A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
During the 1960s in Johannesburg, South Africa, Basil Green established a reputation for modifying European saloons to great effect, notably Minis and, more latterly, Ford Cortinas. In 1969, his imagination was set alight by the arrival of the Ford Capri. Instantly he could see the potential to create a bespoke, more powerful and exciting version for the road, and that vision became the Ford Capri Perana. The Perana V8 is unique in that it is the only V8 Ford Capri ever officially sanctioned by Ford and was available from all South African Ford dealers with a full Ford warranty. Ford was closely involved and Capri Peranas were partly built at the Ford plant in Port Elizabeth and then shipped, minus engines and gearboxes, to Basil Green Motors for final assembly. The Perana was based on the Mk1 Ford Capri 3000 XL but was powered by an up-rated Ford Mustang 5.0-litre ‘302 Windsor’ small block V8 Ford engine topped by a four-barrel Holley carburettor. Other specialist components included a Borg Warner limited-slip differential, alloy bell housing, alloy inlet manifold, a large capacity radiator and a specially made strengthened prop shaft. Power was fed through a four-speed close ratio Mustang 'top loader' gearbox to a custom limited-slip rear axle derived from the Australian Ford Falcon XW rear end. Automatic transmission was an expensive factory option and utilised the Ford C4 auto box, with possibly less than ten examples being ordered in this configuration. The suspension was lowered by 40mm, with stronger springs and revised valves in the front MacPherson struts. The car was fitted with 185-70 x 13 radial tyres on chromed wide Rostyle steel wheels. Standard Capri 3000 brakes were retained, but with uprated pad material at the front to cope with the increase in power to nearly 300 bhp. To accommodate the V8 engine's larger sump, the steering rack was changed for an inverted left-hand drive rack mounted on the back of a modified front cross member. The front struts were swapped from side to side to relocate the steering arms. Remarkably, the Capri Perana was only 9 kilograms heavier than a standard Capri 3000. Bright Yellow or ‘Piri Piri’ Red were officially the only colour options. The twin black stripes running either side of the bonnet and sweeping up the curve of the rear side windows and the chromed Rostyle wheels were the defining external features. In addition, the car had Perana badges (incorporating the all-important fish logo) below the XL badges and V8 badges on the bonnet and boot. All cars had a black interior and in the Basil Green tradition, the interior was standard Capri XL except for an alloy spoked steering wheel. Production and sales looked promising at first with over 500 road cars sold and delivered between 1970 and 1973 in South Africa, but funds were sadly lacking and production of the road car ceased early in 1973. These cars do not come onto the market often, and rarer still is a Perana with so many original and sought-after features as the car presented here. It was sourced methodically by our vendor through a contact in South Africa and was bought from an elderly car enthusiast who had owned it for the previous 10 years. Our vendor’s interest in these rare and special cars spawned a meeting between his contact and Basil Green himself. What with a truly unique knowledge of these cars, whilst being such a gentleman and enthusiast, Basil kindly had numerous telephone conversations with our vendor about this car. Its features were discussed and detailed photographs were sent to Basil, with him being able to identify from these, many of the defining original features which a genuine Capri Perana should possess, including the correct Ford chassis tag, (which is hidden under the driver’s seat and confirms it was supplied to Perana Cars), an inverted steering rack and the, all-important, Basil Green Motors plate under the bonnet. This is, therefore, car #434 produced in 1972 and fitted with the rare factory automatic gearbox. Being a later example means it has the more desirable flared wheel-arches and distinctive black louvered rear windscreen. The car is fitted with the correct specification 302 engine for a Perana Capri V8; however, it does not retain the original block but does, according to our vendor, utilise many original and correct components. Since being officially imported by our vendor (NOVA No: 17P792400), the car has had a thorough re-commissioning with a professional engine rebuild and now drives superbly. It has since been ratified by the Capri Mk1 Owners’ Club and is currently awaiting a UK registration number and V5C document (which should be complete by the auction date). In the world of Ford Capris, a Perana V8 is one of those models that all the enthusiasts covet, the 'Holy Grail'. With Classic Ford prices for rare and special examples only going one way, this is a real opportunity to own one of the true legends.