YOU might remember that a couple of Carnage episodes back we bought a Ford Territory. It was disgusting and smelt like it had spent the majority of its life carting rubbish around a tip. But the state of it didn’t matter to us, because we had big plans of cutting it up and putting it on a serious weight-reduction program with the aim of making it fast. We gutted the interior, removed all the body panels and then went to town slicing the roof off.
The Territory’s starting weight was 2130kg, and we got it down to a still-hefty 1475kg – considering all that was left was a floorpan and driveline, we could barely believe it was still that heavy. Aspirated and in lightweight configuration, it ran 14.98 down the quarter at Calder Park with Scotty behind the wheel. That wasn’t quite the number we were hoping for, so we hit it with nitrous.
And if you’ve seen the episode, you’ll know exactly how well that went. It ended with a big nitrous backfire and a giant fireball in the engine bay – to this day we’ve never seen Scotty move so fast.
Afterwards we knew the Territory had more potential in it and we planned to race it again – if the OH&S people would let us. We made a fingers-crossed promise that there wouldn’t be any more fire and got to work.
The nitrous backfire was caused by the engine leaning out, so to stop that ever happening again we had the guys at Maxx Performance replace the buggered old factory fuel pump with a new Walbro 460. To liberate a few more ponies, we added a set of Pacemaker extractors we had lying around. Zane and the boys at Maxx still weren’t convinced however, and a compression test confirmed the engine wasn’t healthy.
The crew scratched their heads and thought: Well, we need a new engine, and why don’t we go turbo? Scotty knew where he could pinch a turbo from, Zane had half a turbo kit from a Territory, and we had a spare converter from the Turbo Taxi. It seemed doable, but with just five days to get the job done in time for the Ford Forum Nats at Heathcote, it needed to happen fast.
Scotty grabbed one of the turbos from the Carnage MX5.7; being externally gated, we needed an external-gate Barra exhaust manifold that Zane had, and we then used one of the MX-5’s old 45mm Turbosmart HyperGates. Zane had the hot-side piping and an intercooler from a Ford Territory lying around; all that we needed was cold-side piping, a set of injectors and valve springs.
Fast-forward to Friday, and she was ready for the dyno. Being all-paw, this puppy needed a four-wheel-drive dyno. Thankfully the guys at AXT Turbo in Dandenong were happy to have us – despite coolant and power steering leaks. With Zane at the helm, the Territory made 331.5kW at all four tyres, or 444hp. It was game on; time to head to the track.
Somehow we passed scrutineering, but unfortunately it rained heavily on Friday night and Saturday morning, which meant racing didn’t start until the afternoon. First run was a 12.51 with an average launch and misfiring at high rpm. Harder launches seemed to result in tyre smoke and slower times, but eventually she went a best of 12.11@114mph.
With better tyres and a locked rear diff, we reckon the Toxic Avenger Territory would go a lot quicker. However, doing almost 200km/h in that car has scared our OH&S people enough – plus our MX-5 wants its turbo back so it can finally run the numbers that it’s capable of. Watch this space.
Big thanks to Zane, Brad and all the people at Maxx Performance; Bubba, Pazzo and Ryan from All Race Fabrications; Valvoline; SpeedParts; AXT Turbo; and Heathcote Park Raceway.