With all the hoo-ha surrounding the current range of Ford/FPV hotties you could be forgiven for letting the 5.6-litre Tickford TE/TS50 (AU series) slip your mind. Well, Chris X’s TE50 is hardly gonna fade into the background – not when it looks as phat as this.
Here at AutoSpeed we’re generally not fans of airbrushing – but this example is hot!
Chris has always been a Blue Oval fan and when he saw this ’02 TE50 for sale with 76,000km on the odo he simply had to have it. Yeah, you know how it is... The TE50 is one of the last models produced by Tickford Australia and it’s a real bruiser thanks to its stroked Windsor V8 churning out 250kW/500Nm, heavy-duty Tremec gearbox, brilliant suspension, huge Brembo brakes (optional), supercar inspired body kit and the very macho absent traction control. It’s the last of the ol’ school style muscle cars.
Even in standard guise, the TE50 blew Chris’ socks off. "Mate, it’s the best Ford ever made – it’s unreal," he says.
With that in mind, the first area of modification was the sound system. Chris was lucky enough to win an audio/visual upgrade from F.I.S.T. Performance and Audio – around AUD$8000 worth! The install is well up to show quality using a combination of a Clarion TV/DVD head unit, Crossfire front splits, CDT 6 inch two-ways in the rear and, in the boot, a Crossfire four-channel amp and a Dragster amp feeding a Crossfire 12 inch sub. A secondary Optima battery (also in the boot) is dedicated to powering the sound system at shows.
Meanwhile, Chris thought there was a bit more grunt lurking in the 5.6 donk. An unnamed performance workshop was called upon for an upgrade comprising a UniChip interceptor, a 4 inch intake pipe to the throttle body, K&N pod filter and a twin 2 1/2 inch exhaust (bolted to the standard Tickford headers). This gave a total output of 311hp (232kW) at the wheels.
Not long after, Chris decided to splurge some more cash on the engine and went for a semi-performance engine build comprising ported heads, upgrade valves and springs, aftermarket roller rockers, a wilder cam and a twin 3 inch exhaust. The Tickford bottom-end – using a girdle-equipped crankshaft, forged pistons and H-beam billet rods – remains untouched. Unfortunately, this combo didn’t make the power predicted because of a mismatch of port shape between the heads and headers. The car has temporarily reverted back to standard heads and Chris plans to fit some aftermarket headers.
Also under the bonnet you’ll spy a PWR radiator header tank with braided lines, a chromed engine cover and radiator brackets, painted plenum chamber and fuse covers. All very neat.
But it’s the external detailing that’s really eye-catching.
Chris came up for an airbrushing theme and, through F.I.S.T. Performance and Audio, he hooked up with the team at Kipart. Kipart virtually read Chris’ mind and, with some clever colour combos to highlight the bright red factory paint, the result is spectacular. The mural is a fire-breathing dragon with a dark cloud and lightening at the rear. Look closely and you’ll see detail in the dragon’s skin and perfect continuity over tough-to-paint areas such as the door handles. It’s an exceptional job.
And, if this isn’t enough, Chris has added a red under-car lighting kit (which extends along the bottom of the sills and under the wheel arches), clear lens taillights, window tint and polished 20 inch ROH rims wearing 245/35 rubber. Suspension and brakes remain standard TE50 – no need to change ‘em.
The interior brings everything usually found in a TE50 (leather trim and Momo accessories), the impressive audio/visual system detailed earlier and F.I.S.T. labels in the door trims. Chris often takes the car along to shows and has enjoyed considerable success – the home mantelpiece carries plenty of bling.
In the coming months Chris expects to whack on some aftermarket headers, get the UniChip retuned and find out how much power she’s got. It’s anticipated there’s around 380hp (283kW) at the treads. That done, he wouldn’t mind bolting on a supercharger, giving the audio system even more punch and maybe an elaborate black-lit lava feature in the boot.
Yeah - bring on the modified TE50s!