one guy’ in this case is Daniel D’aran. He’s a member of the Thirlmere Fryers, which means his car is tough as nails and spends half its life with the rear end up in smoke. After 18 years working in a mining pit, Daniel has recently taken his car life to the next level, with a new fabricating career at home and the rebuild of his stunning XW Falcon, a car he has owned for 23 years.

“I remember the first day I bought that car,” Daniel says. “It had a 302 Clevo in it and I drove it straight into the shed after picking it up, ripped the diff out and fitted a nine-inch with a spool. Over the years, especially when I was into the burnout scene, I’ve killed a lot of motors – probably 10 or more, now that I think of it. I’d get in those burnout comps and wind those gauges around until they got dizzy, time after time.”

The latest rebuild is a long way from the budget builds of his earlier days; the XW was completely overhauled down to the last nut and bolt.

“I built it myself,” Daniel says. “I started by cutting the rear rails and stepping them inwards and then moving the leaf springs to the inside of the chassis rail so I could fit a 15×14 under the arse. I did all the tubs myself, raised the tunnel in the car so I could get it to sit nice and low, and added an ANDRA-spec rollcage for racing.”

Other modifications include a smoothed engine bay, and the firewall has been replaced with a flat-sheet job.

The engine sounds plenty tough. When Daniel was thrashing to get the car finished for Summernats 31, the engine was sent to Westend Performance for dyno-tuning and the factory block had a serious meltdown. All the main caps except one tore loose from the block, so the crank all but fell out of the bottom of the engine. A new Dart Windsor block was sourced at the last minute and fitted with a Scat rotating assembly and a set of Yates C302B ex-NASCAR heads with custom-made pistons.

“I have two different sets of carbs – petrol and alcohol for different tune-ups,” Daniel says. “A lot of guys have problems with alcohol filling up their sump when cruising, but I’ve found that by winding the fuel pressure back to one pound at idle, you can still cruise the car fine without it fuelling up. Step on the noise and the fuel pressure shoots straight up to where it should be with the belt-driven 80A-0 fuel pump that is gravity-fed by a 70-litre rear fuel cell.”

Surprisingly, this system works fine; it’s a combination that Daniel has had for a long time, so he has had the opportunity to refine it to make it great on the street.

The Yates heads are topped with a custom-built Hogan sheet-metal intake with twin 850 Quick Fuel carbs.

On the engine dyno the donk made over 700hp. It’s backed by an Al’s Race Glides C4 three-speed auto with reverse-pattern valvebody and a bunch of aftermarket bits that Daniel has never been able to kill. The engine is swinging an Aussie-made Dominator converter that stalls to about 5800rpm.

Even though Daniel buzzes the motor to over 7800rpm, it still runs a wet sump, and once he gets a bit of fine-tuning completed he will hit it with the direct-port nitrous system that can add an additional 500hp to the mix.

It’s a full-weight ride that should run into the high nines aspirated, and with the massive rear sneakers should touch on high eights on the bottle.

The rear end of the car is equally impressive, with a sheet-metal nine-inch housing built by Daniel on his rear-end jig, and a set of coil-overs replacing the stock shock set-up.

A fresh coat of jam by TSR Smash Repairs really brought the whole project together, while the interior is just as smooth as the rest of the car.

Recently the XW has become Daniel’s everyday driver after he lunched the 600hp Clevo in his grandpa-spec XR Falcon. No surprises there.

While the interwebs are full of turbo deals that are said to run faster, few cars epitomise the old-school cool of a real tough aspirated streeter more than this ride. You can be sure that a good story will always follow this car!

Photographers: Ben Hosking