Frank Zammit’s Whipple-blown Windsor-powered Capri

Frank Zammit and his tyre-melting DRTY8 Capri have been part of the Sydney street scene for over three decades

Photographers: Charlie Sant

When you own a car for 32 years, you form a pretty intense bond with it. Frank Zammit bought this Capri way back in 1992, and in the years since he has transformed it from an asthmatic four-pot into a staunch little street car, then a dedicated race car, and now back into a streeter, this time powered by a magnificent Whipple-blown Windsor that makes no shortage of grunt.

First published in the May 2024 issue of Street Machine

“I was an apprentice boilermaker when I bought the car in Lithgow – I paid $400 for it,” Frank says. “I had a little 302 Windsor built for it, and I fitted the motor and nine-inch myself. I had it painted Formula Blue, and it had white Simmons B45s and grey trim. It was a real 90s-style streeter.”

Frank got plenty of seat time in the Capri, roaming the streets of Sydney and hitting up all the then-regular hotspots: North Wollongong on a Thursday night, and Penrith and Auburn Maccas on Fridays. As tends to happen, the bug to go faster eventually bit, and bit hard.

“I had a Clevo built for it and changed the colour to a purple,” Frank says. “I went through three different engine builders with that Clevo until I took it to Sam Fenech at Westend Performance. He built it into a 393ci stroker; that was a really good engine. The car became a dedicated drag car, and it went 9.50@140mph naturally aspirated. Then I got bored and went back to Sam, and he told me to put a plate on it. Spraying a 190 shot, it went 9.0@148mph.”

That led into a busy phase in Frank’s personal and professional lives, with kids to raise and a new business to build, so the Capri sat idle in the shed for almost a decade. But when that stuff settled down and Frank had sufficient time and funds available, he had a hankering to blow the dust off the car and do something cool with it.

“I talked to Paul Sant at ProFlo and told him that I wanted to put it back on the street; I wanted a back seat in the car again and that meant a lot had to change,” Frank explains. “They had to redo the rear of the car with a new floor that was raised 50mm. It’s a totally new car now; it drives awesome.”

Having had a long association with legendary Sydney engine builder, the late Sam Fenech, Frank engaged Westend Performance to bolt together something special for the Capri. The 427ci, Dart-blocked, Whipple-blown Windsor was our Mill of the Month in the March 2020 issue of Street Machine, and it’s a very cool piece of hardware – having spat out a very credible 1170hp at the crank and 950hp at the tyres on pump E85, the proof is in the pudding.

[Frank] told me he wanted a blown small-block Ford for his Capri street car, then gave me complete freedom to build it however I wanted,” Sam said when we spoke to him for the Mill of the Month yarn. “That is pretty rare, to be able to have complete creative control over a build, so it was really cool.”

In short, it’s a Windsor-based lump built using a remarkable number of off-the-shelf bits, including the Callies crank and rods, JE slugs and AFR 225cc cylinder heads. The Whipple 510 blower sounds incredible, and is a unique choice in a sea of pumps based on the GM 71 series. Blower manifolds to suit the application aren’t easy to come by, so the Westend team adapted a Holley Hi-Ram EFI inlet manifold and loaded the inlet tract with two sets of injectors: one in the bug catcher injector hat, and another set – fed via a separate, boost-referenced regulator – in the inlet runners. “It’s awesome to drive,” Frank grins. “It has heaps of power, cruises beautifully and never gets hot.”

The combo is backed by a 1500hp-rated Turbo 400 by Al’s Race Glides, teamed with a 3500rpm converter. The third member is a braced sheet-metal nine-inch by ProFlo Performance, sporting a Strange centre and axles.

After years of service as a race car and a subsequent decade sitting around, the Capri wanted an aesthetic overhaul, too. Vella Smash Repairs handled the panel and paint duties, laying on a custom shade of purple that’s reminiscent of the car’s old colour but just different enough to be visibly changed from back in the day. The orange stripes are a more recent addition, and while Frank tells us they seem to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair, we reckon they set the car off perfectly.

Suffice to say the Capri has come a long way from when it was laying down 13-second passes at the old Eastern Creek track in the 90s, but we couldn’t tempt Frank into sending it down the quarter in its new-and-improved blown guise.

“I’m not interested in doing that,” he says, definitively. “It’d probably run well into the eights, but I’m more enjoying doing Cars Under the Stars and stuff like that; just getting out there and driving it. Except for the blower it’s all engineered and rego’d.”

The good news is that Frank has a couple of other kick-arse projects on the go, and one of them in particular – a mental XW ute in the works at ProFlo Performance – will be of interest to Street Machine readers. You can bet the farm that we’ll bring you more on that one in a future issue!


Paint:Custom purple
Brand:427ci Dart Windsor
Induction:Holley Hi-Ram, bug catcher, Siemens 80lb injectors
ECU:Holley HP
Blower:Whipple 510R
Heads:AFR 225cc
Camshaft:Custom solid-roller
Oil pump:Melling
Cooling:PWR radiator, Spal fans
Exhaust:Twin 2in stainless system
Ignition:Holley coils, MSD leads
Gearbox:Turbo 400, Reid bellhousing
Diff:Sheet-metal 9in, Strange axles & centre
Rear:Custom four-link, Strange coil-overs
Brakes:Wilwood discs & calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder:Wilwood under-dash

Paul and the team at ProFlo Performance; the late Sam Fenech and the team at Westend Performance (John Fenech and the team will continue building all my engines); Vella Smash Repairs; X-Trim Motor Trimming; Mark at Ontrak Auto Electrical; Peter Snell Protective Coating.