When you look back on the cars and moments that made you so fond of the modified car it is a heart-warming experience. Its nothing less than a passion, spending long hours in a cramped suburban garage with no heating and a welder as your only companion, as if it were anything less we sure as hell wouldn’t be doing it.
Peter, who also happens to be my uncle, is the epitome of a dedicated car ‘enthusiast’. With often more than two projects on the go at any one time, it is safe to say that restoring and tweaking cars to his tastes is in the blood. This particular car, or to narrow it down, the engine underneath; was a stepping stone for me into the world of wires hanging out of every conceivable surface, black fingernails and hammering, as well as the start of a deep passion; so it holds a certain something with me. It must hold something with Peter too as he has held on to this engine for more than 14 years, finding its way into different cars and putting out different power each time.
This particular guise of Capri he bought in 2003 and ripped it apart, as you do, to make way for the running gear of the old essex V6 engine and goodies, with the original Capri that this engine was fitted to well and truly rusted away by this point. Peter had noticed that the car was running awfully being way down on power and returning about 10mpg! So it was definitely time for a new shell and get to the root of the engines issues.
“I decided to get another capri again and fit my old essex engine/box/axle into it as i had done years before, also while the engine was out i decided to get the cylinder heads fitted with hardened valve seats, so i took the heads to the local engine re-conditioners. They called me the next day and told me one of the heads was cracked, which would explain the loss of power!” Another was sourced and all was well.
“I eventually got the Capri in the garage and progress was slow, unfortunately it was a very wet year and the garage roof was leaking badly, the Capri spent much of its time in 2 inches of water which took its toll on the bodywork. I eventually had a new garage roof fitted and work could begin, but now it was more than an engine swap, it was more welding too”
“The engine and gearbox went in on the 3 litre crossmember with uprated brakes and suspension, I collected the rear axle from my friends yard but where it had been laying outside the rear cover had rusted through and the differential was full of water! There was a lot of rust inside and the pinion was seized, but i flushed it out, filled it with old engine oil and eventually it freed off; with a new end cover and EP90 oil it seems fine”
“I had a close call when cutting out a rusty section of floor in the garage, I was inside the car cutting out some rust in the floor when i noticed what i thought was water pouring in from the inner sill, i pulled the angle grinder away, switched it off and then realised it wasn’t water swirling around my shoes, it was petrol! The cutting disc had severed the fuel line, i don’t know why it didn’t ignite but if it had i would have been badly burnt or dead.”
“Finally after new lower rear corners, a post repairs, floor repairs and 1 fibreglass wing it is back on the road, it wont win any prizes because i can’t afford to respray it and there is some rust on the scuttle which will need doing someday,but it is a nice useable classic and a pleasure to drive”
And when it boils down to it, thats what it’s all about.