A big, reliable V8 cruiser with good looks and a gorgeous motor
Water pump bolt froze in the timing case, and as a result, the case and water pump both needed replacing.
Pulleys and alternator also recently needed replacing.
Fairly typical items for a car of this age.
As the previous owner of an EL XR6 auto, which wasn't at all short of poke, I naturally had the expectation that the V8 would prove to be an even better performer, especially being a manual transmission. Initially, I was a little disappointed. It may have shaded the six, but only very slightly. But, being a stock motor with famously restrictive manifolds, I saw and felt potential.
It's no secret that the 302 is no fire-breather, however, after a short while with the car, I realised it definitely had its strengths. The sweet, smooth and throbby motor not only has a gorgeous note, albeit quiet, but also a tremendous amount of torque. The benefit of which being able to just 'woof' through the gears, dropping into top at 60kms if need be. This not only makes for better fuel economy, but also makes the car an ideal cruiser. Further to the point, while the long legs of the transmission/differential may hinder acceleration, it invariably helps efficiency; not breaking a sweat at 100kmph (1800 rpm).
Since purchasing the car I have set to correcting a few major factory errors in my opinion. As I mentioned earlier, the design of the manifolds and air intake are appalling, and a contributing factor as to why the motor is only rated at 170kw and 400nm. First I had a set of Lukey extractors fitted, then a Redback cat-back exhaust with a single muffler for extra note, and finally, modified the air intake box and hosing for a more efficient intake. The result? Impressive. Three fairly minor modifications have made a considerable difference to the car's performance.
Now to the handling... I'll start with the good. For a car of its size, it handles the corners with ease, as if on rails. That is of course in the dry. This leads me to the bad. Add even a light sprinkling of moisture, morning dew etc. and you have a problem. You must change your style of driving and skillfully modulate your right foot when wet, or else end up in your neighbour's living room. Without wanting to dramatise, the EF's were known to have a slightly twitchy rear end, and so Ford set about rectifying the problem for the production of the EL.
In summary, I am not ashamed to say I love this car, and since I am neither a Holden nor a Ford man, prejudice doesn't play a role.
Put simply, the EF XR8 is a big, fun, sweet lump of a thing, that makes a nice noise, and provided you maintain her, won't kill you to run.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th May, 2012