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Windsor Wake-Up!

Think it's impossible to create a fast Windsor-powered AU Falcon without the aid of a supercharger? Don't believe it!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

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Some people would argue that the ol’ Windsor 5.0-litre in the AU-series Ford Falcon XR8 is, well, hopeless. Why would you bother when you can get the DOHC 5.4-litre BA XR8, they say. Well, these people are right – and wrong...

Tell Ramsin X of Sydney that the injected Windsor is a no-hoper and he’ll probably break up with laughter. The 11.72-second quarter mile performance of his stock-looking AUII XR8 certainly proves otherwise!

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Ramsin admits he was always "a bit of a geek when it came to cars" and pedalled nothing more exciting than 4-cylinder commuters. But then he got hooked on speed. "I got into skydiving and I just loved the thrill. But after a few jumps I wanted something faster..."

The car you see here – a 2000 AUII XR8 – was originally bought as a family car, but it was soon transformed into something a little less wholesome. Something to scare the neighbours with. "In standard form the car was slow. I mean it was an enjoyable car to drive but it was never what you’d call fast," says Ramsin.

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The first stop to satisfy that need for speed was Herrod Motorsport in Melbourne. Ramsin went straight for the 300kW upgrade ‘package’ comprising a single 2 1/2-inch mandrel exhaust, high-flow air intake, 75mm throttle body, UniChip and a relatively mild camshaft. But the real mumbo-maker was a stroker crank that took cubic capacity up to 347ci (5.7-litre). Three forty-seven is, as Ramsin says, about as big as you can go with the Windsor V8.

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"The car went heaps better with that first round of changes," recalls Ramsin "but it didn’t go as well on the strip as I’d hoped." The best time recorded was a flat 14. "I suppose it wasn’t likely to go any faster given the standard automatic trannie and the overall weight," he says. With Ramsin in the driver’s seat, the car is said to tip the scales at around 1920kg...

The next move was nitrous - or chemical supercharging, as Ramsin puts it.

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In the first instance, a 80hp dry shot was given the nod. This improved quarter mile performance to a 12.9 – but not without some problems. Despite fitment of some monster studs, the factory cast iron heads kept lifting.

The answer was a fully built motor.

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The internals of that 347ci stroked Windsor now boasts quality forged pistons, a ‘Stage 3’ camshaft, TrickFlow alloy heads and a Trickflow intake manifold. The exhaust system was further improved with fitment of Herrod tuned-length extractors and a custom twin 2 ½-inch pipe arrangement. The fuel system was also upgraded with a high-volume pump and the nitrous set-up changed to a 110hp wet system activated only at WOT between 2700 and 5800 rpm. A nitrous bottle warmer ensures the appropriate nitrous pressure at all times. Croydon Motorsport is credited with tuning the nitrous set-up.

Power? An impressive 406 horsepower at back wheels on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno.

The long-suffering stock 4-speed auto transmission has recently been introduced to a 3500 rpm stall converter and a shorter 3.91:1 LSD rear. Ramsin tells us the engine really wants to pull hard at anything over about 3200 rpm.

With a set of slicks crammed under the rear guards the car has recently run a best time of 11.72-seconds at 114 mph. Ramsin makes the point that this time was achieved with the car running in 100 percent street trim (aside from the slicks). He also says the brakes aren’t strong enough to let him stall it up to more than 2800 rpm. Ideally, he’d like to launch at just over 3000 rpm.

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Inside, this car is anything but a stripped out racer. The standard XR8 trim is nothing too flash, so Ramsin factory optioned his with leather, Momo wheel and gear knob, electric sunroof and REX. REX, in case you didn’t know, is Ford’s Rear Entertainment Xtreme system comprising a LCD screen, DVD and Play Station compatibility. He has also added an AutoMeter monster tacho and shift light to the A-pillar as well as an all-important nitrous pressure gauge.

With the nitrous prep’d engine built by Herrod Motorsport more than a year ago, Ramsin is rapt in his XR8’s performance and reliability. "It hasn’t missed a beat and you can drive it interstate without fear of it misbehaving or overheating," he says. We’re told it’s also very streetable despite the lumpy Stage 3 camshaft.

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Ramsin is more into straight-line go than cornering prowess so it makes sense that much of the XR-spec suspension has been left standard. The only change is Koni adjustable shocks front and rear. The ABS-controlled braking arrangement has also been enhanced with aftermarket slotted discs.

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So where to from here? Well, as mentioned, Ramsin is pretty happy in the car’s current abilities but he does have a couple of extra ideas in store... There’s a new set of nitrous foggers on their way and it’s likely the existing nitrous arrangement will cop a fiddling. But without any mayor mechanical changes, Ramsin is confident of cracking low 11s.

And – yes – that’s still using the non-supercharged Windsor V8...

Contact/Thanks:

Herrod Motorsport +61 3 9464 5100

Croydon Racing Developments +61 2 9648 4264

Ramsin would like to thank his wife, kids and "Mr Fix It".

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