Updating a Mk1 Capri with all mod cons while making sure it kept its classic status was no mean feat. Fortunately, Ian Coulson had the skills — and friends — to pull it o .
Capri Cosworth Mk1 gets 24 valves and modern trickery.
We often take for granted the gadgets that come with our modern daily drivers. You only have to check out the brochures from the dealerships and the list of extras provided to make your daily commute that little bit easier seems endless. Progress has certainly been beneficial as sat navs, airbags, remote central locking and heated seats all certainly have their uses!
So imagine if Ford decided to announce a brand-new Capri that bore more than a hint of the original Mk1 when it came to looks. Ideally it would retain those classic ’60s lines combined with a wealth of gadgets, technology and refinement which would bring in the punters for sure, but sadly if it were ever to happen; those looks we all love would undoubtedly need to be diluted in the name of crash protection and aerodynamics we’ve all come to expect.
Ian Coulson’s dream was to build himself a modern car contained in a retro shape, his ideal like that of many others containing the best of both worlds for practical every day use. He was in it for the long haul and already had a wealth of experience when it came to car electrics and the best bit is, the car he chose to base his project upon was a Mk1 Capri!
Ian had managed to get hold of a Mk1 devoid of running gear or interior, it was effectively a blank canvas. It wasn’t in the best condition either, but a handy exchange of skills between Ian and his mate, Alan Summerscales had the necessary welding completed over a period of time while Ian got to grips with the plumbing and wiring on Alan’s Mk2. “No money changed hands, that’s the way it should be between friends,” Ian adds.
Other than the usual repairs, Ian also decided that the spare wheelwell should be cut out and a flat floor welded in along with the panel behind the rear seats to be removed and replaced with strengthening beams. “This was in readiness to make the car more practical as I planned to fit fold down rear seats and relocate the fuel tank underneath the car instead of keeping it in the boot,” Ian explains.
The shell was now solid, but the exterior panelwork needed attention, so Ian searched around for a company to take on this major task, “I came across Track Torque Racing via an acquaintance of mine,” Ian explains, “they were happy to take it on and provide me with the shell repainted in show-standard Audi Ibis White and Ford Dark Blue.”
While the shell was being repaired and fresh paint applied, Ian got to grips with the suspension. The front struts have been modified with eccentric roller top mounts, uprated damper inserts and uprated and shorter front springs. Adjustable track control arms with Rose joints have been
“IAN MANAGED TO GET HOLD OF A CAPRI DEVOID OF RUNNING GEAR — EFFECTIVELY A BLANK CANVAS”
fitted while the front geometry is now adjustable for caster, camber and toe. At the rear adjustable rear dampers, single leaf rear springs and 1 inch lowering blocks ensure this Mk1 sits right and handles well, too. One of the first clues this Mk1 would contain a modern twist was the fitment of a modified power steering system containing custom Audi-based pipework — Ian’s 25-year experience working with VAG cars coming in handy here!
As Ian planned a more potent powerplant, the braking system would also need to be uprated, Caprisport coming to the rescue with brackets able to support Mondeo front callipers which hold 283 mm Sierra Cosworth front discs. At the rear a comparatively simple swap to Sierra callipers with larger Peugeot discs ensures this Capri will brake as well as any modern car. In fact, Ian has gone one step further and fitted ABS using custom brackets, wheel speed sensors and rotors along with a Bosch ABS modulator and ECU!
By now, Ian had managed to locate a characterful old barn belonging to a local farmer to work on the Capri and as luck would have it, the farmer, Trevor who’s also a fan of classic cars was keen to be involved with the project, too. “As the shell was in a stripped out state, I decided to add sound deadening to improve the refinement especially on motorways, “Ian explains, “I’ve used 2 mm damping mat with an aluminium surface and military grade composition which has been proven to be extremely efficient at the conversion of vibration to thermal energy.”
Attention then turned to the seats, those from an Audi TT always having been part of the plan. Covered in leather and alcantara, the heated
“THE CAPRI’S BEEN BUILT AS A CLASSIC THAT COULD BE USED EVERY DAY, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IAN PLANS TO DO”
seats were a bargain from a breakers’ yard, though their fitment would cause a bit of a headache. Brackets and mechanisms had to be fabricated while Trevor helped with his skills to provide a new base for the seats — could this be the first Mk1 Capri to have fully functioning split- fold rear seats?
The disadvantage of having fold-down rear seats and a usable full boot meant a donor underfloor fuel tank had to be sourced and fitted underneath the car, a process Ian had been dreading, but with some research the task was relatively straightforward.
Just like the interior, the engine bay would be another blank canvas and Ian has decided to fit a 2.9 24-valve V6 from a Granada Cosworth inside. This has been fully rebuilt before slotting into place and is kept cool by a Sierra radiator with twin fans featuring custom pipework. Ian’s electrical knowledge again coming in handy fitting the custom ECU and electrics box which now resides in the passenger footwell. The gearbox is now a four-speed from a Capri 2.8i bolted to a custom crossmember. Condensed story Ian’s Capri may have taken many years to complete and our story makes the process of fitting modern components into a classic car sound easy, but the truth is far different. His skills from the trade would come in highly useful throughout, but the result is just as he envisaged. This Capri has been built as a classic that could be driven every day in refinement which funnily enough is exactly what he plans to do!
Appropriately-named Dare RS rims are 15 inchers.
ABS system took a fair amount of research to fit.
Ian’s made a great job of making everything in the engine bay look like it should be there.
Audi TT seats form the main part of the upgraded interior.
Rear-facing camera mounted on bumper.
Split folding rear seats are a first for a Mk1 — we think.