Ford Capri 2.8i
This was never meant to be Dale’s daily driver when he bought it – seven years ago
1983 FORD CAPRI 2.8i
Iused to drive a BMW E39 M5 and it’s probably the best car I’ve ever owned, being fast, reliable and rust-free – everything that my Ford Capri isn’t.
I fully accept that it’s my own fault. I seemed to disregard everything I know about buying second-hand cars, buying it online on the strength of 12 photos and 326 words – having never driven it – and even collected it in the dark. Lo and behold, the Capri’s gearbox gave up midroundabout just two days later. At that very moment, as passing motorists gesticulated angrily at me from their warm, comfortable modern cars, I knew that this was going to be a bumpy ride. That being said, I love it to bits and have learned a great deal with so much having transpired since those fateful
first few days. We’ve been together for nearly seven years, now, and I’m its 14th owner. Yes, it’s been passed around somewhat but hopefully TUH 464Y has now found its forever home.
Replacing the gearbox seems like a lifetime ago and I’ve almost managed to expunge the memory of having to do the exact same job a few months later when the differential let go, taking fifth gear with it.
It’s an old Ford so rust is a constant companion and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t had beaucoup welding, but Gary at Wheels Automotive in Huntingdon does such a good job that I’ve had all of the structural and fabrication work carried out there.
After those initial gearbox woes it became imperative to look at the motor. The injection system has been replaced by a Weber DGAS38 carburettor in the past but it wasn’t running as sweetly as I would have liked. A carb overhaul, cylinder head skim and gasket replacement returned the engine’s impeccable behaviour and a complete new exhaust system – including manifolds – added the right noise to the mix.
After finding myself facing backwards on a roundabout one day I installed lower and stiffer front springs, lowering blocks for the rear leafs and replaced all of the bushes with polyurethane items in a bid to try and improve the car’s handling. It has since felt so much more planted and confident on the road.
I’ve fitted wider rear Weller steel wheels to beef up the aesthetics and swapped out the original radiator grille for a MkII item. I’m in the process of freshening up the paint, too, so half of the car is currently finished in grey primer.
I have a clear idea of how I want the Capri to look and perform – I’m hoping to fit the 2.9-litre Cosworth BOB engine that I liberated from a Ford Scorpio, because it’s a fairly straight swap (famous last words), and it looks like my plan to install a limited-slip differential has been thrust upon me sooner rather than later because the current standard diff’ is making some truly horrendous noises thanks to what I think is a failing pinion bearing.
I’m fully aware that I will probably never finish fettling it and it will certainly never be original or concours. I just want it to keep going strong while continuing to put a great big smile on my face every time I drive it, or even look at it for that matter. As the saying goes, if you’re not glancing back at your car after you’ve parked it then you’ve bought the wrong one.
Does it still count, though, if you’re just glancing back at it to check that nothing has fallen off or caught fire?
Mountney wheel and 8-ball gear knob break up the grey plastic doldrums.
Topping the noisy diff’ up with heavy duty oil stabiliser until Dale can get it to someone with more know-how.
Original 2.8 motor now runs (rather well) on a Weber DGAS 38 carburettor.