440-cube Pro Street Capri

Daniel Hookham’s Ford Capri offers classic pro street cool stacked with modern flair

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

DANIEL Hookham fell in love with Ford Capris as a kid. “I just loved the styling of them,” he says. As a car-crazed 90s child, Daniel was also heavily influenced by the pro street-inspired muscle cars that typified the era, and, like so many of us, inherited his passion for cars from his father. “Dad made a living importing and converting US muscle cars,” explains Daniel, who built his first street machine with his dad at just 15 years old.

First published in the November 2021 issue of Street Machine

After countless tough street cars, the opportunity finally arose for Daniel to add a Capri to his muscle-car rap sheet, so he jumped at it.

“Honestly, it was straight out of the 90s!” he laughs. “It was purple with green stripes, had no wipers or mirrors, but it was tubbed, with a nine-inch.” Daniel decided to use the cash from selling his turbo LS HQ ute to push the boundaries with the Capri. His goal was to make it classically tough but with a modern flair and oozing quality.

The Capri’s first stop was Spot On Performance, where the team set about caging the interior and setting up the nose of the car to receive a thumping V8, including the fabrication of a fairly gnarly set of four-into-one headers and a customised sump with ample clearance around the Capri’s crossmember.

The Capri was slathered in silver paint and had the chrome turfed in favour of black barwork and decals throughout. “Silver and black is such a strong combination – it looked good 30 years ago, and it’ll look good in another 30,” says Daniel matter-of-factly.

Chasing a stout small-block that made around 800hp with good street manners landed Daniel on the door of Toca Performance, where he and Toca’s Tony O’Connor hatched a plan.

The pair opted for a Dart SHP block and bumped the capacity out to 440 cubes using a Scat rotating assembly and JE forged pistons. “Guys are out there building bigger small-block Fords, but that’s about as much stroke as I like in them, especially on a small-tyre car like Daniel’s Capri,” Tony explains.

The short block is capped with a set of Higgins alloy heads and a matching intake manifold, which Tony fettled to help give Daniel an edge at the track. “I’m not an ‘out of the box’ kind of guy. Anyone can get a part and bolt it on, but you can easily find 10hp by chasing 1hp here or 2hp there – it all adds up,” Tony says.

“I never even considered going EFI,” Daniel laughs. “We did consider going to E85, but there’s just not enough around on the Sunshine Coast, and we really wanted to make it driveable, so it’s tuned for 98-octane on the street and race fuel for the track.” In line with that, the fuel system is extremely simple – a MagnaFuel pump drawing from a boot-mounted fuel cell, feeding an 1150cfm Pro Systems carb at the front.

When it came to electronic luxuries, however, Daniel couldn’t go past the Holley EFI dash. “People were telling us we couldn’t run the 12.3-inch dash standalone, but I love a clean-looking car and I was determined to have the dash control everything,” he explains. His hard work paid off, and the Holley dash doesn’t just dominate the neatly trimmed, factory-styled interior, it replaces a plethora of manual toggle switches for things like fuel pumps and thermo fans.

Having smashed his 800hp goal for the car, Daniel’s aim is to slingshot the Capri into the eights. “In an aspo car, you can’t just feed it boost in the top end to get your ET. You’ve got to get it leaving really hard, with enough rear separation to push the nose down,” he adds. To that end, he tasked legendary suspension tuners Gazzard Brothers with building him a tough nine-inch diff with all the trimmings to make the Capri a formidable small-tyre racer.

“The rear end is now in line with the rest of the car in terms of quality,” Daniel adds. “We told them we wanted to run eights and keep the nose down, and they’ve come back with a coil-over rear end, seven-inch-travel shocks, track locator and anti-roll bar – all the stuff you need to actually use the power.”

But don’t let its pro street styling and Daniel’s steely focus on drag times fool you into thinking that the Capri’s future only includes track time. “It’s fully registered!” Daniel enthuses. “We’ve driven it down to Brisbane, which is a big drive from home, and took it to Rockynats earlier this year and couldn’t stop lapping the thing.”

A serial tough car owner with allegiances neither to the GM-H nor Blue Oval stables, Daniel has a few irons in the fire for his next build. “I have a VB SL/E and I’ve just hatched a plan with Andy and the boys at Spot On to start building a seven-second streeter,” he says. “Otherwise, I’m always looking for an XB coupe.” Hey, who isn’t?


Paint: PPG Quicksilver
Brand: Dart SHP 440ci
Induction: Higgins manifold, 1150cfm Pro Systems carb
Heads: Higgins alloy
Camshaft: Solid-roller, 268/[email protected]
Conrods: Scat
Pistons: Custom JE pistons, 12:1 compression
Crank: Scat
Oil pump: Blueprinted Melling
Fuel system: MagnaFuel pump, boot-mounted fuel cell, MagnaFuel pressure regulator 
Cooling: Custom alloy radiator
Exhaust: Spot On Performance four-into-one custom headers, dual 3in system, single
rear muffler 
Ignition: ICE 
Gearbox: Powerglide two-speed, Reid case, Pro Tree transbrake
Converter: BTE 5600rpm
Diff: Sheet-metal 9in housing, 35-spline full-floater axles, 3.89:1 ratio, full
Front: Gazzard Brothers coil-overs 
Rear: Gazzard Brothers coil-overs, four-link, anti-roll bar, track
Brakes: Wilwood calipers and rotors (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood 
Rims: Weld V-Series; 15×3.5 (f), 15×9 single-beadlock (r)
Rubber: 165/80R15 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Pro 275/60R15 (r)

Andy and Danny at Spot On Performance; Scott at Gazzard Brothers; Cam at North Coast Custom Trim; Tyler at Rewire; Ian and Mark Stewart at Street Fabrications; Tony at Toca Performance; Chris at We Spray Paint; my partner Chloe and the kids; all the boys around me in the car scene who have given me advice and honest feedback along the way – without this I’d be learning the hard way a lot of the time!