The name ‘Perana’ coined by Basil Green Motors, of Johannesburg for its engine transplant conversions on popular Ford models has come to be synonymous with “performance", both on road and track.
Basil Green manufacturing and tuning establishment came up with a Ford Capri 3000 XL with five liters of tuned Mustang V8 power to give it unchallenged "go" and performance.
Imagine a smooth handling, quiet-running and low slung car that will sprint evenly from 20 km/h (idling speed) to 200 km/h in top gear. A car that will accelerate with ease from 0-100 km/h inside 7 seconds, and which has a 50 percent reserve of power at 150 km/h. It sounded unbelievable!
An optimum start from rest produces two jagged black streaks behind the car as the limited slip differential took effect. As the wheels start to bite properly it surged to 100kmh, (in second gear), in 6.7 sec, and to 120kmh is 9.3 sec, with a maximum speed potential of 228.4 km/h.
In terms of familiar Imperial measures, it did the 0-60 mph run in 6.1 sec, and tops 142 mph in a straight line.
Fuel economy is surprisingly good - very close to that of the Capri 3000 at cruising speeds and top gear power is out of this world.
Between 1970 and 1973 Basil Green was authorised by Ford (South Africa) Product Engineering to produce a modified version of the 3000XL Capri. He had already produced a tweaked MkII Cortina which was supplied with a V6 engine, so it was a natural progression for him to produce a modified Capri.
A 302 Mustang V8 (5 liter) was swapped for the Essex V6 and was fitted with a Motorsport camshaft, solid lifters and four-barrel Holley 460 CFM carburetor. This engine was capable of over 280 BHP, but was detuned to around 240 BHP for the production car, with ride height lowered by 50mm and the body shell strengthened to take the huge torque supplied by the Mustang engine.
The key to fitting the V8 engine into the Capri was in the modification of the steering, and for this purpose, a special rack was made to Basil Green specification which mounted behind the engine. Brakes were standard, with harder pads for the front discs, and suspension is lowered 1 ½ inches all round, with stronger coils to compensate for the small increase in weight.
This increase was kept to 9 kg by using the Boss aluminum bell housing for the clutch and aluminum inlet manifold. Other special equipment includes large capacity radiator built to Basil Green specification. An exhaust system to Basil Green specification, and a special tailshaft.
The resulting car was a balanced and well geared vehicle.
Although the original production run was for 800 'Perana' Capri's, it is estimated that only 500 actually left the factory. The name Perana was a deliberate misspelling of the fish Pirana/Piranha.
The Perana was the only Capri officially supplied with a V8 engine, and as such was perfect for racing. The 500 or so cars produced meant that homologation was not a problem, and the Perana was raced in South Africa under the name Z181. Basil Green himself won the South African Championship three times, but unfortunately the Z181 was banned from competing after 1970 as it had won all but one of the races that year.