Gurney Eagle-headed 372ci Windsor with GT40 history

This rare and historic race engine is destined for a pro street XR Falcon currently being pieced together for its unveiling at Summernats 35

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

What Ford did in the late 1960s with its original GT40 Le Mans racers will forever be ingrained in history. These GT40s chalked up four Le Mans wins on the trot (1966-1969), and in the process gave a good nose realignment to a certain snooty Italian racing team that had previously dominated. Racer, constructor and team owner Daniel Gurney played a big role in the engine department of those GT40s after Ford pulled out of the program, driving the creation of the Windsor-based Gurney-Weslake engine that was designed and developed by Weslake Engineering in the UK.

First published in the December 2022 issue of Street Machine

The GW mill powered the GT40 to its final two Le Mans victories in ’68 and ’69. The era was a vital chapter in Ford’s racing heritage that lives on in the Gurney Eagle heads you see here on Bernie Roeschmann’s Windsor.

“The heads are bloody impossible to find,” Bernie says. “You could only ever buy them from Gurney, and as you’d expect, they stopped making them a long time ago.”

Bernie’s donk started as a 351 Windsor and has been stroked to 372 cubes using a steel crank, Chevy rods (you read that right!) and high-comp pistons. “They didn’t have stroker kits as such back in the day, so that’s what they used,” says Bernie of the Chev rods.

The engine was already in good nick when Bernie got it, so he simply had it freshened up by Stef Radovanovic from SR Engines to suit street duties. “We changed the cam to a John Marshall solid-roller, with T&D shaft rockers,” Bernie says. “I also had the trumpets made to suit the new Weber injection, but you’ll notice there’s no intake manifold – the throttlebodies bolt straight to the head.”

An intricate linkage allows Bernie to open the taps on all eight cylinders simultaneously, and he insists he won’t muzzle them with big foam filters. “They have metal filters in them, but other than that I’ll run them as-is, because I want to hear them!”

MoTeC brains manage the whole shebang, along with MSD ignition and another modern touch in the form of an electric water pump. Oiling is taken care of with a conventional internal pump and wet sump.

In its current form, the rare donk made a healthy 550hp, spinning to around 7500rpm and sipping PULP 98. “The guys said we could’ve probably pushed it to 600 if we wanted; with those heads it really wants to rev,” Bernie says. “But it’s just for a street car, so I didn’t see the point.”

The street car in question is Bernie’s pro street XR Falcon, which is currently being pieced together for its unveiling at Street Machine Summernats 35. “I’m sure there’ll be people out there spewing that I’m using such a historic race engine in a street car, but I will do some racing down the strip,” Bernie says. “The boys reckon it should run a 12 fairly easily with the power it has now.”

The big question though is whether or not we’ll get to see those beautiful trumpets sitting out of the bonnet. “Sadly, no,” Bernie says. “We couldn’t make it work with the fuel rails, so it’ll have a cowl scoop instead.” Even so, we can’t wait to see this awesome mill in its new Falcon home when it gets unveiled at the ’Nats.


Dan Gurney was a hell of a driver, with a string of motorsport accolades in F1, NASCAR, IndyCar and Le Mans.

In just three weeks in 1967, Gurney qualified second for the Indianapolis 500, won Le Mans in a Ford GT40 MkIV (where he and AJ Foyt sprayed the first-ever celebratory podium champagne), and won at Spa in an F1 car he constructed himself. He is also credited with inventing the Gurney flap, and won the 1971 Cannonball Run with Brock Yates!

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