Video: Twin-turbo 540ci XR Falcon ute on the dyno

This Drag Challenge battler is back with boost


Robert Giangrave campaigned this stonking 1968 XR ute at Drag Challenge in 2019, fighting in the Carnage Outlaw Aspirated class. Back then, it was powered by a naturally aspirated, 540-cube big-block Ford that made 722rwhp and ran a 10.2sec ET.

But that wasn’t enough for Robert, so he enlisted performance god Frank Marchese of Dandy Engines to work his magic on the SVO block. Frank ended up screwing together a trick engine that wears a pair of front-mounted Precision Pro Mod 88mm turbos, alongside a raft of other goodies.

Keeping the snails on display necessitated the radiator being shifted rearward; it now resides in the tray. Engine management is courtesy of a FuelTech FT600 ECU, with FuelTech injectors also supplying E85.

It’s backed by a TH400 auto with PTC bolt-together converter, and a fabricated nine-inch diff with 3.25:1 gears.

Viking coil-overs all ’round keep the ute planted, while both front and rear ends feature McDonald Brothers gear.

To put the repowered Falcon through its paces, Robert and Frank hit the hub dyno at Tunnel Vision Turbocharging. After a few test runs, the ute was fed 22psi and spat out a ballistic 1553hp. While a higher number could be possible, Robert points out that it’s as-yet untested across the quarter-mile. Similar twin-turbo set-ups have yielded six-second passes on small-block Fords, so it’s safe to say Robert’s in for a hell of a ride.

A return to Drag Challenge with the XR is high on Robert’s list, so here’s hoping we’ll see it at this year’s event! We’ve also got a proper feature on this ute coming up in the October issue of Street Machine, so stay tuned for a full rundown.