FG-X XR8 Miami-swapped XW Falcon

Ossie Fish's dead-smooth XW features 21st-century tech where it counts: in the engine bay

Photographers: Ben Hosking

Ossie Fish is a long-time Falcon nut, even owning a real-deal XY Phase III in a past life. So, when he found a country-spec, two-owner XW Falcon in 2009, it just had to be his.

First published in the May 2023 issue of Street Machine

[The previous owner] used it as a daily driver to and from work,” the Riverwood, NSW bloke says. “A stock three-on-the-tree, six-cylinder car. I threw a V8 in it probably five years ago and drove it for a couple of years just as a standard 351, but never did anything serious to it.”

When the time came to take things a step further, Ossie says he first considered a big-block built at mate’s rates. “My son, who’s into cars, said, ‘Dad, have you ever thought about putting a modern motor in it?’ I tossed up the figures, and it was actually a lot cheaper than building a brand-new 427!” He soon found a Coyote-based, supercharged 5.0-litre Miami mill and matching TR6060 manual ’box from a wrecked FG-X XR8.

Kyle DePiazza of Kyle’s Conversions in Awaba would take charge of the build after what was essentially a chance meeting. “We were at Eastern Creek racing my XE Falcon [SM, Oct ’18] and had some downtime,” Kyle says. “Ossie walked past with his son and saw it; he’d already purchased the engine and gearbox but just couldn’t find somebody who he trusted and had done the conversion before.”

As one of the earliest Aussie Coyote swaps, the XE was the perfect testimonial for Kyle’s work. “I’d definitely played with them before,” he says. “The thing that stuffs everyone up is the wiring, and trying to make everything work.”

By the time the XW shell rolled into Kyle’s workshop, it had already received a pair of tubs, a nine-inch, a four-linked rear, and a Rod Shop independent front suspension system, all installed by Street Cred Differentials & Fabrication.

Essentially, Ossie requested a car that would offer the functionality and handling dynamics of something much newer. Kyle says that’s a common theme for many of his customers: “They had a car when they were young but they sold it to buy a house, and now they have a successful business or they’ve got rid of the kids and they want it back. But now they want all the creature comforts and to have it riding really well.”

Pryce Engines got stuck into the quad-cam Miami before slotting it into the bay, hooking a set of forged BoostLine rods and Mahle forged slugs to the stock crank, and replacing the top pulley with a smaller unit for more boost. The factory FG-X radiator, thermo fans and hoses also got the nod, which hang on modified lower mounts for a comfortable fit.

Kyle and Pryce Engines yanked the stock oil cooler, which is prone to milkshaking in its factory radiator location, as Kyle learned the hard way with his own XE. “They’re a fairly robust thing that sits on the passenger side of the block, and they hit the chassis rail fairly easily,” he says. “So we were given the perfect scenario to get rid of it, and ran a remote oil cooler instead.”

Pump 98 is the tipple of choice and yields an impressive 670hp at the hubs – a solid gain on the 449hp in XR8 form. It’s a lot of stonk for a manual, but the Tremec six-cogger handles it admirably via an Exedy clutch and Mal Wood under-dash clutch package, while offering plenty of final drive for highway cruising.

Finishing off the driveline is a nine-inch with 35-spline axles, turned by an Eaton Truetrac centre with Motive 3.7 gears. “I drove it to Wollongong to get it engineered, and you’d just get it into sixth gear on the main roads, but it’s still nice and punchy down low,” Kyle enthuses. “The thing’s phenomenal; it handles beautifully.”

“It’s actually cheaper to run than my 4WD,” Ossie adds. “At 110 kays, it sits at 1200rpm!”

The IFS treatment made the shock towers redundant, so the inner guard assemblies were replaced with smooth panels by Kyle. “Because [the towers] are part of the structural strength of the car, we needed to replace them, so to comply with the engineer, some chrome-moly tube was bent to tie into the inner firewall under the dash,” he says. “It travels under the tops of the front guards to the front of the chassis rails, behind the headlights.”

Underneath are AU Falcon front calipers managed by an electric master cylinder and booster tucked under the driver’s-side guard. “I honestly don’t know why everybody doesn’t use them,” Kyle says. “The engineers love them; the brakes are just so fluid and effective, and you don’t have any problems or brake fade even with decent cams.”

Just like the engine bay, cleanliness and functionality are the name of the game throughout the interior, which was handled by Department of the Interior in Kingsgrove. The front seats were pulled from an FG-X G6E, while a Haltech iC-7 dash lives in a 3D-printed fascia.

Vintage Air a/c, a Kenwood touchscreen head unit, and an electric handbrake well and truly meet Ossie’s ‘creature comforts’ brief, while twin batteries mounted in the boot ensure there’s plenty of zap to support the stereo system.

Ossie brought the car home late last year, embarking on a trip to Summernats 35 shortly after. “That’s the longest trip it’s had,” he says, “but a mate of mine is getting married in a couple of weekends’ time in Nelson Bay, and he’s using it as a wedding car.” The perfect combination of old, new, borrowed and blue!


Colour:Ford True Blue
Type:Ford Miami 5.0L V8
ECU:Haltech Elite 2500
Fuel system:98, Aeromotive pump
Cooling:FG-X radiator & fans
Exhaust:Custom extractors, twin 3in pipes
Gearbox:Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual
Diff:9in, 3.7:1 gears, Truetrac
Front:Rod Shop IFS, QA1 coil-overs
Rear:Triangulated four-link, QA1 coil-overs
Brakes:AU discs (f), Wilwood discs (r)
Master cylinder:Cruisin Automotive master, electric booster pump
Rims:Street Pro; 15×8 (f), 15×10 (r)
Rubber:215/60R15 (f), 295/55R15 (r)

Redi-Strip; Mick at Street Cred Differentials & Fabrication; Kyle’s Conversions; Pryce Engines; Dave at OCD Metalworx & Restorations for rebuilding the steering column; Craig at Department of the Interior; DC Tuning & Mechanical; Scott’s Auto Air & Electrical; my son, who helped me with making lots of important decisions; my wonderful wife for giving me the green light on the car.