IF YOU ever needed proof that Ford’s venerable Barra six-cylinder engine has reached cult status, Damien Boyce’s gloriously stealthy XT Fairmont is it. Before the Barra arrived on the scene, the flagship performance engines for most Ford fans were carby-fed Cleveland and Windsor V8s.
There have been EFI Windsors, quad-cam 5.4L Boss motors and even factory supercharged Coyotes in the years since, but none of these have been embraced by Aussie enthusiasts to the same level as GM’s LS series, for example. But the Blue Oval’s answer to the LS is well and truly here in the shape of the Barra inline six, and they’re now being stuffed into everything, including Holdens.
Damien’s Fairmont represents a bit of a changing of the guard from the Windsors and Clevos of old to the new-age, DOHC four-litre, EFI turbo six-pots. You see, when he first built the car he equipped it with a screamer of a Clevo that powered it to 11.8-second quarters on the motor and into the 10s with a 100-shot. It had a reverse-cowl scoop and a set of Convo Pros for a bit of Pro Street attitude, and was by all accounts a good thing.
But it wasn’t perfect.
“It was loud and a bit too aggressive-looking, and I used to get defected a bit. I had a lot of gearbox issues and sometimes it ran hot,” Damien says.
“I got tired of being hassled by the cops and having to stare at the gauges all the time; I wanted to be able to drive the car more often and enjoy it more when I did.
“Besides that, the car was kind of stuck in two worlds. It had the stocklooking body, paint and trim with the Convos and reverse-cowl, so I made the decision to go with the Barra motor and make it less conspicuous. I wanted it to look stock, but have just enough poke to have some fun.”
To that end, only a very keen eye would pick that the car is anything other than stock. The maroon-over-silver paint scheme isn’t factory, but with the roof colour tying in closely with the OEM interior, it looks like it easily could be. The standard 14-inch steelies, whitewall tyres, venetian blind and pensioner peak all hammer home the look.
Underneath the bonnet is a different story indeed. With the Proboost GT42 turbo on one side and a custom-fabricated plenum on the other, Damien’s Barra looks like a fearsome bit of kit. It is, however, a $200 aspirated BA wrecker motor with nothing more than a set of aftermarket valve springs!
“I had the motor sitting there for another project, so I thought I might as well use it,” Damien says. “The intent was to rebuild the motor eventually, but it’s working out pretty well as it is at the moment. I don’t want to take it off the road to do the motor because I enjoy driving it too much!”
The fab work for the engine mounts, exhaust manifold, dump pipe and turbo plumbing were done at home by Damien with assistance from Danny at Spot On Performance. Danny is also responsible for the custom intake plenum that neatly clears the strut tower, as well as a great deal of overall guidance on the build. The remainder of the turbo system consists of a Turbosmart wastegate, Tial blow-off valve and Aeroflow intercooler.
Damien opted for a Powerglide transmission after experiencing issues with the C4 he had behind the previous combo. It’s fitted with a transbrake and 3200rpm Converter Shop converter, and funnels grunt rearwards to a mini-spooled nine-inch. 152 STREET MACHINE
Thanks to the self-learning Holley HP ECU, the car is yet to go near a dyno, but it has been to the track. On a conservative 10psi of boost and hampered by the limited traction on offer from the tiny 205-wide whitewalls, Damien managed a best of 12.3@111mph.
“I decided to go for a drive to the track and see what it would do,” he says. “I have plans to put radials on it and wind it up a bit, and once that’s done I’m pretty keen to leave off the transbrake and see what happens. Maybe I’ll throw a turbo motor in it down the track and try and go faster again, but as it is it’s a lot of fun on the street.
With the way it looks and how quiet it is, it surprises people on the freeway when they realise it’s a turbo!” s self HolleyHP ECU
Colour: Silver Fox with maroon roof
Brand: Ford BA Barra inline six, stock internals Induction: Custom plenum, Turbosmart wastegate, Tial blow-off valve, Aeroflow intercooler ECU: Holley HP Turbo: Proboost GT42 Head: Stock BA with PAC valve springs Fuel system: Holley Blue lift pump, Aeroflow surge tank, Aeroflow in-tank main pump Cooling: BA Falcon radiator and fans Exhaust: 4in dump pipe, 3.5in single exhaust system Ignition: LS1 coil packs
Gearbox: Powerglide with transbrake Converter: Converter Shop 3200rpm Diff: Nine-inch, mini-spool, 3.7:1 gears
Springs: Six-cylinder coil springs (f), leaf springs with CalTracs (r) Shocks: 90/10 (f), stock (r) Brakes: Four-wheel discs
Rims: 14x7in steelies (f & r) Rubber: 205/75/14 whitewalls
Danny from Spot On; Ash from Wiring & Tuning Solutions; Ricky from Trade Street Smash; Dazza; Andy; Johnny; Giz; my wife Avalon