A world famous DJ has taken residence in Australia and his childhood passion for motorsport is being indulged in the ranks of Pro Street drag racing. Carl Cox loves talking about his cars. Getting to discuss his hobby is a great change from promoting his latest tour or talking up a record label. We asked one question and he took 45 minutes with his answer – passion is no question in this guy. Cox’s formative years in England injected his love for all things automotive. One of his friends had a father who was a mechanic, specialising in fixing American cars. While the streets of late sixties and early seventies South London were filled with Minis, Zephyr Zodiacs, Morris Minors, Cortinas and other small makes, Cox got a window to a world of Chevy Impalas, Ford Mustangs and Pontiac Firebirds. “He had all these exotic American cars,” Cox remembered. “They took up all the road. First and foremost you heard the engine – the Minis and Morris Minors had nothing on the big V8s.” The same friends would go to Santa Pod Raceway and take Carl along to see street drag racing and occasionally events featuring Top Fuel dragsters, at a time when American stars like Don Garlits were doing world tours. “I was into it as a fan as a kid and I haven’t grown up yet,” said Cox. “All I wanted to do to my cars was to modify and go faster. Any car between 40 pounds and 120 pounds I used to get. They werw bangers that looked like crap on the outside but went like hell on the inside. I would buy anything and street race it and drag race it. “To go drag racing you need money, but I never had any. I would go to to the breakers yard if I broke an axle or engine mount ends and every weekend I went to the drags I would break something. I had to use the same car to go to work in as I raced, it was a labour of love.” Competing at Run What Ya Brung events at Santa Pod, Cox happened on a Mk1 Ford Capri and it was the fastest car he had raced at the time. Mostly stock but with a 45 Weber carb on it that did little more than make fuel economy worse, he eventually backfired the car and blew it up. With a burgeoning DJ career in the early 80s, Cox needed to switch from speed to reliability. “I thought this is not my calling, I need to find a car that will get me to my gigs, make sure I can make those parties, so I then bought more sensible cars that would work.” As his DJ career blossomed (see sidebar), Cox was able to set up a second home in Australia where he was often performing at events. Falling in love with the country and settling into Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, automotive passions were once again inflamed. “When I moved into a holiday home in Frankston, I wanted to ride motorcycles again. I had friends who were into their motorcycles and I hadn’t ridden for 25 years, but the whole DNA of the motorbike went straight back into me. “That was it, I was back into the hood, riding up and down the Hume Highway on a 250 thinking I was the king of the road. I’d never felt the wind like that, or the b-double trucks trying to kill me, and I just had to get a bigger bike. “The friends I met with motorcycles were also into cars one of the guys was Rod Taylor. He had been building a Mustang coupe he wanted to keep as street as possible, but I could hear it two blocks away. He was telling me he runs ten second quarters – the quickest I ever did was 17s at 87mph! I loved it.” Cox had heard about the Calder Park drag strip some 12 previous and finally decided to check it out. The sights, sounds and smells took him back to his childhood at Santa Pod and he would be hooked. “I hadn’t been to the drags for years. I got to Calder Park and I thought bloody hell. I was watching Cortinas and Capris running 10s, 9s and 8s and seeing the twin turbos, in my day they were all N/A. They were running eights at 145mph as a street car and I thought you have to be kidding me.” Learning about all the modern technology that was going into these quick street cars, Carl got to meet Frank Marchese from Dandy Engines – famed for providing big amounts of reliable street horsepower. Friends mentioned to Cox that there was a neat Holden Premier up for sale, so he investigated what turned out to be a barn find restored into a Targa Tasmania contender. “He had the Monaro seats, striped bonnet, factory green paint, rally wheels, for me it looked really cool. 186, triple carbs and overbore pistons, but it wasn’t as powerful as you would think. I bought the car because I did want an Aussie muscle car in my collection. “I thought I would get more props buying that car but the boys all looked at me and thought I had been stitched up! They gave me so much shit and they said the engine was coming out. I said I had only just bought the bloody thing.” – Thanks to our partners for helping bring you this content, article continues – About 625 horsepower ended up going under the bonnet and for Cox that made it feel like a rocketship. He wanted to go to Heathcote to see what time it would do – but the timing could have been better. “Heathcote do a thing on Boxing Day, of course the night before was Christmas so we were all on the piss and the next day we were
Want more drag racing news?
Sign up to our email list for news updates and special deals on Drag News Magazine subscriptions.