May 10, 2006

Down under, their engine remained mostly stock, including cast pistons, factory rods, and a nodular-iron crank, all strong testimony to the integrity of Ford's once-mainstream six. Because turbocharging can be deadly for an engine without adequate fuel delivery and proper spark timing, Will opted for a high-output fuel pump with a 1/2-inch line, a fuel-pressure regulator, 350-cfm Holley two-barrel carburetion, a Ford Duraspark distributor curved for turbocharging, Mallory boost control, and MSD ignition parts for precise engine control. Will then fabricated a custom turbo system designed to work hand-in-hand with the tall-deck 250ci six. Check out the ceramic-coated plumbing which keeps extreme heat inside the system where it belongs. That's a Garrett AiResearch 58mm turbo yielding six pounds of boost.

Getting a classic Falcon to crack a 12-second quarter-mile isn't for the weak of heart, but this is Kelly McLearran we're talking about. Building a 12-second drag racer takes a lot of trial and error beyond the engine itself, but Kelly is used to that and accustomed to meeting expectations. Much of their success is rooted in gearing, component selection, and tuning technique. At press time, the McLearrans are running a tricked-out C4 transmission from Performance Automatic with a Hughes 3,500-rpm stall converter.

Drag racers rely not only on power output to achieve success, but dialing in just the right gearing and transmission-shift tuning. Right now, they have a 9-inch Ford with 3.89 gears and 33-spline Moser axles. This combination of parts has put them at 12.49. Their next step will be a Currie Alumin8 aluminum 8-inch third member to reduce weight and parasitic drag. Underhood, they're planning on updating to the anticipated way-cool cross-flow cylinder head from Ford Six Performance Parts.

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On the ground, the McLearrans relied on a variety of off-the-shelf pieces like Granada single-piston front disc brakes, stock leaf springs, Competition Engineering shocks, Weld Draglites, and Mickey Thompson ET tires. Outside is the original Ford Corinthian White enamel, which became Wimbledon White later on.

Inside, Kelly's office is all business and includes most of the Falcon's original appointments. Her desk includes an Auto Meter tachometer with shift light, boost gauge, and vital engine instruments.

Kelly credits her family and a close circle of friends for both her personal success and the Falcon's. Call it a terrific support system we all need in life. Kelly McLearran is a remarkably rare human being who took a negative experience and spun it 180-degrees to positive, not only succeeding as an ambitious drag racer but as someone who has successfully beaten cancer.

If you would like to know more about breast cancer research and how you can help Kelly help others, please e-mail her at kellym@proactivept.com.