Turbo Toyota V8-powered Ford Capri

Saving an old Ford Capri from the scrap heap with some turbo Japanese V8 goodness

Photographers: Nathan Jacobs

THERE are some cruel people out there who may refer to a car as a turd rolled in glitter. Clint DiGiovanni’s ’69 Capri is the opposite of that. While it wears TURD number plates and might look a bit shitty on the outside, there’s plenty of stuff beneath that well-worn exterior that shines.

This article on Clint’s Capri was originally published in the February 2018 issue of Street Machine

Just so we’re clear, this is not PROTOURA, Clint’s Capri that we featured in SM, Dec ’11. While that car underwent a fairly considerable makeover since we featured it, Clint hasn’t gone completely mad and jumped on the patina bandwagon.

“I just wanted one of each. I’m starting a collection,” he admits. “I bought the shell for a couple of hundred bucks and thought I’d keep it as a spare outside the shop. It sat under a cover for about three years, then I got a head rush just before last Christmas, brought it in the shop, and within four days had the front end in, engine and trans mounted, everything cut out of the rear to start tubbing it, and three-quarters of the ’cage built.”

The mismatched body panels are because Clint got the body shell with no front guards and two pairs of doors. Then he found some front guards, bonnet and a bootlid elsewhere

Unfortunately, after those four days, Clint’s dad’s health went downhill fast and he passed away not long after. While work came to a halt for a while, Clint used the Capri as a form of therapy, and after many years of helping everyone else with their projects decided to get something done for himself.

“I did it because I was getting a bit bored at work. I’d come to work and spend an hour in the morning putting a bar in here or a bar in there; do this, do that. It just sort of progressed from there as I chipped away at it over a few months.”

Clint is pretty much a one-man-band at his business, Street, Race & Muscle, in Morley, a north-eastern suburb of Perth. That means he’s got the skills to do just about everything on the car.

“I’m lucky in a way because I’ve been brought up in the smash repair industry and then I taught myself how to fabricate,” he says. “If I want to paint a car and panel-beat it, I can.”

One of the more interesting donor parts was from a Nissan Silvia. Clint wanted a front end without waiting a lifetime, so he called some mates in the drifting scene who pointed him in the direction of a crossmember, knuckles and brakes for about a hundred bucks.

The plenum has since been reduced in size to remove a flat spot. It obviously worked, as the Capri took out the eighth-mile racing at the recent West Coast Nats. There’s also allowance for a second throttlebody if the need arises

“The Capris were MacPherson strut, so I just thought it was going to be a piss-easy conversion – and it was,” Clint says. “It’s got an S13 crossmember and lower arms that have been narrowed, S14 knuckles, brakes and coil-overs. The crossmember almost bolted in. I used one factory hole from each part – one from the crossmember and one from the car – and I had to redrill one hole on each side.”

A little bit of clearancing was required to fit the Garrett T51R turbo. A crossflow radiator out of a Commodore performs cooling duties

Most of the bits on the Capri are from the spare parts pile or borrowed from his F100, including the Toyota 1UZ-FE engine. The four-litre screamer is fairly stock internally, which isn’t really an issue as they’re built like race engines with six-bolt, cross-bolted mains, four valves per cylinder and twin overhead cams – so four of them, all up. That makes for a pretty stout naturally aspirated motor, but this one gets a little help from a Garrett T51R turbo – also pinched off the F100 – which feeds through the stock throttlebody and into a custom-built plenum. The injectors have been upgraded to 1000cc/min to make sure there’s plenty of fuel to mix in with all that extra air.

There was no interior, which is perfect when you want to build a race car. As you can see, the floors are in great shape. A simple dash folded up from alloy holds up the gauges and provides a place to mount the switches

Michael Buckley at Rotomotion is the man behind the tune-up, chosen mostly for his experience with the Microtech ECU, a favourite among the rotary crowd. “It’s only got eight degrees of timing in it and well over 400hp at the wheels with a really safe tune-up. It’s got miles left in it,” Clint says.

If you’re wondering why Clint chose Microtech over more popular brands, he’s got a good reason: “It’s out of the F100 from 14 years ago,” he says. “It was the go back then and I don’t intend changing it.

It might look crappy on top, but stick your head underneath and it starts looking a lot better, with a fully braced sheet-metal 9in and heaps of bar work

It was proven in the F100, went really well and never missed a beat – no need to spend more money. I did have to upgrade the computer to a 3-bar map because we were just about on the limit.”

While Clint has pinched the engine out of it, the old F100 isn’t being forgotten. It’s getting a full-on 1UZ-FE built for it. “I’ve got a plan in my head that if the truck doesn’t run the numbers that I want to run, I’m going to pull the motor out and put it into this,” he says. “Eventually, I’d love to run a seven-second pass, and I know the motor out of the truck in this would do it.”

Clint has 295s on the back of it at the moment, but it’s been built to race in the different radial-tyre classes, from 235 right up to Outlaw Radial

While the current motor in the Capri is pretty mild by comparison, it will still get down the quarter-mile quite nicely. “By the time this combo is all set up and sorted, I’m hoping I’ll run very, very low nines,” Clint says. “It was never built with that intention. It was just going to be a shits-and-giggles car, a pig that you could take to events and beat up on – which I’m still going to do – but it’s probably got more of a purpose behind it now.”

While that purpose is mostly about getting down a short and straight bit of track as quickly as possible, there’s a much more important reason behind the build. “I wanted to do something that would get the family involved. My brother is a workaholic and lives in Sydney, so the intention is to send it over east to him and leave it there for six to 12 months. I can just go back and forth doing events, so that he can benefit from it as well.”

There’s a legacy in it for Clint’s two young sons, too. “I don’t want them piss-farting around on computers and shit like that,” he explains. “When I said: ‘Let’s build a burnout car,’ their eyes lit up!”


Paint: Natural finish

Type: Toyota 1UZ-FE 4.0L
Inlet: Standard intake with fabricated riser
ECU: Microtech
Heads: Stock
Valves: 32 of the suckers!
Cam: Stock
Pistons: Arias
Crank: Stock
Conrods: Stock early-model
Radiator: Early Commodore, twin 12in thermos
Exhaust: 4in dump pipe
Ignition: Bosch coils

’Box: Manualised C4, transbrake
Converter: Dominator 3800rpm stall
Diff: Braced sheet-metal 9in, 4.11:1 gears

Front end: S14 Silvia
Shocks: S14 coil-overs (f), Strange coil-overs (r)
Steering: S13 Silvia, XW column
Brakes: S14 Silvia discs (f), EL Falcon discs (r)

Rims: EL Falcon 15×6 (f), Weld Rodlite 15×10 (r)
Rubber: Yokohama 195/50/15 (f), Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S 295/55/R15 (r)