|Car:||1987 XF Ford Falcon 4 door sedan|
It all started back in 1996 when I first laid my eyes on her! There she was, sleek, shinny and unblemished. She had 82000 km’s on the clock, 5-speed manual and stock in every way. One test drive was all it took; she was basically brand new. Costing me $9000, I drove her home with pride; I had my first car.
Since then, she has undergone severe development to create the beast she is today. SHHMIK, as she is now known to many, has undergone many a mod.
Believe it or not, I was never really into cars throughout my teenage years. It took me nearly a year to get a CD player and 6x9 speakers put in. Since then it has been modify city, only stopping when funds were/are low, but we all know about that!
Initially playing around with stereos, I moved onto the interior. SAAS Avenger seats were bought and installed. The rest of the interior has been matched to suit. Power windows and central locking were next to go in, along with the alarm system.
It was nearing my 21st birthday and time to say goodbye to my P’s. A little bit of investigation to the insurance company was made to see what mods could be done and when. With lowering, wheels and tyres on the mind, I didn’t have much of a chance to think about much else, when one of my friends told me about a complete body kit he found in the trading post. Not really interested in it as I already had a front spoiler, I was never one to say no to having a look. A long drive out to somewhere behind Dandenong and I was driving home with a new body kit.
Not happy with how after-market body kits bolt onto existing bumpers, I set about making new front and rear pieces. I started by fitting the front and rear kit spoilers to the existing bumpers, took them off the car as a whole piece and then puttied the existing bumper flush to the new spoiler. New moulds were made and the now one-piece kit came to life.
Getting it lowered and new ROH Reflex 16” x 8” rims fitted, the car was starting to look real sweet.
After people telling me how Schmik the girl was looking, I decided on purchasing a set of personalised plates. After ringing Vic Roads, I found out that SCHMIK was already taken. So were SCHMIC, SHMIK, SHMICK and SHMIC. So I tried SHHMIK, I actually made it up on the spot. Three weeks later SHHMIK was born.
Always wanting a V8, I toyed with the idea of putting a turbo onto the 250. Heaps cheaper, easier and probably more grunt. The V8 still won out in the end. Originally wanting a 351, I was told that getting it engineered would be a nightmare and that it would have to run on straight gas to meet emission standards. A newer motor would be required to make sure emission standards are met. This would require fuel injection, of which I didn’t know much about. A computer was needed to run it, and V8 manual drive lines were rare and expensive.
During the three months it took me to find an engine, a 9” diff was sourced and fitted.
Finally a 302EFIw engine was sourced out of an EB Fairmont. With a quick freshen up, it was placed into the engine bay. Three days down, sweet I thought, this’ll take no time at all! How wrong could I be!!! 10 weeks later, the beast came home, fresh with brand new 2 ½” stainless exhaust, WOLF 3D engine management system, new radiator, thermo fan, battery, fuel tank, fuel pump and of course a new (well near new) heart. The sound was sweet to my ears and the get up and go was very impressive indeed, especially compared to the old 250.
Running sweetly, I got used to the power all too soon, when I discovered a set of Edelbrock Vct. Jnr heads and manifold for sale! Upon ringing the guy, I was sad to hear that the heads had already been taken, but the intake manifold was still for sale with injector seats welded in and fuel rails supplied. Finally getting him down to $400 for it, I chucked it on with a set of bigger injectors and new throttle body. A re-tune of the WOLF and a small increase in power was given. A Mick Webb special intake manifold was made and welded into the firewall. I swear, I have never run such low intake temps, it runs a couple degrees above ambient all day every day. At speed the WOLF actually registers a slight boost pressure in the manifold too, about 0.1 - 0.2 pound.
This is when the mother of all finds came along. A Richmond six speed gearbox, $4500ono. Well, “HELLO”. As it had always been a dream for a six speed to be mounted behind the V8, I jumped at the opportunity. Taking the beast down to have a look at the box, we spent more time looking at my car than at the gearbox itself. Talking the guy down to $4000 for it, I walked away with a massive smile, light pocket and a very heavy gearbox. After making a 20mm spacer plate, buying a new clutch, cross member and yolk, the new gearbox was installed. Having to cut away some of the tunnel to allow the shifter to come through (as it was for a left-hand drive) and a custom gear stick made to angle back to the driver, the gearbox was ready for use.
Finding that the 6 gears were not at the optimal ratio’s for my combination, I set about mucking around with different diff ratio’s. I found that the Richmond’s have all interchangeable gear ratio’s and that a number of different ratio’s for each gear can be purchased. After picking Mick Webb’s brain at SVO, we came up with a set of ratio’s that would be more suitable to the torque of a V8. The diff centre was changed to a 3.6:1 ratio, new LSD plates and 31 spline billet axles were installed.
New wheels, FORD XLR 17” x 8”, were bought and fitted. Then a set of 4 spot AP Racing Calipers were adapted to the front along with 330mm slotted discs. Holy Crap, nearly went through the windscreen the first time I stepped on the brakes. Still, the pads were insufficient for long track work, so a set of race pads have been recently bought. I thought the standard pads were good, but these are unbelievable, though at $400, they only get used for track days.
A quick visit to SVO found a new set of Bilsteins in all 4 corners of the car. The front pair being shortened and re-valved for performance. Bugger me, I couldn’t even push down the front shocks, instead having to jack the car up to be able to bolt the top shocker mount on. Some modification to the front bump stops was required to stop the understeer. Some new custom 800-pound front springs were installed and now provide the beast with minimal body roll.
Another set of XLR rims were purchased! Some ‘race only’ tyres (Bridgestone RE540S) were put on and now lower my lap times by 4 seconds a lap.
With a recent addition of a MOMO steering wheel that I won at ShepNats (how much fun was that?!) it was time for the beast to get a new heart. The hard work had been done, everything (brakes, gearbox, diff) had been bought and installed to cope with large horsepower.
After much discussion with Mick Webb at SVO, we came up with an engine combo that would provide me with the power and reliability I wanted (see spec sheet). A 302 block with standard bore was purchased and the engine started to be built. Stroking her to 347, with big port heads and all the good stuff to make sure she stays together, it took just over 6 months to get her back into the car. Good things come to those who wait, and as Mick gave me a great deal on the engine work, waiting was a small sacrifice.
On the engine dyno, the final figures were 450hp(340kw) @ 6200-6300rpm and 420ftpd(565nm) @ 4800rpm. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Bringing it back to the workshop, we installed the engine in two days, ready to go to Phillip Island on the Saturday. The joy of overtaking a brand new 300kw Monaro on the front straight was just one of the highlights of the day. The engine has been running faultlessly, and you still can’t get the smile off my face everytime I run it.