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 .

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS - Words and Pho­tos Jon Cass

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!

Blank can­vas

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.”

In sus­pense

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


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


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.

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