Back to Visitor's Cars
Gee some people make you jealous - and usually for the best of reasons! Confronted with one of life's more challenging decisions (whether to buy a new TE50 or spruce up the old XR8) Ian decided that faced with the then current uncertainty facing Ford's future engine choices and the high changeover cost of using his AU1 XR8 (is anybody at Ford listening here? - They need to be!) - his current steed would just have to do.
Starting where most people finish, Ian quickly converted Ford's inadequate (for XR8 duty anyway) original stoppers to 330mm dia front slotted rotors and matching rears meeting the T-series specs head on. "The brake package is a Cebco system - and I can not recommend these people highly enough." says Ian - "If you are contacting them ask for John." The front rotor is (at the time of writing) a new addition to Cebco's range with double the amount of grooves. The entire package set Ian back $2550 and included everything he needed to do the job.
For the AU series 1, the spindles need to be changed which Cebco did by swapping Ian's old spindles for an already modified set. Pads are semi metallic with braided front hoses and hi-performance brake fluid finishing off the package. Although admitting these are not pure competition items, Ian says they "look good and perform well for serious street duty." Feeling the current set up is probably not as responsive for every day driving as it could be, Ian says softer pads and a booster adjustment would probably help fix this and remain on the 'things to do' list.
The front rotors are a two piece design with blue anodised hubs which are bolted to the central rotor giving a great look as well as better heat transferral and less unsprung weight. In theory these should minimise the usual problem with corrosion being set up between the dissimilar metals of the alloy wheels and old cast iron rotors - making many a set of wheels a nightmare to remove! "The callipers are PBA twin piston units. I painted them red as well as attaching the Tickford logo. The genuine Tickford calliper has the logo milled into them where mine is attached separate. At the time I didn't think about copyright so I hope Tickford don't come knocking on my door."
Lowering comes courtesy of a set of Pedder's sport riders which Ian says are "a bit firmer than standard over short sharp stuff but on the highway you can't really tell." The difference in looks however is marked - costing a mere $460 all up (fitting not included). Ian says the springs make a small improvement in handling and plans to make further adjustments to the rear shock absorbers in the search for even better grip. Ahhh - the things you have to do when you live near the home of Targa Tasmania!
"You get on a good piece of road and you just can't help yourself - the XR series is that good. Right on the edge though I have noticed the front of the car can skip a little through corners. You could actually feel the front tyres struggling for grip. No doubt the story would be different on a race track where you are not restricted to staying on your side of the road. I asked around a few other XR owners and we agreed that the front grip is nearly always the limiting factor, as the rear hardly ever gets lost."
Helping out was being able to have a good mate (identical XR8 before Ian "went silly") to compare notes with and try different suspension settings, allowing both to be compared back to back. All up Ian has ended up with two complete sets of springs after all this hard work, and is having trouble deciding which is the best of them...
"So good is Tickford's original suspension set up that basically nothing we have tried has made a huge improvement on the road but it's early days yet. The current springs together with placing spacers behind the rear wheels seems to be slightly better but I don't think the overall performance has improved much. In fact the car if anything has a tendency to jump around a little more. I always felt that the dampers were actually good as a handling ride compromise but I may have to investigate an alternative. My favourite set up at the moment was a King Springs and Koni combination but the car we tried that on had 18" 245 series tyres and had a tendency to tramline. Suspensions set ups intrigue me and apart from being a Ford fan from birth it was the IRS that attracted me to the AU the most. I can't wait to see what the new version is like as rumour has it as having visited Jenny."
Paint & Panel:
Transforming the overall look of the car is a complete AU series 2 front bumper swap including the AU2's front body kit extensions. Helping matters out are the body kit extensions which are cheaper than the single bumper extension used on the AU1. Some filing was required prior to painting to achieve a close to perfect fit but otherwise is was a straight swap and Ian remarks on the difference to the car's looks it makes. Both fronts cost virtually the same, so if you are adding an XR front to your Falcon the choice is yours! Ian says he was mightily impressed by the quality of workmanship and delivery date of all paint & panel so has no trouble recommending Elite Crash Repair in Ulverstone, Tasmania (Ian's home state) - Ian says ask for Derek.
Wheels, Exhaust and Future Plans...
Complimenting the AU2 front bar Ian has added a set of AU2 XR 17" wheels which I have to say - almost look better on Ian's XR than they do on the AU2 from which they came!!! Making sure the exhaust note sounds just right are a set of twin 2.5 inch pipes from the catalytic converter back - based on a Genie layout and includes larger mufflers as well. Custom made using a combination of stainless and mild steel, the whole lot is tied together with a combo of mendrel and pressed bends. Future plans include induction and engine management changes followed by a supercharger if the bank balance allows!
Rather than going aftermarket with the twirler, Ian chose one of Tickford's sensational looking "Momo" red leather bound steering wheels. Then it was off on the Ferry to Victoria for the rest of the interior, which unfortunately brought it's fair share of dramas! Booked into Herrods for an entire interior refit, everything was going well until the trimmer ended up crook and in hospital for a couple of weeks! Still, the finally finished results were worth it, with an interior many would die for! Stitched from foot to stern in an inviting black leather, this is an interior to please even the most picky fanatic.
Finally, Ian has asked us to pass on how much he enjoys this site and is very interested in talking to any other people who have done or are going to do similar mods to their car. You can contact him via his email at IJP@tassie.net.au - hoping to share experiences and perhaps learn a bit on how to improve Ford's fabulous XR8 even further...
All we can say is thanks Ian - for allowing us to feature your pride and joy (or "blood car" as you call it). So now we can boast in having feature cars from Tasmania, West Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. With only the ACT and Northern Territory to go - who's going to be the first?
Back to Visitor's Cars Page
Info By Doug Bevan, site by Anthony
Copyright © 2000 by Doug & Any . All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 Nov 2002 .