Deerk Van Der Kooi has been a long-time fan of European Sports Pack (ESP) Fairmonts, owning them since he was 20 – he’s almost 40 now. But that’s not the ESP you’re looking at here: “I had a silver roller in the garage but I couldn’t afford to build it the way I wanted it,” explains Derek.
First published in the November 2022 issue. Street Machine
Aside from the larger Siemens rims and lower ride height, the Fairmont Ghia ESP styling has been retained. They got it pretty much anywhere from the factory, so why mess with it? Most ESPs were two-tone with a charcoal lower half, but it was the charcoal all-over version that Derek wanted. It gives an Aussie classic a real Euro-style class.
So, one day when his missus’ Christmas party got a little boring, Derek started some window shopping and dreaming, and found this stunning charcoal XE ESP for sale. “When I got it, it was the color I always wanted, and the interior was flawless. I immediately jumped out of my chair and said, ‘Baby, I’m going to Melbourne!'” Derek say “There and then, I booked a ticket for Monday morning.”
Arriving in Melbourne, Derek jumped off the plane and sat straight in a taxi. The XE was located at an HSV dealership of all places, and as soon as Derek saw the car, he had to keep it. It was immaculate with perfect paint and interior. Thirty minutes later, it was being loaded into a container bound for Perth.
That was four or five years ago, and Derek enjoyed the car quite a bit as it was for a while. After all, there was literally nothing he had to do with it; Whoever rebuilt it in Melbourne must have contacted Ford’s parts department, because everything about the car was brand new. “I’ve been very lucky with this car,” admits Derek.
The Fairmont had a 383 stroker in it when Derrick got it, and he did quite a bit of work on it, getting George Separovich to tune it to “within an inch of its life.” But Derek admits he’s a little hard on the gear, and punches a hole in the side of the block in the power cruise. Still, no regrets: “It was the best weekend ever; totally worth it!” He encourages. “If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t get the car where it is today – engine bay, engine, trans, diff, power, with a whole new level of reliability.”
Derek knew the replacement engine needed strengthening, so he tapped Mark Delos at Pro West High Performance to supply the equipment. “He asked me what I wanted, and I said, ‘A tough street car that can slide into events.’ I let him choose the full combo. When it all came together, it was beyond everything I’d ever wanted, and four years later it’s still going strong. What Mark did with it made it. has turned into a weapon.
The Clevo block was junk, so Mark and Derek opted for a Dart SHP 9.2 Windsor block with CHI 3V 208cc heads that were built in-house at ProWest. It’s loaded with CP-Carrillo pistons, Scat H-beam rods and a Scat 4340 crank with a 3.75-inch stroke.
Combined with a 4.125-inch bore, that takes the capacity to 400ci. A CHI single-plane intake is topped off with a QuickFuel 950cfm carb, and a Cro-Solid roller camshaft ensures all the juice gets in and all the gas gets out. The combo reliably puts out 554hp to the tires.
Deerk upgraded the rest of the driveline to handle the extra torque, opting for a C4 loaded with bullet internals and an AllFast 4000rpm converter, and nine inches from Final Drive running 3.55 gears, a 31-spline bullet axle and a Truetrac. The difference of
Before the new donkey is moved into place, Derek thought he’d clean a few things up and put his stamp on the car. All unnecessary holes in the engine bay have been filled, and a custom catch is hidden behind the front wheel. The wiring has also been hidden and a custom bracket for the alternator was made so that it can be lowered and out of sight for a very clean installation.
Since it was already immaculate when Derek got hold of it, the Fairmont has not changed externally. Even the gold-centered Simmons FR1 rims that came with the car suit it perfectly. Measuring in at 19×8 and 19×9.5 and shod in 225/35 and 265/30 tires, respectively, the offset and stance of the wheels are spot on. I was surprised to find that the tubs were untouched. The guards have just done some careful massaging.
The 400ci windsor pro West High Performance developed CHI heads, and cranks out over 550hp to the tires. Before slotting in the new mill, Derrick smoothed out the bay, filled a bunch of holes and hid all the wires. It might lose points at the next restoration convention, but Derek likes how it turned out
When I first saw the car, I wondered what the DUTCHN number plates might refer to, and when I tracked down Deerk and he gave me his full – and very Dutch-sounding – name, I thought, That is all explained. But no: “I’m first generation Australian and my parents are full Dutch.
My mother saw him and said, ‘Oh, dear boy, you put your Dutch heritage on the car.’ I said, ‘Mom, snap out of it.’ When you were a kid, you ‘ditch’ the bedroom with all the smoke, but now I’m ditching the cul-de-sac with tire smoke instead!”
One of the main reasons Derek bought the car was the near-perfect interior. Best of all, it had a premium sound system, complete with graphic equalizer!
This car has been a long-time dream for Derek – ever since he was a kid in Theo Lotaks’ EATHDT XE ESP (Sm, Oct-Nov’96) stuck to his wall. “It was the car I knew I wanted someday. When everyone else was on the Holden train, I was the big Ford guy,” he says. It may have taken 25 years to build, but check it out! This XE ESP was definitely worth the wait.
Derek van der Koo
XE FAIRMONT GHIA ESP
|Type:||400ci Dart SHP 9.2 Windsor|
|Carbohydrates:||Quick Fuel 950cfm|
|Valves:||PAC 2.08 inches (in), 1.65 inches (ex)|
|Camera:||Crow solid roller|
|Conrods:||Skate H Beam|
|radiator:||Brown’s radiator, AU fan|
|Emissions:||Pacemaker 17/8in header, twin 3in system|
|transfer:||C4, fully manual, bullet internals|
|Converter:||All-fast 4000rpm stall|
|Difference:||9in, 3.55:1 gears, 31-spline bullet axle, Truetrac|
|in front:||Monroe was shocked|
|Back:||Monroe was shocked|
|codes:||Siemens FR1; 19×8 (f), 19×9.5 (r)|
|Rubber:||225/35R19 (f), 265/30R19 (r)|
Mark and Jim Delos at Pro West High Performance for a complete engine build, engine bay work and engine paint; Mat Williums at Preedy’s Auto Electrics for wiring and all the labor; Sam Rhodes at Vulcan Panel & Paint for engine bay respray; Pro Street Polishing to keep the car always looking its best before every photo shoot; Jordan Leist for the photos and my help making them Street Machine The dream was interpreted as a shame.