Six-Banger Baddie: Calvin Nelson’s 8-Second Sleeper Fairmont Wagon

The Fox body Mustang platform stretches across several vehicles, including the Ford Fairmont, and they’ve all had every kind of engine you can think of stuffed under the hood. You’ve probably seen plenty of these cars with LS-based engines, but what about an inline 6-cylinder out of a Chevy Trailblazer? Well, that’s what Calvin Nelson crammed into his 9-second turbocharged 1981 Fairmont station wagon.

There are ample vehicles out there that Nelson could have used as a home for his boosted Vortech 4200 swap project, but he wanted something that was unassuming. Nelson’s decision was heavily influenced by builds his father completed that were sleepers in their own right. The Fairmont wagon that Nelson has built is just a wheel swap away from looking like a vehicle that your grandmother would drive to the grocery store.

When you take a hard look at the Fairmount, you’ll start to see its true intentions, including the well-built roll cage, and performance shifter. Under the station wagon you’ll find a beefing 9-inch rearend, aftermarket suspension parts, and Viking double-adjustable shocks. The star of Nelson’s wagon is the Vortech 4200 which features an intake Nelson fabricated himself, and a S480 turbocharger. The Vortec engine is controlled by a MaxxECU system, which provides Nelson with plenty of input and output options.

Nelson participated in the Summit Racing Midwest Drags event with the Wagon to prepare for Drag Week. At the Dragway 42 stop, Nelson set the stock bottom end Vortec 4200 record with a 9.504-second pass at over 142 mph. That’s pretty impressive for an engine that was never designed for high-performance applications.

In this video, Nelson covers all the details about his build and shows off the wagon’s cool features. You can also check out Nelson’s full Summing Racing Midwest Drags experience on his YouTube channel right here.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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