The Australian auto industry is winding down its final days as a manufacturing force, bringing to an end decades of a unique and celebrated segment of the car world. Though Australia is perhaps most famous for its El Camino-like “utes” that combined the utility of a pickup with the chassis of a car, the Land Down Under also had its own species of muscle cars and sleepers.
This includes a wonderful red 1970s Ford Cortina that houses a boosted inline-six “Barra” motor under its hood. Although “Sycho” may look the part of an Aussie economy car, out on the drag strip it can run neck-and-neck with any high-dollar build.
That’s because the 4.0 liter Barra inline-six is one of the most common Ford motors currently in use throughout Oceania. Introduced in 2002, the Barra motor is still offered in Ford’s lineup for the time being and has come in a number of variants tuned to just about every need. At it’s touted, the 4.0 liter six-banger produced up to 436 horsepower from the factory in the Falcon XR6 Turbo Sprint.
We’re not sure what vehicle donated its motor to the Cortina, but the inline-six looks right at home (if just a wee bit cramped) inside the engine bay of this four-door economy car. Were it not for the rollcage, meaty tires, parachute, and hood scoop, this Cortina wouldn’t look right at any classic car show. Instead, it’s a sleeper from the land of boomerangs and didgeridoos, and a reminder of the unique rides the dwindling Aussie auto industry gave us.