Top car constructor and green homes builder Mick Fabar is set to stun car enthusiasts, politicians and environmentalists alike at Meguiar’s MotorEx in Sydney’s Olympic Park Dome on July 21, when he unveils a 600 horsepower, turbocharged, biodiesel V8-powered sedan built with a ‘zero carbon footprint’ approach. Scheduled to make its world premiere at Australia’s greatest annual celebration of custom, performance and collectable cars, ZERO’D is based on a 1967 model XR Falcon sedan that features numerous waste materials and recycled junkyard components in its construction. The innovative eco-friendly build plan is designed to minimise carbon footprints and try to side-step the increased costs of new parts and materials that will be passed on by industry when the national carbon tax scheme starts on July 1.
The cost reductions achieved in the car’s construction also represents a head-on challenge to political and public opposition to ‘green’ initiatives, based on widely held beliefs that such schemes always result in increased costs. ZERO’D is powered by a huge 7.3 litre Ford Powerstroke turbocharged V8 diesel truck engine that is also equipped with special fuel, inlet and exhaust systems that allow it to run on eco-friendly biodiesel fuel blends. According to Fabar, use of commercially available B20 (20% bio, 80% petrol) biofuel straight from the bowser will reduce the V8’s harmful exhaust emissions by up to 70 per cent, while producing more than 450kW (600 horsepower) and potentially more than 1000Nm (738ft/lbs) of torque.
Fabar is twice winner of the prestigious Motorex Superstars award for his ‘Best of Breed’ Hot Rods in 2006 (SWUOOP – Ford Model A pickup) and 2011 (RAWR – ’34 Ford Coupe). Based at Orange in regional NSW, he also heads a multi-award winning construction company called Green Homes Australia, which specialises in the design and construction of eco-friendly sustainable homes.
By using thermally efficient construction materials, in designs that make best use of natural lighting, heating, cooling and power generation, these homes greatly reduce living costs due to big cuts in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. According to Fabar, the eco-friendly principles evident in all of his green home designs were the inspiration for ZERO’D. “I wanted to integrate those two themes; a street machine with ideally a zero effect on the environment in design, construction and when being driven,” he said. “I’d been looking into the future and trying to figure out what kind of car my son would be building when he was 16. I thought it won’t be nitro-sucking street machines anymore and it won’t be electric cars either, because they’re pretty emotionless. “The challenge sort of evolved from there. Could we build a super elite, super tough-looking Pro Touring car with a zero carbon footprint? Or something close to it? “So I did some research into biodiesel fuels and figured we should put that into a car and see what horsepower we could get. It really didn’t cost anymore to build this car; it just required applying some basic principles.”
Fabar said he chose the classic XR Falcon because he wanted something unique to Australian motoring history and an iconic model which he believed all Aussies could appreciate, regardless of their brand loyalties. ‘From 100 metres away I wanted it to look like an XR GT slammed on the ground, but from one metre away it needed to be totally mind-blowing.” Fabar said ZERO’D is an aspirational name for the project – a desire to ‘zero’ the car’s environmental impact across the board.
For example, every external body panel is second-hand, sourced from either a wrecking yard or left-overs that were just lying around, to ensure that no new steel has been used. The turbocharged V8 diesel engine and its Allison four-speed automatic transmission were sourced from a second-hand F-series truck with 170,000 kms on the clock. However, both are healthy and robust units that did not require rebuilding, so they have also effectively been ‘recycled’.
The hand-stitched black leather interior trim is made entirely from hide off-cuts and ‘seconds’ that would normally be thrown away. This not only reduced waste and trimming costs, but also produced a unique textured appearance with no attempt to match different grains. ZERO’D has been painted using the latest eco-friendly products by House of Kolor, which meet California’s strict environmental protection laws renowned as being amongst the toughest in the world. There is no chrome-plating on the car to avoid use of harsh chemicals. It features only polished metals and alloys. The front and rear bumper bars are painted and flush fitted.
The car’s battery system features an auxiliary charge from two solar panels mounted on the rear parcel shelf. ZERO’D’s low impact even extends to the equipment used during its creation, with eco-friendly gas used in the welding equipment and its workshop powered by renewable green energy from wind and solar-powered resources. The project has also been a source of great inspiration for children with special needs that attend a local school in Orange. Hands-on involvement for these kids during different stages of the car’s build has helped them learn new skills and build greater self-esteem.
The school’s in-house automotive training program, which is not government funded, was in need of a new project for its students to be involved in during 2012, which prompted Mick to offer these students and teachers hands-on roles in the building of the car. ZERO’D will make its public debut at the House of Kolor Inauguration ceremony at MotorEx 12 held in the Sydney Olympic Dome on July 21st, 2012.