Home Built Hauler: Wild Nine-Second Ford Panel Van From Australia

Anything can be made into a racecar if you’re brave enough and have some imagination. Australian native and body shop owner Adrian Abela has a collection of wicked street cars, but his most unique ride is his Ford XH Panel Van. This family-built, six-cylinder machine is a work vehicle during the week and then rips off 9-second passes at the track on the weekends.

Abela’s van was rescued from the scrap yard and began a transformation into a nasty street/strip vehicle with the help of his son, Josh. The Barra engine was stuffed between the front fenders and the van made its debut at the Drag Challenge in 2018 where it ran several 10-second passes.

The 4.0-liter engine has been upgraded with forged internals and receives boost from a GT3582 turbo. Behind the engine is a four-speed automatic transmission that was built by Precision Auto, and Abela shifts from the column. Through the full exhaust and 9-inch rearend the XH Panel Van made a stout 671 horsepower on a hub dyno.

Abela built his Ford XH to be a true driver, so it still has power steering and air conditioning. During the week Abela uses the Ford to run parts for his body shop with just a simple wheel and tire change. In this video from Full Boost you can see how clean the XH is and the effort Abela put into making the combination work. You can also see just how fast the panel van is as it charges to a 9.75-second pass at over 140 mph.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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