Zane Heath is the mastermind behind Maxx Performance, one of the leading specialists for all things Ford and Barra. While the Maxx crew is capable of taking on just about any project and engine, turbo Barras are their bread and butter; they offer bolt-on packages and dyno tuning that make them one of the best in the business with the Aussie 4.0-litre.
This article was first published in the September 2019 issue of Street Machine
It should therefore come as no surprise that Zane’s own stealthy EF Fairmont is also hiding a Barra mill, but oddly, there’s no turbo in sight. “When I bought the car around two years ago it already had a Barra conversion with just a standard BA taxi engine and auto,” Zane says.
The conversion wasn’t quite up to Maxx’s standards, so the boys ended up redoing the whole lot, and then Zane started using it as a test mule. “We do turbo Barras day in, day out, so I wanted to do something different,” he explains. “What we hadn’t really explored was what works best with these motors naturally aspirated, and how much power you can milk out of them.”
Zane spent lots of time on the dyno at Maxx, R&Ding different intakes, exhaust and tune set-ups on the stock BA mill. Long story short, he ended up with around 200rwkW (268hp) aspirated from the 250,000km-old mill, with the help of a custom exhaust, E85 and tune.
The boys then started playing with nitrous, and with a two-stage wet shot the car devoured over 100 bottles of gas and went a best of 11.8 @110mph, while still performing daily driving duties. Eventually something had to give, and one of the standard injectors cried ‘enough!’ and sent the BA Barra to the graveyard.
The replacement mill that’s in the car now is a fully reworked LPG-spec Barra from an FG. The machine work was done by Top Torque Engines, and the motor was assembled by Maxx in-house. With a combination of a 600hp dual-stage nitrous system, BMW throttle bodies, Haltech plug-in ECU and many other tweaks, the beast has pumped out over 400kW at the treads.
Enjoy the video and check out the September 2019 issue of Street Machine for the full story.
UPDATE, February 2022
Since we last ran a story on Zane’s EF, he’s been quietly working in the background on version II of the nitrous Fairmont, this time with even more punch.
Having maximised the old combo, Zane’s constant curiosity to look outside the box and think differently has lead to him to build a brand new 4.2-litre stroked Barra.
The fresh mill features a billet crank, I-beam rods and custom-ordered CP pistons that take comp up to 13:1. The head has been ported with big boy Kelford cams, roller rockers and 1650cc injectors.
The Haltech ECU remains along with the dual-stage nitrous system, which is direct port dry shot deal.
The rest of the driveline has been upgraded to match, with a Paul Rogers TH400 and a built diff.
The work hasn’t just been on the driveline either. The EF now has a proper weld-in ANDRA-spec cage, and Zane has also treated it to a fresh respray.
What’s super exciting for us is Zane has already entered the EF into our Victorian Drag Challenge Weekend, which takes place on March 25 – 27.
“The engine is built and we’re just waiting for it to come back,” says Zane. “The car’s also painted now and I’ll get it back next week, and then we’ll have three weeks to knock out the build and give me time to test it.”
While time is tight, Zane is confident he and the boys from Maxx Performance will get the EF buttoned up before the event. “All the parts down to little things like the tailshaft are already made, so it’s just a case of bolting it al together and tuning it once we have everything we need,” he says.
We’ll be keep updating this story as the boys at Maxx keep making progress on the EF, and can’t wait to see it at Drag Challenge Weekend in just over a months time.