Building a Barra for boost, part one – Carnage Plus episode 60

Scotty takes us through the process of getting a green-top Ford Barra six ready for boost on a budget


THE end of 2019 was something of a blur of spanners and hammers in the Carnage workshop. Scotty had cooked up an ambitious plan to have both the 1JZ-powered Volvo and the newly Barra-swapped Mazda MX-5 up and running in time for Street Machine Summernats 33.

It was a tall order, but with plenty of help from our mates, the boys pulled it off and both cars took part in just about everything that Summernats had to offer.

The downside was that the Lightning McBarra MX-5 was fitted with the petrol-spec Barra the boys pulled from the Toxic Avenger Territory – dead stock with the exception of valve springs. A lack of time and money meant that this was our best option in order to make it to the ’Nats on time, but it was never going to be a long-term solution.

We didn’t really know how long that engine would live, but its fate was sealed when the boys fitted a better intercooler and wound up the boost on the dyno in search of the magic 400rwkW mark. The engine went bang in a big way, as you can see here.

The new plan is to fit a green-top Barra from the wreckers. The green-top motors are from LPG cars and come with much tougher rods from the factory.

In this episode, Scotty pulls the new motor down and talks us through how to get a stock-bottom-end Barra ready for action. Improvements include head studs, valve springs, a head gasket and oil pump gears.