SOME of us get to choose our allegiance to a particular make of car, but for others it can be just a little preordained. Jim Stojkoski is firmly in the latter group: “My dad and my uncle worked for Ford for 40 years, and all my cousins and friends were there for 10 or more – I was the only one who didn’t work there,” he laughs. “It’s in our blood; Dad would never drive anything else.”
First published in the October 2021 issue of Street Machine
There’s quite a fleet of cool early Falcons in the family, but Jim’s XA stands out from the crowd in one important facet: “I’ve got the fastest!” he says proudly.
While the family connection to the Geelong and Broadmeadows Ford plants certainly swayed Jim’s automotive obsession towards the church of the Blue Oval, it was the nitrous-sniffing Red Pepper XB owned by one of Jim’s older cousins that sealed the deal. “I was about 12, and when we’d visit them I’d go for rides in the back,” he says. “I bought a set of Center Line Pro Stocks before I even owned a car!”
Once he was 17 and freshly employed, Jim went on the hunt for the XB he so desired, but every car he looked at was in far worse condition than advertised. Eventually he stumbled across this XA, and even though it wasn’t the particular model he’d coveted, it was a one-owner 351/Top Loader/nine-inch car in Red Pepper – how could he refuse?
Having snapped it up, Jim drove it around the block on his Ls a few times before it was promptly stripped and repainted by a mate of a mate. The XA even ran 12.2@113mph in 1997 with nothing but a set of rings, a hone and a decent intake manifold, but 20 years later, Jim wanted more: “One day I woke up and decided I wanted 1000hp.”
Jim’s fellow APSA racer and engine builder Anthony Visintin immediately began to plan a gnarly nitrous 423-cube Clevor that would crack the magical four-digit mark. Anthony started with a Dart block and filled the bottom end with top-shelf components to handle the substantial amount of boost-in-a-bottle the engine swallows. Callies Ultra rods connect custom forged CP pistons to a Callies Magnum crank, running in ACL bearings and sealed with CP rings. A fabricated Moroso sump and high-volume Melling oil pump control the slippery stuff.
Bolted to the top of the block is a pair of CHI’s Pro Series 3V heads that contain even more goodies like T&D shaft-mount rockers and custom pushrods from Jet Engineering. The lumpy stick in the engine’s guts was specced by Anthony and custom-ground to suit by Comp Cams. The CHI intake also benefitted from Anthony’s touch, with several hours spent removing unwanted material from it, and the engine is crowned by a 1200cfm Pro Systems Dominator carb.
Of course, the Dominator isn’t the engine’s only source of juice – the rest is shoved directly into the ports by the Induction Solutions nitrous system. The XA used to wear a nitrous plate, but then Jim met Sydney nitrous guru Mark Hayes at a test day at Sydney Dragway. “Mark recommended the Induction Solutions set-up, made all the pipes for it and gave us a tune for it,” says Jim.
The final piece of the puzzle is the big chunk of the ICE Ignition catalogue that fires the zaps to the right place at the right time.
With all of this good gear, you’d imagine this humdinger makes some serious snot, and you’d be right. Naturally aspirated, the Clevor twisted the engine dyno to the tune of 803hp at a stonking 7800rpm, and there’s enough nitrous bolted on top for at least 400 more ponies!
All of that grunt wouldn’t be any good without a way to get it to the ground, so Jim turned to DTM for an FTI Powerglide with a transbrake and all the good bits. Driving it is a 3800rpm SDE torque converter, while the nine-inch diff houses 3.9:1 gears and 35-spline axles from Aikman Engineering. “We have a 5800rpm converter and 4.5 gears if we want to run aspirated, but it’s a nicer car to drive on the street with the nitrous set-up, so we’ve left it in,” Anthony explains.
The suspension set-up is surprisingly basic for such a quick car – standard five-leaf springs, Calvert adjustable shocks and an adjustable anti-roll bar from Marshall Speed Shop under the arse, and Viking coil-overs in the front.
While the XA happily ran a 9.8-second quarter without the bottle (far from slow for a full-weight Falcon), the real magic happens with the gas turned on. With the jetting for a 300-shot loaded into the nitrous system, Jim fed the XA a bunch of shoe leather at Heathcote and was rewarded with an 8.7@153mph.
There’s definitely more in the combo, but Jim says the rear end needs some work before he hits the track again. Until then, he’ll have to content himself with cruising his eight-second street car with his friends and family: “I take it out any opportunity I get,” he says. “My daughters love it!”
1973 Ford XA Falcon GS
|Paint:||DeBeer Red Pepper|
|Pistons:||CP custom forged|
|Heads:||CHI 3V Pro Series|
|Carb:||Pro Systems Dominator|
|Nitrous:||Induction Solutions direct-port|
|Fuel pump:||MagnaFuel ProStar 500|
|Tailshaft:||3in with billet yokes|
|Diff:||9in, 3.9:1 gears, billet 35-spline axles|
|Rear:||Calvert shocks, standard leaf springs|
|Brakes:||Standard discs (f), standard drums (r)|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||Center Line Auto Drag; 15×5.5 (f), 15×10 (r)|
|Rubber:||Mickey Thompson; 165/80/15 (f), 275/60/15 (r)|
Anthony and Connie Visintin; David Connor; Charlie and Leigh at Showroom Quality Painting & Panels; my wife Helen and our kids Tiahna and Mikayla; Grand Tourer; John and the staff at Race Parts Melbourne; Paul and the staff at Geelong Performance Centre; Tony at TDR Engines; the staff at Century Yuasa Batteries Geelong; Zeph and Joel at Norlane Tyre Service; Michael at ICE Ignition