Jamie Dahl’s Pro Street XR Fairmont

Jamie Dahl's a country boy with a way cool Pro Street Fairmont in his shed - but it didn't come easy!

Photographers: Ellen Dewar

The path to building an epic street machine rarely runs smoothly but Victorian Jamie Dahl has faced more obstacles than most. “My previous ride was an XD Falcon with LTD front and rear, Convo rims and a mild 351,” he s ays. “That was the car I drove to my first Summernats — number six. The show was unbelievable until some prick stole the XD! It was found in a paddock minus one rim, the stereo and some other bits.”

First published in the October 2002 issue of Street Machine

Jamie wasn’t going to let worthless scum car thieves put him off, though, and he made the pilgrimage to Canberra six more times. “Each time I would see more tough Pro Streeters and it got me fired up. I was also having problems getting the XD through rego, due to a lack of pollution gear.”

Wanting something different from the sea of GT clones patrolling the streets, Jamie plumped for a XR Fairmont, with its smooth and sensuous front chrome work. And once he makes a decision, he doesn’t stuff around. He spotted a suitable candidate on the side of the road in Hamilton, in Western Victoria where he lives and drove it home for $800. The XD was sold off for some start money and the project was away.

“The XR was very rusty in places,” Jamie says. Important places, too, like both sill panels, the parcel shelf and rear window recess. On the plus side, the stainless steel trims and moulds were in good shape.

“There was rust in the boot, but that didn’t worry me since big wheel tubs were part of the plan.”

The man for that job was John Taverna, who also fitted a four-bar suspension set-up and shortened the nine-inch diff. Jamie then got stuck into the rust repairs. He fabricated a lot of the panels in his boss’s sheet metal shop and fitted them, along with new lower quarter panels and sills, with the help of his mate Hoss. At about the same time, Dave Sparks welded in the six-point roll cage and did a damn fine job of it too.

“Then we bare-metalled the whole shell and got it into undercoat, all in three weeks,” Jamie says. “Inside and out.”

He had the new disc brake front end in it by this time as well and then things came all unstuck. After 12 months of getting the hanging panels ready, his painter scored a gig with Larry Perkins, and the project suddenly stopped.

He eventually found Greg, a beater from G&K Panels, who got the job of finishing off the panel work so the car was moved to his workshop and the project was back in business. Greg belted her into shape and highly-recommended freelance painter lan Jennings rubbed it down and painted it in Greg’s oven. Jamie had rented a shed of his own by now and that’s where the car was taken for the next phase. Mark Buckley was given the task of re-wiring the whole car. He did a smokin’ job, even using plugs to mate the Auto Meter gauges to the original loom.

Then, just when the car was ready to bolt in the running gear, another thieving bastard broke into the shed and pinched his Edelbrock carbies and polished Weiand tunnel ram.

That not only hurt financially but put the frighteners on him about the car’s security, so he moved it back into G&K Panels. He’d spent about 25 large by this time and she still didn’t have any running gear. On top of that, he was trying to save for a house so when a 10-month job opportunity came up, he grabbed it.

He asked his mate Fred Turnbull to build him a motor while he was away and he gave him some bucks, some instructions, a 351 Cleveland block and told him to get on with it.

“I’d done me sums and I knew roughly how much I still had to spend,” Jamie says, “and I knew I wouldn’t be able to save up 10 grand to get the motor done. I decided to do it bit by bit.”

Fred got the short motor built and then he saved up a couple of grand for the heads. There wasn’t enough funds in the piggy bank for another twin-carb tunnel-ram set-up, so Jamie made do with a
800cfm Holley double pumper, sitting on an Active manifold.

Then there was the C-10 and the torque converter and the fuel pump and the aluminium race radiator. It was a money pit but it was coming together so he stuck to his guns and kept on working. Finally it was finished and ready to pick up.

“Once I got it home, I thought, beauty, I’ll have the car goin’ in a week,” Jamie says.

It actually took six weeks and more money before it fired up, and then he had to go back to the engineer because this thing was always going to be a street machine, and he had to have an engineer’s report before he could get it registered.

The only worry was the brakes because it needed to have a dual system as opposed to the single system the XR had as standard. With that sorted he was on the road.

“Comfort’s not an issue, I can tell you that. There isn’t any,” he laughs. “It’s noisy with the gear-driven cam and that. And rattle and vibrate, yeah. It’s ’cos of the big cam in the engine and the exhaust, but she goes like a shower of sh*t when you open her up.”

And open it up he did, getting it out on the streets until…

“Shit out of the fuel system ended up in the carby and I filled up the driver’s side bank of the motor with fuel,” he says. That cost him another thousand bucks and three months off the road while the motor was out and the new rings and camshaft went in.

Jamie hasn’t had an easy run of it but projects as good as this never run smoothly. At the end of the day, he is happy to have it sitting there and he knows that he can drive it, show it off a bit and enjoy the fruits of his labours. He’s gonna race it, too. After that, it might just be time for some forced induction!


Colour:PPG Liberty Blue Mica
Engine:351 Cleveland
Carb:800cfm Holley double pumper
Seats:Cobra Kylami
Roll Cage:Six-point
Shifter:B&M Pro Stick
Gearbox:C-10 auto
Converter:5000rpm TCE
Diff:4.3:1 nine-inch
Wheels:Centerline Convo Pros
Rubber:Mickey Thompson