George Haddad’s 945hp 1967 Ford XR Falcon – flashback

Yes, it makes almost 1000hp, runs nines and is street legal

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

HERE’S a string of words you don’t often see together: untubbed, pump gas, nine-second, street-drivable Falcon. If just about anyone made a sentence out of that lot, your automatic response would be: “Bullshit!”

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

But George Haddad isn’t just anyone. With his brother Ray, he’s been building blisteringly fast rides for three decades at Haddad Race Cars & Engines, in Dandenong, Vic. And while their latest ride might not be the fastest they’ve ever had, it’s still mighty impressive. George bought the XR about six years ago.

“It was in good nick. We repainted little bits, not all the car, but the engine bay, bonnet and the rear guards where we radiused them a little bit. The car used to have a small-block Chev in it,” he laughs.

“When it came along, I said: ‘I’ll buy it but I don’t want the running gear.’”

To fit those tall Mickey Thompson Drag Radials under the XR’s bum, the guys radiused the rear wheel arches, with particular attention paid to the front of the arch

While the True Blue XR’s body wasn’t too bad, things like the Mazda seats and the poxy all-white interior needed removing.

While the car could run a flat bonnet, George elected to keep the scoop from the previous combo as it’s a good place to hide his fuel pressure gauge and also helps to vent hot air from the engine bay

“I put XR seats back in it, and got them retrimmed. Same with the door trims, rooflining and carpet.”

They also fitted a ’cage and a narrowed nine-inch with 35-spline Mark Williams axles and a Detroit Locker nodular iron centre.

“We normally make the diffs about 10mm shorter and I just use a couple of spacers so I can put the wheels where I need them.”

Fitted with a big-cube small-block packing enough mumbo to keep just about anyone happy, it ran some numbers out at Calder Park.

“We had a 452-cube Windsor in it, normally aspirated with a 9.5in deck. Back then it went 10.29 at 132mph in street trim.”

They sold that engine and started on a new turbo combo but with George’s nephews about to get their licences, he slotted in a 347ci small-block, which was healthy enough for a 10.90@125mph pass.

“It might not sound that much slower,” he says, “but if you were to race the two cars side by side it’d be a big difference on the track.

“This is the third engine now. I actually built this engine three years ago, and we sold the 347 last year.”

The new combo is a real beauty. It starts with a Dart block bored to 4.185in. With a 3.4in Scat 4340 steel crank that yields 374 cubes. Not a bad figure for an 8.2in deck block (see Big-Bore Boogie).

With Scat H-beam rods, CP pistons and a custom Comp Cams grind, the bottom end can handle the pressure of a Turbonetics T76 turbo. Drop on a pair of AFR heads and an Edelbrock Super Victor EFI intake and you’ve got a set-up that can make serious dyno-proven numbers. Numbers that sound a lot like 945hp at 7000rpm and 906lb/ft at 5000rpm, which is pretty bloody awesome considering it’s running 98-octane pump unleaded and just 15psi boost.

With a single T76 Turbonetics turbo and 374ci, the low-deck engine makes 945hp. To suit the space, they modded the inner guard and fitted an XY booster and master cylinder

“Even at 10lb of boost this engine makes 860hp and more than 830lb/ft of torque. I only have it at 15lb because that’s the spring I had in the wastegate. It doesn’t have a boost controller on the car.”

But it does have EFI controlled by an Autronic SM4. “It’s awesome! When I used that first Autronic on my Commodore, I didn’t go any further,” George says.

That’s partly responsible for how streetable the Falcon is. On a recent cruise, George travelled 600km in a day, which hammers home the point that this is a real street car, in every sense of the word. In fact, with 4.11 gears and those tall 295/55 Mickey Thompsons, the engine is barely off idle at 100km/h, running just 2700rpm.

Black low-back buckets do the trick up front, with a little help from SAAS, B&M and Auto Meter — it’s a world away from the white trim the car had

And what about the dragstrip? The boys drove the Falcon to Calder Park, ran a staggering [email protected], then drove it home. No slicks, no trailer, no worries.

As we said before, it’s a pump gas, street drivable, untubbed and full weight Falcon that runs nines on street radials — with ease. And George reckons there’s still a couple more tenths in it.

“The car will go faster because that event was 38 degrees, and the inlet temp on the data logger was 62 to 63C. So at a night meeting where it’s nice and cool it’ll probably pick up another tenth or two.”

However, he’s not really looking for too much more. “It makes enough power to do what I want to do,” he says. And what he wants to do is drive and enjoy the car.

With the old 452ci donk, to pull low 10s he had to run 4.11 gears and a big converter. But with the turbo unit, the 3.7 gears and 3500rpm TCE converter make for a much more streetable package, even though it’s a hell of a lot quicker.

“It’s not a race car that you can drive around — it’s more a street car that you can race,” George says. “It can go anywhere and it’s awesome on fuel because it’s only on eight or nine per cent throttle at 100 kays. The engine doesn’t consume much at all, and you’ve got so much power you don’t need to use it. You’ve got the best of both worlds.”


When it comes to fast Fords and choosing the right engine, the first thing most engine builders consider is deck height. Ford small-blocks come in three sizes: 8.2in (302 Windsor); 9.2in (302/351 Cleveland); and 9.5in (351 Windsor). Plus the aftermarket 8.7in, of course.

George with the XR mill in his Legend story, back in SM, Jan ’09. “The turbo is different to what’s in the car now; the rear housing was too small, with lots of back pressure”

The 8.2in deck block is limited to a 3.4in stroke because of the distance between the oil pan rails so for big cubes in the smaller block, which gives you more room for pipes, go for a bigger bore. That’s all too easy now, with an array of aftermarket blocks available. With a 4.185in bore, George has 374 cubes available in his compact 8.2in deck package, and that means an engine with space around it for all the necessary plumbing but enough cubes to be spectacular on the track.

George Haddad


Colour: True Blue

Engine: Windsor 374ci
Block: Dart 8.2in deck, 4.185in bore, billet caps
Turbo: Turbonetics T76
Wastegate: Turbonetics New-Gen
Throttlebody: Wilson 80mm
Intake: Edelbrock Super Victor EFI
Heads: AFR, 205cc
Pistons: CP custom turbo
Crank: Scat 4340, 3.400in
Rods: Scat H-beam, 5.400in
Cam: Comp Cams, custom 0.600in lift
Ignition: ICE 7amp
ECU: Autronic SM4
Injectors: 96lb/h
Exhaust: Custom four-into-one, four-inch dump to twin three-inch system with Hooker mufflers

Transmission: Raceglide, transbrake, turbo input shaft
Converter: TCE 9.5in, 3500rpm
Diff: Nine-inch, 3.7 gears, Mark Williams 35-spline axles, MW nodular iron centre, Detroit Locker

Brakes: XF Falcon (f), 11in drums (r)
Springs: Stock (f), GT leaf (r)
Shocks: Comp Engineering (f&r)
Bushes: Rubber

Rims: Center Line Convo Pro, 15×7 (f), 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber: Remington 205/65 (f), MT ET Street radials (r)