While the performance benefits of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) have long been known to the modified automotive scene, and despite the fact that you'll find it at most gas stations priced cheaper than regular fuel, it has never really been accepted as a performance option en masse. Perhaps this is a result of decades of inefficient factory and aftermarket "dual-fuel" systems that compromised the vehicle's performance when running on either fuel, or maybe it's the old joke of running your car on BBQ gas that has turned so many away.
One guy that wasn't influenced by the negative public image was 35-year-old Australian John Colaidis. His '65 Mustang coupe is one of the quickest and fastest LPG-powered street cars in the world today and perhaps also one of the most surprising.
Lurking under its smooth House of Kolor Tangello hood is something that departs with the usual and expected small-block Ford V-8. Instead, what you'll find is a turbocharged six cylinder making an estimated 1,000-plus horsepower at the crank.
Based on an '00 Australian Ford Falcon 4.0L straight six, the engine uses a factory crank that's supported by a girdle and swings Scat H-beam rods and SPS pistons. When combined with the CNC-ported factory aluminum cylinder head, the static compression sits at a low, boost-friendly 7.4:1. Boost from the Garrett GTX45 turbo comes on strong to the tune of 40 psi, sucking in air through a 480-cfm GRA LPG throttle body and custom intake manifold.
John's Mustang boasts a sizeable fuel delivery system that starts with the trunk-mounted gas tank. Featuring three B2 LPG converters and the GRA throttle, John says he's completely maxed out the power-making potential of the current fuel setup. While the combo might have run out of head room, a dyno figure of 811 rear-wheel horsepower and a best e.t. of 8.98 seconds at 154 mph on a 10.5-inch slick is an astonishing result from the 4.0L six.
Incredibly, John and the Mustang almost didn't have the chance to get to this point, with the first rebuild dramatically burning to the ground in 2007.
"I bought the car as a rolling shell in 2005 in pretty poor condition," John says. "I spent the next two years in the shed at home restoring it with a few mates, but six months after I got it back on the road, it burnt to the ground."
It wasn't just the car that got scorched in the incident; John spent a week in the hospital as well, which gave him some time to consider his next steps. Where many of us would be more likely to send the wreck to the scrap yard, John took another route.
"The time in hospital gave me time to figure out what to do and I decided to get straight back into it once I got out," he says. "The fire had warped every panel on the car. There was very little to salvage."
Instead of tackling the second rebuild himself, he instead enlisted the services of some trusted workshops and talented friends to complete the bulk of the tough stuff. Over the course of the next two years, every panel bar in the roof was replaced and the car drenched in the almost luminous orange hue. Thanks to the low-profile nature of the six-cylinder engine, there's no need for ugly fiberglass appendages. And aside from the 15-inch Centerline Convo Pro rims, you'd never suspect that you were staring at a 1,000hp monster.
Inside, that impression is reinforced by the show-quality leather trim that even includes leather-covered false floor panels, Recaro front seats, Holden CV8 Monaro (Pontiac GTO) rear seats, dashpad, and custom center console. Besides the leather-covered, six-point rollcage, there's nothing in there to suggest the car's sub-9 second potential and that's just how John likes it.