The Haltech Grudge Kings NZ event at Meremere Dragway on November 27 hosted a number of tough Australian drag cars, imported to New Zealand specifically for the event. Tristan Ockers’ wild ‘MINCER’ Ford Capri, Tomi Raikko’s twin-turbo Torana, Po Tung’s seven-second stock-chassis Toyota Supra, and Frank Cannistra’s lethal little Mazda RX-3 are all very different cars, but lined up at Meremere, they looked almost alien. We don’t often see machines like this over here in New Zealand, let alone a whole gang of them preparing to take on the best our local talent could throw at them. Here’s an up-close look at the stars of the show. 

Tristan Ockers’ MINCER Ford Capri

Tristan Ockers’ crazy MINCER Capri was, without question, the headlining act of the Aussie invasion. Maybe it’s to do with New Zealand’s strange love of Ford Capris, or big blowers, or big cubes, or maybe all of these things. Whatever it is, MINCER does it in style. 

The first thing you notice is the cartoonishly large engine — not just in terms of cubes, but actual physical size within the Capri’s tiny engine bay. It’s a 510ci alloy big block with Oldsmobile Big Chief heads, topped with a 14-71 supercharger and carbon-fibre injection hat. Running on a strict diet of methanol, Tristan estimates power to be somewhere in the region of 2000hp, and, as he says, “it’s got more in it!”

The monster motor is backed up by a two-speed TH400 and fabricated nine-inch diff suspended on a custom four-link set-up, and the Capri body somehow manages to tuck the massive 33x17-15 meats wrapping 15x15-inch rear wheels. Stance is important, and this car shows why. 

Of course, Tristan’s Capri wasn’t always this wild. “I’ve owned it since ’92, so about 24 years,” he recalls. “I’d just got me P-plates, and got this 302 V8 Capri.” At the time, he was into the whole Summernats and burnouts scene, and began to build the Capri for that, before finding his calling down the quarter-mile. As a result, Tristan says, “It’s had more facelifts than Michael Jackson!” 

To him, it’s what a pro-street car should be, and he still drives it on the street — within reason, at least. “Let’s say it’s on outlaw rego,” he mentions. “It’s got the same steering wheel I’ve had in it since I bought it, so every time I get into it, it just feels like me old Capri, and I’m 18 all over again.”

Tomi Raikko’s Holden Torana LJ

If you don’t look too hard, Tomi Raikko’s LJ Torana looks like a two-door coupe on ’roids. It’s something that catches a lot of people out, and is a good reflection of how well presented this particular drag car really is. And it doesn’t just look good, either — it goes like shit off a shovel. 

It all started in 1997, when Tomi purchased a four-door Torana street car, and, as they say, the rest is history. The drag racing bug bit, and the Torana’s now been through three major rebuilds. First up was the original Holden 308 V8, which got stroked to 355 cubes, before making way for its first Chev engine — the current 400ci small block. 

With SB2 heads and a pair of 80mm BorgWarner turbos, this thing can flow enormous quantities of air. That’s matched by a stream of methanol, supplied through a mechanical pump and on to 16 injectors, and the sum of this boosted violence is released through a Powerglide transmission and a sheet-metal nine-inch diff.

To date, Tomi’s run a PB of 6.92 at 205.9mph, and his best on New Zealand soil was an impressive 7.1-second pass. But what he likes the most about the Torana is the fact that, for the most part, this car was built in his shed at home, with help from a few good mates — if that isn’t something to be proud of, we don’t know what is! 

Po Tung’s Toyota Supra JZA80

Po Tung’s Supra was a bona fide world-beater. It’s hard to believe, but Po’s Supra was a stock-chassis car that held the world record for a Supra on a 10.5-inch tyre — a seriously impressive record that was only eclipsed by EKanoo Racing. 

The heart that let it all happen is a Toyota 2JZ straight-six — fundamentally, still a stock engine. “It’s got a grout-filled standard block, and displaces 3.2 litres with an offset-ground standard crankshaft,” Po tells us. “The rods are GRP, the pistons are CP, and the head has been ported with 1mm oversize valves.” Add a Precision Pro Mod 94mm turbo, Hypertune intake manifold, and loads of methanol into the mix, and you’ve got a combo good for over 1750hp at the wheels. This is backed up with the drag racer’s favourite driveline combo — a TH400 transmission and nine-inch diff on ladder bars. 

The Supra’s stock chassis means there are no tubs, and it is an all-steel body, with carbon-fibre front clip, doors, and rear hatch. That, coupled with Po’s use of a 10.5-inch tyre, makes his PB of 7.04 seconds at 208mph all the more impressive. 

Having campaigned the Supra for five years, Po mentioned he could be keen to move on to “something lighter, on a bigger tyre” — and that could have been a terrible premonition of the near future. After mentioning that, Po ran a 7.24-second pass — his quickest on New Zealand soil — before destroying the car on his next pass. 

After shifting into top gear at over 170mph, the back end kicked out, and the Supra slid across the other lane and into the opposite barrier — barely clipping Frank Cannistra’s RX-3 in the process. More importantly, though, Po emerged from the incident unharmed — the best possible outcome from a worst-case scenario. 

Frank Cannistra’s MR HELI Mazda RX-3

“I built this car eight years ago for Zoom Magazine,” Frank Cannistra says. “Back then, it was running a five-speed H-pattern street gearbox. It ran 8.30s, but when I put the Liberty [five-speed] in, it went 7.61.” 

It’s clearly no slouch, and that’s thanks to a very serious turbocharged 13B engine. The Series 6 [RX-7] engine has been semi-peripheral-ported, with boost courtesy of a massive 83mm BorgWarner turbo that’s almost as big as the 13B itself. This is complemented by an E&J four-barrel throttle body, four Precision 5500cc injectors, and two Indy Blue injectors, all controlled with a MoTeC M800 ECU. It sounds absolutely insane, and with a clutchless Liberty five-speed gearbox and ladder-barred nine-inch rear, has more than enough bite to match its bark. 

Back home, Frank runs MR HELI in a 28x9-inch tyre class, and briefly held the record for a 13B-powered car on 28x9s. With no floor modifications and a pair of mini-tubs to accommodate the rear tyres, you can’t help but admire Frank’s PB of 7.61 at 178mph, and with the 13B’s ability to handle more boost, we can’t wait to see what else MR HELI can do!