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Dark and stormy: Rob Herrington’s aspirated XY Falcon

Drenched in acres of black and punching out north of 800hp, this all-motor XY is a streeter to fear

 It’s not too often you see a stripped-out XY sitting in a driveway these days, so when you do, chances are the owner is worth having a yarn with. Rob Herrington did exactly that, his chance encounter on the street sparking both a new friendship and a massive ratcheting-up of his Falcon project into a deep-black, 820hp powerhouse.

“I bought the car just over five years ago from up the back of Lake Eildon,” Rob begins. “The original guy had put it in a shed in Echuca after completely stripping it to bare metal and undercoating it. The door couldn’t be closed, so over two or three years, the weather got in and rusted the front guards, engine bay and front half of the roof – it pretty much destroyed the car.”


At this point, the brief for the XY was fairly humble. “It was originally just going to be a stock 351 with a Top Loader in it,” Rob explains. “I was doing the car in the driveway, and Jason Hoctor drove past with his boys and started talking to me about the car. We became mates after that, three or four years ago.”


Jason’s known for turning out some pretty high-end metal, including his own eight-second WINDSOR Cortina, so he guided Rob through the long panel-prep journey after gapping up the panels himself. “He’d come ’round, have a few beers, fix a couple of things here and there, point out some issues, tell me how to fix them, then leave it with me until the next beer!” Rob laughs. “I’d done a couple of cars before but never to this level, so I learned a lot from Jase; I spent a good 12 months blocking it to get it good enough to paint.”

Early in the piece, the undercarriage, engine bay and inner boot had been sprayed metallic orange. “After a few beers, we decided the car wasn’t going to be orange,” Rob says. “I had a chat with my mate and boss Damion from work, and then black and silver were the new colours, so I had to strip it all off and start again!”

In the meantime, Rob lined up successful racer Paul Turner for a suitable mill. “His daughter races rails up in Sydney, so he builds all the engines for them,” Rob says. “He came highly recommended and he didn’t disappoint.”


The Windsor block is decked out with a Molnar crank and rods and JE pistons for a 434-cube displacement, and ingests pump 98 through Higgins Cleveland-type heads and manifold. The carby’s an APD 1050cfm double-pumper that hangs high on a matching spacer.

An electric water pump circulates from a huge Aussie Desert Cooler radiator with matching twin thermo fans. “The converter’s a 6200rpm and it’s got a transbrake, so [Aussie Desert Cooler] gave us a fairly big trans cooler up front, too,” Rob explains.

Given the XY’s running a traditional carby and MSD ignition set-up, the FuelTech FT450 ECU has a pretty easy gig, but Rob finds its functionality super-handy. “It’s more just for monitoring, setting up your timing, cooling temps, revs, two-step and stuff like that. Chris at Racewires did a killer job.”

Rob’s golden number for the mill was 800hp, so Paul chose a custom solid-roller bumpstick instead of a hydraulic option. It helped squeeze out 820hp and 630lb-ft of twist on the engine dyno. “It’s dynoed to 7800rpm, and the change light comes on at 7500,” Rob adds.


Rob admits the package had him apprehensive to begin with. “I’ve built a ’66 Mustang and have a 680hp ’67 big-block Camaro, but the whole worked small-block set-up is something I’d never done before.

“When the build started heading down this track with the big converter and everything, I went, ‘Oh shit, is that too much for the street?’ But my mates all went, ‘Nah, the more power the better!’”

Protrans built a C10 to handle all the ponies, while the rear end is an Extreme Driveline nine-inch packing a Truetrac centre and 35-spline axles, resting in a McDonald Brothers four-link.

Work on the XY finished late last year, and while it’s only seen a few outings since, Rob’s blown away with the end product. “It’s a dream come true; something I’ve always wanted,” he enthuses. “Especially after doing most of it at home, with the help and input from Jason and a couple of beers!”


Story: Jack Houlihan

Photos: Shaun Tanner


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