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FPV eyes North America for V8 exports

Export muscle: Ford Performance Vehicles hopes its new 'Miami' V8 could earn it some Ford export dollars.

Aussie 335kW supercharged Ford V8 engine might boomerang back to Detroit

2 Sep 2010

FORD Performance Vehicles (FPV) is hoping to export its new home-grown supercharged version of Ford’s Coyote 5.0-litre V8 to North America in a coals-to-Newcastle exercise that could result in the highly-modified, hand-built engine powering a factory Ford muscle car.

The Melbourne-based company this week confirmed it was in preliminary talks with Ford about the potential for supplying the engine – codenamed ‘Miami’ – to Detroit as an original equipment powerplant.

Such a deal would help to offset FPV’s $40 million outlay on the Falcon-based FPV GT’s three-year development, which included sending a prototype to the United States for crash testing.

The company also sent an evaluation car fitted with the latest GT’s blown 335kW V8 to Dearborn last year – a move that is likely to do no harm to FPV’s chances of convincing Ford engineering chiefs of the engine’s merits.

FPV says the engine has been put through Ford’s rigorous engineering regime, complying not only with official regulations but Ford’s own strict global compliance and calibration requirements, meaning the engine has been approved for Ford original equipment use, ahead of after-market conversions such as Ford Racing’s supercharged Coyote variant in the US.

19 center imageFrom top: Ford Mustang Boss 302, FPV GT, Prodrive Asia Pacific managing director Bryan Mears.

Bryan Mears, the managing director of FPV majority shareholder Prodrive Automotive Technology Asia Pacific, said this week at the launch of the new V8 that FPV had worked hand in hand with Ford engineers in North America on the development of the supercharged V8, which produces more peak power and torque than the hottest version of the normally aspirated Coyote engine offered in the latest Mustang Boss 302 (328kW).

“I would be hopeful that our brothers in North America could look at it and decide it would be appropriate for some of the vehicles they have up there,” he said.

“We would only be interested in OE (original equipment).

“We have a very close and enduring relationship with Ford Australia and Ford in general, and I would expect that in due course we will be having discussions promoting FPV’s position.

“If they are attractive to our partner, they will do something, but they don’t tell me everything they are doing, so we will just have to wait and see.”Mr Mears described the negotiations with Ford to date as “general discussions”.

“I would expect that in the next period we will have some more definite discussions,” he said.

Mr Mears said prototypes of the FPV GT were now being driven by Ford management as “everyday drivers” ahead of the car’s launch in October.

“As a consequence, we are looking to get some interest to take the engine elsewhere,” he said.

Mr Mears said it would be ironic for an Australian company to export a V8 to North America.

He said a lot of Australian companies over the years had imported engines as a package and dropped them into locally built cars.

“We have actually taken some parts and made a superior engine, and it would be ironical if we then send in that direction (to North America), which would be even better,” he said.

Mr Mears said FPV would look to expand exports elsewhere, to “like-for-like” right-hand-drive countries.

He said South Africa was on the export radar for FPV and its new GT, along with New Zealand, which would get 40 GTs out of the first production run of 252 units now being built ahead of the October 25 showroom release.

FPV co-owner Ford Australia has had sporadic export success in South Africa over the years, first with Falcon and then with Territory. Mostly, though, the trade with Ford South Africa has been one way – to Australia.

“I think we want to develop the full potential of this engine into markets like that,” Mr Mears said. “Whether we do or not, we have to have a market that aligned to this type of vehicle. You could speculate South Africa could be such a place.”Exports of the engine and complete FPV cars would be a boon for Australian parts makers who are said to supply between 35 and 40 per cent of the ‘Miami’ engine’s components, not counting the local assembly labour.

These include the supercharger assembly – from drag racer-turned-engineer Ron Harrop’s Harrop Engineering – and multiple other parts such as the cast stainless steel exhaust manifolds made in Dandenong, Victoria.

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