Turbo Barra-powered Ford Escort panel van – Video

Barra-powered Mk1 Escort Panel Van runs 9.1 on its first quarter-mile pass

Photographers: Dave Reid

DEAN Ferris used to race a Turbo Taxi of his own! It was an FG Falcon dressed up as a Silver Service cab that went 10.1@138mph on a standard engine, just with the usual turbo, valve springs and E85 fuel system mods. He then thought: ‘Same power, half the weight would be fun,’ so he bought this Mk1 Escort panel van, which suited his needs perfectly as he had one for his first car!

 It also already had a rollcage and a BA Barra motor, and went high nines down the quarter. But Dean’s goal was always to stick an FG motor in it and go for eights! Dean picked up an FG XR6 Turbo mill off eBay for a steal at $1500, and added head studs, valve springs and oil pump gears. From there it was out with the factory turbo and in with a ProBoost Garrett GT42. An E85 fuel system was also plumbed up and a Haltech PS2000 ECU wired in to control it all.

 From there Dean and mate Dan Swanney made up all the intercooler piping to fit the Escort’s tight little engine bay. As you probably guessed by the turbo hanging out the bonnet, it’s not a street car, but Dean wants to get it back on the road eventually and maybe even enter Drag Challenge one day.

Backing the stout stock-bottom-end Barra is a two-speed Powerglide ’box and nine-inch rear end fitted with 275 radial tyres. The finished product was then tuned at Real Dyno Performance, where it made 720rwhp. The Real Dyno guys basically look after the car for Dean from front to back now that it’s up and running.

 Since the rebuild Dean has only had one full quarter-mile pass in the car, but it went 9.1@142mph on the limiter from the 1000ft marker and with the power turned down to around 630rwhp. The next upgrade will be taller diff gears, because sitting on the limiter for two seconds is really the only thing holding it back from an eight-second quarter. The plan is to have it set to kill for the Brisbane Jamboree in a few weeks’ time.

Update: Dean has changed the diff gears and last night he went 8.93@151mph at Willowbank Raceway. “Now I just need to figure out how to make it go straight,” said Dean.