With all the hoo-ha surrounding the current range of Ford/FPV hotties you
could be forgiven for letting the 5.6-litre Tickford TE/TS50 (AU series) slip
your mind. Well, Chris X’s TE50 is hardly gonna fade into the background – not
when it looks as phat as this.
Here at AutoSpeed we’re generally not fans of airbrushing – but this example
Chris has always been a Blue Oval fan and when he saw this ’02 TE50 for sale
with 76,000km on the odo he simply had to have it. Yeah, you know how it is...
The TE50 is one of the last models produced by Tickford Australia and it’s a
real bruiser thanks to its stroked Windsor V8 churning out 250kW/500Nm,
heavy-duty Tremec gearbox, brilliant suspension, huge Brembo brakes (optional),
supercar inspired body kit and the very macho absent traction control. It’s the
last of the ol’ school style muscle cars.
Even in standard guise, the TE50 blew Chris’ socks off. "Mate, it’s the best
Ford ever made – it’s unreal," he says.
With that in mind, the first area of modification was the sound system. Chris
was lucky enough to win an audio/visual upgrade from F.I.S.T. Performance and
Audio – around AUD$8000 worth! The install is well up to show quality using a
combination of a Clarion TV/DVD head unit, Crossfire front splits, CDT 6 inch
two-ways in the rear and, in the boot, a Crossfire four-channel amp and a
Dragster amp feeding a Crossfire 12 inch sub. A secondary Optima battery (also
in the boot) is dedicated to powering the sound system at shows.
Meanwhile, Chris thought there was a bit more grunt lurking in the 5.6 donk.
An unnamed performance workshop was called upon for an upgrade comprising a
UniChip interceptor, a 4 inch intake pipe to the throttle body, K&N pod
filter and a twin 2 1/2 inch exhaust (bolted to the standard Tickford headers).
This gave a total output of 311hp (232kW) at the wheels.
Not long after, Chris decided to splurge some more cash on the engine and
went for a semi-performance engine build comprising ported heads, upgrade valves
and springs, aftermarket roller rockers, a wilder cam and a twin 3 inch exhaust.
The Tickford bottom-end – using a girdle-equipped crankshaft, forged pistons and
H-beam billet rods – remains untouched. Unfortunately, this combo didn’t make
the power predicted because of a mismatch of port shape between the heads and
headers. The car has temporarily reverted back to standard heads and Chris
plans to fit some aftermarket headers.
Also under the bonnet you’ll spy a PWR radiator header tank with braided
lines, a chromed engine cover and radiator brackets, painted plenum chamber and
fuse covers. All very neat.
But it’s the external detailing that’s really eye-catching.
Chris came up for an airbrushing theme and, through F.I.S.T. Performance and
Audio, he hooked up with the team at Kipart. Kipart virtually read Chris’ mind
and, with some clever colour combos to highlight the bright red factory paint,
the result is spectacular. The mural is a fire-breathing dragon with a dark
cloud and lightening at the rear. Look closely and you’ll see detail in the
dragon’s skin and perfect continuity over tough-to-paint areas such as the door
handles. It’s an exceptional job.
And, if this isn’t enough, Chris has added a red under-car lighting kit
(which extends along the bottom of the sills and under the wheel arches), clear
lens taillights, window tint and polished 20 inch ROH rims wearing 245/35
rubber. Suspension and brakes remain standard TE50 – no need to change ‘em.
The interior brings everything usually found in a TE50 (leather trim and Momo
accessories), the impressive audio/visual system detailed earlier and F.I.S.T.
labels in the door trims. Chris often takes the car along to shows and has
enjoyed considerable success – the home mantelpiece carries plenty of bling.
In the coming months Chris expects to whack on some aftermarket headers, get
the UniChip retuned and find out how much power she’s got. It’s anticipated
there’s around 380hp (283kW) at the treads. That done, he wouldn’t mind bolting
on a supercharger, giving the audio system even more punch and maybe an
elaborate black-lit lava feature in the boot.
Yeah - bring on the modified TE50s!
F.I.S.T. Performance and Audio +61 7 3271 3223
Kipart +61 7 3201 2479
Chris would life to thank F.I.S.T. and Kipart for their professional efforts
on the car.