FEA­TURE CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car -

re­built in-house, whilst the orig­i­nal 302ci (4.9-litre) V8 en­gine was stripped down by Steve Web­ber at the Per­for­mance En­gine Cen­tre in Christchurch. Steve found the en­gine to be in very good shape, and re­assem­bled it af­ter giv­ing the mo­tor a thor­ough check-up. Max Wil­der­moth took care of re­fur­bish­ing all the an­odized alu­minium and stain­less-steel mould­ings, while Bumper Re­place­ments rechromed the front and rear bumpers. Wayne Pa­trick of Pa­trick Auto Trim­mers in Christchurch, af­ter sourc­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate ma­te­ri­als, re­built and trimmed the seats and re­fit­ted the in­te­rior, as well as a fresh vinyl roof. In­ter­est­ingly af­ter much re­search, it was dis­cov­ered the orig­i­nal Per­ana seat ma­te­rial was the same as that fit­ted to 1968 Mercedes-benz mod­els. The orig­i­nal glass was re­fit­ted, along with the orig­i­nal rear win­dow lou­vre and 5.5-inch chromed Rostyle wheels.

A to­tally orig­i­nal pre-facelift Capri 1600 MKI was pur­chased to pro­vide a ref­er­ence/tem­plate and to do­nate parts — also help­ing to en­sure the Per­ana’s wiring loom and other items were in­stalled ex­actly as orig­i­nal.

Bru­tally Fast

With the Per­ana fi­nally com­pleted, Ja­son Burke han­dled the ini­tial test drive — quickly dis­cov­er­ing just how bru­tally fast the car was go­ing to be when the taps were fully opened. Ja­son also found out that, with 220kw on tap (a whisker un­der 300hp), the Per­ana be­came dan­ger­ously un­sta­ble at high speed — at a point when it still had plenty of re­serve power on hand. When the chin spoiler was fit­ted to the Capri, this in­sta­bil­ity was cured in­stantly.

The Per­ana was fi­nally reg­is­tered and war­ranted in De­cem­ber 2014 — af­ter a 12-year restora­tion jour­ney. The fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2007 had taken its toll on Dun­can’s dis­pos­able in­come, caus­ing the project to be set aside for a cou­ple of years, and early progress was slow as very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion was avail­able, and some of it proved to be in­cor­rect.

Dun­can reck­ons the Per­ana is sur­pris­ingly easy to han­dle and can be driven nor­mally, be­ly­ing the mon­ster it trans­forms into with a sim­ple stab of the throt­tle. At nor­mal road speeds it is a lit­tle hard rid­ing and tends to­wards un­der­steer, how­ever, it begs to be driven with en­thu­si­asm. At speed, the car set­tles down and quickly be­gins to show the benefits of its rac­ing her­itage. On its orig­i­nal rims and bis­cuit-thin tyres (185/70/13) even mod­est ac­cel­er­a­tion from a stand­ing start pro­duces prodi­gious wheel­spin, de­spite its limited slip dif­fer­en­tial — re­sult­ing in a long num­ber ‘11’ ap­pear­ing in the rear-vi­sion mir­ror. Dun­can’s con­fi­dent that uti­liz­ing mod­ern tyre tech­nol­ogy would sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the car’s 0–100kph and 400-me­tre dash times.

De­spite a 20-hectare block near West Mel­ton to look af­ter along with other pas­sions — in­clud­ing his fam­ily, clay tar­get shoot­ing and mar­tial arts — Dun­can tells us that the Per­ana is so much fun to drive that he of­ten finds him­self look­ing for ex­cuses to take it out for a quick blast up the road, and that’s def­i­nitely some­thing we can all re­late to.

Ac­knowl­edge­ments

Those key to the Capri Per­ana’s restora­tion in­clude Wayne Stock­man, whose sup­port and en­cour­age­ment were in­valu­able, while his en­cy­clopaedic knowl­edge and abil­ity to find rare parts pulled the whole project into line. And of course Ja­son Burke and the team at Burkes Met­al­works, Christchurch — who would also like to take this op­por­tu­nity to say how much they ap­pre­ci­ated work­ing with Dun­can, his wife and Wayne Stock­man on the project. Not for­get­ting Steve Web­ber at the Per­for­mance En­gine Cen­tre in Christchurch, and Wayne Pa­trick of Pa­trick Auto Trim­mers, also in Christchurch. Fi­nally, of course, to Dun­can’s wife, Leigh-anne. Be­ing an ac­coun­tant, she was all too aware of the costs of the car’s restora­tion, but sup­ported Dun­can all the way.

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