LEGENDARY British house and techno DJ/producer Carl Cox has been spinning the wheels of steel for 40-odd years. And while his day job still takes him all over the world, these days he calls Australia home, where he indulges his other great love: racing fast cars and bikes.
Carlís í69 Ford Capri drag car is powered by a singleturbo 420ci small-block Ford, built and tuned by Frank Marchese from Dandy Engines in Victoria (Mill Of The Month, SM, Sep í16). The monster mill is backed up by a Powerglide and a full-floating nine-inch.
In his first event since getting his drag-racing licence, Carl took out Pro Street Blown at the APSA Grand Finals in Sydney in November. The lightweight Capri ran a best time of 7.15@192mph, with 1.17-second 60-foot times, and is headed for the six-second zone.
At 15 I bought my own turntables and DJing equipment and started out doing peopleís birthday parties. Then I went on to do discos around England and just did my own thing. I used to drive old cars back then to get to gigs, thatís what got me into cars to begin with.
Did you start drag racing back then?
Yes, I had a V6 auto-powered Ford Capri in England in the 80s. We used to race in what they called Ďrun what you brungí [dial-your-own] drag racing. I used to build my own engines, but the car wasnít very quick. It ran 18-second quarter-miles but would always break something; I couldnít afford to keep doing it at the time.
I started touring here in the 90s when my song I Want You was in the charts. I really enjoyed coming to Australia, fell in love with the place. The weatherís great compared to England Ė Melbourne in particular. Around 2003/2004 I decided to move here as my home base.
Rod Taylor, my crew chief on the Capri, introduced me to the sport of Pro Street drag racing out here. Iíd never seen an eight-second streeter before; it was mad and I was hooked from the moment I saw them.
I wanted to build a Pro Street race car out of the 10-second fastback Mustang I own. It was going to get tubs and a full chassis, but it was too nice a car to cut up, so Frank from Dandy Engines put me onto the Capri and we did that instead. It had a ladder-bar rear end in it, so Joe Gauci from Profab Motorsport Fabrications re-designed it all.
A Yes, it was all over the place going down the strip on ladder bars, so Joe put in a four-link and did a few other subtle changes to make it more comfortable for me to drive. After that we went out and did a heap of 60-foot test passes with it, but it kept turning right on us. After some more fine-tuning though we finally got it going straight and st arted pulling 1.1-second 60-foot times.
Itís in unlimited Pro Street Blown; we didnít build it for the class, or any class in particular, itís just where it ended up. Iím playing with the big boys basically. Iíd never raced in it before, only done solo passes, so to win the APSA round, well, it just feels like a movie. I really need to thank Frank Marchese and Dandy Engines, Joe Gauci from Profab and all those that supported me getting the Capri to the track.
Yeah, itís a huge move, a massive step up. The Capri is half the weight of anything else Iíve ever raced. It doesnít look it, but itís pretty brutal. Turbos are a totally different thing to drive. Itís incredible the way the power comes on, and thatís only running at 25psi; it will go to 40psi easy.
So how quic If we can keep the front down a bit we are looking at sixes.
Weíre going to put a weight bar on the front Ė at the moment itís on the wheelie bars pretty hard, and by half-track itís trying to be a tricycle!
race any of them in A Yes, I have some 10-second streeters: a í65 fastback Mustang, a Plymouth Road Runner and a í71 Holden HG Premier. The Prem runs a Dandy Engines 440 small-block; itís naturally aspirated and has run 10.6@132mph. Itís not quite a sleeper, but itís close. Iíll be doing Hot Rod Drag Week in it next year. A few friends did it last time and had a ball, so Iím looking forward to it.
The 1969 Road Runner started life with a 383ci bigblock, but Iíve stepped things up and had a 572ci big-block Hemi fitted. Transmission is a 727 Torqueflite with a manual valvebody and transbrake, built by Frank at Protrans, with a 4200rpm stall converter from TCE. Iíve run 10.90s in it.
We could make it quicker but I donít want to have to put a rollcage in it.
Thereís a í66 Pontiac GTO thatís completely stock. Itís really beautiful and looks like it came off the showroom floor. I have a pair of Mustang fastbacks; one is a Ďrent-a-racerí clone, and the other is the 10-second car that I was going to cut up.
I also have a í65 Chevy Impala, a Nomad, and the í32 Ford hiboy hot rod that I took to the Bright Rod Run (SM, Jan í17). I bought it already built, but wanted it to be a more traditional-looking rod, so I changed the wheels and carbies.
The motorís nothing over-the-top, just a mild 350 Chev with a 6/71 blower. Gearbox is a Turbo 700 and the rear end is a nine-inch. Itís built as a cruiser but it goes great; the powerto- weight makes it a ball to drive.
Anyway, at least if one car goes down Iíve got another to jump into!