A CAR ROAD TEST
The name "Perana" ‑ coined by Basil Green
Motors, of Johannesburg for its engine‑ transplant conversions
on popular Ford models has come to be synonymous with “performance",
both on road and track. The Cortina Perana V6 models have
become an established elite among power‑cars in the
Now the Basil Green manufacturing and tuning establishment
has come up with a super Perana: a Ford Capri 3000 XL
with five litres of tuned Mustang V8 power to give it unchallenged
"go" and performance.
Imagine a smooth‑handling, quiet-running and low‑slung
car that will sprint evenly from 20 km/h (idling speed) to
200 km/h in top gear, that will accelerate with ease
from 0‑100 km/h inside 7 seconds, and which has
a 50 percent reserve of power at 150 km/h ‑‑ it
This first successful Capri V8 in the world is Ford hybrid
with a high degree of polish and refinement, tacitly approved
by Ford, and in steady production at the rate of 28 cars a
month from the new BG plant near Johannesburg.
More than 100 Capri Perana V8's have already been built,
and it has been homologated for motor sport purposes: eight
or more of them will be in the hands of top drivers in South
Africa's 1971 production car events.
Among the eight is Koos Swanepoel, captain of Team Windsor
at the Cape, who was South Africa's first saloon Car Champion
a decade ago and has been scoring dramatic successes in the
new Production Car Series. It was with pleasure, that we invited
Koos to feature in this historic Road Test as guest driver.
The basic ingredients of the Perana V8 are quite straightforward:
Capri body and 5‑litre Mustang base engine (as used
in the Fairlane V8) are supplied by Ford South Africa, with
some special features to BG specification: 4‑barrel
Holley carburettor with aluminium high riser inlet manifold,
360‑degree dry element air cleaner (all which form part
of the Ford Stage 1 "Muscle Power” options), plus Stage
2 cam‑shaft (either hydraulic or Boss solid lifter)
and stronger valve springs. This increases engine range from
4 600 to 5 800 rpm, and output from 156 to 210 kilowatts –
almost exactly one‑third more. Gearbox is a four‑speed
Mustang close‑ratio unit with floor shift, and rear
axle is a Borg‑Warner XB limited‑slip.
SPECIAL STEERING ?????
The key to fitting the V8 engine in the Capri is modification
of the steering, and for this purpose, a special rack is made
overseas to BG specification for mounting behind the engine.
Brakes are standard, with harder pads to the front discs,
and suspension is lowered 1 ½ inches all round, with stronger
coils and modified valves at the front legs to compensate
for the small increase in weight.
It’s performance is quite phenomenal: an optimum start from
rest produces two jagged black streaks behind the car as the
limited‑slip diff takes effect. As the wheels start
to bite properly it goes to 100 km/h (in second gear) in 6.7
sec, and to 120 is 9.3 sec, with a maximum speed potential
of 228.4 km/h.
In terms of familiar Imperial measures, it does the 0‑60
mph run in 6.1 sec, and tops 142 mph in a straight line!
Fuel economy is surprisingly good - very close to that of
the Capri 3000 at cruising speeds ‑ and top gear power
is out of this world: in track tests, we found that flooring
the accelerator in top at 160 km/h produced a smooth surge
SMOOTH TO DRIVE
There is nothing terrifying about driving this Perana V8
‑ in fact, it is an exceptionally‑easy car to
handle and drive. The lowered car is stable and smooth‑handling
on its ultra‑low‑profile radials, steering is
accurate and reasonably light, and mechanical noise levels
are notably low.
The single shortcoming is in braking - these are very good
brakes for normal road use, but under repeated heavy‑duty
start‑stop use in our performance runs they became noticeably
In giving extra‑big muscles to the Capri, Basil Green
and his team have done an outstanding job. The Perana V8 is
one of the world's top‑performance cars, yet it is un‑fussy,
and can he serviced and maintained by the Ford dealer round
the corner. In its very simplicity lies its true greatness!