What's in a Fjord Fjalcon? | Low Buck Tech

Staff
By Staff Writer
Mar 18, 2022 | Ford, 24 Hours of Lemons, Falcon, Low-Buck Tech | Posted in Features | From the Feb. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Eric Rood

Haggard 1960s American cars pop up in the 24 Hours of Lemons from time to time, but Rust in the Wind’s 1963 Ford Falcon seemed, well, different in its debut at Lemons’ 2021 race in Connecticut. 

For starters, the Falcon ripped past everything in the field, both on the straights and in the corners. And the engine note seemed unreasonably quiet aside from a distinct whistling sound. Dozens of racers at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park posed the question to Lemons organizers: “What is in that thing?”

[Running the 24 Hours of Lemons with as little time and effort as possible]

Rust in the Wind has been around Lemons since 2009, when it began racing the Z31-generation Nissan 300ZX. That car’s original V6–subjected to both turbocharging and leaf-blower supercharging–blew up after a couple races. Composed of engineers who were unimpressed by the Nissan engine, the team decided the Z31 needed a lighter, unorthodox powerplant: a turbocharged B234 four-cylinder from a Saab 9000. 

Rust in the Wind fabricated its own adapter to mate with the 300ZX Turbo transmission. They also added a comically oversized roof wing with manually adjustable angle of attack, because engineers can’t help themselves. Sounds crazy enough, but this NisSaab racked up four overall wins.

Alas, they grew tired of the 300ZX and wanted a new challenge. Perhaps wanting only to capitalize on the wordplay of “Fjord Fjalcon,” they somehow found a decent-bodied 1963 Falcon in New England. As team captain Chris Erwin told Lemons officials, “Long story short, we grafted two different 300ZX unibodies into a ’63 Ford Falcon unibody and powered it with our old Saab 9000 motor from the last race car.”

Worth the trouble and the two years of building? Well, that’s tough to quantify, but they led much of their second race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in October 2021 before finishing a respectable fourth. Not bad for a Saab-powered 300ZX wearing a Falcon hat.

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