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No boost needed: 1068hp XY Falcon

Oct 15, 2023

IT ONLY took Peter Tsekenis two years to go from making his drag racing debut to commissioning a 1000-plus horsepower small-block that pushed his street-going XY into the eights.

First published in the February 2022 issue of Street Machine

Bill Kaglatzis from BK Race Engines is the brains behind the brawn in the bay of this fast Falcon. "It's not every day a customer walks through the door and says, ‘I want to run an eight with an NA small-block; what do I have to do?’, but that's exactly what Peter did," he says. Naturally, Bill was happy to accept the challenge, even after Peter ratcheted the difficulty level up to 11 by insisting he didn't want a dedicated race car – it had to stay streetable.

Peter had acquired the Raw Orange XY in 2015 and was initially happy with its 460hp, 383ci stroker. He even managed to rekindle a few old friendships when he started doing weddings in it. But after watching his mate Tony bushfire the street with his 408ci True Blue XW (complete with smiling bride and groom aboard), Peter came to the conclusion that the XY needed more grunt. In a quest for power, Peter fitted the car with a few different engines as it began to see more track time.

Along the way, race-car fabricator Peter Cleary was engaged to mini-tub it and add a rollcage. "The car looked the part and ran 9.4, but it was never consistent," says Peter. "At the track I saw that Bill from BK Engines’ cars were consistent and ran good numbers. I reckoned he was the guy I needed to talk to."

In sizing up the task at hand, Bill and Peter Kala at BK Race Engines looked at similar packages they had turned out previously. "We looked at other combos like Steve Roussis's XY [SM, Jan ’21]," explains Bill. "That makes around 900hp and is a well-sorted car with a best of 9.17, so we knew we’d need a good bit more power to go eights. That's when it was decided to look at the CID heads and manifold (read more below).

"We’re the first in Australia to get our hands on them. We are nowhere near to reaching these heads’ full potential. We haven't got anywhere near enough engine under them to max them out."

Crazily enough, the matching intake manifold from CID is virtually ‘as cast’. "All I’ve done is port-match it," says Bill. "Maybe 50mm up the runners – that's it!"

Peter thinks the CID heads will flow something like 500cfm, which is a lot for a big-cube big-block head, let alone a small-block. And yet part of the challenge he had set for Bill was to not build a race engine!

"At one stage I purchased a fully ’caged and tubbed Silver Fox XW, and the intention was to transfer all my running gear across to it," Peter says. "But in the end I realised I didn't want a race car. I’m the kind of guy that wants what he wants; we’ll run the number then I’ll change ANMLXY back to a street car."

Little expense was spared while attempting to not build a race engine, starting with custom slugs made in cahoots with Diamond Pistons. "While the intake and heads might not be maxed out, everything else is," Bill explains. "The bore and stroke are maxed, the cam and rods only just clear each other, and there's no material left in the pistons. Being under-milled to reduce weight, you’re playing with nothing. The ring pack is super tight and you can't touch the valve reliefs."

Bill made moulds of the combustion chambers, from which the folks at Diamond made a sample piston. "We used that to dummy everything up," says Bill. "From there we fine-tuned and manipulated the shape to come up with something that works, which Diamond then turned into the real thing. It's my part now; I can ring up and order them!"

The 4.185-inch bore and 4.250-inch stroke equates to 468 cubes, which is the absolute max for a 9.5-deck Dart Iron Eagle block. Nothing in the engine is off the shelf, with George from RaceMAX Direct tasked with tracking down a multitude of unique and hard-to-get parts.

To help it breathe, the Bullet 55mm-bore cam spins in needle roller bearings and has 0.900thou lift! It operates 0.905-inch BAM lifters and 1.85 (intake) and 1.80 (exhaust) rockers. The high-ratio rockers deliver much quicker action, while the CID rocker plate maintains valvetrain stability despite the huge forces being generated. The titanium valves (with 5/16in stems), PSI triple springs with Max Life surface prep, and PAC Racing titanium retainers are all top-shelf goods.

"No one single component got us to the 1068hp and 758lb-ft," says Bill. "Every component in this engine had to be carefully specced and fine-tuned to make the number. I even had APD machine some custom 2.350-inch throttle plates to create a unique 1475cfm carburettor. It also runs lots of comp and is currently tuned for QM25 racing unleaded. But I’m confident it won't lose any power when re-tuned to E85 for the street."

"We couldn't go silly – maintaining reliability was key," says Bill. "The valve seats are 50 degrees instead of 55, and we left a bit on the table cam-wise. We also wanted to make power as early as possible. Peter was shifting the last engine at 8500rpm; we’re all done by 8000, yet the car is half a second faster. It 60-footed at 1.22, which is good for a car of this weight, but it could probably go 1.16. On paper there's an 8.58-8.62 in it. Even so, there's still a lot of street element about it, like the external Peterson oil pump and wet sump set-up. There's definitely more power to be had going dry sump."

Rounding out the driveline is a Mark Williams nine-inch, carbonfibre tailshaft and Protrans TH400. A striking-looking billet shifter from M&M Transmission operates the 1500hp-capable ’box. "It shifts beautifully, plus the way it's mounted makes it very easy to use," says Peter.

Because the towers had to be scalloped to accommodate the huge CID heads and cavernous 2.25-inch pipes, Profab fabricated custom tubular upper arms complete with Menscer coil-overs. They also added chassis connectors, and front and rear engine plates to help stiffen things up. They braced the diff, sorted the split-mono springs, installed sliders and mounted the ’chute. And, after dummy-fitting the engine and trans, they built the aforementioned custom headers.

On the outside, Danny from Custom Bodyworks got the scoop looking good, while Jason at Panda PRO Detail worked his magic on the 14-year-old Raw Orange paint. With the XY back together, it was off to DNA AutoSport to make it run straight before heading to Sydney Dragway for a round of the 2021 Atura NSW Championship.

"Bill said it would run an 8.72, and that's exactly what it did," says Peter. "It was the most amazing thing. Even so, it doesn't matter how fast you go, you end up getting used to it."

The car has since gone marginally quicker, with an 8.70 at Grudge Kings. Mind you, Peter admits the 10.05@153mph it ran to take out the Naturally Aspirated class at the Coota 400 on an unprepped surface was effin’ scary. "On the first pass, it baked the tyres and sent me sideways," he says. "I had to get Bill to pull some power out to make it less aggressive. You’ve got to respect it."

When your car is this quick, those are wise words indeed.

THE canted-valve, small-block Ford heads on Peter's engine are from Competition Induction Designs (CID), based in Minnesota, USA and headed up by Aussie maestro John Konstandinou. Many will know John as the founder of CHI – which has enjoyed plenty of success in the Engine Masters Challenge competition – along with his brother, Michael Konstandinou, from ICE Ignition. Michael is actually the Aussie distributor for CID, with John the US distributor for ICE!

"I worked closely with BES Racing in designing this head," says John. "Our goal was to make the best small-block Ford head possible. The Glidden Victor SC-1 from Edelbrock was considered to be the best head, but they hadn't touched it in over 10 years. We engineered out all the inherent weaknesses, then took it to the next level with regards to power potential."

While the head can be configured for virtually any application, it easily supports a 500cfm-plus intake port and 300cfm exhaust, which makes it most suited to big-cube, big-power engines – think 900hp and up, naturally aspirated.

The intake and exhaust ports are raised more than 1.5in above standard, requiring custom pipes to be made, which, in addition to a taller intake, means it won't fit into a stock Falcon engine bay.

Key features include an intake valve angle of 10 degrees (with 3 degrees of cant) and an exhaust valve angle of 3 degrees (with 1 degree of cant). The head will accept up to a 2.300 intake and 1.650 exhaust valve, on a 4.165 bore. The chambers are noticeably rotated and can be sized anywhere from 40 to 80cc. The head also uses an intricate, one-piece rocker platform that gives the Jesel steel or aluminium rockers a wide, stable base to bolt to. Due to the head's excellent valvetrain geometry, BK Race Engines was able to get away with using just a 7/16 Trend pushrod in the engine of Peter's XY.

"The rocker stand is absurdly stable," says John. "It's actually integral to the deck."

So much structure has been built in above the deck face, it only needs a deck thickness of 5/8in, yet it remains suitable for insanely boosted applications.

So, what's it capable of? Using a mid-500ci billet block, BES recently completed a maximum-effort NA build that netted just shy of 1300hp with a pair of carburettors. That's one stout small-block head!


Bill Kaglatzis & Peter Kala (BK Race Engines); George Bukureshliev (RaceMAX Direct); Joe Gauci (Profab Motorsport Fabrications); Fred Soleiman (Protrans Performance Automatics); Danny Makdessi (Custom Bodyworks); John Konstandinou (CID Heads); Peter Kollitiris (SDE Torque Converters); Andre Nader (DNA Autosport); Jason (Panda PRO Detail); special thanksto Tony Kritikos, Con Alexopoulos and Raf Vamvoukakis, my hard-working pit crew that have been a massive help throughout the whole process