TSS EA Falcon: twin tyres, Sprintex-supercharged!

Paul Connolly's EA Falcon sports a twin-screw blower and eight (yes, eight!) tyres - and it was all fitted from new

Photographers: Mitch Hemming

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Yes, this EA Falcon has four alloy wheels wearing eight individual tyres. To learn why, read on, because as weird as that is, there’s so much more to this strangely alluring beast.

First published in the December 2022 issue of Street Machine

If you’ve never heard of a TSS Falcon, you’re certainly forgiven; the XF-EA Falcon era spawned some peculiar aftermarket specials, and the TSS Falcon by GP Sportscars was merely one of them. Some companies added simple bolt-ons like headers and exhausts, while others cracked open the donk to insert a bigger bumpstick. And in those seminal years of forced induction, the intercooled turbo kits that were available could really get the EA going.

The TSS Falcon went a different forced-induction route, though, using a sealed Sprintex twin-screw supercharger built by FTD Australia, which was also fitted to more than a few 1980s Range Rovers, Land Cruisers and Patrols. But how did the car come into being in the first place?

To promote its bolt-on blower system, FTD Australia founded a separate company, Designer Vehicles Australia, and felt a Falcon with wow-factor would be just the ticket as a proof-of-concept. Victorian motor racing identity Max de Jersey was commissioned to fabricate and tool the blower kit for production, and was given a red EA Falcon (already sporting the wild bodykit, interior and wheels) to fit it to.

He fabricated custom engine mounts and also solved a fuel starvation issue (which hadn’t affected the low-revving 4x4s the blower had previously been fitted to) by adding two injectors and a piggyback Haltech ECU. Unbeknownst to Max, though, the Falcon hadn’t had a skerrick paid against it, so it was soon repossessed, ending his association with the car.

History is unclear both as to the fate of that first car and at what point in the process GP Sportscars became involved, but in any case, six more full-fruit TSS Falcons were produced.

The incredible machine you see here, owned by Paul Connolly, is believed to be the fifth of those six. It sports all the modifications present in the prototype, including the twin-screw Sprintex supercharger, epic bodykit complete with Cosworth-style rear wing, ultra-plush custom interior, and those incredible wheels. “I went to a car show in Grafton and got wind of this bloody Falcon with twin tyres,” Paul recalls. “That’s all I knew, and I had to have it. Nobody I knew had ever seen one or even heard of one.” This from a bloke whose garage is otherwise full of Holdens!

Several years atop a shipping container baking in the sun had taken its toll on the car. “The wheels and rear wing were sitting inside,” Paul says. “Everything was cooked, so I got a team of local blokes together to help me fix it.”

One of those blokes was Damian Clarke, panel beater and painter extraordinaire. “The dog legs behind the doors were gone, as was part of the bootlid and some metal around the windscreen,” Damian says. “EAs all do that; they’re a shocker.” The Falcon had taken a few hits along the side, but nothing out of the ordinary and easy for Damian to fix. What was out of the ordinary was the bodykit, which caused the man several headaches.

“With so few kits built, it’s no better than a one-off, really,” Damian says. “I could hardly sand the spoiler it was so hard – like an old surfboard. I think I used 16-grit sandpaper to get it back in the end.” That wasn’t all; multiple blistering summers spent stored in the Falcon’s glasshouse had caused the spoiler to warp severely, requiring Damian to cut it into seven pieces before re-fibreglassing it straight.

Mechanic Mark Yager had fewer issues with the mechanicals of the 88,000km Falcon; it’s standard fare, after all. “We pulled the engine out of it for a freshen-up,” he says. “Paul didn’t want it hotted up or anything; he didn’t even want a camshaft.”

For the record, the TSS Falcon was quoted in Performance Street Car magazine as creating 209kW (280hp) at 4250rpm and 486Nm at 3600rpm – a handy increase over the stock 3.9-litre’s 139kW/338Nm figures. “Six-cylinder Falcons have been a favourite of mine for a long, long time,” Mark says. “They just make so much power without a heap of work to them.”

There’s no doubt that Paul’s TSS Falcon is an out-there vehicle already, but how about those wheels? They break the brain to look at, but do they have a point?

Czech/Guatemalan race car driver Jerry Juhan quite literally reinvented the wheel when he developed the JJD Twin Tyre system in the early 1980s. Aussie racing legend Colin Bond tested the concept locally, and proclaimed the tyres to have excellent grip in the wet or dry.

They ran cooler under load, resulting in less wear and few disadvantages. The cost, however, was epic – anywhere from $4000 to $6000 depending on size and spec, and around 25 per cent of the cost of a standard EA Falcon S at the time. Plus, as Bondy said recently, “They just didn’t look the go.”

With the newest JJD-compatible tyres now over two decades old, Paul doesn’t drive his restored Falcon on the rare rubber; he’s got plenty of other cars for that. “The set on the car was made in 1986,” he says. “They’re beautiful; perfect, in fact. They were stored in the dark and were still wrapped in black plastic when they arrived.”

More than the GP Sportscars bodykit or the screaming Sprintex, it is those JJD wheels that draw people to Paul’s only Ford. For anyone under 40, they are pretty much unknown, and aren’t remembered by too many over that age either.

Like the TSS Falcon itself, the JJD wheels stand as a weird footnote in the history of motoring, and for Paul, that’s reason enough to restore, show and preserve this awesome oddity of the EA era.

The author would like to thank Max de Jersey for taking the time to fill in some blanks.


Type:3.9L SOHC Falcon six-cylinder
Induction:Sprintex twin-screw supercharger with multi-point fuel injection
Head:Standard head, ported and flowed
Pistons:ACL dish-top
Valve springs:Heavy-duty
Ignition:Bosch multi-point distributor
Exhaust:Genie extractors to 2.5in exhaust
Transmission:BorgWarner T50D five-speed manual, heavy-duty clutch
Clutch: Heavy-dutyBorgWarner T50D five-speed manual, heavy-duty clutch
Diff:BorgWarner LSD 2.92:1
Front:Standard Falcon S springs, Koni shocks, rebuilt power rack-and-pinion steering
Rear:Standard Falcon S springs, Koni shocks
Brakes:Standard 287mm discs and calipers (f & r)
Rims:Crimson JJD Wheels Concept; 16×4.5 (x2) (f & r)
Rubber:Twin Tyres 125/85R16 (x2) (f & r)

Addison Holmes for his tireless research; Damian Clarke for the paint, panel and reassembly; Mark Yager of Yager Performance for the mechanical work; Bryan Mackney of North Coast Trimming & Supplies for the retrim; Craig Barrass of Image Perfection Automotive Detailing in Brisbane for the copious detailing efforts; my wife Alli Connolly – the backbone of the operation.