That makes him – along with the similarly enthusiastic Alysha Teale – Drag Challenge royalty! Winning – something he’s good at – is just the cape to match the crown.
Nathan has raced his little Capri for 10 years, having built it with a primary focus on street cruising. “I always wanted a 10-second street car,” he said. “It’s evolved from there. It’s always been a cruiser, but when I started racing it, the bug bit!”
As his long-time attendance at Drag Challenge shows, he’s right into having fun with the Capri; as well as regular coffee runs, he’s attended Summernats, run a few Atura NSW State Championship rounds at Sydney Dragway, and enjoyed Powercruises and airport sprints.
With its standard rear wheelarches, chassis rails and leaf springs (“I wasn’t going to molest it,” Nathan said of his decision not to tub the rear or modify the suspension locating points), a 235-wide tyre is just about the largest that will fit under the pretty Capri’s rear. It’s the size Nathan has run since the car was built, and he’s always run a radial – never a slick.
“That does cost me in ET, as I can’t launch on the radial as hard as the car’s power could allow with a slick,” he explained. “But I never want to change the rear end or suspension, so I’ll do the best I can with what the car has. It’s never going to become a full-blown race car; my family – especially my daughter Isabella – would kill me!”
Running on a 235 tyre for so long meant Nathan had plenty of experience with the rubber required for this year’s new Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated class, which was introduced at Drag Challenge Weekend in Queensland in May. Nathan won the class then – a prelude to his success in the week-long Drag Challenge.
Nathan’s Capri runs old-school Ford power: a carb-fed, 8200rpm, 700hp 370ci Windsor, with the built C4 three-speed ’box aided by a recently installed Gear Vendors overdrive, allowing better on-road cruiseability between Drag Challenge locations with the deep 4.3 nine-inch diff gears.
Predictably, Nathan led the Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated class from start to finish, with the only worry being a transmission slip problem at Portland on Thursday; the problem wasn’t identified 100 per cent, but it was one that fresh fluid fixed.
WINNER – TUFF MOUNTS 235 ASPIRATED
1970 FORD CAPRI
Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated
Engine: 370ci Ford Windsor
Converter: SDE 6000rpm
Diff: 9in, 4.3:1 gears
Previous PB: 9.64@141mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 9.75@140mph