Some folks will build one car and cherish it for all eternity. For others, like Serdar Karabulut, cars are something that come and go.
“I’ve owned a lot of cars over the years,” Serdar says. “I’d finish a car, get offered the right money for it, and I’d move it on. During this build, I finished and sold another XW, as well as bought, rebuilt and raced a US Falcon Futura.”
First published in the April 2023 issue of Street Machine
Neither the XW nor the drag car (read more, below) were shabby, but for Serdar, PRO430 is different. This one’s a keeper.
“An XY with a factory wind-back sunroof was always my dream car,” says Serdar. “I spotted it on eBay about nine years ago up in Toowoomba as an unfinished project in primer. Initially, I wasn’t interested, but when I realised it was a sunroof car, I flew up and did the deal.”
The XY’s body was clean with very little rust, and it was all there, right down to the 393 stroker engine, full driveline and interior. But Serdar ended up selling everything off except the shell, sunroof and RRS front end. “Sticking with the RRS struts, power rack and notched towers is the best thing I’ve done,” he says. “I can still change the sparkplugs and remove and replace the pipes, even though they’re two-inch into 21/8-inch primaries that dump into 3½-inch collectors.”
Why such big pipes? Well, drag racing courses through Serdar’s veins, which means PRO430’s new engine was never going to be ordinary. Given the car’s plates, there’s no prizes for guessing that this small-block Ford’s capacity is 430ci, and it boasts goodies such as custom JE pistons, a Scat crank and Blue Thunder 3.60 heads. But it’s the billet tunnel ram that really sets this mega-mill apart.
“I knew exactly what I wanted and had it custom machined,” says Serdar of the tunnel ram. When the masterpiece finally arrived, it proceeded to set the tone for the rest of the build. “We weren’t ready for how good it looked,” Serdar says. “We sat it in place, and Alex from Extreme Paint and I quickly realised we’d now have to step up the rest of the build.”
Topping the very special intake manifold is an equally special set of carbs – dual BLP 850cfm jobbies. These high-end US carbs feature a billet body and base plate, with highly modified Holley fuel bowls.
Look closely at the trim ring around the bonnet opening for the carbs. At a glance, it looks like a standard XY shaker surround; however, this one is a couple of inches longer. Take a bow Brendon Benge from Fast Times Fabrication, who created this trick piece.
Early specs for the 13.5:1 mill would have seen power numbers in the high 900s, but Serdar didn’t need quite that much stonk. “I’m not racing the car; I have a race car for that,” he says. “I’ve had 650-700hp all my life and would’ve been happy with around 700. I didn’t need 1000hp or the high maintenance that goes along with it. We changed to a smaller cam and spring package, which Ali Sead then tuned for a reliable 855hp at the crank. It now happily lives on BP Ultimate and doesn’t misbehave in traffic!”
PRO430 has been a nine-year build. It sat in a body shop for three years and was barely touched, and while modest progress was made in the two years it was at shop number two, it turned out that poor panel fit, dodgy gaps and bogging over rust were par for the course. The whole shebang had to be stripped back to bare metal.
“From the outset, I wanted my good friend Alex Slatinsek at Extreme Paint to do the car, but he was always booked out,” Serdar says. “In the end, I simply told him, ‘You’re doing it!’”
With no room at Extreme, the Falcon was set up in the Karabulut family garage, and for the next couple of years, Alex would come by after hours to work on it. The door jambs, engine bay and boot are now all finished to the same high standard as the exterior. Even the underside was bodyworked to perfection, despite being painted in two-pack black over stoneguard to make the XY more road-friendly.
The Falcon’s body is essentially stock; it wasn’t even mini-tubbed. Mind you, the wheelwells were subtly massaged and the quarters deftly pumped to swallow the meaty Mickey Thompson rubber.
The crew from V Resto took care of the interior. Virtually everything is new, and it looks stunning. One deviation from stock is the Bluetooth head unit disguised as a factory Superfringe radio, which drives Rockford Fosgate speakers front and rear.
V Resto also repaired and fully restored Serdar’s beloved wind-back sunroof, which now works better than new. Notice the lack of wiring under the hood? That’s the handiwork of Dino Mosca at Raceteknik, who dialled in all the electrics.
With the XY finally finished after so many setbacks, Serdar and his family – wife Pelin and kids Aliya, Lara and Daniel – will now be able to hit the blacktop, open the roof and enjoy some well-earned, fresh-air cruising. After a lifetime of ‘easy come, easy go’ when it comes to cars, Serdar’s finally found a keeper.
This 1961 Falcon Futura is Serdar’s drag car. “I bought it as a turn-key race car just before COVID hit in 2019,” he says. “The first time I went to race it, the meeting got rained out. This was followed by three years of hell. I had three new engines built and blew up each of them. I then had the car repainted and rewired and fixed up a ton of little things.”
Once the car’s sorted, Serdar will be looking for low eights on the strip. “Not bad for a naturally aspirated 432ci small-block,” he says.
1971 XY FALCON
|Paint:||PPG Raw Orange|
|Brand:||430ci small-block Ford|
|Inlet manifold:||Custom billet tunnel ram|
|Carbs:||Twin BLP 850cfm|
|Heads:||Blue Thunder 3.60|
|Rods:||Scat H-beam 6.250in|
|Pistons:||Custom JE forged|
|Oil pump:||Melling high-volume|
|Fuel system:||Aeromotive in-tank|
|Cooling:||Custom alloy radiator, twin thermo fans|
|Exhaust:||2in into 21/8in primaries, dual 3.5in system with X-pipe|
|Ignition:||MSD Digital-7 Plus|
|Gearbox:||C10, full manual valvebody|
|Converter:||SDE 6000rpm stall|
|Diff:||Mark Williams 9in, Wavetrac centre, 35-spline axles|
|SUSPENSION & BRAKES|
|Front:||RRS struts, coil-overs, rack-and-pinion steering|
|Rear:||Gazzard Brothers split mono-leaf springs, Afco shocks, CalTracs|
|Brakes:||Brembo discs and calipers (f), Wilwood discs and calipers (r)|
|Master cylinder:||RRS underdash booster and master|
|WHEELS & TYRES|
|Rims:||Weld Racing RTS; 17×4.5 (f), 15×10 (r)|
|Rubber:||Mickey Thompson 26×6.00R17 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S 275/50R15 (r)|
Brendon Benge at Fast Times Fabrication; Alex Slatinsek at Extreme Paint; George Saab at Tow&Go; V Resto; Dino Mosca at Raceteknik; Callum Hinchcliffe at Adept Metal Polishing; Al’s Race Glides; Liverpool Exhaust; Ahmad Zalfa for the detailing and Mayvinci ceramic coating; special thanks for all the support from my wife Pelin and kids Aliya, Lara and Daniel.