5 MINUTES WITH:
ow did you get into cars?
I grew up watching Ari Vatanen and Tony Pond — how could you not be into cars after seeing those two?
What was your first Ford?
A Mk4 Cortina in silver. This would have been around 1993, though I didn’t have it very long as I swapped it for a Mk5 with a 2.1 on twin 40s. It was expensive to run, even then, so I sold the engine and put an S-spec 2-litre in it. It was great, but sadly I had to sell it when it was time to move back to Orkney.
How did you get into restoring classic Fords?
I actually trained as a cabinet maker, but ended up working at a main Ford dealership in Aberdeenshire. This was during the heady days of the Cosworth era, so as you can imagine it was a pretty great time. I started working for a local garage when I moved back to Orkney and while there, built my purple Mk3 Capri 3.0S replica. This got me known, particularly on the Capri Power forum and people started asking me to restore their cars for them. I went out on my own last year and Steadspeed Restorations was born. I’ve got 15 cars in the workshop at the moment, and another four due in, so I must be doing something right!
You’re quite fastidious, aren’t you?
If a car’s rotten, I won’t cut corners, it’s got to be done right.
What are you currently working on?
Too many to list, but it includes a Capri 280 Turbo Technics that’s in the final stages of a rebuild, and a full-blown Mk2 Escort rally car that should be finished at the end of next month.
You fabricate a lot of hand-made panels. Is this something you enjoy?
It started out as a necessity because I couldn’t find what I wanted. Either the quality wasn’t there with the panels that were available, or you just couldn’t get them. It’s very time-consuming, but hugely satisfying at the same time.
What about your own fleet?
I still have the 3.0S, plus a pre-facelift Mk1 Capri 1600GT Special that’s quite far gone but well worth saving. I also have a blue-over-silver 1982 four-speed 2.8i. It’s been on the island almost since new and I’ve been after it for years. It needs a total rebuild, but I’ve slowly been collecting parts for it.
What’s your most embarrassing car-related moment?
I’ve crashed a few cars over the years... I was out in the works van recently and got distracted by a group of superbikes coming towards me, missed the corner, spun the van and ended up in a ditch. The same bikers then helped me drag it out. Very embarrassing!
You’ve got £10,000 to buy and build a classic Ford.What would you do?
Probably a Mk1 Fiesta, converted to rear-wheeldrive with Forest arches, Diamond White paint, blue stripes, RS four-spokes and a Zetec under the bonnet with a BDA-style cam cover.
And money no object?
Massimo Guerra’s hillclimb Cologne Capri!
What’s your favourite event?
I used to love watching the Granite City rally around Aberdeenshire back in the day. I’d love to be able to go to Goodwood Revival one year, but it’s a bloody long way!
“MAKING PANELS IS VERY TIME CONSUMING BUT HUGELY SATISFYING”